Redlight District Amsterdam Closing?

Drinking, Gambling and prostitution are the three activities which have been in existence since time immemorial.

The more people try to clean up the more they spring up.

Hitler was the one who was close to being successful in his effort to close down prostitution in The Third Third Reich.

But the crime levels increased, though the information is suppressed(refer Rise and Fall of The Third Reich by William L.Shirer).

These activities though harmful to the individual , ensure an out let is provided for basic Human drives and keep people away from indulging in other anti-social activities.

The Famous/Notorious Amsterdam District of Amsterdam is likely to close down/laws to be made stringent.

Will this be successful?

What will be the impact on the Society?

Only Time can decide.

Hotel in Amsterdam District.
Hotel in Amsterdam Red light District.

‘A decade ago, the government in the Netherlands legalised prostitution in an effort to cut human trafficking and organised crime.

But it seems their efforts have had the opposite effect. Amsterdam’s mayor says the red light district has turned into a hub for human traffickers exploiting the country’s liberal approach to selling sex.

This summer the Dutch government is expected to tighten the prostitution laws, and in the meantime Amsterdam is trying to clean up the red light district – cutting the number of brothels and replacing them with new business ventures.’

Position of Prostitutes in Kautilya; Artha Sastra.

‘A third type of the Kautilyan woman was the ganika or the prostitute. Ganikas were present even at the time of the Ramayana. [19] The Arthashastra mentioned three types of ganikas: [20](1) the ganika who practised within a state-controlled establishment, (2) the rupajiva or an independent woman who could practise prostitution outside the sphere of state-owned establishments or in establishments in which government intervention was minimal and (3) thepumsachali or the concubine. The purpose of the ganika was solely utilitarian. Prostitution was a state-endorsed activity, and it generated revenues for the state. The prostitute, usually the madam or the head of a brothel and her deputy were given lump sums by the state to establish brothels and to buy jewellery, furniture, etc. The madams were accountable to the Chief Controller of Entertainers. They ensured that the prostitute’s net income was not reduced by her extravagances. [21] Independent prostitutes were not given lump sums as they were not subject to state supervision. Nonetheless, like the dependent prostitute, the independent one also paid one-sixth of her income as tax to the state. [22] In times of financial trouble for the state, she had to pay extra revenue to the state and the independent ones were obliged to pay half of their income as tax. [23] It was clear that the prostitute’s income was a stable source of state revenue and to generate it, the state encouraged prostitution by direct methods. The courtesan had to possess a wide range of accomplishments ranging from speaking as is evident in the Ramayana[24] to painting to love-making. [25] In order to enable the courtesans to acquire these skills, the state bore their training expenses, for instance, by enabling them to buy musical instruments. [26]

The prostitute was more skilled and accomplished than the average housewife. In the ways of theworld, she would be equally intellectual as any man. It would therefore be natural that men would have found greater enjoyment from the prostitute than from the wife. The provision of state expenditure to train prostitutes in all arts bore testimony to the encouragement of the state to men to visit brothels. Yet, the duplicity of the state was evident when it did not grant the heir of a prostitute a legal status. Her son was barred from inheriting his father’s property. Instead, to ensure a legal male heir by one’s wife Kautilya’s state imposed fines on married couples for failing to fulfil their conjugal duty to procreate. The fine was two times higher for the husband. [27] Since the prostitute’s son did not inherit anything from his father, it meant that the prostitute worked as hard as she could to ensure she left adequate means of provision for her children after a substantial amount of her income was taken away in the form of the taxes.

To avoid her total exploitation, the Arthashastra granted the prostitute some legal projection. For example, the rape of a prostitute was regarded as a crime. Twelve panas were imposed for raping a prostitute and twenty-four panas for each offender in a gang rape. [28] Yet, the legal loophole was that the rape of a prostitute was difficult to prove. On the other hand, the benefit of the rape law was that it took account of the physical suffering of a gang rape – be it of a prostitute – and granted her compensation. Whether the law could be exercised in practice for ensuring justice for the ganika remained a matter of conjecture.

Since the skilled prostitute earned revenue for the state, her ransom price releasing her from service to the state was also high. It would require twenty-four thousand panas to buy off the madam of a brothel as a personal concubine. The price was the second highest salary paid only to the five top officials of the state. [29] The madam was more than a common prostitute. In fact, she was a manager. Losing the madam to personal ownership meant that she was lost from the pool of skilled workers in the economy. Hence, her handover to individuals required a high ransom. It induced no change in the essential condition of the madam. Her ownership was transferred from the state to the individual.

Yet, the state recognized her skills by granting the madam a salary of upto three thousand panas if she became the king’s attendant. [30] The state therefore granted her the equivalent status of the personal advisers of the king and other attendants of high rank, such as the physician or the court poet who were paid the same salary. [31] The penalty for killing a madam was three times her release price because her death closed the ways of the state to make profit. On the other hand, the killing of a common prostitute incurred lower punishment because an ordinary prostitute possessed fewer skills than the madam did. [32] However, even the common prostitute was granted certain legal rights which would protect  her. She was protected from cheating, robbery, abduction, confinement or disfigurement. Moreover, there was special legal care to protect the virginity   of a prostitute’s daughter. A man had to pay a fine that was sixteen times  higher than the fee of a visit to a prostitute if he deflowered her daughter by choice or by force’.



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