Amsterdam's Red Light District, one of its most famous and infamous features, is again a center of controversy over proposals by the city's mayor to limit tourist visits and possibly relocate the sex industry away from the city center.
Mayor Femke Halsema has already led the city's council to approve limits and then a ban on organized tours of the district, saying that the pressure of tourism in the district is a problem and that sex workers are being harassed and mocked by tourists as they sit in their windows advertising themselves.
Halsema now proposes further limits, which might include moving the district away from its traditional location, or pulling curtains across the windows, or spreading the window brothels to other areas so that they would not be concentrated in one area.
The issue has become more complicated both because of questions about human trafficking, the issue of prostitution itself, and the determination of groups of prostitutes and area businesses to protect their business.
Halsema says she respects those issues, but wants a cleaner, less chaotic presence: ‘It’s not my intention to drive prostitution out of the city. I’m too much of a pragmatist for that. Prostitution is part of Amsterdam: there is a market for it, there is demand, and that’s why we’re keeping it.’