In early January 2008 Amsterdam ordered its most famous and most expensive sex club, Yab Yum, to close its doors pending further investigation on charges that the business had backroom ties to organized crime and/or the Dutch branch of the Hell’s Angels biker gang. Now in late March 2008 the business has lost what might be its final appeal so it appears Yab Yum will probably be closed forever.
Up until January 7, 2008, Yab Yum, which isn’t actually located in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, had an admission charge of €70 and a reported minimum charge of €300 for an hour with one of the brothel’s high-end prostitutes, but most transactions also reportedly involved the patron purchasing an expensive bottle of champagne as well, so the cost of the whole entertainment package could be several times the normal hourly fee.
This is part of Amsterdam’s 10-year plan to clean up the Red Light District itself, and especially targeting sex-related businesses that are said to have ties to organized crime or human trafficking. About one third of Amsterdam’s red-lit windows have been closed in the last 6 months after the city bought the buildings they are housed in, and many of them have already been reopened as fashion boutiques for young local designers.
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Even as Yab Yum (which means father mother in Tibetan) remains closed, there are still many legal brothels in Amsterdam, although most of them keep a rather low profile. This closure also doesn’t relate to the liberal laws for prostitution in Amsterdam, or the clubs in the Red Light District that feature live sex shows.
The city has made several public moves toward constraining the Red Light District in recent months, but officials continue to say they have no plans to outlaw prostitution itself, or close the city’s famous coffeeshops, although the number of the cannabis-selling establishments in the Red Light District itself will likely go down as the clean-up plan continues.
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