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Red-light district


A red-light district is a neighborhood or a part of a neighborhood where businesses connected to the sex industry (sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters etc) exist. In some red light districts prostitution may legally take place; other red light districts are known for their illegal prostitution scene. The term "red-light district" was first recorded in the United States in 1894, in an article in The Milwaukee Sentinel, a newspaper in Milwaukeemarker, Wisconsinmarker. Other mentions from the 1890s are numerous, and located all over the United States.

The origin of the "red light" term is considered to be 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) or the red paper lanterns (which were thought to be sensual) that were hung outside brothels in ancient Chinamarker to identify them as such. The color red has been associated with prostitution for millennia; in the Biblical story of Rahab, a prostitute in Jerichomarker, aided the spies of Joshua and identified her house with a scarlet rope, which saved her household from the massacre that a successfully besieged city usually suffered. During World War I, there were many brothels in Belgiummarker and Francemarker; blue lights were used to indicate brothels for officers, red lights for other ranks.

One of the many terms used for a red-light district in Japanese is , literally meaning "red-line", apparently of independent origins from the same term in English. Japanese police drew a red line on maps to indicate the boundaries of legal red-light districts. In Japanese, the term , literally meaning "blue-line", for a non-legal district, also exists.

In the United States the term sporting district became popular for legal red-light districts during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Such districts were typically defined explictly by municipal governments to contain and regulate prostitution within cities.

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