News of: Friday, December 01 2006,
The city of Amsterdam has ordered about one third of the prostitution businesses in the Red Light District to close down before the end of the year.
The decision involves the closure of 33 companies, with a total of about 60 windows. One company can - with one license - sometimes have more than one window.
About 100 of the 350 currently existing windows will be closed down.
The closure should take place before the end of the year.
The Red Light District in Amsterdam has become world-famous because prostitutes offer their services from behind shop windows. The district covers a number of canals just south-east of the Central Station, and it is (conservatively) estimtated that it attracts about 1.8 million tourists per year. This means the Red Light District is the biggest tourist attraction of Amsterdam.
The closure of the 33 prostitution companies is a result of the attempts of the city government to close companies with criminal activities (such as money laundering, drug trade or people trafficking). A law passed in 2003 makes it possible for authorities to revoke a company's license if it is suspected that criminal activities take place.
All companies that have been shut down have announced they will appeal against the decision.
There is a concern that the prostitutes who lose their jobs will go underground, which could cause more problems and crime. One of the biggest entrepreneurs has threatened he will turn one of the main streets in the Red Light District into a dark 'ghost street', by closing all his windows.