A statue titled "Belle", honouring the sex workers of the world, was placed in the heart of the Amsterdam Red Light District in 2007. The statue stands on Oudekerksplein. The project was conceived by Mariska Majoor of the Prostitute Information Centre in Amsterdam. Mariska, a former sex worker, founded the Prostitute Information Centre in Amsterdam in 1994. She decided to open the centre to educate the public on sex work and to reduce the stigma faced by sex workers. The organisation now runs tours of the Red Light District for tourists and students and previously housed a mini-museum of sex work. The centre is now becoming more focussed on sex worker rights and as well as being a place for visitors and students is also open for sex workers looking for advice or someone to talk to. Mariska gives weekly lectures and presentations about sex work and Amsterdam’s Red Light District and is present in the Prostitute Information Centre every Saturday afternoon.
The plaque on the “Belle” statue reads (in English): "Respect sex workers all over the world". The statue was unveiled during the Red Light District’s 2nd Annual Open Day. It was created by artist Els Rijerse. The sculpture is made of bronze and to prevent vandalism is fortified with steel.
Thumbnail credit: By Flickr user Romeo Reidl from Budapest, Hungary (Respect sexworkers statue) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons