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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Protest Thomas Cook's 'sex tours' in Amsterdam.

Dear Thomas Cook,

I am writing to express my disgust that your company is selling and marketing 'sex tours' for adults and children visiting Amsterdam.

Your literature states that,
Of course, no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a night-time visit to the famous Red Light District. One of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, the narrow, cobbled streets of this quarter fill with hordes of tourists on weekends and holidays. All come to gawk at the surreal display of scantily clad women who pose in the purply-red glow of their black-lit shop windows. Not unlike a bizarre zoo, the Red Light District is an unmissable experience, as attested by the packs of roving young men, couples holding hands, giggling groups of women, and busloads of Japanese tourists toting cameras. Spectacle notwithstanding, real business is done here at a steady pace, and those seeking a slightly more authentic experience should head for the area on a weeknight.

Such tours are not only irresponsible but downright offensive. Of women in prostitution, 50 - 85% experience violence, and more than 80% in the Netherlands are of foreign origin, a number of whom will have been trafficked into the sex trade.

The co-director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women states that "Women are sold as commodities in the Dutch sex industry, and Thomas Cook charges tourists (£12 for adults and £6 for children - under threes go free) to view the 'marketable products' and chuckle at the 'human merchandise'."

The women trapped in prostitution in Amsterdam do not deserve to have coachloads of tourists pointing and laughing at them, and indeed creating an official 'sex tourism' industry will only continue to normalise this abuse of women and make it appear more socially acceptable. Prostitution - in Amsterdam as elsewhere - is in fact violence against women. This is the truth of prostitution.

I am writing to you to request that you please withdraw from these appalling 'family tours' of Amsterdam's Red Light District, and instead focus on your own company's Responsible Business Policy in which you state that
by offering alternative, more virtuous and learning leisure activities, the lives of working people would be greatly improved if they became better educated through travel"
It is disgusting that you are promoting and running tours such as this through Amsterdam's red light district. I hope that you will reconsider and cancel these tours immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Further Information:
The Observer: Red Light Tour condemned as 'sick'
Thomas Cook Amsterdam page
Truth About Rape Thomas Cook page
Contact Thomas Cook.

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thermalsatsuma said...

Not sure what happened to my last comment, but I'll try again. If you are going to have prostitution (and the situation in this country shows that making it illegal does not work) then the Dutch model is the way to go. Licenced and regulated brothels, with health care and police protection for the prostitutes must surely be better and safer for the people involved than seedy massage parlours and street corner soliciting.

The best quote though, was from the dutch guidebook that we got when we went to Amsterdam on holiday this summer : "If you go to visit one of the ladies, please remember that not all of the ladies are ladies" :-)

TP said...

I am stunned that Thomas Cook are offering these tours.

Who thought to market this as a bit of fun! Children go free!

Thomas Cook are wholeheartedly buying into misfortune, slavery and misery (which is more than likely considering many women are trafficed into the sex trade)to make a quick buck.

Thanks for posting about this and for the contact details hippie, I'll be emailing in my two cents worth.

Anonymous said...

I could call myself a hippe too except I was more into the anti-war movement but now this string of articles shames the whole concept. All this talk against prostitution, as far as I am concerned, is just a convergence of the worst aaspects of the religious right and feminism. It is rare to see anything said any more about prostitution unless it is linked to children or trafficking. I have lived in Albania and I know that prostitutes are often deported from neighboring countries. When it happens they claim they were trafficked against their will to get government benefits which only exist to further relations with the US Embassy. Now I live in the Dominican Repoublic and, yes, economic circumstances drive many young single mothers to prostitution. But if it were outlawed overnight as some would like to see these woemn would starve. No other alternative exists, the culture seems to aqccept this, and, frankly, the women behave as if nothing so terrible is happening to them either. Religious screw balls are always happy to make moral demands without regard to outcomes that hurts women and children. The USA is leading attacks against prostitution but many people around the world do not know why American government agencies and NGOs feel so strongly about it. When I was a hippy I was also a liberal. I waas also proud to have a worldy viewpoint. Now I think this Incurable HIppy is a tool of the religious right. Get a grip. Get a real issue to worry about. The concept of trafficking and the huge focus on children is an unjustified attack on prostitution.