Amsterdam's new plans for five-storey mega brothel hits huge problem
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Amsterdam’s plans to move city’s famous Red Light District to a five-storey ‘erotic centre’ in another area have hit a snag after the European Medicines Agency objected.
So, in a statement, it said: “The change of the location of the Red Light District is motivated by concerns of nuisance, drug-dealing, drunkenness and disorderly behaviour.
“Locating the Erotic Centre in close proximity to EMA’s building is likely to bring the same negative impacts to the adjacent area.
“[We will be taking this to the] highest appropriate political and diplomatic level to ensure a safe working environment.
“EMA's work is essential for the protection of public health in the EU, and this should not be jeopardised by fears of staff and EU experts coming to EMA's building.”
The government of Amsterdam has been taking steps recently to cleanse the city’s image as a capital of debauchery, particularly trying to stop tourists arriving only for the city’s drugs, alcohol, and sex trade.
The city’s first female mayor Femke Halsema has said that the decision to build the Erotic Centre – complete with rooms for workers as well as bars and restaurants – was taken to improve sex workers’ lives and to cut down organised crime.
"I hope it's possible to create an erotic centre that has some class and distinction and isn't a place where only petty criminals and the most vulnerable women gather," she said in November.
At the time, she also admitted that most would not want the centre located near them.
While sex workers have traditionally been on show in front of passers-by in the De Wallen district, closing the curtains only when with a client, there have also been plans to have people book in a different way so as to stop the women being ‘degraded’.
In December, the head of the liberal D66 Party proposed a law that would make the curtains stay closed, meaning that customers would have to book using a QR code.
However, at the time there was some opposition from sex workers, with one telling The Telegraph: “They say it is for my protection, but that is nonsense.
"If someone denigrates me, I denigrate them back.
“It isn’t an automatic service, I negotiate.
"If drunk people come, I don’t let them in.”
In 2019 Halsema said that she wanted to end the ‘humiliation of women by large groups of tourists’.
She said: "The traditional, licensed form of sex work in parts of the city centre is under pressure due to the growing number of visitors to Amsterdam.
"For many visitors, the sex workers have become no more than an attraction to look at.
“In some cases this is accompanied by disruptive behaviour and a disrespectful attitude.
"At the same time, there has also been a major increase in unlicensed, invisible prostitution.”
After banning tours of the Red Light District, Deputy Mayor Udo Kock added: “We do not consider it appropriate for tourists to leer at sex workers.
"We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers' windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the red-light district, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers."