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The Netherlands. Ask others about Amsterdam and there is a good chance that they will tell you about the coffee shops and the red light district. People often travel here to experience the pleasures of cannabis and carnal desires in a tolerant society—the latter in the form of prostitution. For the past ten years this has been the case in Amsterdam, where prostitution was legalized in


Four young men in puffa jackets jostle, slapping their palms against the glass windows, waving at women posing in lacy lingerie.

India: my life in the 'red lights' of sonagachi

Even they know about the banter," one tells me, gesturing towards a brothel. They get enough money out of us. But many of the women who sell their bodies are increasingly struggling to attract paying clients because their shop windows are obscured by selfie-snapping tourists, interested in free photo-ops rather than paid sex. The Dutch capital's first female mayor is trying to find a solution.

Femke Halsema is preparing to set out a range of measures to help the sex workers escape the cameras' glare. As he guides me though the spider's web of cobbled alleyways, many of the prostitutes throw him a familiar wave. Frits runs a bookshop in the red light district and often invites the women in for coffee, a moment of respite from the abuse and intimidation they are subjected to in the street.

Red-light district

From England, Scotland, Ireland. Drunk, screaming, trying to make pictures.

Young women try to hide their faces, as tourists gawp and brandish their smartphones. For many this is a secret life.

Red light district amsterdam

Having their photo placed on social media could see them ostracised by their families. Kristina opens her door, shivering as the icy air hits her exposed stomach. She stubs out a cigarette, turns down a video on her phone and le me down a short corridor to a small, white, concrete room. It's warm and sparse: a mirror, black plastic mattress, antiseptic hygiene gel, alarm and fluffy slippers.

Kristina has been working in the red light district for a decade.

She was persuaded to come by a Hungarian friend who had found her fortune in Amsterdam's seedy sex industry. For their future. They're with my mother in Hungary. My kids don't know what I do.

Kristina has no desire to move. She attracts good business here, despite the irritating sightseers. She speaks fluent Dutch and tells me she doesn't have a pimp - she sells her body because "it's easy money". Mayor Halsema has mooted the idea of issuing permits for prostitutes to operate beyond the claustrophobic red light zone.

Amsterdam to move sex workers out of city centre in tourism ‘reset’

But many of those with connections to the sex trade worry it would push the women underground. Prostitution will increase in private homes, in hotels. The women will be invisible. Do not underestimate what that does to a city.

Menu, utility, and connect

More on this topic:. efforts to clean up De Wallen - the red light district - included the council buying up brothels from king-pin pimps and offering cheap rents to start-ups and artists.

No-one seems to know exactly how many women work in the city's sex industry. It's described as a "dark ". Even with that lowest figure, girls are selling sex against their will. They are essentially raped every day. It will not help to make them disappear elsewhere in the city.

Mayor Halsema is expected to publish her detailed proposals later this year. She has suggested an increased police presence, on-the-spot tourist fines and the use of "Code Red" - an emergency warning - to divert visitors when the historic hub gets too overcrowded.

Amsterdam Ombudsman Arre Zuurmond described it as "a jungle at night". He wants to introduce an age limit and has proposed limiting the of cheap flights to Schiphol airport.

It’s legal to sell sex in amsterdam, but don’t expect the same rights as other workers.

Others argue the very existence of a legal sex zone fundamentally objectifies women and leaves them open to abuse. She argues that facilitating the sex business - requiring the women to register and pay taxes - essentially makes the government the pimp. The council's current priority appears to be to protect the prostitutes' trade. Many of the windows already have "Te Huur" for rent s displayed. The business is shifting online.

Sex-for-sale websites allow women to solicit their services without having to brave public scrutiny. If the red light district is a jungle, it is even more lawless online. The nursery in Amsterdam's red light district. Human trafficking rescues increase in NI. Inside Europe's sexcam capital.

Politics of prostitution

Taxing the oldest profession in Amsterdam. And she feels safe here. Danger of dispersal? Amsterdam's red light windows. Prostitution was legalised by the Dutch government in In the justice ministry announced that a special public prosecutor would close down prostitution windows connected to organised crime syndicates The sex industry remains synonymous with violence, drugs, money laundering and other criminal activities Window brothels are overrepresented in human trafficking investigations.

The nursery in Amsterdam's red light district 'I was kidnapped in London and trafficked for sex' Inside Europe's sexcam capital.

Related Topics. Amsterdam Prostitution Netherlands Women. More on this story. Published 29 November Published 8 August Published 5 November Published 10 August Published 21 March

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This is the story of Munni, a commercial sex worker from Sonagachi, the largest red-light district in Kolkata, India.


Yet the infamous alleys of the De Wallen neighborhood—lined with coffee shops and windows featuring scantily clad sex workers—could soon face a transformation as local government officials strive to implement a new policy, set to increase the of sex-work permits beyond De Wallen in an attempt to provide sex workers with opportunities elsewhere.