Posted on: November 7, 2015
(Last updated: 6 December 2020)
In order to ensure the safety of prostitutes in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has implemented several standardised laws throughout the years. With these rules the government believes that they make prostitution safer. For the prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District it comes down to the following 10 safety measures.
1 | Every prostitute has to be registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce
2 | Prostitutes are allowed to refuse customers (because they are self-employed)
3 | Daily shifts cannot be over 11 hours a day
4 | The minimum age for prostitutes in the Red Light District is 21
5 | Brothel operators have to contribute to the safety of the prostitute by being present at all times in case of emergencies
6 | Sex workers have to show their registration at the Chamber of Commerce and a certificate of residence
7 | Brothel operators are regularly checked by the (local) government and police
8 | All window brothels have security systems like camera’s outside at the entrance & panic buttons inside
9 | The police monitor the area 24/7 with dozens of camera’s and (undercover) officers on the streets
10 | The prostitutes are checked on income and tax
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and therefore the prostitutes have the right to be protected by the government. Although absolute safety is difficult to guarantee, the implementation of these safety measures for prostitutes demonstrate that the Red Light District has become a relatively safe area. Especially compared to other countries in the world. It’s not for nothing that Amsterdam has a lot of prostitutes from abroad.
Although it is not mandatory, prostitutes make their own work environment more safe by doing regular health checks. Furthermore most prostitutes only do safe sex. They often get themselves tested for STD’s, which isn’t mandatory by the way. The Dutch government supports these kind of safety measures for prostitutes by offering it for free.
Amsterdam actually has three Red Light District areas: De Wallen, De Singel/Spuistraat and the Ruysdaelkade. All the districts are in residential areas surrounded by cafes, restaurants and stores. This results into a lot of social control, which is one of the safety measures for prostitutes.
De Wallen – a.k.a. the Red Light District – is the biggest area of its kind in the Netherlands. It currently contains 292 window brothels.