Amsterdam Erects World's First Prostitute Monument

AMSTERDAM - The infamous Red Light District of the Netherlands' capital recently gained a new centerpiece: a bronze statue erected in homage to the prostitutes of the world.

Made by Dutch artist Els Rijerse, the sculpture "Belle" stands in front of the Oude Kerk, the city's oldest church, and depicts a woman standing in a doorway at the top of a set of steps. It was commissioned by Mariska Majoor, a former prostitute and founder of the Prostitution Information Centre (PIC), a non-profit foundation that provides free information and advice about prostitution to anyone seeking it.

"Belle" was unveiled as part of the Red Light District's second annual Open Day, and is dedicated, according to the PIC's website, "to all the women and men who work in prostitution around the world."

According to international news sources, Majoor was assaulted hours before the statue's unveiling by an offended elderly woman who lives near the site. Police held the woman in custody until after the unveiling ceremony was through.