Amsterdam: Male sex workers occupy red light district | News | DW | 03.08.2019
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Amsterdam: Male sex workers occupy red light district

Traditionally home to female and transgender prostitutes, activists hope the neighborhood's famous windows can be opened up to all sex workers. The equality campaign is part of Amsterdam's Gay Pride festival.

Several men on Saturday displayed their half-naked bodies in some of the tall windows that make up Amsterdam's Red Light District.

The protest is part of a call for equal rights in Europe's most liberal tourist destination, which is mostly inhabited by female and transgender female sex workers.

Prostitutes rent a room in the De Wallen neighborhood and use one of the 300 or so windows to advertise their services.

But despite making up 5% of the estimated 25,000 sex workers operating in the Netherlands, men are rarely seen.

Read more: How Amsterdam is fighting mass tourism

Watch video 01:19

Amsterdam plans big changes to red light district

The so-called occupation of the Red Light District organized by the non-profit campaign group My Red Light, which rents rooms to sex workers and advocates for improved rights and labor conditions.

Vulnerable to exploitation

Campaigners insist that male sex workers also need safe spaces to operate from, noting that many men experience violence, abuse and exploitation while carrying out their work.

Organizers said the men taking part in the photoshoot are models and not available for sex.

Saturday's protest forms part of Amsterdam's Gay Pride festival, which runs until Sunday, and which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Read more: Inside Bordoll, a German sex-doll brothel in Dortmund

Amsterdam's first female mayor, Femke Halsema, recently announced plans to repair De Wallen's reputation as a dangerous part of the city, amid a rise in drunken tourists, bachelor parties, human trafficking and drug use.

She also noted a major increase in unlicensed, underground prostitution.

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