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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.
This post will tell you what the district is all about, things to do, available tours, and dining options. Also known as De Wallen, this district is the oldest neighborhood in the city and full of things to do, see, and eat. It is located in the center of Amsterdam, just a short walk from the Central Train Station. The neighborhood can be a bit misunderstood due to its reputation.
Experts warn that the industry has been so tolerated that it is today deeply entrenched, and efforts at regulation should be attempted in lieu of total shutdown.
Sudden restrictions, they claim, will likely move the industry underground, increasing risks like disease, fraud, and exploitation among both workers and patrons alike and could encourage human trafficking. The Ayutthaya Kingdom thrived across Siam from — and at the time was the largest and wealthiest trading centre in the East.
Its eminence as an international hub helped popularize a sex tourism trade very early on, as widespread prostitution was legal and taxed primarily through state-run brothels. Strict interpretation of Buddhist doctrine places women as lesser contributors to society, and culturally children are tasked with taking care of aging parents. While this stigma has eased today, the pressure for women to achieve financial stability for themselves or their families helped normalize the industry over time.
Then under pressure from the United Nations, the Thai government formally ruled prostitution illegal in through a policy later replaced by the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act of The workers are typically women hailing from rural areas of the country that moved to the city to find work, but with limited education and the absence of other credentials required in the increasingly globalized city, take what work they can get. These districts boast well-known and often high-end establishments that are not the product of illegal trafficking or forced workers — their high public visibility greatly reduces such Red district light presence, along with the watchful eye of the State, itself eager to avoid international backlash for such ethical violations.
What to do in the red light district
The Safari Bar brings in wandering tourists with its blaring oldies classics from the likes of Elvis or The Beatles, while Thigh Bar is a tourist-friendly staple with some of the lower drink prices available. In the early s, Patpong introduced a popular night market.
Angel Witch is known for its grandiose themed rock shows, and Billboard Agogo Bar features a high-energy atmosphere on its rotating dance floor and a Jacuzzi to boot, while Casanova is known to be a more relaxed hangout. The ground floor level has tons of open-air bars and an almost pub-like atmosphere, complete with sports broadcasts, live music, and plenty of people watching.
Emerging in popularity around the same Red district light as Nana Plaza, this area was named after a cowboy hat-wearing African-American who opened the first bar back in the s.
Live music shows embrace curious visitors as they enter the main street, and popular establishments include Susie Wongs, famous for its body painting, Tilac Bar, Baccara, and the eponymous Crazy House. Classic features underwater mermen and a swimming show, while Tawan puts on an impressive stage show rotating acts like dance performances, drag comedy, and more.
The workers in these establishments are often compensated through a variety of payment structures that vary from bar to bar. Most reputable places make sure your tab is kept right in front of you, however, so you can keep an eye on it and ensure transparency of pricing.
Raids on establishments promoting sex tourism are already relatively routine in Bangkok, but are almost exclusively focused on the discovery of underage or illegal workers.
Prostitution is less black and white. While widely tolerated to date, increasing pressure on the Thai government could mean more enforcement in the near future.
Add to Plan. Sex tourism in Thailand. Into the 21st century.
Nana Plaza. Soi Cowboy. Soi Twilight.