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Amsterdam bans tour groups from sex workers' windows

AMSTERDAM – The local government in Amsterdam has banned guided tours that take groups past the famed windows in the city's red-light district where visitors watch semi-naked sex workers pose.

The move announced Thursday is the city government's latest attempt to address over-tourism and to clean up and to protect workers the Dutch capital's red-light district, which is a magnet for rowdy visitors.

Sex workers are regularly abused and photographed without their consent by members of tour groups, the city said.

“It is disrespectful to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction,” Amsterdam Deputy Mayor Victor Everhardt said in a statement.

Tours of the red-light district still will be allowed if guides stick to the new restriction, which takes effect in April, and keep the windows off their itineraries.

Some 115 guided tours pass through the district every day. The city said research has shown that the high number of visitors inconveniences more than half of the residents and businesses in the area.

Banning group tours of the red-light district windows “will help to prevent disruptions for residents and businesses,” Everhardt said.

Amsterdam has for years suffered a negative side from too many people crowding the canal-side streets of the city's historic heart, which includes the red-light district.