Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Amsterdam: Brothels to Feel a Longer Arm of the Law

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - Patrons visiting one of the Netherlands' red- light districts may soon find themselves on camera. One by one, authorities in cities across the country are stepping up their efforts to regulate, scrutinize and generally clean up the country's sex business.

This week the mayors of the cities of Alkmaar and Utrecht followed moves by Amsterdam in 2007 to toughen regulation and reduce the ability of the sex trade to act as cover for and cause of other illegal activities.

Authorities have cited drug-dealing, money-laundering and the trafficking of women as crimes that are to be targeted.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance of sex districts is just one method that has been proposed.

The mayor of Utrecht, a city in central Netherlands, announced on Friday that the entire area of Zandpad in the city would be placed under CCTV surveillance in an effort to tackle the trafficking of women.

"We need to know which women are being forced to work as prostitutes," Mayor Aleid Wolfsen explained, "or if women are abused or exploited. Filming the area, and knowing which pimps are connected to which women, will increase our opportunities to help the women."

Wolfsen said that two independent studies had concluded that between 50 and 90 per cent of the women working in the Utrecht prostitution zones were not doing so voluntarily...


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