Saturday, August 17, 2002

Mijntje klipp

Pick-up zone [tippelzone] must close once every while

AMSTERDAM — Increasingly it is so crowded and the situation so tense at the pick-up zone in the Western Harbor area in Amsterdam, that the 'afwerkplek' [designated area where prostitutes may complete the transaction] has to sometimes be closed temporarily. The number of prostitutes will probably be reduced shortly.

Rows and incidents occur regularly: last year more than 130 times. The city will, after consultation with police and aid agencies, present measures on short notice.

The local authorities do not want to say what kind of steps these will be. "The plan has not been completed", says a spokeswoman. But Peter Slort, chief of police district West, in which the pick-up zone is located, assumes that the city will limit the allowed number of women.

Nowadays the group of prostitutes at the Theemsweg exists mainly out of Eastern European women. The guidance committee of the pick-up zone noticed 'a worrisome increase' of the number of prostitutes from the former East bloc and Africa already last year. Before then transsexuals from South America dominated the afwerkplek.

The number of incidences rose from ninety in 1999 to 130 in 2000 and last year the number apparently increased again. The guidance committee will soon present data.

The pick-up zone was established in 1996 for the purpose of safe-guarding the center of Amsterdam from drug addicted streetwalkers. However they have hardly moved to the Theemsweg, because this vulnerable group was driven out by other prostitutes immediately.

Mayor Job Cohen announced extra measures for the pick-up zone already last year, on signs of trafficking in women and exploitation. The police mentioned rather registration of prostitutes as a good measure to fight abuses at the zone. The guidance committee proposed further, among other things, surveillance cameras to increase safety.

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Created: September 4, 2002
Last modified: September 9, 2002
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