PICS: Amsterdam sex workers say no to red light tours ban
Amsterdam - The city of Amsterdam's latest attempt to rein-in the nuisance of over-tourism by banning guided tours of the red light district has run into opposition from some of the people it is intended to protect: sex workers.
The Dutch capital plans to ban such tours, saying they are disrespectful and contribute to congestion in the narrow, canal-side streets where scantily-clad sex workers sit behind windows to attract customers.
The first step in the new policy was taken this week in the red light district, with tours banned from 7pm.
On a recent Friday night, the problem was clear to see: tourists bathed in a red glow emanating from the windows and peep shows’ neon lights were packed shoulder to shoulder as they shuffled through the alleys.
But sex workers’ union Proud questions whether banning tours will reduce tourist numbers and argues that guides educate visitors and encourage them to behave more respectfully toward the women.
Amsterdam's Prostitution Information Centre, which is housed in the same building as Proud, offers its own red light district tours.
The red light district is a tourist magnet, especially after dark, with crowds of people waiting to get into sex shows and visiting the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution, where you can experience the windows from a sex worker's perspective by sitting on a stool in front of a “window” on to which images are projected of men walking past and peering in.