Prostitutes occupy closed window brothels
Yesterday was another busy in the Red Light District, as a group of sex workers occupied a couple of window brothels in protest against the closure of their window brothels. The sex workers were protesting against the closure of 18 window brothels in Amsterdam's Red Light District, which were closed down yesterday. The brothels can be reopened again when the new brothel owner get his permit, but this will take between 2 to 6 months, meaning that in the mean time these women don't have a place to work anymore.

The window brothels were closed down by the mayor, because according to him 'serious abuses' were reported in these buildings, such as forced prostitution. What he doesn't mention however, is that these 'serious abuses' took place already a long time ago, and the brothel owner was not involved with these crimes. This is also the reason that the brothel owner was never even a suspect any of the cases. Other arguments, such the mayor mentions was 'bad administration', which is a direct result of the mayor trying to bury brothel owners in rules and regulations, in hopes that they will make mistakes.

Fact is that none of these women were involved in any of the things the brothel owner is being accused by, by the mayor. Above all, the mayor at first threatened to close down all of the 47 window brothels this brothel owner runs, but eventually decided to settle for 18 window brothels. But since the brothel owner isn't the owner of the buildings, this allows for a new brothel owner to take over the place. And so a new brothel owner is currently working on getting a permit, but this could take months, 2 months at least and perhaps much longer. Until that time, the women who used to work in these windows are left without a place to work.

The mayor arguments that there is enough place to work for these women, as there is plenty of place during the day. But like I wrote about in my last blogpost, during the day you can hardly make any money, since there are way less customers during the day. During the night all the windows are already rented out, so they can't find a place to work at those times. With no income, the mayor is forcing these women into financially difficult times, since their bills still need to be paid. These women have families, husbands, children, and they mostly depend on the income they generate from their work in sex work. No, this has nothing to do with pimps, these women are pure feminists, just like how most feminists would like to see it. The women are in control in these families, they work, they are the boss, and they provide for their families in stead of the men.

To stand up for these women, PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers I am part of, has filed a court case against the mayor. After all, the mayor promised less windows to close down, but in stead of less windows, he's actually closing down now also windows which weren't planned with these 18 window brothels. These 18 window brothels were not in the area that was scheduled to close down, and these women only received word about the close a week before the closure.
But above all, the mayor claims to have taken in account the situation of these women, but this is absolute nonsense. Taking away their only place to work, how can you call that taking in account? Even if all the things the mayor said would be true, their situation will not improve, because now they don't have a place to work anymore. At best you could say that it's better to have a bad place than no place to work. After all, even in a bad workplace they would be able to make money and provide for themselves and their families, but without a workplace they simply can't.

And thus PROUD has demanded from the mayor to keep the workplaces open for these women, until the new owner gets his permit, allowing these women to work and to earn their living. Also PROUD demanded the women to be compensated for each day they are not able to work there. Of course the mayor will try to shove this responsibility into the shoes of the brothel owner, but it was not his choice to do it this way, the mayor forced him to give up his windows. These women liked where they were working, and they don't want to loose their work spaces, because the mayor thinks it's better for them. A perfect example of how the mayor is not listening to the women, and is not acting in their interest, but in his own.

So yesterday a portion of the sex workers that worked in these 18 windows, were able to enter their workplaces after they were finished working, and occupy three window brothels. The occupation lasted the whole day, as a statement to the mayor and to get some attention for their cause: the loss of their workplaces. Some of the people from PROUD, including myself, were there to support them and after working the whole night, plus a day of protesting without any sleep, most girls felt pretty tired, and thus at the end of the day the occupation ended. Hopefully it gained their cause some attention though, and the mayor will realize that his actions will no longer go without consequences. And hopefully these girls will soon be able to go back to work again, and won't have to wait for months before having an income again, so they can support themselves as well as their families.

Some videos from the occupation:

Dutch version
1 Response
  1. Cliente X Says:

    Why u don't go to the town hall to close the mayor's office?

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