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article imageFewer window prostitutes in Amsterdam

By RobotGod     Sep 20, 2007 in Lifestyle
A non-profit corporation purchased a large number of the buildings where prostitutes pose in windows in Amsterdam's Red Light district, in a deal that may lead to a third of the windows being shuttered.
Yahoo reports that the move is intended to break a logjam in an multi-year effort by the city to cut back on windows. They say that they are magnets for crime and money laundering.
The Mayor, Job Cohen said it was not intended to get rid of prostitution completely, since it is part of their history and a major tourist draw to boot.
"What we do want is to get rid of the underlying criminality," Cohen told local television station AT5.
With Thursday's deal, public housing corporation NV Stadsgoed purchased 18 buildings with 51 windows for a price of $35 million. That totals about a third of the windows in the Red Light District, but there are still other prostitution zones in the city.
The corporation will redevelop some or all of the buildings, and since they won't likely to be worth as much as housing or typical commercial real estate, the city agreed to reimburse the corporation up to $21 million.
"We don't know yet what's going to come in their place," Cohen said. "We're very busy making a development plan, and we hope to have that ready by the end of the year."
Amsterdam has been cracking down on crime for nearly 5 years. They have been using a 2002 law that forces business operators to disclose detailed accounting in order to have their licenses renewed.
The seller in Thursday's deal, known as "Fat" Charlie Geerts, was ordered by the city last year to close the windows because he failed to meet those standards.
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. Coffee shops are even licensed to sell small amounts of marijuana. But it is a magnet for petty criminals and, authorities even believe, human traffickers, drug lords and mobsters, who take advantage and launder money.
They are trying to seek a balance that alleviates the crime, while maintaining their tourist dollars.
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