City to turn abandoned building into ‘mega-brothel’ for sex workers

A Belgian city is planning to turn an abandoned hangar into a "mega-brothel" which city officials say will be "safer" for sex workers.

The hangar in the municipality of Ostend has protected architectural status and plans are in place to convert it into a brothel as the red light district in the seaside town is being cleared.

The brothel will be known as "Hangar d’amour" and will be run by the same company that manages a 51-bedroom in Antwerp called Villa Tinto.

The plan will see the town’s red light district, known as Hazegras, cleared and moved into the hangar.

Prostitution is legal in Belgium and renting property for such work has been legal since 1995.

Around 26,000 women are believed to work in the sexy industry there.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of sex workers are victims of people trafficking or are exploited by gangs.

There has been opposition to the plan with a non-profit describing it as "madness".

The non-profit, Oostendse Oosteroever, have been campaigning for the building to be turned into a museum.

However, the mayor – Johan Vande Lanotte – says the hangar will be a safer environment for sex workers.

He said: “The ladies will enter into a rental contract directly with the owner, as a result of which intermediaries will be excluded.

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“The conditions will be better, and the sector will be purified. Abuses will be excluded or certainly limited.

"There will also be a health centre, an information desk and a room for the police.”

As the hangar is a protected building the exterior cannot be changed but they alter the interiors.

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