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Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

The Netherlands: Sexuality and Gender Identity


This report is the outcome of a month-long exploratory study on the ways in which a space influences the experiences of the sex workers operating within it, using the Red Light District in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as the site of focus. Data was obtained by way of qualitative methods including focused interviews and unstructured observation and analyzed with a pro-prostitute perspective and within various spatial theoretical frameworks. It is concluded that while the clustering and visibility of sex workers in the Red Light District results in a certain standardization of practice and experience, the independent nature of window sex work allows the women to reshape these norms according to personal style. Recommendations for potential future studies include similar spatial approaches to other forms of sex work, an exploration of newly emerging sexualized spaces, and an examination of current government efforts to limit the amount of sex work occuring in the Red Light District.


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