Activists from the radical feminist group Femen have staged a topless demonstration against legal prostitution in the Netherlands.

Several 'sextremists' - as Femen calls its members - from the group's Dutch branch took their tops off in front of coffee shops and massage salons in Amsterdam's famous red light district to demand criminal sanctions for prostitutes' clients.

The activists exposed the slogan "You don't buy, I don't sell" emblazoned across their naked chests.

"We fight against the sex industry, to hold the clients responsible as the exploiters they are," Femen said.

"If men are stripped of their right to buy another human being and use them like an object, these women gain back the power of free choice: men are no longer entitled to sex when you are just desperate to survive."

The Netherlands designated prostitution as a legal profession in 1988 and fully legalised it in 2000.

"Undo the shameful mistake this country made 13 unlucky years ago! Criminalize the client and end legal sexual exploitation," Femen said.

In an interview with IBTimes UK, Inna Femen leader Inna Shevchenko said the vast majority of female prostitutes in Western Europe are migrants from Asia, African and Eastern Europe who are forced into selling their body to escape poverty and deprivation.

"Prostitution is not a women's industry, it's a business controlled by men," she said. "Women are just mechanism in this huge bloody machine that eats more [women] every day crashing and destroying their lives."

"The reason to become a prostitute is the wish to survive," Shevchenko said. "I do not deny there are maybe some women that are doing it by choice but we are talking about 5% against 95% that are into slavery," she said.

The Ukrainian native said the Amsterdam protest was part of a Europe-wide campaign that the group is to bring also to the UK, where it is opening a new branch.

Shevchenko recognises it is utopian to think that criminalising clients will bring the prostitution market to an end. "But it will be a first step to forbid the exploitation of women and humans in general," she said.