Amsterdam’s sex workers must close down for two weeks, officials say

Amsterdam's red light district during the spring lockdown. Credit: Alex Nicholls-Lee
Amsterdam’s red light district during the spring lockdown. Credit: Alex Nicholls-Lee

Sex workers in Amsterdam must stop working for the next two weeks because brothels and window prostitution are included in the local definition of sex clubs which have to close as part of new coronavirus measures.

The government’s new lockdown announced on Tuesday included a two week shut down of sex clubs, but prime minister Mark Rutte had said that professions which require direct contact, such as hairdressers, could remain open.

The Amsterdam-Amstelland safety board, however, has decided that the capital’s red light district windows and sex theatres are also covered by the definition of a sex club and must close from 10 pm on Wednesday evening.

A spokeswoman for Red Light United, a lobby group for sex workers in Amsterdam, said official communication about the compulsory closure had been ‘extremely poor’.

‘It is very quiet in the red light district, there are no tourists and hardly anyone on the streets,’ she said. ‘Many of our workers are in enormous financial difficulty.’

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