Amsterdam’s reputation as the “vice capital of Europe” could be a thing of the past amid plans announced today to clean up its famous Red Light district. Hundreds of the prostitutes’ cabins and coffee shops that line the city’s canals are to be closed as part of a clampdown on crime.
But many in the sex industry believe it will be the girls that will suffer. One prostitutes’ spokesman said: “They completely ignored hundreds of sex workers that are working of their own free will in the sex industry in the Red Light district.”
The lure of sex and soft drugs attracts vast numbers of visitors, but the deputy mayor hopes that the new-look Amsterdam will seduce a more up-market clientele.
Lodewijk Asscher said: “If you go there as a tourist, you won’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed of what you see. You can be assured that those prostitutes that will remain in this part of town are not working there involuntarily.”
The red lights and coffee shops will be restricted to a few streets to make way for expensive bistrots and chic boutiques along the city’s main waterways.