Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Free" day today in Amsterdam

Several topless bars, peep shows and sex show clubs in Amsterdam's famed Red Light prostitution district have declared an open house on Saturday. They hope to shore up their reputation with local politicians who are calling for a crackdown.

"You can come in, have a free drink, look around," said Bob de Maan, spokesman for the Banana Bar, which is known for its live sex shows. "People think that this is something dirty, but now - it's an open house. They can see for themselves."
Prostitution in Amsterdam boomed during the city's 17th-century Golden Age, when hookers catered to sailors on shore leave. With its lingerie-clad women and red neon lights, the area in the city centre became a major tourist draw in the 20th century.

It is widely known that women from Asia and Eastern Europe are abused and exploited over here. It's a clear red stop-light for me! Crackdown is my comment today!

26 comments:

madcapmum said...

Hmmm. When those in favour of legalized prostitution in this part of the world point to Holland as an example of a culture with a "sensible" take on the sex trade, they don't mention the abuse of foreign women. Which I suppose is inevitable, given that it happens in the food industry and everywhere else as well.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

We must separate the "inevitability" from "necessity." Things occur the way they do for a reason. That burglaries happen from time to time is no reason not to lock your door.
It makes me sad when I think of the psychological damage done to people by opportunistic predators, damage that will never be undone. And too much to even see it properly, objectively; each case a small tragedy, on the whole, maddening.
Silence is consent. Crackdown.

Kathleen Callon said...

Glad you feel this way. Nothing wrong with sex, lingerie, or seducation when you have a spiritual/mental connection... little better, either... but when you put yourelf up for sale? Truly sad.

Kathleen Callon said...

*seduction (whoops, typo)

Rory Shock said...

Is the crackdown directed at stopping the abuse? Will there be something in place for the displaced abused women ... or will they be abused in a different way by the system after they are freed, as happens sometimes ...

Your site does have a nice atmosphere to it as enigma said ...

good vibes back to you

Granny said...

All we seem to do here is arrest the women and send the men on their way. The women or their pimps pay the bail and are back out within an hour or so.

Even sadder are the homeless boys plying their trade.

I agree with you if women are being abused but I have the same question as rory shock.

What happens to the women?

Progressive Traditionalist said...

I apologize for the harsh tone of my earlier comment.
The near proximity of the words "sensible" and "inevitable" in MadcapMum's comment kinda upset me. I respect this lady a lot, and I don't want to leave the impression that it was her that I was upset with.
Much like her (the way I read it), it's not so much an issue of the women or the sex, but another instance of people, given an opportunity, taking advantage of other people, who happen to be in a bad spot, when it would be just as easy to help them as to harm them.
It doesn't seem natural.
Myself, I have been opportunistic in a business sense, where my inclination to seize an opportunity weighed far greater than my loyalty to an employer or contractor. But not to hurt people.
It bothers me, too, that there is so much of this going on, and that I have so little that I can do to put an end to it. And truthfully, even were that opportunity to present itself, I might not be inclined to take it, from fear of associating with people in such a state of desperation, the fear of my kindness being an opportunity for some unethical individual (as has too often been the case) to take advantage of me, that I should end up a victim instead.
And so, I see myself paralyzed, not only through the lack of an opportunity to help to present itself, but through an internal fear -- though, in reality, it is the past I fear, it keeps me from seeking out what would be a ready enough opportunity should I wish it.
And that bothers me.
A lot.

DA said...

I just read all of your profound and honest comments. It raised questions fo me too again. I will reply tonight, we're going to talk a long walk in the forest first. We all nead some oxygen..

DA said...

*need

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Wish I were there!

I have heard about all the salicious 'entertainment' in Amsterdam!

Enjoy!

madcapmum said...

Thanks, P-Trad. I'm not easily offended in the hurly-burly of words, so I didn't take it personally. I'm coming from a rather pessimistic view of human nature, especially as expressed in groups, so when I say "inevitable" it's inevitable as evidenced by human history and our dismal propensity for taking advantage of each other.

On the upside, I'm going to venture a guess that we're doing better on human rights worldwide than we were 500 years ago, so maybe I should rethink my pessimism and opt for slow-train optimism instead. Very slow. Glacially so. ;-)

Dem Soldier said...

Dimitri, did you only had a drink....just kidding......

If it ain't a criminal activity I don't have problem with it.....

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Kvatch said...

Red Light prostitution district have declared an open house on Saturday.

Wow!

Here in the state's I have to go to a public library, and when I do there's Homeland Security to tell me it's "forbidden". :-)

GraemeAnfinson said...

I just watched a frontline on PBS about women being forced into sex slavery. It was quite disturbing. A lot is happening in the states

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi DA

A post on an age old topic.

Prostitution and live sex seem to me to be embedded into society, of attraction to a tiny minority and any attempt to ban or make it an offence drives this industry underground.

So I am favour of licensing Brothels, with Heath inspectors and controls over employment for those working in this age old industry. That way at least its transparent and can be policed.

Policing theses establishments is another matter with police subject to bribes and corruption always just around the corner.

It’s a difficult subject to talk about and I don’t have the answers.
Crackdown on the practices .......but it's more difficult if the entire industy is underground, where its made easier for the criminal element to prosper.

Lesley said...

They should crack down on some things, but should never close up the red light district. Granny is right, that is the way they do things here, they arrest the women and sometimes the men and they are both out within a couple hours and the women are back out walking the streets. I don't know about other cities, but here where I live I would guess that 99% of hookers are serious drug addicts and I have yet to see one that if I were a man that I would pay to be with. It is far more sad than what I saw in Amsterdam.

Blogger formerly known as JBlue said...

I think PT made a good point about people being allowed to take advantage of more vulnerable peops. The important thing is to protect the weaker folks from abuse, no matter what the context.

And Madcap made another excellent point, that things have gotten better over the last few centuries. We're moving in the right direction, but we need to move faster and broaden our scope. This is a good place to work on that(with Lindsay's regulations, perhaps?).

Excellent post and discussion, DA.

DA said...

It was a busy day today but finally found some time to reply.

I would like to say hi to you all and especially to the new visitors ..

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree that the women have to be taken care of when they crack down the red light district. People in distress should always be given some sort of aid.

I remember a college professor once said to me: " I am going to give you an A because of the profound analysis you did over this business case. But you did forget the most important thing: and that is to stop the bleeding first." The virtual company got bankrupted because of the hidden financial leak. I analysed the culture, the macro economic parameters and so on. In the mean time cash was flowing out.

The same goes for the red-light district to my opinion. If we do not stop the prostitution because we haven't got the answers to many questions the problem gets bigger and bigger. At least it's not getting better.

Underground exploitation of women will still exist because of our human nature. It has to be very clear though that this is against the law and repercussions will follow if those guys get caught.

It remains a difficult subject.

I was floored by PT's comment "And so, I see myself paralyzed, not only through the lack of an opportunity to help to present itself, but through an internal fear -- though, in reality, it is the past I fear, it keeps me from seeking out what would be a ready enough opportunity should I wish it. And that bothers me. A lot. "

Sometimes I feel exactly the same. I must remember to keep the faith though..

Thank you all for your comments..

Progressive Traditionalist said...

Sometimes it is easier to be honest with oneself by being honest with others.

arulba said...

Of course, everyone spoke ill of her profession, but, basically, it was all a question of selling her time, like everyone else. Doing things she didn't want to do, like everyone else. Putting up with horrible people, like everyone else. Handing over her precious body and her precious soul in the name of a future that never arrived, like everyone else. Saying that she still didn't have enough, like everyone else. Waitint so that she could earn just a little bit more, postponing the realization of her dreams; she was too busy right now, she had great opprotunities ahead of her, loyal clients who were waiting for her...

Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

arulba said...

Oops - lots of mispelling in that quote. Meant to end it with this: prostitution is an archetype. Prostitutes aren't the only prostitutes. Just the obvious ones. We want to get rid of them because of what they stand for in our own lives. But they are just like everyone else!

DA said...

Wise words again PT.

That was wonderful to read Arulba. So comforting and heartwarming. Thx for sharing that over here..

Gary said...

I'm in favour of legal prostitution too. It provides more protection for women from violence; allows health issues to be addressed; taxes to be collected and ... well, prostitution isn't going to go away anyhow.

That said, I'm also for cracking down hard on any exploitation of children and for fighting against the traficing or illegal forcing of women or young men into crime.

Sex itself - hey, it's actually a wonderful thing, no?

Elizabeth Green said...

I don't have a problem with legal prostitution is that's what someone LEGITIMATELY wants to do as a career. If so, it's their right. I do, however, believe that all countries, even those with legal prostitution, exploit people who work in the sex industry. To this, I am OPPOSED. Not sure you can get a system that wouldn't exploit someone. Unfortunately, it is the more desperate and exploitable who tend to gravitate toward this industry because they have no other choice. That frame of mind make them easy victims.

DA said...

Gary and Elisabeth..thank you for your thoughts. Sex is wonderful indeed.

Legalizing actually hasn't stopped exploitation of weaker women. I think I would disagree here. We have legalized prostitution and non-legalized which is illegal (obviously:-) If we stop one of both, wouldn't it be easier to tackle the other?

Elisabeth brought some new thoughts for me. If someone is craving to be a prostitute and wants to sell her services then this off course should be possible. Never thought of it like that. Darn, you guys make me doubt now..