After a four-month closure due to Covid 19, the prostitutes’ home area returned to work again in the red district of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Throughout this period, many of the sex workers suffered from poor conditions due to the closure and the lack of an income source covering the cost of living in the city center.
The district in Amsterdam’s historic center, known locally as De Wallen, relies heavily on tourism and normally attracts over a million visitors a month. The pandemic plunged the sex industry into deep financial trouble and reignited a debate about the future of the Red Light District.
The Dutch government gave the green light for brothels to reopen at the start of July after originally announcing that they would stay closed until September.
Before the lockdown, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema was already considering a major overhaul of the Red Light District in a bid to reduce disruptive behavior and protect the sex workers from degrading conditions. In May, she said that the pandemic has highlighted the “urgency to think about the city center of the future.” Halsema has presented four scenarios for the district, which range from reducing the number of brothel windows to moving sex workers to a new location. She has also suggested opening a “prostitution hotel” outside the center and said in May that the search for a new location was well under way. The council will hold a vote on the scenarios after the summer, a spokesperson told CNN.
New rules have already been introduced. Tour guides are no longer allowed to stop in front of the windows and tourists are banned from taking pictures of the sex workers.
Sex workers fear the district will be closed down and that they will be moved to a remote location outside the city center.