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Has Amsterdam had enough of its breezy reputation? It may be famous for its in-your-face window prostitution , but the city has just voted to place tighter controls on its brothels.
Seen from a country where prostitution is largely banned, these changes might seem laughably modest. Meanwhile, early morning closure is planned because the time of day is seen as a problem period, with nobody else about in the streets to monitor or rein in bad behavior.
Around 75 percent of the 5, to 8, prostitutes working in the city are from abroad, and many are believed to have been trafficked. Holland legalized prostitution in as a way of stopping exploitation, but evidence suggests that more women than ever are being forced into brothels against their will. A study from the London School of Economics published this winter found that in countries where selling sex was decriminalized, human trafficking has increased.
While the number of women entering prostitution voluntarily grows under legalization, demand grows yet further, creating a shortfall filled by women trafficked and run by pimps. Many people naively believed that legalization and regulation would turn prostitution into a supposedly 'normal' kind of business. There is nonetheless a general move towards tighter state control of the seamier side of Dutch life. The left-of-center Dutch Labor Party has been considering criminalizing visits to prostitutes , while the Project launched last year has started thinning out brothel windows and "coffee shops" that sell pot from central Amsterdam.
Support for the clean-out is hardly unanimous though, as some locals fear it will simply drive the sex industry underground without taming it. It still seems unlikely that this is the end for anything-goes Amsterdam. But women are still being forced into prostitution, and the argument that keeping the sex industry in the open will curb its excesses is increasingly losing currency. His writing focuses on housing, gentrification and social change, infrastructure, urban policy, and national cultures.