Amsterdam Closes Prostitute Windows

AMSTERDAM - About a third of the prostitute windows in Amsterdam's infamous red light district are about to be closed down, following a sale forced by the city of the buildings in which they were housed, according to European news sources.

These windows — 51 of which will be shuttered due to the deal — are rented out by prostitutes at about 100 Euros ($141) for part of a day, with one window typically being used by several prostitutes over the course of a day. The 18 buildings containing the windows were sold for 25 million Euros to the NV Stadsgoed housing corporation, as part of Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen's efforts to fight crime.

NV Stadsgoed plans to redevelop some or all of the buildings, possibly as luxury apartments and shopping malls, but because their property value is not likely as high as other housing and commercial real estate, the city will reimburse the corporation up to 15 million Euros.

This plan has been protested by the Dutch sex workers' union, De Rode Draad, on the grounds that it will force prostitutes underground, where they'll be much more likely to fall victim to dangerous exploitation.

Other prostitution zones in the city will remain, Cohen has insisted, because of their significance to the area's history and draw for tourists.