Nowadays there are bank cards and credit cards, and when you’re about to have a good time in the Red Light District, you go to a cash machine, take out €200 or so, and you do your thing. You will not take your own car, because of the many traffic surveillances and alcohol tests, and because of the huge parking fees in the city, so you take the tram or the train.
Before the late 1970s, when cash machines didn’t exist, many payments were done in cash. A second hand car trader would carry his profits of the day with him, as would the cattle trader who just sold his cattle on the market. A sailor who had worked for a shipping company for 9 months in a row, would go to the office and collect his money, in cash.
When these people came to the Red Light District to celebrate, they were welcome victims to certain prostitutes, especially if they were quite pissed. I know prostitutes whose pimps were lying under the bed all evening, waiting for such a victim to come in.
Once the loaded punter was inside, she would ask him to take his clothes off, or undress him herself, after which the clothes were dropped near the bed. While the punter was on the bed with the prostitute, doing his thing, the pimp underneath the bed would go through his clothes and take the money, leaving enough money in the wallet so the punter wouldn’t notice the theft at first sight.
However, if he would notice it and start to complain, the pimp would emerge from under the bed and persuade the punter to leave, saying that he had probably been robbed in another place. And if the punter would go to the police to report the theft (most of them didn’t, as they were afraid of the consequences if the incident became publicly known), the prostitute and the pimp would tell them the same story. “It wasn’t us, it must have happened elsewhere.” Very seldom they were prosecuted.
Times have changed. Besides a Prostitutes Union, you will also find a Prostitutes’ clients union in Amsterdam, and both parties are frequently cooperating to make things better for prostitutes and their clients.