Recently, there has been a lot of gentrification in Amsterdam's red light district; within the past two years, in an effort to combat organised crime, Amsterdam's city council voted to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city's red light district and surrounding areas; many of the brothels have been converted into artists' studios. "Money laundering, extortion, and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface, but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this," said the mayor. "We can still have sex and drugs, but in a way that shows the city is in control."
As of January 2010, a proposal has been launched to raise the minimum age of prostitutes from 18 to 23 and to close down the red light district in the Wallen area between 4:00 and 8:00 a.m. One of the aims is to strengthen the position of the women who work in the sex industry. To quote one of the city's councilors: "We recently saw the escape of a people trafficker who used extreme violence to pressure very young girls who were far from home into prostitution in the Wallen area."
Additionally, the international recession has hit Amsterdam's red light district: "Some days, there are just no people,", according to one brothel owner.
My opinion: While I do understand the concern of Amsterdam's authorities regarding organised crime and violence towards the city's prostitutes, I fully support the continuation of the brothels; after all, we prostitutes should have the right to work when and where we choose.