The Amsterdam Red Light District covers a large area of the oldest part of the city. Dating back to the 14th century, this famous neighborhood has always been a major tourist attraction. However, the district is a magnet for petty criminals and, according to the authorities, for human traffickers, drug lords and mobsters involved in money-laundering activities. In 2007, the Amsterdam City Council started a clean-up action of the area and managed to close down a large chunk of the prostitutes’ windows through the forced sale of about a third of the buildings used for prostitution. Many of the shut down windows have been transformed into art spaces and fashion ateliers. Most of them have been made available to young Dutch designers, as part of a project known as Red Light Fashion.The initiative has raised a controversial debate. Local owners of sex-related businesses are outraged; petitions have been signed and thousands of protesters marched through the city. Critics fear that an Amsterdam without a Red Light District will result in fewer tourists coming to the city. Some state that the action against the District is part of a larger conservative political trend. Many opposers also accuse the City Council of not being honest in its intentions of fighting local crime and question its premise that prostitution leads to criminal activities in the area. According to them, the city just wants to gentrify the neighborhood and create up-scale businesses in the area, supporting its own economical interests.The short documentary gives voice to both sides of the debate, while exploring the controversial issue of legalized prostitution in The Netherlands.

Written and Directed by Zoe D’Amaro
Cinematography by PJ van der Burg
Edited by Marco Della Coletta
Producer Amber Bordewijk
Produced by Godmother Films for HD NET (U.S.A.)
Music by Yvo Sprey & Supercity, Fabio Galeazzi, Pablo Fagundez, Valentin von Lindenau