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File:Red-light district of Amsterdam by day. 2012.JPG

De Wallen, Amsterdam's red-light district, offers activities such as legal prostitution and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. It is one of the main tourist attractions.

A red-light district or pleasure district is a part of an urban area where a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, and adult theaters, are found. Areas in many big cities around the world have acquired an international reputation as red-light districts.[1]

The term red-light district originates from the red lights that were used as signs for brothels.[2]

Origins of term[]

File:Sex worker statue Oudekerksplein Amsterdam.jpg

Statue in honor of sex workers in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Red-light districts are mentioned in the 1882 minutes of a Woman's Christian Temperance Union meeting in the United States.[3] The Oxford English Dictionary records the earliest known appearance of the term "red light district" in print as an 1894 article from the Sandusky Register, a newspaper in Sandusky, Ohio[2]

Author Paul Wellman suggests that this and other terms associated with the American Old West originated in Dodge City, Kansas, home to a well-known prostitution district during the 19th century, which included the Red Light House saloon.[4] This has not been proven, but the Dodge City use was likely responsible for the term becoming pervasive.[5] A widespread folk etymology claims that early railroad workers took red lanterns with them when they visited brothels so their crew could find them in the event of an emergency. However, folklorist Barbara Mikkelson regards this as unfounded.[6]

One of the many terms used for a red-light district in Japanese is Template:Nihongo, literally meaning "red-line". (This has independent origins from the same term in English.) Japanese police drew a red line on maps to indicate the boundaries of legal red-light districts. In Japanese, the term Template:Nihongo, literally meaning "blue-line", also exists, indicating an illegal district.

In the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the term "sporting district" became popular for legal red-light districts. Municipal governments typically defined such districts explicitly to contain and regulate prostitution.[7]

Legal issues[]

Some red-light districts (such as De Wallen, Netherlands, or Reeperbahn, Germany) are places which are officially designated by authorities for legal and regulated prostitution.[1] Often, these red-light districts were formed by authorities to help regulate prostitution and other related activities, such that they were confined to a single area.[8]

Some red-light districts (such as those in The Hague)[9] are under video surveillance. This can help counter illegal forms of prostitution (such as child prostitution), in these areas that do allow regular prostitution to occur.

File:Prostitution laws of the world2.svg

Legality of prostitutionTemplate:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend

Image gallery[]

See also[]

  • List of red-light districts
  • Prostitution by region

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite web
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite journalTemplate:Dead link
  3. Template:Cite book
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  6. Template:Cite web
  7. Template:Cite book
  8. Template:Cite web
  9. Template:Cite web

External links[]

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