Monday, September 20, 2010

Red Light District, Amsterdam

Yes. That’s what I visited on my trip to Amsterdam this weekend.

Apparently, it is one of the top tourist attractions of Amsterdam and while I was reluctant and quite disgusted at the idea of going there, I finally did find myself there.

Situated pretty much in the heart of the city, there are huge buildings with big windows. Each window has a red light next to it. The women dress in skimpy clothes (= absolute bare minimum) and they stand in the window striking up seductive poses, passing commnents to men going by asking them to come in. They do this from behind the glass door of the window and are quite safe.

The lanes are absolutely clean but quite narrow. While there were a couple of places where I was the only woman outside of the window, I saw a lot of tour guides, couples, tourists and even families with children there.

However, one of the most disturbing sights was when I peeped inside one of these windows. Each window leads to a small room which was well equipped with a bed (that more often than not had a tiger print bed cover thrown on it) and sink, and loads of other very suspicious looking things lined near the sink. That was the one sight that I found most disturbing.

It was interesting to see the red light near each window. Once the negotiation between the men and the prostitutes is done, the men are asked to come in. After that the curtain in pulled and the red light switched on. Almost like the operation theatre. Red light On! And also, that is also how the Red light districts get their name.

At the expense of objectifying women , I saw women there of each shape and size and color! Some women would dance in their little windows, some would smile invitingly (?) while others would talk on the phone ( and look absolutely like they were gossiping).

Interestingly, a lot of them looked thoroughly bored.

Prostitution, like a lot of other things, is legal in Amsterdam ( the prostitutes, I hear pay tax on this as well). The women were treating it just like another profession. I even saw a man come drop off a woman, who then hurried inside.
I was wondering about one thing, though. Unlike in India and in most other parts of the world, prostitution is a profession that women do not like to be associated with. In many cases, husbands, boy friends are not aware.
Here, however, unfortunately, Prostituion is a tourist attraction. How would a woman’s life be if her family knows what she is upto.

We were discussing how some of these women would have gotten into the profession by force. And while I can understand how that would be the case in many parts of the world, seeing those women, in the windows, playing on their expensive phones, I did not really think that that was the case here in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has coffee houses where people go for space cakes and joints, prostitution is a tourist attraction, tees are sold that say things like , ‘Good girls to heaven, Bad girls come to Amsterdam’.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow! this is quite interesting!