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BBC News article on nursery in Red Light District

(7 Posts)
Supermansmartersister Thu 30-Nov-17 12:07:03

I've just read an article on the BBC News website about a Nursery in the middle of Amsterdam's red light district.

The theme of the report seems to be that the presence of the nursery is helping locals to live in the city and that the nursery and brothels can co-exist. Comments in the article include 1) That tourists seem shocked that there is a nursery next to a brothel 2) That the women in the brothels are pleasant to the children and that children have questions about what they are doing that they leave for parents to explain (the article explains that the brothel opening hours and nursery opening hours overlap significantly and 3) That staff 'take some time to adjust' to their commute to work through the redlight district.

My reading of the article is that it is being suggested as a good thing that young children and nursery workers become used to seeing the women's bodies for sale as an everyday thing. There are comments about how the children and staff don't judge the women in the brothels and how tourists feel about seeing children in the area. Why no comments about whether anyone judges the -arseholes-- men who pay for sex or how locals feel that women are being raped for money where they live? Why no comments about how women working in the nursery feel about walking past men who clearly see women as objects for their amusement?

Although the article does not specifically state a value judgement the implication seemed to me that it was a good thing that children are growing up to see the sale of women as part of everyday life. Am I overthinking?

(BTW I am not suggesting that the nursery or parents who use it are wrong for being there but that it is depressing that the article does not question whether a red light area should be part of the tourist industry at all)

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 30-Nov-17 12:52:54

I used to walk to school through an area with a lot of sex workers. Thank goodness we had a sex ed. teacher who spoke to us about the women. Essentially the message was that we were not to judge and that there were reasons they did the work they did. I think even at 11/12 I was aware of trafficking and coercion. He was very strict and we understood that any jokes or meanness was not going to be tolerated. As a result the behaviour of us children was polite. They were our neighbours.

There was an undercurrent of sexual harassment from the men, though. Many mums, including mine, had issues with them, never with the women, who were always friendly. Having the sex work there definitely made the area less safe, but not because of the women.

Normalizing men buying women's bodies seems to be accepted now. I wonder what messages the children are getting at home about this.

Supermansmartersister Thu 30-Nov-17 13:26:00

That's really interesting MrsTerryPratchett.

As you say, I think it's the men who pay for sex who are the issue here and the normalising of it. It has angered me that in an article that discusses changes being made to the city to try to make it better for local people (and not just a tourist destination) and talks about the views of various people on the idea of having children near to brothels there is no mention at all of the men who use brothels or whether this is something that the local people would want to change. Not to mention the fact that absolutely no mention is made of the welfare of the women in the brothels.

MrGHardy Thu 30-Nov-17 14:35:57

Amsterdam red light district is ...unnerving, especially the windows. Maybe those kids are more open and learn to accept this and feel comfortable and won't judge the women. But if they learn it to be something normal will they fail to see how wrong it is? How can normal be wrong?

Supermansmartersister Thu 30-Nov-17 17:07:06

I think that's why I feel uncomfortable about this article- it makes the point that the children are not judgemental of the women but does not mention what they are learning about how women are treated in society. The fact that an article about prostitution in society fails to address any aspect of how the women feel and the impact on women in general of normalising this. I'm not suggesting that we should teach children that these are bad women but that we should talk about why the men who use them are wrong and the objectification of women in general.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 30-Nov-17 17:10:35

It's hard for children this age because they tend to be more black and white. Tough to teach; it's wrong but they aren't wrong. And trafficking is terrifying to small children so you don't want to have that conversation.

Terrylene Thu 30-Nov-17 17:21:02

The Ould Kirk (sp?) is in the middle of the red light district. It has a café which sells soup made by women who have been trafficked and are finding a way out of prostitution. I had an enormous stroopwafel there grin.

It is a surreal place - life goes on as normal around it.

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