Amsterdam sex workers marched against a mayor’s project to move the red light district

Sex workers demonstrated this Thursday in Amsterdam against a mayor’s project that seeks to move the red light district brothels to another less central area to fight crime.

Several dozen workers and activists gathered in the famous neighborhood of the Dutch capital, known for its neon-lit storefronts in which sex workers try to attract customers.

Sex workers and supporters take part in a demonstration against plans to close the historic red light district of Amsterdam, which would move to a new erotic center, on March 30, 2023 (Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

The protesters, some of whom had their faces covered to remain anonymous, marched to City Hall, where they spoke with the mayoress Femke Halsema.

The city authorities want create an erotic center with 100 seats that it would have spaces for the work breaks of the workers.

Protest of sex workers in Amsterdam
Amsterdam wants to move legal prostitution out of the notorious red light district in the city center amid complaints from residents about crime and visitor behavior (AFP)

“We do not agree at all with the solutions they propose and impose, they do not even negotiate” with the sectordeclared the sex worker Sabrina Sánchez to the news agency AFP.

“We don’t want to be transferred, not to an erotic center or anywhere else,” another worker declared on condition of anonymity. “Do something against drug dealers, do something against disrespectful behavior,” she added, as she read a petition to the mayor. “Moving away will not solve the problem, it will simply relocate it”he insisted.

Protest of sex workers in Amsterdam
A protester who covered her face to remain anonymous during the protest against plans to close the historic red light district in Amsterdam on March 30, 2023 (Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

The mayoress replied that they were not to blame and that the problem was related to a “excessive tourism, with crime and other problems”. And he added: “The situation in the center becomes very problematic and we must find a solution.”

“Stay Away”

The authorities of Amsterdam unveiled their new campaign “Stay Away” (“Walk away”)with which they search avoid the visit of people in order to disturb the city. The initiative is aimed -mainly- at British men aged 18-35although an extension is expected during the year to other possible “annoying visitors” from countries of the European Union.

In this way, Dutch officials seek to discourage inappropriate mass tourism that usually concentrates in the city, famous for its Red Light District and its coffee shops where marijuana is sold freely.

To do this, tourists who use Internet search terms such as “Bachelor Party Amsterdam”, “cheap hotel Amsterdam” either “pubs in Amsterdam” will come across ads that display videos warning them of the risks associated with excessive alcohol and drug use, including fines, background penalties and hospitalizations.

(With information from AFP)

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