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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 11:52 GMT
Crackdown on Amsterdam sex clubs
Amsterdam's red light district is a popular tourist attraction
Authorities in Amsterdam have ordered 33 sex clubs in the Dutch city's famed red light district to close by the end of the year.

The clubs, 20% of those operating in Amsterdam, have lost their licences or had an application for one turned down.

It follows a police investigation which revealed that a number of sex clubs were involved in illegal activities such as money laundering.

The move affects a third of the windows where scantily-clad women are on show.

Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000.

"We're not knights on a morality crusade, and this is intended to target financial crime, not prostitution per se," city spokesman Martien Maten told the Associated Press news agency.

"But we do think it will change the face of the red light district."

Mr Maten said that in the future any business suspected of involvement in illegal activity would stand to lose its licence.

"In concrete terms (that) means that those involved won't be able to continue their businesses" after 1 January, he said.

The owners of the affected clubs are able to appeal against the decision in court.

Dutch advice for red light zone
01 Apr 04 |  Merseyside
Country profile: The Netherlands
01 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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