Sex workers against ban on Red Light District tours
In december the city of Amsterdam announced to be banning tours in the Red Light District of Amsterdam after 7PM, and last week alderman Udo Kock announced plans to ban all tours completely in the Red Light District from 2020. The ban came to everybody as a complete surprise, mostly to us as sex workers.

According to alderman Kock the reason for banning tours in the Red Light District is because we as sex workers should not be seen as a tourist attraction, and 83% of the sex workers would be against tours in the area. Also many locals and local businesses would be against the tours, because they would cause too much trouble. The main reason being mentioned is over crowding, tourists being disrespectful and taking pictures of sex workers.

Funny enough, neither me or any of the colleagues I know, have been involved with this so called 'research', or been involved with designing this policy. We're not the only ones that have not been involved though, the association of undertakings on the Red Light strip, the OVOA, says that none of them have been asked as well, and they oppose these measures. As well as the union for sex workers, PROUD, and the Prostitution Information Center (PIC), who went yesterday to speak to the city council about why they disagree with this measure.

The research, which was supposedly conducted by the PIC, is far from reliable. Because of the very simply fact that the PIC wrote on their Facebook that they didn't conduct this research, or where involved in it in any way. Which makes things really interesting, because that begs the question how come that the organization that conducted this research among sex workers, doesn't know anything about it themselves?

This research, by the way, was only conducted with 4 companies in the sex industry and 10 sex workers. In short, it's not a very reliable research if you're only interviewing 10 sex workers. In fact, it's laughable. There are 400 sex workers in the Red Light District, so this is only 2,5% of all the sex workers. But how can 83% of these sex workers be against something, if you only asked 10 sex workers? 

In short, something fishy is going on here. The research is not reliable at all, especially not because me and most of my colleagues completely don't agree with the new policies of the city and also have not been consulted. Banning tours in the evening only leads to more tours in the day time. While the sex workers in the day time work more with locals, and especially for them tours scare away customers more. For sex workers in the evening these tours only bring in tourists into the Red Light District, and considering the fact that our clientele are mostly tourists, we don't mind that.

What we do mind is the complete bullshit some tour guides tell. Some tour guides tell the biggest lies, sometimes completely fabricated stories. But there are also good tour guides, who tell the right stories, and also inform people not to take pictures and to be respectful to us. We love those good tour guides, because they help raise respect for us, and tell people not to take pictures of us, something I haven't seen the city doing so far. 

Speaking of being respectful to sex workers. Udo Kock, the alderman who came up with these new rules, claims he's doing this out of respect for us. Really?! You are taking away our clientele! And what have you done so far to be respectful to us? Not talking with us? Not listening to us? Not responding to the many tweets I send you on Twitter, about how these rules don't help us at all? Not making pictures of sex workers illegal? But, oh wait, you are banning every tour guide in the Red Light District that tells people not to take pictures of us! How is that suppose to help? 

The tour guides in the Red Light District actually can even get a fine if the people in their group take a picture of us. This rule does not apply for tourists themselves, only for tour guides. So by banning tour guides, they're taking away the only people that are not allowed to take pictures of us. And wasn't our complaint that so many people where taking pictures of us, according to mr. Kock? Then how is this supposed to help?! You're taking away the only people you can hold responsible for taking unwanted pictures of us!

This ban on tours helps nobody. It does create more problems for us and everybody else. It brings in less tourists for us, which is our main clientele. It bans tour guides who tell people not to take pictures, so we'll end up with more people taking pictures of us. From april till the end of this year the girls in the daytime will be packed with tours, because tours are only allowed in the daytime. And those people doing a tour in the daytime will come back in the evening to see the Red Light District come to life. So in terms of how crowded it is, it doesn't change anything. Basically you're making it worse for the daytime girls now, and from next year you're taking away our clientele and people telling their group that it's not allowed to take pictures. So in stead of making our circumstances better, Udo Kock is making it much worse. 

But what angers me most, is the fact that Udo Kock is going to tell us if we as sex workers can be seen as a tourist attraction or not. He's literally saying that we shouldn't be seen as a tourist attraction. Uhm... excuse me! Can we decide for ourselves if this is a problem or not for us? Because we know this! This is part of the job here. If you don't like it, you're in the wrong place! There are 2 other red light areas, without tourists if you don't like it. But guess what? None of the girls want to move away from here. Because we don't mind being seen as part of a tourist attraction. Because this tourist attraction brings in the money.

But wait, we can't be seen as a tourist attraction, by alderman Kock? So we should only be seen by locals? What kind of xenophobic bullshit is that? Like only locals would be allowed to see us? Are you ashamed that your city has a Red Light District, mr. Kock? Are you trying to hide it from the world? And what, those local people are better? Many of the local people are much more disrespectful than these tourists! I hear on a daily base Dutch slurs being thrown to my head like 'kankerhoer', 'vieze hoer' and many other things. Almost 3 weeks ago I was almost punched by a Dutch guy, because 'how dare I ask 100 euro for my services'. We have a much bigger problem with Dutch people being disrespectful, especially people from Amsterdam, than most of these tourists! All those people always writing it's the drunk English tourists that cause trouble. That's such bullshit! 

And the work already isn't very good at this moment, because there are simply not so many people on the street to work with. In fact, most of the sex workers including myself don't think it's that crowded at all. We actually think it's much less busy then years ago. This whole story about the Red Light District being too busy is a lie! It's a hoax! It's just a frame used to try and finally destroy the Red Light District, by hitting us where it hurts, by taking away our clientele. They've tried closing down the brothels for 10 years. It didn't work. Their Project 1012 failed. This is just their new excuse to victimize us in the media, so they can try and get rid of us. That's what this is really about!