One of the most famous tourist attractions in Amsterdam is under threat. Part of the Red Light District, where hundreds of prostitutes advertise their business in lighted windows, is being sold off to property developers. Amsterdam’s Mayor Job Cohen said it’s to protect exploited women by attacking criminal gangs, and cleaning up the area. He wants to raise living standards, by closing bad nightclubs and Amsterdam’s notorious hash cafes.
The girls pay 100 euros to hire the window space; sometimes several girls use the same window each day making it very lucrative for the owners. Amsterdam has set aside millions of euros in compensation. Not surprisingly, the prostitutes aren’t happy. A spokesman for the union said there’s no compensation for the girls, and they’ll simply have to work on the streets.
The Red Light District is one of the oldest and most-picturesque parts of Amsterdam. It’s a magnet for tourists, although most of them simply gawp. One nightclub boss said everyone knows why people come to Amsterdam; the canals, the drugs and the whores.
The big winner looks like being Charles Geerts, Amsterdam’s so-called Emperor of Sex. He’s getting 25 million euros for his brothels. Under the deal he’s agreed not to re-invest in prostitution or drugs.