How much is that lady in the window?

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Amsterdam brothels are those places where women pose in windows, so men (or women) can simply window- shop for women they want to have sex with. Having lived in the Netherlands for two years, I had been to those brothels many times, seen the women in all their grandeur, admired those with Coca-Cola figures and silently booed the grannies. I was not there for sex tripping, by the way. The locations of these legalized Amsterdam sex arenas, popularly known as “Amsterdam red light districts,” are strategically set up so that whenever I had to go to the mall to shop, I would never miss to pass by them. They are everywhere.

It is like your regular window shopping on the sidewalk. However, instead of mannequins in fashion wear that are being displayed behind the clear glass windows, half-naked girls and fat old grannies in varied skin colors stand or sit (they do whatever they like) on small chairs with desire to ensnare locals and snooping foreigners for some “short times.”

It was not allowed to stop and stare, but you can take a quick look, of course. If you are interested when flawless girls wink at you while licking their lips and touching their private parts, just enter a small door. Once the window curtain is closed, then you are on your way to fulfilling your sexual urges. Just don’t forget to pay.

Prostitution in the Netherlands has been legal since 2000. Ergo, you have nothing to worry about for renting a “lady” by the window. Be concerned about your health, however. The girls may have health permits, but you’ll never know how many sick men they’ve had before you that very day.

Last weekend, Amsterdam unveiled plans to shut down half of its famed brothels as part of the major cleanup of its ancient city center. The Dutch legalized these brothels, initially, as a solution to the myriad problems associated with the sex industry. They were wrong. Lately, they noticed that legalization had been a failure. Exploitation and abuse of women in the sex industry continue to increase. In 2007, Dutch Ministers came back clear that the dilemmas of illegality and abuse are not solved by legalization.

Part of the cleanup is to reduce the number of businesses related to sex trading, including peep shows, sex theaters, sex shops, mini supermarkets, massage parlors and souvenir shops. By the way, the Dutch are good at naming places. For instance, “smart shops” are those that sell herbal treatments and “coffee shops” are places where marijuana is sold openly. When you hear “mini supermarkets,” it does not relate to a mini Wal-Mart.

For the prostitutes who may lose their jobs as a result of the plan, Dutch officials will “bail them out” and help them find other work.

Most likely, they will be relocated to the proper sex trade center. When the plan is implemented, prostitution will be allowed in only two areas, of which one has been a center of prostitution since before the city’s golden shipping age in the 1600s.

Now, it can be said that legalization of prostitution has been far from being successful in defending women’s health and safety. There is good evidence that it has failed to stop the illegal sex trade. What is your idea about legalizing prostitution in your country?