Blue Light Specials In Red Light District
The recession is hurting Amsterdam's prostitutes so bady that they have been forced to discount themselves like they were mini Wal-Marts:
Eva, a 25-year-old prostitute in Amsterdam's red-light district, gestures angrily in the direction of a rival who has slashed her rates as the economic crisis emboldens sex tourists to haggle.They haven't been helped by the fact that Amsterdam has been busily trying to destroy its own tourism industry:
"People like her make it very difficult for the rest of us," scowled the tall, blonde Estonian in skimpy black-and-white lingerie as she dragged on a cigarette while posing for men passing the window in which she offers herself.
"Some of the girls are now doing it for 30 euros (A$70). My price is still 50 euros, but the men are playing us off against each other. Some want to pay only 20 euros," she said.
Eva is not the only one complaining.
As the credit crunch keeps away sightseers and business travellers, owners of brothels, escort agencies and sex shops grumble that visitors who still do indulge in the pleasures of the flesh are increasingly tight-fisted.
Last December, Amsterdam's city officials announced plans to halve the total 482 prostitutes' windows in the centre in a multi-million-euro revamp that would also involve shuttering many cannabis-vending coffee shops, another tourist drawcard.
Officials claim the two vices, in themselves not illegal, attract elements of organised crime. But observers have pointed to a growing Dutch conservatism.