Brussels Mayor to tackle nuisance in red-light district

The Brussels Burgomaster, Freddy Thielemans, wants to introduce fines to keep prostitutes away from the Alhambra area, close to the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS). There are frequent complaints about noise nuisance at night, street quarrels and drug dealing.

According to estimations, the area southwest of Rogier hosts over 1,500 prostitutes. Mr Thielemans (Francophone socialist) cannot ban prostitution as this is not illegal, but he is determined to tackle the nuisance it is causing.

Mr Thielemans is to adapt municipal regulations in order to be able to impose fines on those causing trouble. These so-called administrative sanctions range between 75 and 250 euros.

Apart from the fines, Mr Thielemans is also pressing for a ban on streetwalking, more police checks, a stronger approach of pimps and higher taxes on rendezvous places. If this would mean that the problems are moving to other places, then the same measures will be introduced there as well.

Until a couple of years ago, street prostitution hardly had any negative impact, but things changed when the European Union expanded towards Eastern Europe. Since then, there is a big influx of Eastern European girls.