Posted on: September 6, 2019
Brothel operators from 200 of the 330 Amsterdam Red Light District windows, “at least 250” sex workers who rent the windows and their sympathisers have written a new future option for the area. It’s an alternative to the four options that mayor Femke Halsema has presented to the city council.
The initiative is headed by Jan Broers, who is a window brothel operator himself and spokesperson for interest group Wallen Ondernemers Prostitutie (WOP). (Red Light District Prostitution Entrepreneurs) The brothel owners have written down a plan in which the number of brothels in the area remains the same. A ‘prostitution hotel’ in a suburb of the city should offer space for sex workers who want to independently welcome their clients there. Furthermore, Amsterdam must introduce a mandatory license for sex workers. This way they become “full contract parties” who are themselves responsible for compliance with rules.
Amsterdam must act harder against window operators who cooperate with human trafficking and other abuses. Honest brothel operators should no longer suffer from the bad ones in the industry. The architects of this fifth option also ask the municipality of Amsterdam to cancel the further expropriation of window brothels.
Mayor Halsema outlined four options for the future of the Red Light District two months ago. She extensively discussed these with all stakeholders such as residents, entrepreneurs and sex workers. Now it’s up to Amsterdam’s city council to choose. In one of the options, “the curtains will close” and the sex workers can no longer promote themselves in the street view. Brothel rooms will remain the same. The most far-reaching option stipulates that all sex work will disappear from Amsterdam’s Red Light District and an alternative area will be selected elsewhere in the city. A moderate variant of the option requires a reduction in the number of window brothels in the city center by moving a part of those to other areas in the city.
In the fourth scenario; there will be more brothel rooms in the Red Light District, but without windows. For the time being, sex workers want more brothel rooms. A small group of local residents want all the window brothels to disappear. “Mayor Halsema asked us in one of the meetings about her 4 options that we shouldn’t just attack, but come up with a fifth option if we don’t agree with any of her proposals,” says Broers. “Well, we did that.” Halsema received the alternative plan yesterday.
Window brothel operators also recognise that government interventions are necessary. Curbing the current uncontrollable bustle of tourists through the area is a priority. Obviously they don’t want the number of window brothels to be reduced even further than in recent years done by the city council during the gentrification-plan called Project 1012. Brothel operators asking for stricter control of their business and more rules for sex workers is something most people didn’t expect. Broers: “If the municipality tackles operators who cooperate with abuses, we, as honest hard working entrepreneurs, will finally be rid of the nonsensical image that we help oppress women.”
The authors of ‘the fifth option’ also ask the municipality to include rules on so called ‘homeworkers’. Homeworkers are often undeclared sex workers who work in their own apartment/house. New rules must be included in the General Local Regulation, according to the brothel operators. The municipality can then also take action against undeclared workers. Those who do adhere to the rules will no longer be bothered by this unfair construct. The brothel operators want more enforcement to keep the crowds under control.
The sale of laughing gas must be prohibited too. Jan Broers: “That makes you crazy”. (The street sale of laughing gas has become has become a major nuisance in the city.)