Amman is the capital and the largest city of the Kingdom of Jordan, covering an area of 648.7 square miles. One of the turning points in the city was when the Hejaz Railway was built by the Ottoman Sultan. The new transportation system, which started running in 1908, allowed the city to receive more traffic, causing its population to grow. Located in the north-central area with a hilly topography between the desert and the Jordan Valley, Amman is Jordan’s ancient and modern economic, political, and cultural center.
One of the world’s youngest cities, Amman is relatively considered to be one of the most liberal and Westernized Arab cities. The more liberal culture towards the sex industry is attributed to the young population of Jordan, the influx of migrants that led to an increase in population, and Jordan’s pro-Western government. This makes the city a major tourist destination for Arabs and Europeans who wanted to go shopping or clubbing.
The district of Sweifieh is considered to be the unofficial red light district of Amman. Sweifieh has a large land area enough to become a city itself, and is known for its shopping centers and nightlife. It also holds most of the city's adult entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars, strip clubs, and massage parlors. Prostitution may be illegal in Jordan, but if the guest is lucky, negotiating with a sex worker for services in a club is not a criminal offense. In Sweifieh, tourists can shop at the Albaraka Mall and Wakalat Street, known for featuring luxury brands and cafes.
Another red light district in Amman is Jubeiha. Located in Western Amman, it is commonly called "Tallaini Street" which means, "the pick me up street". Sex workers can be found prowling around pretending to wait for a cab until they establish a connection with a possible customer. Even though the residents of Jubeiha recently protested against prostitution in their district, the underground sex industry still remains.
Meanwhile, attractions at the district of Jubeiha take the form of restaurants such as Siveen Restaurant, Candles Restaurant, Shahrazad Nights Café. Jubeiha also houses a University Mall and Jubeiha Amusement City, known as the largest amusement park in the country. Being an elevated area of the city, the district receives thicker snow in the winter and is frequented by Ammanis in the summer to cool off from the heat. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset overlooking the city.
How to Reach the RLD
Due to having a large land area, Amman is not the city to walk around. Jordan’s public transportation is designed mainly for mass movement. The construction of major roads and highways, particularly the Jordan Highway Ring-Road, created the new transportation artery of Jordan. These improvements in infrastructure provided better access to neighboring districts of Amman.
However, bus routes mainly pass through places locals frequently travel to, leaving only a few routes for those who travel independently. This leaves some tourist attractions inaccessible using public transport. Thus, the best way for tourists to go around Amman is via car rental or taxi.
The accessibility and cheap rates of taxis makes it a preferred choice for many expats and foreigners who live in Amman. Yellow taxis are private while white taxis are shared with other people who are picked up along the way. A ride across the town is typically priced at five dollars or less.
Sweifieh, on the other hand, is passed by several bus lines, taxis and soon a subway station. But the majority of the taxis in Sweifieh only pass through regions in the western part of Amman, whereas the bus line has a connecting stop with the Downtown Station.
Amman is considered a safe city because of the law and order upheld by the Jordanian police and the military. Heinous crimes in Amman are very rare except for the previous terrorist attacks that happened more than a decade ago.
Still, some people can fall into petty thievery. It therefore pays to be familiar with crime-infested spots and the methods of which criminals operate. Before ordering food and drinks at a nightclub, it is best to check the menu for the prices to avoid scams. For safety, it is also best to decline a stranger’s invitation to go to an unfamiliar place.
Because the sex industry in Amman is illegal, there are no overt street prostitution, swinger clubs, or strip clubs to be found. One either has to look closely on the streets, pubs, and nightclubs or do their searches for adult entertainment online. Unfortunately, a huge number of sex workers in Jordan are often illegal migrants who are forced into prostitution for economic survival. There are a lot of stories of women being sold by their fathers and husbands for a gainful sum in order to finance their daily needs or to support their families back home.
Some of the nightclubs in Amman are actually brothels where illegal migrants such as Tunisian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Moroccan sex workers offer their services. Prostitution can also be found if you look closer in the streets of Abdoun, Swefieh, Shemisani, and Mecca. For swinger clubs, interested customers can search for individuals online or ask around for people who are interested in partner exchange. No establishment will officially cater to such activity.
Communication with sex workers can be as simple as an eye contact or an approach. The typical rate of sex workers range from $50 for two hours to $200 for an entire night of various sexual performances. Most sex workers prefer to conduct their services at no less than 5-star hotels and whisked off with a car.
For those who cannot afford this premium, Internet pornography has become a viable option. Arguably, pornography facilitates the larger sex industry in Amman. A mere Internet connection also opens opportunity to view and share pornography through various Internet cafes around the city. Similar to prostitution, accessing pornography via the Internet is illegal, and café owners are tasked to monitor the activities of their customers; however, this use of pornography is generally tolerated. Guests who are looking for adult entertainment can look up websites about Amman escorts, swinger clubs, and profiles of LGBT individuals who are interested in sex work.
Although it is one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East, prostitution is still illegal in Amman. Thus, ownership of brothels, prostitution, and pimping are all illegal in the city. Adultery and even consensual sex between unmarried couples is illegal and punishable by a jail term of three years. Meanwhile, foreigners who engage in such activities can be deported.
As such, much of the sex industry, which includes red light districts and prostitution, is driven to the underground economy. Availing of the services of sex workers is usually made by phone negotiations and Internet search. Informal marriages might serve as decoys for prostitution; sometimes, these short-term marriages are also used for sex trafficking.
The Labor Ministry of Jordan reported that the cases of human trafficking increased from 92 in 2013 to 165 in 2014. The 2008 Anti-Human Trafficking Law in Jordan prohibits all forms of trafficking. This law prescribes penalties of 6 months to 10 years’ imprisonment for forced prostitution, child trafficking, and trafficking of women. The penalties for these crimes are severe but not as severe as the penalties prescribed for other serious crimes such as rape. Aside from this, Jordan also ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplemental Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Specific Laws for Gays
Compared to most countries in the Middle East, the rights of the LGBT community in Jordan are considered to be relatively modern. Since 1951, it is legal to have sexual relations with the same sex; however, public display of affection between LGBT couples can be prosecuted for "disrupting public morality". Based on a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, when asked if the society should accept homosexuality, 97% of the people answered no, while only 3% answered yes. LGBT people experience social discrimination more than non-LGBT residents.
Being a city with a large area, Amman cannot be explored in a single day. Tourists, however, can visit the streets around the 1st Circle on Jabal Amman, which contains quaint streets lined with old villas dating from the 1920s. This area has been dedicated to the elite, including royalties, wealthy families, politicians and military men of the previous era. Another destination is the Rainbow Street, where various kinds of cafés, such as espresso bars, organic tea servers, and traditional coffee houses, can be found.
Nightclubs in Amman are often criticized for being expensive, scattered all over the city, and a haven for illegal prostitution. But for those who can afford it, the city offers various places to have fun. In 2011, there were 77 registered nightclubs in Jordan, not including pubs and bars, which are mostly located in the capital city of Amman. Aside from individual nightclubs, hotels are famously known to have nightclubs within their premises.
One of the famous nightclubs is the Abdoun Circle, which maintains a “couples only” policy, disallowing men who come in unescorted. Jabal Amman and Jabal al-Weibdeh, on the other hand, are the destination for happy hour drinking at pubs and bars. In these nightclubs, you can often find scantily-clad waitresses that pique the interests of both foreigners and locals.
Other nightclubs in Amman are the following:
Jordan is one of the few countries in the Middle East—along with Bahrain, Iraq, and Israel—where homosexuality is legal.
However, sexual orientation and gender identity remain to be a taboo topic in Jordan because of the conservative local culture and religion. People who belong in the LGBT face social discrimination not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality is restricted to private practice involving consenting adults and makes no provision for homosexual prostitution or even recognition of same-sex civil unions and marriages. Displaying public affection among homosexuals can also be punished for “disputing public morality”.
Sex Clubs for Gays
LGBT individuals in Amman commonly connect in bathhouses, spas, hammam (Turkish baths), gyms, and hotels found within the city. The crowds in these locations are usually younger ones who cruise along each other until a mutual connection has been made.
Here are just some of the places to find more LGBT individuals:
Dance Clubs for Gays
Jordan tolerates a few cafes located in Amman which are considered to be gay-friendly. But technically, there are no specific clubs in order to avail the service of gay or transsexual sex workers. Guests looking for gay escorts can simply do an online search to find potential sex workers.
Some dance clubs that are considered gay-friendly are the following: