Amsterdam prostitutes and supporters staged a protest Thursday against the city's effort to shutter the "window brothels" that the city's sex workers use to attract clients.
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000, but recent legislation has allowed officials to shut down 115 of the some 500 window brothels in Amsterdam in recent years, according to Agence France-Presse
Amsterdam's Project 1012 sought to address issues such as abuse in prostitution by reducing the number of window brothels, according to the NL Times
. The protest organizers, calling themselves PROUD, called on Mayor Eberhard van der Laan to end his effort to shutter the windows.
"Nobody is helping us by taking away our workplaces," said PROUD spokesperson Lyle Muns. "Sex work is a legal profession in the Netherlands, We need support and to be taken seriously by politicians. Instead we are treated as pariahs and pushed away from the Red Light District, without anyone asking us for our opinion."
About 250 prostitutes participated in the protest and they handed a list of demands to the mayor, according to AFP.
"I work very hard to get your job normalized," Van der Laan told the protesters after accepting their petition Thursday, reported the NL Times. "To ensure that you can take out insurance, a mortgage, disability insurance. Those are not just nice words."
Protesters occupied the chamber before the council meeting where van der Laan accepted the demands.
"You always say that you care so much for sex workers and about what happens to us. This is what we want," one prostitute told the mayor. "If you really care about us, you must prove it. We don't want any more kind words, we want change. People always talk about us, but never to us. So here's our list of requirements, from the sex workers. We want Project 1012 to stop. We don't want more windows to close."
AFP reported there are about 7,000 sex workers in Amsterdam with about 75 percent of them come from poorer eastern European countries.
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