Sanne Derks

Covid-19 - When the Ladies of Love Left
Location: Arnhem, The Netherlands
Nationality: Dutch
Biography: Sanne Derks is a Dutch freelance photojournalist and anthropologist, mainly focused on social documentary projects in Latin America. She is a member of Women Photograph. Her work is published in international media such as The Guardian, El... read on
Public Story
Covid-19 - When the Ladies of Love Left
Credits: sanne derks
Updated: 05/12/20
Location: Amsterdam
Mariska (a pseudonym) fears what will happen with her little savings now COVID19 rages on. It has already been weeks since the Dutch Outbreak Management Team has prohibited the so-called "contact professions", and she and her colleagues have been at home ever since. "Some ladies will suffer unbearably", she says. Many sexworkers she knows work illegally behind the famous red light windows and will not be able to access social emergency care. "They will be on the street before you know it". Others, she says, continue to work out of pure necessity, risking their own and their families' health.  
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has a severe impact on the daily life of Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District. There is no area in the Netherlands where the measures to prevent the disease from spreading have created such a large contrast with the daily status-quo than at ‘de Wallen’, as the area of brothels, coffeeshops and sex workers is called. The streets are empty -- tourists, customers that usually brought much needed money, have long gone. This photo story tells the story of the ladies of love and explores their fears, uncertainity and what actually happend when the red curtains closed.  

Story initiated with Ingrid Gercama, Dutch prize winning journalist and anthropologist.

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