A dream come true: The founding of My Red Light. The first Amsterdam Red Light District sex business run by sex workers
Today is all about the launch of My Red Light, the rst sex business managed solely by sex workers. My Red Light spokesman Richard Bouwman: “The organization was founded, the initial capital has been raised, and we are now renovating the buildings. But more importantly: today we are witnessing a breakthrough in the empowerment of sex workers. It is a dream come true.” My Red Light is expected to open its doors in May 2017. The buildings are located at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 17, 19 and 27 and Boomsteeg 1.
With regards to the empowerment of sex workers, this represents a major step forward. My Red Light, founded by sex workers, offers self-employed entrepreneurs within the prostitution sector the opportunity to rent work spaces at attractive rates and exible terms. On www.myredlight.nl sex workers can not only rent a room, but also inform clients on their availability. In addition, My Red Light provides special facilities, co-designed by sex workers, such as as a wheelchair-accessible entrance, a kinky room and an additional, discreet entrance.
In the presence of the Amsterdam mayor Van der Laan, the venture philanthropy fund Start Foundation, Rabobank and HVO-Querido, My Red Light (fka Eigen Raam) recently addressed this major leap towards independence.
Richard Bouwman: “This form of self-management signi es that My Red Light is aware of what is important to sex workers regarding their work environment. Pro ts made from the rental of all 14 windows will be invested in initiatives that seek to improve the social status of sex workers. In addition, workshops are offered to help sex workers work in a safe and professional way. My Red Light will also be opening a lounge for sex workers, where they can feel at home and experience a pleasant atmosphere.” My Red Light is also open to male sex workers and transgender sex workers. “We want to create a safe and comfortable place for the whole community. My Red Light wants everyone to feel free to take a seat in the Board or to ful ll other management positions. We want to tear down any form of (gender) stereotyping and we are here for everyone who is in this line of work,” explains spokeswoman Dinah Bons. The buildings’ interior design is based on sex workers’ input and is carried out by JanPaul Scholtmeijer of VENS architects.
www.myredlight.nl goes live on September 29th. At this moment, the website already shows My Red Light’s mission statement, additional information for sex workers and for anyone who wishes to learn more. The website will soon be updated with more information.
In the spring of 2016, the municipality of Amsterdam and HVO-Querido presented their research ndings, leading up to the conclusion that a window prostitution business founded and managed by sex workers would indeed have suf cient potential to become successful.
In recent months, sex workers have joined forces in preparation of the start of their new enterprise. The terms and conditions of the rental lease have been negotiated, the Articles of Association have been nalized and the organization is of cially founded. Furthermore, the business strategy has been determined and the buildings are being renovated. My Red Light is currently working on the interior design of all four buildings and the further development of their website.
Now that the prerequisites have been met, My Red Light can of cially open its doors. Venture philanthropy fund Start Foundation has acquired the premises and a lease agreement has been signed for each of the four buildings. The initial capital has been made available by Rabobank, Rabobank Foundation and Start Foundation. Start Foundation’s Jos Verhoeven: “This social investment helps bring about a long-awaited change. Right now, we can make a difference. Our organization fully supports My Red Light’s main ambition to improve the social status of sex workers.” Rabobank Amster- dam and Rabobank Foundation have also shown their con dence in the initiative. The Amsterdam health and social care organisation HVO-Querido will be providing My Red Light with advice and practical support during the establishment process of the self-managed organization.
Notes to the editor:
For more information, please contact My Red Light spokesman Richard Bouwman
T 06 33343783