Red-Light District, Amsterdam
This photo was taken in the red-light district in Amsterdam. The term "red-light district" was first recorded in the United States in 1894, in an article in The Sentinel newspaper. Other mentions from the 1890s are numerous, and located all over the United States. Some say the origin of the red light comes from the red lanterns carried by railway workers, which were left outside brothels when the workers entered, so that they could be quickly located for any needed train movement. Others speculate that the origin comes from the red paper lanterns that were hung outside brothels in ancient China to identify them as such. It was said that the lights were thought to be sensual. The color red has been associated with prostitution for millennia: in the Biblical story of Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho aided the spies of Joshua and identified her house with a scarlet rope. During World War I there were many brothels in Beligium and France; blue lights were used to indicate brothels for officers, red lights for other ranks.