Amsterdam closing down sex industry?

This article makes me sad.

Turn Out the Red Light?

Amsterdam plans to close down its most famous district, citing sleaze, criminal activity and human trafficking. Not everybody is happy about it.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/109373

4 Responses

  1. This article mentioned that Lodewijk Asscher, member of the Dutch Labour Party which spearheaded the attempts to shutdown the “Red Light District,” said that most of the women who work in the the Red Light District brothels are trafficking victims, yet no evidence is provided to support this claim. That’s a really big, serious claim to make, so if somebody is going to make that claim, they need to provide evidence to back it up. Also, how is this person defining trafficking? Is this person defining trafficking as forced labor, or is this person defining all migrant work in the brothels as trafficking?
    I’m deeply concerned that the sex work prohibitionists are exploiting the issue of trafficking to promote their anti-sex work agendas rather than to stop slavery. Saying that most of the workers in the legal Red Light District brothels are trafficking victims without backing that claim up with evidence is an example of that. If most of the workers in the Red Light District brothels are trafficking victims, then provide evidence of that. Just because some people cross borders to make a living doesn’t automatically mean they’re trafficking victims. In the globalized economy that we live in, workers in various industries cross borders to make a living. Making sex workers unable to cross borders legally makes them more vulnerable to trafficking.

  2. Sexual trafficking has become the rallying cry for all sorts of things, like more arrests (and nary a victim to be found), the problem in Amsterdam, the UK’s move to reform its commercial sex laws and everything going on in the US.

    We’re losing this war of words and perceptions. It’s a huge problem.

    XX

  3. This looks to me like urban renewal. The article says

    “…the peep shows, sex shops and prostitute windows that line the small alleys and canals will have to go, giving way to galleries, boutiques and upscale restaurants and bars.”

    From what I remember from other descriptions of the district, it’s a location in the city that could be home to businesses that generate much higher revenues. By driving out the prostitutes and bringing these businesses in, the city strengthens its tax base.

    The land owners will make a profit when their land is sold. The business owners may be able to organize and force the city to compensate them. The article describes a bar owner’s attempt at organizing action. But the prostitutes are working class women and have no voice.

    In regard to the ladies that once occupied the windows now occupied by Bas Koster’s store, the article says “The ladies have vanished.” Vanished to where? If they were trafficked, as Asscher claims, did their traffickers move them to another city, as Asscher claims will happen with the remaining prostitutes? If they were not trafficked, did they find another place to work, or did they find other work, or are they now unemployed? It’s interesting that no one is trying to find out. By claiming that they’re trafficked, Asscher avoids the usual Socialist/Labor Party obligation to look after the workers.

    Resources always go to the most highly valued use, so it was probably inevitable that someone would initiate this. The attention the red light district has been getting in the media probably made it happen sooner. The Red Thread and similar organizations may be able to kick up a fuss, but it’s not likely they can do much unless they can organize a large proportion of the people who work in the district. If the district were a working class residential area, this urban renewal attempt wouldn’t have originated with the Labor Party. But a socialist can do this to prostitutes because, to use one of the more polite ways of expressing an ugly sentiment, they’re not really part of society. The “trafficked” label is just makes their outsider status explicit.

  4. Karmic Delusion wrote: “By claiming that they’re trafficked, Asscher avoids the usual Socialist/Labor Party obligation to look after the workers.”

    What an excellent point! And this opens up a whole ‘nother can o’ worms.

    I wonder how badly this will affect the tourism dollar? Will this “gentrification” mean more money for the city than sex tourism?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: