After nine years in operation, the Amsterdam Underground tour - started by the De Regenboog Groep, an NGO that works with homeless people - will now be in the hands of the formerly homeless guides who have lived the experiences the tour aims to illuminate to tourists. De Regenboog made the decision to form a cooperative for the four current volunteers to own the business and have full control of their narratives.
The first meeting to discuss the future of Amsterdam’s Red Light District was met with disagreement and polarizing opinions on Wednesday evening at the Compagnietheater, the 18th century former church that sits in De Wallen. The meeting, organized by Mayor Femke Halsema, gathered residents, sex workers, and entrepreneurs who will be affected by the proposed changes for the area.
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam is currently exploring various options for a new prostitution policy in the Red Light District. One of the options she is considering is closing all the window brothels in the area, NU.nl reports.
According to the mayor, the situation in the center of Amsterdam increasingly "dire" due to the continuing suspicions of human trafficking and the growth of unlicensed prostitution. "It forces us to put the prostitution policy on the agenda again", she said in a letter to the city council on Wednesday.
More than 40 thousand people signed a petition to make paying for sex a punishable offense. Exxpose, the Christian inspired and politically independent youth movement that initiated this petition, will hand it to the Tweede Kamer this week, the Volkskrant reports.
Amsterdam will ban guided group tours along the window brothels in the Red Light District, the city announced in a press statement. The municipality is currently working out how to legally implement the ban.
The number of reports of foreign men being forced into prostitution in the Netherlands doubled over the past year. The victims are often asylum seekers and refugees picked up by human traffickers, according to research by Radio Reporter, NPO Radio 1 reports.
An increasing number of prostitutes working in Amsterdam's Red Light District are struggling with debts, that can range from 10 thousand euros to 30 thousand euros, newspaper Trouw reports based on its own research.
No total overview is available, but the debt problem is large, three Christian organizations that support prostitutes in the Red Light District - the Salvation Army, Scharlaken Koord and Bright Fame - confirmed to the newspaper.
Sex workers from dozens of countries marched through Amsterdam on Tuesday to protest for better legislation for their profession. Worldwide there is not enough attention for the safety of sex workers, said Proud, the Dutch association for sex workers and the organizer of the march, NOS and Het Parool report.
The vast majority of people who work in the Netherlands' sex industry face some form of violence, mostly from customers, according to a study by Aidsfonds, Soa Aids Nederland and sex workers' interest group Proud, Het Parool reports.
Many of the promotion girls Heineken uses in African countries to stimulate the sale of the Dutch beer, are faced with sexual harassment during their work, according to Olivier van Beemen, who investigated the situation these young women face and wrote a book about it.
In an article in NRC, Van Beemen writes that many Heineken promotion girls have to deal with sexual harassment or assault, have to go to bed with managers, and prostitute themselves to clients. Heineken has known about this problem for 15 years, but does little about it, he said.
Metje Blaak, former sex worker and a candidate for 50Plus in the Amsterdam municipal elections, wants to charge an entry fee of five euros for the Red Light District. According to her, this is an effective way to reduce crowds in the area and to make sure that sex workers aren't driven away, the Telegraaf reports.
At least 70 boys and young men between the ages of 14 and 22 years are active in prostitution in and around Eindhoven, and not all of them willingly, according to a study by welfare organization Lumens. The municipality of Eindhoven is shocked by these figures, alderman Renate Richters said to Nieuwsuur.
The municipality of The Hague is calling on the Dutch government to keep funding a program that helps prostitutes get out of sex work and build up a new living. Alderman Karsten Klein will send a letter with this call to the government this week, and hopes to also get support from his colleagues in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, NOS reports.
Criminals involved at least three school pupils in Den Bosh in prostitution and drug trading, mayor Ton Rombouts said in response to questions from PvdA city councilor Lisette van der Swaluw. The mayor believes that more kids may have been approached to become involve in illegal activities, but they wont come forward out of shame or fear for those who approached them, the Gelderlander reports.
Amsterdam's policy that prostitutes must share personal information with brothel owners, is in violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, the court in Amsterdam ruled in a case filed by 10 window brothels against the municipality, NU.nl reports.
In a city center that is filled with co-working spaces, it is not particularly surprising that a new hub for sex workers in Amsterdam's famed Red Light District is using ideas like flexible room rental agreements, a website showing who is working at any given time and what their skills are, and a sort-of networking lounge like those seen in many of the city's shared working environments. My Red Light was unveiled to journalists on Friday, over two years after the city's mayor first floated the idea of a brothel completely managed and run by sex workers.
Today the Council of State will rule in a long-running case about closed window brothels on Bokkingshang in Deventer. Six years ago the municipality closed 33 of the 44 prostitution windows in the city's Red Light District. According to former prostitute Metje Blaak, all this did was move the sex industry online, De Stentor reports.
The construction of 162 window brothels on the Nieuwe Zandpad in Utrecht was delayed for the time being. An investigation into the investor revealed that "a serious dangerous" exists that crimes are being committed with the property that was to be built, Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said on Thursday, ANP reports.
On Saturday the police searched several locations in Limburg in a large investigation into the laundering of dirty money from motorcycle gang Satudarah. One of these locations was a sauna club in Roermond. So far no arrests were made, the police said on Sunday.
A special program Apeldoorn launched early this year to help people over 24 years of age leave prostitution, is bearing fruits. So far five women and one man made use of the program to get out of prostitution, the mayor and aldermen announced to the Apeldoorn city council, De Stentor reports.
Dutch-Turkish sex trafficker Saban B. will serve seven years and nine months in a Turkish prison. A court in Istanbul ruled against B. in the appeal of this case and found him guilty of human trafficking and participation in a criminal organization, NU.nl reports.
The Council of State rejected objections from Utrecht residents against the construction of a new prostitution zone along the river Vecht. Utrecht now has the green light to start construction on the Nieuwe Zandpad, NOS reports.
The suspects involved in human trafficking are often young people, according to National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking Corinne Dettmeijer. A fifth of these suspects are younger than 23 years old, some are even still underage, NOS reports.
Dettmeijer finds it very concerning that such young people are involved in such serious crimes. The most common variant of human trafficking is prostitution, in which the young perpetrators are mostly so-called "loverboys".
The city of Utrecht was not in the wrong when it revoked the permit for over 20 prostitution boats and nine window brothels operated by Werga B.V., the Council of State ruled on Tuesday.