Utrecht fears 'invasion' of street prostitutes

8th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 July 2004, AMSTERDAM — The three biggest Randstad cities in the Netherlands will not take any measures to prevent street prostitutes descending on their smaller neighbour Utrecht, it was reported Thursday.

8 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — The three biggest Randstad cities in the Netherlands will not take any measures to prevent street prostitutes descending on their smaller neighbour Utrecht, it was reported Thursday.

Writing on behalf of the Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague city councils, Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten brushed off a plea to prevent prostitutes leaving the bigger cities to work in Utrecht.

"I cannot force (city councils to act) and I do not want to either. In concrete terms, this means I cannot meet your request to retain the group of non-drug addicted prostitutes to Rotterdam," Opstelten is quoted as writing by newspaper Trouw.

The authority in The Hague has also said it can do nothing.

Opstelten was responding to Utrecht Social Affairs Alderman Hans Spekman who complained recently that the number of prostitutes plying their trade in the streetwalking zone on the Europalaan in Utrecht had doubled since Amsterdam recently closed its tolerated streetwalking zone in December 2003.

The Amsterdam street prostitution zone was set up in 1996 to give drug-addicted prostitutes a relatively-safe area away from the city centre where they could offer their services without causing disturbances throughout the city. 

But such zones became synonymous with crime and illegal immigrants working as prostitutes without a residence permit. Not all the women working on the street zone were drug addicts.

Rotterdam has decided to close down its street prostitution zone on the Keileweg in 2005.

Measures have been taken to house drug-using prostitutes in special centres to help them control or kick their addictions. It has been assumed women who are not addicts would gravitate towards window prostitution in red light districts or to brothels.

But Spekman insists that non-addicted streetwalking prostitutes are leaving the bigger cities in the Randstad conurbation and descending on Utrecht.

Addressing his Labour Party PvdA colleague and Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen, Spekman claimed Cohen had promised to take remedial action if closing the street zone in the capital led to an exodus of prostitutes to Utrecht.

But a spokesman for Cohen disputes this in Trouw. "By undesirable affects, the mayor mainly meant problems in Amsterdam caused by women walking the streets. Any new measures would be directed at that (problem)," the spokesman said.

Trouw reports Cohen has also expressed doubts about the claim the new streetwalkers in Utrecht have come from Amsterdam.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + prostitution in Holland + streetwalking

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