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Amsterdam’s red-light district is suffering from overtourism

Amsterdam’s once seedy red-light district has become a mainstream tourist attraction in recent years — and the city’s sex workers aren’t happy about it.

Prostitutes who stand in the neon-lit windows in De Wallen say crowds of selfie-snapping tourists who pose for photos in front of them and choke the streets drive away real business.

media_cameraTourists walk in De Wallen, Amsterdam’s Red Light district. Picture: Ap

Gawkers and shutterbugs also put the women at risk of unwanted social media exposure, according to a report by the BBC.

“It’s the biggest free attraction park in the whole of Amsterdam,” said Frits Rouvoet, a bookstore owner in the district who’s friendly with the brothel workers.

“If they want to make a living, they have to stand in the window but there are many, many men coming,” he said.

media_cameraTourists in a carriage taxi pass a prostitute in a window in Amsterdam. Picture: AP

“From England, Scotland, Ireland. Drunk, screaming, trying to take pictures.”

Some prostitutes have put up signs in the their windows of a camera with a red line through it, but it may not be enough.

The city’s first female mayor Femke Halsema is said to be laying out measures to help sex workers escape the snap-happy tourists.

It’s not the only destination struggling with overtourism right now.

In Barcelona, which has a population of 1.6 million residents, frustrated locals are fed-up with the high volume of international travellers — around 32 million people every year.

The Philippine government is considering reducing the number of cruise ships that stop at Boracay in a measure to protect the island’s environment.

And in Venice, locals regularly protest the tourists who clog the city’s streets, drive up prices beyond what Venetians can afford and leave rubbish behind. Experts have predicated the native population could drop to zero in a decade — meaning nobody from Venice will actually live in Venice.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission.

Originally published as Red-light district’s big problem

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