Window Brothels Get the Red Light
Amsterdam, often hailed as the sex mecca of Europe, is to have a major facelift. After 12 years of legalised window brothels, attracting hordes of customers from all over Europe, politicians, police, citizens and even many of the prostitutes themselves are admitting that state-sanctioned prostitution is a failed social experiment.
Given almost ten years of evidence that criminal gangs control the red-light area of De Wallen, the local council has announced plans to clean it up in an attempt to transform the reputation of the city. Out will go at least half of the window brothels, sex shops and cannabis cafés and in will come more museums, restaurants and art galleries.
Many of those controlling the window scene and facilitating the trafficking of thousands of women into Amsterdam are so-called “loverboys”, young Dutchmen of Moroccan, Turkish or Surinamese descent, most of them Muslims, who look for vulnerable young Dutch women, pose as lovers, and after a few months, force their “girlfriends” into prostitution, keeping them under close control both by force and psychological means.
Loverboys have the same modus operandi as another group of sex exploiters — the Asian grooming gangs, first exposed in Standpoint (December 2010) — that operated with impunity in the northern towns of England. They single out insecure, under-age girls in schools and coffee shops, and outside care homes, and woo them as “boyfriends”, promising love, clothes, status and excitement. Then they start to run them as prostitutes. The girls, now emotionally and financially dependent on their loverboys, find themselves locked into a cycle of abuse, sometimes made to work in windows in official red-light districts or being handed from flat to flat.