The number of official brothels and erotic massage companies in the Netherlands has gone down by 80% since prostitution was legalised in 2000, according to research by television programme Pointer.
Pointer says that when prostitution was legalised, 1,350 sex companies were in operation, but this has now gone down to 250. The decline is largely because local authorities are less likely to grant licences and zoning plans exclude sex-related companies, brothel owners told the broadcaster.
Local councils have been responsible for the licensing procedures since prostitution was legalised and have become increasingly reluctant to give out permits. Licences that are granted are often given for a limited number of years.
At the same time, the number of town and city councils allowing window prostitution has gone down from 12 to 10.
Coronavirus has also had an impact, because sex workers were often not able to claim financial support, even though their businesses were closed down.
Many – at least 4,000 according to Pointer – started seeing clients at home, which is technically illegal. Despite official data, the true number of brothels is likely to be far higher because many sex workers operate under the radar, Pointer said.
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