According to recent media reports, Amsterdam is tired of uncouth “louts” visiting the city for sex and drugs. From next spring Amsterdam will be implementing a digital “discouragement campaign” aimed particularly at the British.
Sofyan Mbarki, the city’s deputy mayor is quoted in The Times as saying: “The aim of the discouragement campaign is to keep out visitors that we do not want. If we love the city, we must take action now. Action is needed to prevent nuisance and overcrowding. Amsterdam is a world city and bustle and liveliness come along with this but to keep our city liveable we need to choose limits instead of irresponsible growth.”
Apparently, the city authorities are unhappy that the famous red-light district has become a voyeuristic and offensive tourist attraction.
I can’t help thinking, are they stupid or what? What on earth did they think would happen when they legalised prostitution?
And why have they not paid attention to the well-documented brutality that men inflict on the women in the brothels in their city every single day?
In their book, Body for Rent, about being pimped in Amsterdam’s window brothels, Anna Hendricks and Olivia Smit say that their “situation was worsened by the Dutch attitude to prostitution and, even more so, our country’s inability to protect the women who are traded at the heart of its capital’s centre.”
They document what can only be described as the authorities’ wilful blindness to the violent and exploitative reality of the window brothels and the pimps who run and control most if not all of them. Of course, this reality is going to attract Europe’s low life!
What kind of person wants to pay to sexually use an exploited young woman anyway?
And perhaps, we, the British, have some valid complaints too. Research into British men who buy prostitution found that nearly half of them said that they had bought prostitution abroad, with some explaining how paying for sexual activity even once in somewhere, like Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal, had changed their attitude and they now frequent brothels at home.
So thanks, Amsterdam authorities, for your part in turning our young men into uncouth louts who think it’s just fine to pay to sexually use and abuse vulnerable women.
The Amsterdam authorities now want to move the red-light district out of the old city into a purpose-built complex that would include 100 rooms for prostitution to take place in, along with bars, restaurants, entertainment spaces and a health centre. They feel the window brothels are lowering the tone of their lovely old city centre.
They have identified eight possible locations for the complex. Not surprisingly, there is considerable local opposition in each location. Frankly, who wants such a thing down the road, where their kids go to school and they meet neighbours for coffee? A complex that would attract male lowlife from all of Europe? I strongly suspect that not many women would want that on their doorstep. And why should they? Is their safety and dignity not a priority too?
So the question is, why, oh why, Amsterdam city authorities, do you not consider ending this travesty of civic pride and justice once and for all?
You don’t want Europe’s brutalised young men to visit your city?
Then why not close the brothels, invest in real alternatives for the women involved, and make buying sex a criminal offence, to send out a clear and unequivocal message to Europe’s young men – and to her young women – that women are not for sale?
It’s time for the Nordic Model.
I am sure that Sweden and France would be delighted to help you understand how to implement it.