Jane Lasonder, "Red Alert: The Inside Story of Prostitution and Human Trafficking" (Scholten Uitgeverij BV, 2016)


We love the tradition of the Amsterdam red light district, where many women stand in the windows in their underwear. Busloads of tourists and school children come by every day to look at them. In the Netherlands, where it has been taken out of the dark and made legal, we can even be proud of this age old profession. It is legal, so it must be okay, right?

In England, Israel and other countries, we see the street prostitutes standing alongside the road in skimpy clothes, waiting for customers. We often walk by indifferent to their situation, thinking it is their own choice.

Of course, we must realize that behind the scenes the reality is different? Red Alert: The Inside Story of Prostitution and Human Trafficking (Scholten Uitgeverij BV, 2016) takes you undercover into the world of prostitution. Not the outside story of how we think it is, but the inside story, told by the prostitutes from the streets and behind the windows, the windows where many people walk past giggling and pointing, blind to the bitter reality.

After seeing a group of school children walking past the red light windows in Amsterdam, laughing and making fun of the women, and seeing the ashamed and broken look in the women's eyes, Jane Lasonder decided that this book must be written. To give a voice to the voiceless. To open our eyes and our hearts.

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Ari Barbalat

Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.

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