Amsterdam, known by many for its drugs and its brothels, is trying to clean up its image. The city council’s finance chief has a vision of people walking through Amsterdam’s China Town and the city’s old ramparts, followed by a cappuccino next to the city’s oldest church. The problem is, there isn’t a place to get a cup of coffee in the city center, because that’s the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district. Over the next 10 years, the number of prostitutes windows will be reduced by half, to about 250, and they will be concentrated on just two streets. The number of coffee shops that sell cannabis will also be halved, to 38. In their place, up-market retail chains and food purveyors. So, if you want to experience a dirtier version of Amsterdam, go now; but if you want to have a cleaner, less gritty trip, wait a few years and the prostitutes will mostly be gone. [Der Spiegel] Keep reading »
After last week’s post about proposed legislation in San Francisco that would decriminalize prostitution and our poll that indicated that 73% of you not only supported decriminalization but legalization as well, we decided to take a more in-depth look at both. After the jump, we break down the differences and the pros and cons of both. There may be a soap box moment from yours truly as well.
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The oldest bordello in Hamburg, Germany, is closing this April, but it isn’t the customers who frequented Hotel Luxor who are at a loss. No, it’s the four remaining prostitutes. “The end won’t be easy for me. I’ve been in the business since 1988. I like to pole dance and get guys excited,” said “Nicole,” one of the final four. “But in all the other striptease clubs, the dancers aren’t allowed to weigh more than 60 kilograms (132 pounds), and I’m clearly a good bit over that.” This is one of the more heartbreaking stories I’ve heard. Not only is Nicole losing her job, but she says she’s going to have to go on a diet before she can even look for a new one.
Hotel Luxor is closing because sex isn’t lucrative in Hamburg anymore. “These teenagers aren’t our clientele; they just couldn’t afford it,” said Waltraud Mehrer, the establishment’s madam. “The Internet is also a real competitor,” she added. “Many men prefer to download porn and gratify themselves in that way.” Along with the privacy of their own home, men also prefer the peace and quiet of a hotel room along with a call girl, rather than the busy scene of a bordello. [Spiegel Online] Keep reading »