Police in the Belgian city of Ghent have ordered “working girls” to cover up and stop suggestive gyrating in prostitution windows as of next month.
It’s not that the city is banning prostitution, in fact, it says they fulfill a need — but as of October 1, they have to abide by new rules, or else face a 120-euro fine ($155).
A new local police order will force prostitutes working day and night behind Amsterdam-style, neon-flashing windows, a feature of the trade across north-eastern mainland Europe, to cover up and quit sexually-charged posing before passers-by.
Mayor Daniel Termont told AFP he was not “anti-prostitutes,” when contacted on Thursday after the “anti-nuisance” order was published in local press.
“I’m not a puritan,” he said, “far from it! A city like Ghent needs prostitutes, but they have to respect certain rules.”
These now include the prohibition of women appearing “naked, in underwear, in bikinis or in see-through clothes,” or of “dancing in windows” or “miming sexual acts,” the decree states.
“Neighbours have been complaining, even the prostitutes themselves, about more and more nuisance in the area, in front of the windows, fights breaking out…,” the mayor said.
Local newspaper Di Morgen cited one veteran prostitute as saying particularly competitive new arrivals from eastern Europe were behind this cranked-up atmosphere compared to a decade ago.