Sex Work: The Red Light District, Amsterdam

They’re either in your favourite painting, explored in your wildest fantasy, or paying the bills. That’s right, I’m going to be talking about sex workers.

Declaration:

  • I do not have personal experience with sex work, so I am writing this article from my perspective to attempt an introduction, and to unravel the taboo of sex work.
  • I believe that sex work should be legalised everywhere, and be included in sex education.
  • If you dislike sex work, that is your opinion. Do not purchase a session with a sex worker or attempt to harm a sex worker in any way. Double standards and violence are lame.
schiele

Artist: Egon Schiele (1890-1918) who, like many other artists, hired sex workers as models.

I’ve recently returned from a beautiful weekend trip to Amsterdam, and when questioned about my experience, my top three responses have been:

  1. No one would speak Dutch to me.
  2. Their apple pies are amazing.
  3. The legalisation of sex work is a really good idea.

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is a big business and tourist attraction, if you ever travel to Amsterdam, I strongly recommended you visit the Museum of Prostitution: Red Light Secrets. The Red Light Secrets presents visitors with an educational, historic, witty, and immersive experience inside an inactive Brothel. Prostitution in the Netherlands was legalised in 2000 and is viewed as a normal profession; there are rules and regulations which need to be followed, the workers pay income tax, and €150 rent when using the brothels.

ten-commandments

‘The Ten Commandments of Prostitution’ from the Red Light Secrets museum, Amsterdam.

These commandments of prostitution act as rules and regulations of the profession, as well as shattering the taboos of sex work. Although sex work in the UK is legalised, brothels, pimps, and soliciting is illegal, meaning sex work is a vulnerable profession with little legal support.                                                                                                  

When doing some research on sex work in the UK I found the following statistic:

img

If brothels were legalised in the UK, the income tax and rent sex workers have to pay would clearly boost our economy. Most importantly, sex workers would be safe in their profession, thus their clients would enjoy themselves further still. Everybody wins!

Now before I leave you, I must add that when I was walking around the Red Light District around 11pm one night, I witnessed a tourist breaking commandment number 1. The two workers responded to his actions by shaming him, and shouting “You fucking piece of shit!”, and I agree.

respect.jpg

Red Light District, Amsterdam.

Peace, love, and Cacti,
Courtney McMahon

 

 

Forms of Sex work:  http://prostitution.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000096

Red Light District, Amsterdam: http://www.amsterdam.info/prostitution/

Museum of Prostitution: Red Light Secrets http://www.redlightsecrets.com

Support Anthem’s activism and deck out your wardrobe using discount code COURTNEY10 on Feminist Apparel’s site: www.feministapparel.com

Statistic source: www.import.io/post/how-much-does-prostitution-contribute-to-the-uk-economy

All other images/photographs courtesy of Courtney McMahon

 

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