Amsterdam city council has backed efforts to try to improve the position of the city’s thousands of prostitutes by tightening up the regulations for brothel owners and helping prostitutes become more independent.
In particular, the council is going to develop a team of inspectors to carry out workplace inspections.
‘An improvement in the position of prostitutes is crucial,’ council executive Marijke Vos said in a statement. ‘A strong position increases freedom of choice and reduces abuses, such as human trafficking.’
More effort will also be made to track down illegal prostitutes and those who have been forced into the trade. ‘Prostitutes in the illegal sector are extremely vulnerable,’ Vos said. ‘We are going to develop a better picture of the illegal circuit so we can take action.’
The city council is already in talks with the social affairs ministry about changing the rules governing brothel licensing. Prostitutes must have formal contracts which give them the right to refuse to carry out certain acts, to choose their own clothes, to keep all the money they earn and to have proper working hours, the council says.
Sex industry workers say the city council’s policy of closing down brothels and reducing the size of the red light district is forcing many prostitutes into the illegal sector.
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