Dutch court rules Amsterdam brothels can stay open as they appeal closure orders

Amsterdam brothel owners scored a victory Friday in a legal battle over sex and the city.

A judge ruled that more than 30 brothels and sex show bars in the heart of Amsterdam's famed red light district can remain open while they fight moves to close them down.

In November, Amsterdam Municipality said it wanted to revoke the licenses of 37 sex venues it suspects of being used as fronts for money laundering and other illegal activity such as drug dealing.

The owners appealed and went to the court asking to be allowed to stay in business during the appeal process.

"The judge said they can remain open," Amsterdam court official Laurens Bos said.

The municipality had no immediate comment, reports AP.

A panel is expected to study the brothel owners' appeals in March.

The businesses threatened with closure represent around 300 of the red light district's 900 "windows," where scantily clad prostitutes flaunt themselves to attract customers.

The streets near Amsterdam's center have been a hangout for prostitutes since the city was the hub of a global trading empire during the Netherlands' 17th century Golden Age.

The Dutch government legalized prostitution in 2000 to make it easier to tax and regulate.

The red light district of canalside houses and narrow lanes is a magnet for tourists.

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