A lobby group dedicated to turning prostitution into an acceptable profession while working to combat violence and exploitation has gone bankrupt, BNR radio said on Friday.
De Rode Draad (red thread) was declared bankrupt earlier this week and its office has been closed since Thursday, BNR said.
The group’s financial problems have been caused by the withdrawal of subsidies because of spending cuts. Donations have also gone done because of the economic crisis, spokeswoman Metje Blaak told news agency ANP.
Rode Draad acted as an official sounding board for prostitutes in meetings with police and officials. It had five permanent workers.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and brothels and escort agencies are supposed to have council licences. Prostitutes are also expected to pay tax. In an effort to stop young women becoming involved, moves are currently under way to raise the official age limit from 18 to 21.
But despite official regulation, according to some police experts between 50% and 90% of the prostitutes working in Amsterdam’s sex industry have been forced into it, even in officially-licenced brothels and clubs.
Last November, Amsterdam council executive Lodewijk Asscher said the Netherlands often deals with prostitution by turning a blind eye to the ‘raw reality’.
Many opinion writers and officials ‘deny’ that there are problems and believe the sex industry is well ordered, he said. But there is a ‘collective silence’ about the truth, he said, referring to forced prostitution and human trafficking.
For years Asscher has been involved in efforts to clean up Amsterdam’s notorious red light district by reducing the number of buildings licenced for prostitution and trying to combat crime.