Prostitution in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) is legal. I bet you had no idea. I got this piece of entertaining information from a friend of mine, who I'm sure wishes to remain unnamed. Although, where she had the opportunity to learn such things I can't even imagine. Its not exactly part of what we did in World History and Geography. I verified this off the net anyway, so I know she wasn't just playing with a guy's dreams.
So its true. You might think that prostitution nearly everywhere now is legal anyway, so whats the big deal. But thats not the case. Its outlawed in all but 2 US states, and even in those 2 free-willy places you're not allowed to, technically speaking, "live off the avails". This means, you can do it and then ask for the money, but you must have another proper job too. You cannot just go around doing it to earn cash. You must have the decency to also work in a mall or pub or bar. In most other liberal countries, prostitution is okie-dokie but pimping and brothel-running is not. This not only prevents exploitation, but also provides a healthy impetus to the business of small motels and guest-houses. Smart.
Amsterdam does not believe in all these small legalities. They've gone the full monty and prostitution is right up there with running a nursery or insurance agency. Makes you wonder what the place is like. The 'business' is also allowed advertising rights, so you can put up billboards of yourself too. Since its a legal enterprise, these enterprising young professionals also have to pay taxes. In exchange for taxes, they receive health care benefits and social security and (believe it or not!) pensions. Netherlands can give social security to prostitutes, and India's hardworking, rickshaw-pulling, God-fearing, dupatta-wearing masses get what we have learnt to call thenga a.k.a nothing.
Hmm....if Amsterdam's hardworking prossies pay taxes, that means they must have to keep a proper account of their income over the months and the year. How do they do that? They take cash I suppose. And then get down to work. Afterwards, do they get you to sign a receipt - a bill of service?
"I hereby acknowledge that I have cheated on my wife with this woman and am paying her 150 euros for her services rendered. She did not agree to some of the other acts I had in mind, so I might not come back again, but that's not the point. Forget that sentence. Leave it at services rendered. Signed, Sir Mick Jagger [or whatever]"
No business whose base is in providing pleasure to clients can exist without feedback. So if this is a professionally-run business, they must have a customer-rapport service. Since a guy can never have enough of such things, I suppose a Dutch brothel-owner would work towards establishing customer-retention. (You cannot lose clients to the Van-Whores' next door!) Red-Light-Cards for customers, so that you can add up points and use them in bartering other goodies. 300 points for polka-dotted condoms; 500 points for Vibrator-3000 and so on. What about a season's discount during Christmas? Unless the prostitutes' job scheme also involves paid vacations, this could help in attracting tourists. In India you only have "ek toothpaste ke saath toothbrush free", but Amsterdam has such enormous potential of special offers in their business.
By legalizing prostitution in the year 2000, the Dutch government (besides welcoming in the new millenium in their own unique way) had aimed to clamp down on exploitation of sex workers and under-age forced sex. But even now, as my Wikipedia says, over 7% of the young bona fide entrepreneurs are infected with HIV/AIDS. Red light areas are flaring up in several Dutch districts. One of the more impressive ones, is called Hardebollenstraat (nice name na?) and its coup de grace is the over hundred canal boats it has on offer in the form of working quarters. The government is earning money off it, the prostitutes are happy and no one is complaining much. I guess the Dutch have the right to enjoy themselves while they can, seeing as the country itself is sinking below sea level steadily every year.