Protests over plans to shrink Amsterdam's red-light district
Owners of sex-related venues have joined forces to protest municipal plans to reduce the size of Amsterdam's red- light district.10 January 2008
AMSTERDAM - Owners of sex-related venues have joined forces to protest municipal plans to reduce the size of Amsterdam's red- light district, located in one of the most beautiful parts of the old city centre.
Foundation 1012 (named after the postal code) says the municipality's argument that the new policy is necessary to curb ongoing crime, is "nonsense".
"We have asked the police many times to do something about street prostitution and drug addicts on the streets," said Jan Broers, who rents out many brothels to prostitutes and is one of the initiators of Foundation 1012.
"The current policy is not directed against criminals, but at established entrepreneurs in the sex industry - a legal, licensed and tax-paying business sector in the Netherlands. This is outrageous," Broers said.
Alderman Lodewijk Asscher, who presented his plans for the area several months ago, claims trafficking and money laundering thrive in the neighbourhood. He wants to close down many sex-industry sites and replace them with luxurious homes and cultural venues.
In September, Amsterdam spent EUR 25 million on the purchase of 18 buildings that had previously been used as brothels.
Part of these buildings will become home to haute couture fashion designers under the so-called Red Light Fashion Amsterdam project.
On 19 January, Alderman Asscher is due to open 16 former prostitution windows where some of Amsterdam's top fashion designers will temporarily display their latest creations.
[Copyright dpa 2008]
Subject: Dutch news