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When you want to come to the red light district Amsterdam, there are likely a great many things that you wish to do and see. From marijuana to museums, this is a city that is known for having an openly liberal mindset and outlook on the wider world — even when it comes to sex. People often see this as one of the finest examples of how Amsterdam is happy to have a more modern, open outlook on things like this.


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While prostitution can be found all across the globe, it usually happens behind closed doors. But not in Amsterdam! Along with that, the area is known for its many live sex shows, sex shops, brothels, and strip clubs. Although the area used to be quite a notorious and unsafe area, things have changed a lot over the past decades. Besides pickpockets, the area is fairly safe to visit especially during the daytime. The history of the area dates all the way back to the 16th century, as the Catholic government was being overthrown by Protestants.

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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. Since legalizing prostitution inthe Netherlands has been increasingly vigilant in combating human trafficking and other forms of criminal activity. But critics say the current government has failed to tie the sex trade to increased crime.

The project notably limited sex work to two streets: Oude Nieuwstraat and Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

This shut down many coffee shops and sex-worker windows, resulting in a sort of gentrification of the sex trade—pushing many sex workers towards illegal work or abroad to Brussels. Though the Netherlands has been a global leader in decriminalizing sex work, the stigma surrounding the profession remains. But that approach clashes with what many sex workers are increasingly demanding: the ability to book clients online and work from home. For many sex workers who have built a community in the area and for whom tourists are clients, the potential changes are seen as an attempt to make up for the window closures, rather than an adjustment to the modern sex industry in the digital age and an effort to grant them similar rights to those enjoyed by other independent workers.

December, who works for De Stoute Vrouw The Naughty Womanthe only lesbian escort agency in the country, echoes concerns that have long plagued the sex work industry. Sex workers are mostly seen as objects of desire or cause for criminal activity, and the industry is blamed for sexualizing women for profit, but in reality their calls for change are no different from those of non-sex workers. They just want a right to economic and moral autonomy.

At a time when online for sex work are increasingly taking precedence over walking the streets or renting a window, and with market changes allowing more sex workers to work from home—or in private, anonymous spaces—policymakers are considering increasing the of permits beyond the red-light district. But they have yet to consider enabling sex workers to book customers online—a practice currently prohibited for sex workers by a General Municipal Ordinance.

Legally, policymakers are obligated to cooperate with research carried out by the ombudsman.

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Yet as Zuurmond considers the possibility of facilitating booking clients online, sex workers have already taken matters into their own hands. Demanding autonomy, control, and opportunities for self-development, independent sex workers such as those at My Red Lighta window brothel in De Wallen run by sex workers, are collectively offering jobs, rooms, and blurred images of sex workers online.

However, city councilors in charge of making policy decisions have yet to follow their lead. Policymakers are exploring changes grounded in safety concerns, a desire to regulate, and attempts to deter tourists, but they fall short when it comes to addressing the nuances of the industry itself, which today includes working in windows, working from home, escorting, webcamming, and porn.

As sex workers fight to establish renting conditions and working circumstances on their own terms, policymakers continue to argue for adequate safety and policing.

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Though policymakers have every right to demand transparency from the industry, the act of defining what constitutes a legal and illegal sexual transaction reveals the core problem itself: The differentiation between sexuality and sexualized labor. Since the legalization of sex work, the conversation has barely evolved and remains based on the assumption that the nature of the transaction is inherently exploitative, dangerous, and worth policing.

All of this begs the question: What is the incentive to work legally? Sex workers are required to have a under the Amsterdam Municipal Ordinance and register with the Chamber of Commerce to pay taxes and pay for health insurance, like any other independent worker.

Yet despite being part of the legal labor market, sex workers do not receive many business services and social security measures that are typically granted to other entrepreneurs such as business bank s, sickness or occupational disability benefitsunemployment benefitsand pensions. This year, Amsterdam city councilors will be provided an opportunity to keep one bad policy from supplanting another, to finally recognize sex work as a form of self-employment like any other, and to treat it as such.

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Twitter: GenevaAbdul. The former Dutch colony in the Carribean is a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Sincea ly unnoticed network of ro, buildings, and military outposts has been constructed deep in a sacred valley in Bhutan. The famously permissive Dutch city is cracking down on prostitution, relocating sex workers, and discriminating against those employed in the industry. By Geneva Abdul.

The famously permissive dutch city is cracking down on prostitution, relocating sex workers, and discriminating against those employed in the industry.

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

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