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