Of all the ways to capitalize on cheap airfare, this has got to be the most unorthodox.
A report on IrishTimes.com says that not only has an unofficial red-light district popped up at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, but also that Dutch police have no plans to do anything about it. While prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, what is happening at the airport is illegal because it is unregulated. An investigation revealed that women, mostly from Eastern Europe, have been taking advantage of cheap airfare to the Netherlands and meeting with clients in the international transit area of the airport, so that they can avoid going through as many customs or security checks. Some of these women apparently make the trip every day.
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Schiphol is one of Europe’s busiest airports, with about 45.5 million passengers passing through every year, so the women try to make as much of this fact as possible. An airport employee who was interviewed as part of the investigation, but was not named, said that while some of the meetings are pre-arranged, others are set up once the women arrive and troll the airport for potential johns, focusing “on passengers in the international area beyond customs, waiting for connecting flights or flights that they can see have been delayed.” They then typically use hotels in the international transit area, which offer inexpensive rates for passengers looking to freshen up or rest during layovers.
The Amsterdam Prostitutes Association supports the business at the airport so long as there are no cases of human trafficking. “We do have a problem if they are being forced to work there by a pimp,” said a spokesperson for the organization, citing prostitution under duress as a huge problem in the region. Dutch police say they will not interfere unless they begin to receive complaints.
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