Monday, October 10, 2005

Slave trade on de Wallen

Back to index

also read:A top attraction build on oppression
The prostitution cycle
Strong victims

Sorry guys, but I've made a beautiful translation from Dutch into English of an article by Ruth Hopkins about human trafficking on de Wallen. Well, it’s seems that miss Hopkins doesn’t really appreciate this. I’m working on a description of the article without violating copyrights.

This is the Dutch source of the article:
click here

And you might use this translation-tool to create a mock translation of this link:
http://world.altavista.com/

Hmmmm, maybe that "fair use"-policy thing of mine is not such a bad thing after all!!!! I simply leave out the less important stuff!! But, the only thing I hope when you read the extracts that if you ever believed that because prostitution is legal in the Netherlands that everything should be okay, well..... it's not. What you'll read now are excerpts of this article.

By the way, the two anonymous policemen are Mos Florie and Nico Sukel, see the article "Clara Meijer-Wichmann Penning 2006 voor twee Amsterdamse politieagenten: de brigadiers Mos Florie en Nico Sukel" on the website of the liga voor de rechten van de mens.

Slave trade on de Wallen
NRC Handelsblad of October 1, 2005, page 14

The Amsterdam police are powerless against loverboysBY RUTH HOPKINS

The lifting of the ban on brothels should have pulled prostitution out of the criminal domain. But human trafficking is booming on de Wallen of Amsterdam. Vice inspectors of the police station on the Beursstraat are complaining that nothing is happening to stop this. The police, bound by performance-contracts, are only allowed to ‘rout’ human traffickers.

‘We can’t cope anymore with the daily confrontation with women who are factually being raped.’
The names of criminals, window-landlords and prostitutes are fictitious in this article because of safety reasons. Also the cited cops don’t want their real names in this paper, because they have been threatened (to be killed) by the criminals who are involved in human trafficking.

‘We are in the middle of modern slavery!’ Ron, vice inspector of de Wallen of Amsterdam raises his hands in the air and than drops them again. He has worked for years in the prostitution-centre of Amsterdam. You would expect that since the legalisation of prostitution this notorious area would have been safeguarded against exploitation and violence. But on the police station on the Beursstraat, just adjacent to de Wallen-area, Ron and his colleague Hans are telling what they encounter everyday: girls who are covered with bruises, or who have boy-names tattooed on their breasts and pimps who violently defend their territories. They believe the police is doing far too little to end forced prostitution and all it’s excesses.

(...)

Puma and Lion
(...)

Hans taps on a window. The woman behind the window is laughing to him. Barbera is Dutch and has long brown hair. Before he is inside the window-brothel the woman is starting to chatter. ‘Come in, I was waiting for you. He has been here, he has demolished my cabinet.’ Barbera is pointing to a small cabinet adjacent to the washbasin. The little door (on the cabinet) is crooked. She has large friendly eyes. Hans takes his notebook. ‘Who are you talking about’, he asks her. ‘I have already reported the crime, didn’t you know? My Moroccan ex-boyfriend dropped by a couple of weeks ago. Once he was my loverboy. He wanted money. He forced open the door of my cabinet searching for my wallet. I tried to stop him. He grabbed me by the throat and tried to strangle me. They know of this at the police station on the Beursstraat, I have reported the crime and they have taken pictures.’ She looks at Hans while she is talking and how he is writing down her words. [the girl says:]‘Working here is becoming more and more dangerous. Those pimps, they are hanging around all evening and during the night. Their nicknames are Puma and Lion. During my shifts I can hear screams throughout the walls. But the women won’t admit it very quickly, they are too scared.’ Hans notes down all she is saying and checks her passport. ‘Can you check what has happened with my report?”, shouts Barbera when he leaves.

‘What can I answer to that?’ Hans enters the Behtlehemsteeg again. At the exit a couple of guys are hanging around with golden rings and chain. They are looking at him for a short while when Hans walks by.

On the police station at the Beursstraat it’s a coming and going of police officers. Hans sits down behind a computer and types in Barbera’s name. She indeed reported a crime of maltreatment on September 16 2004. The officer on duty took pictures of her wounds. ‘The report has been passed through to the Youth and Vice department. But the chance they do something with it is nil.’, sighs Hans. What will happen to Barbera and her report. ‘Nothing.’

6-hour-casesVice inspectors don’t have the authorization to start an investigation. Only specifically trained officers for that task are allowed to gather reports of these women. The police station on the Beursstraat is only allowed to handle 6-hour-cases and vice-cases are usually too labour-intensive. The ‘officer on the streets’ should observe and report human trafficking, usually to the detectives of the Youth and Vice-team.

‘I see them a lot: young girls who work under bad circumstances’, Hans is saying. ‘There was a girl working here, her name was Lisa. She looked very bad, pale and skinny. I started to have a chat with her. She said she was fine, nothing wrong. I asked her girlfriends. She was taking pills and threw up blood, they told. I tried to connect with her. She told me she wanted to stop prostituting herself, she was fed up with it. I said to her: you know were the police station is, you can always step by.”

But Lisa never came. A while later she was brought to the hospital in a coma. 5 days later she was dead. Two weeks before her nineteenth birthday. Hans’ face darkens. ‘When these things happen I want to find another job. This is going nowhere, we can’t do anything. Youth and Vice is not picking up on these cases.’

(...)

‘Everywhere in the Netherlands reports are collecting dust, sometimes here too’, says Ron at his desk on the second floor of the police station on the Beursstraat. He slaps with his hands on a pile of paper. ‘Look, they go straight into in the drawer.’

(...)

LisaHans is convinced that Lisa was a victim of loverboys and that they were responsible for her death. Her pimp was named Lion named after the Lion tattooed in his neck. But there were more guys circling around her. One of them was a seventeen-year-old well-known Dutch rapper.
Hans gathered statements from the girlfriends who worked together with Lisa, her window-landlady and he visited her mother in Amersfoort. ‘I advised her mother to report the crime in Amersfoort and at the Youth and Vice-police in Amsterdam, because of compulsion and exploitation done by loverboys and also because of murder,’ Hans tried to convince his boss to start an investigation. But nobody wanted to.’

(...)

‘Lisa was a difficult adolescent’, says her mother. ‘She was on the vmbo [high-school] and played truant, was blowing dope, drank and smoked. When a boy liked her, she went straight immediately.’ At home things got out of hand. When Lisa was seventeen, she was raped by her cousin who turned her out on the streets of Utrecht. Despite Lisa being a crown-witness in this case she did not leave prostitution.

Following the advise of Hans Lisa’s mother informed the police of Amersfoort. They saw no cause for an investigation. She also drew a blank at the Youth and Vice-police in Amsterdam. ‘They said Lisa died of a natural cause of death. End of story.’

(...)

For the police, the judiciary and for aid-workers it is very difficult to drive a wedge between the girl and her loverboy, because she is emotionally attached to him and despite the heavy maltreatments she maintains that she loves him.

The Turks and the GermansOn de Wallen there are two groups of pimps, the loverboys and a group known as ‘the Turks’. The last group is compromised of Dutch and German Turks and their accomplices. In the year 2002 another group joined the Turks. It were Germans from Berlin with crewcuts and bare-shaven heads, which yielded them skinheads as a nickname.

(...)

The Turkish group is led by the two brothers Dürdan and their cousin Serdar. In 1998 the two brothers from Instanbul and Serdar from Dortmund settled down in Amsterdam. At first they stayed in Hotel Mevlana at the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal for a while with two women who worked for them as prostitutes. They brought more and more women to Amsterdam. Eight pimps and a varying group of accomplices, errand boys and ‘patrons’ showed themselves regularly on de Wallen.

(...)

Errand boys‘What’s your name?’ Ron is almost standing against the belly of the errand boy of the Dürdan-group. He looks at him with his eyes fixed. The boy mumbles. ‘Mehmet’. He’s a fat boy with a brightly-coloured jacket and sunglasses on his head. Mehmet is leaning against the wall of a café together with another boy. Earlier that night we saw him walking passed the windows. Every now and then he took something from the women.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Nothing, you can see that, we are waiting for a friend.’
Ron checks his documents. They’re okay. He walks further. Hans and Ron go inside in one of the windows Mehmet stopped by earlier. A tall slim girl stands in lace underwear before [actually behind] the window. She looks like she’s sixteen years old. Hans asks her to show her passport. ‘Where do you come from?’[in Dutch] The girl looks at him with an incomprehensible look on her face. ‘When did you arrive in Amsterdam?’[in Dutch] Again a helpless look on her face. ‘When did you arrive?’[in English] ‘Wann sind Sie angekommen?’ [in German] The girl starts to panic, she flees out of her window and comes back with the other woman who stood behind a window. In a couple of words of German she explains they both come from Slovakia. The girl has just turned 19. All documents are okay: the registration into the Chamber of commerce, certificates, residence permits. In a corner of the window she bites on her nails and watches her girlfriend struggling with the questions asked by the police officers. Hans and Ron walk into the cold night. ‘How can a 19-year-old girl that doesn’t speak the language have arranged all those documents?’ ‘Mehmet, the fat one, is one of the errand boys of the Turkish group. He transports the women and arranges everything for them’, says Manuela, a window-landlady. She ‘maintains the compartments’, cleans them, collects the rent and knows everybody who lives and works on de Wallen. ‘Men are not allowed to rent a window for a woman, they have to do that themselves. They hope to distract pimps that way.’ She looks cynically. ‘But the pimps run the show here. Mehmet once came with another man and a Bulgarian girl. She took her bags with her belongings with her behind the window, as if she had just arrived here. That was strange. I saw she didn’t want to work her. All night long the men stood before her window, checking if she had enough customers. In the morning she was forced to join them again.’

A fantastic fiascoRon pressed the local team for a year to start an investigation into the Dürdan-group. ‘We can’t cope anymore with the daily confrontation with women who are factually being raped.’, says Hans about this. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against prostitution, but it has to happen voluntarily.’

(...)

The group-Dürdan created a control-system were the women were monitored 24 hours a day. With some women the Dürdan brothers and there accomplices got romantically involved. They enjoyed special privileges and status within the group. These ‘girlfriends’ rented rooms on strategic locations were they could monitor a large number of windows where the new East European women were put to work. Regularly the location of the women changed, they also had to work in Alkmaar, Antwerpen and Germany. So they couldn’t get in touch with local residents and the police.

(...)

also read:A top attraction build on oppression
The prostitution cycle
Strong victims

Back to index

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

article:'[Dutch] Police ignores human trafficking'

Back to index

Today it's Oktober 10, 2005.

This news-article is very recent. I translated this from the Dutch newspaper the "NRC-handelsblad".

‘Police ignores human trafficking’

By one of our respondents

Amsterdam, Oktober 1, 2005. On de Wallen in Amsterdam [Red-light district] ‘loverboys’ and pimps are trafficking in human beings with impunity while the police are standing by. That’s what two police officers of the police office in the Beursstraat say, one of them is working somewhere else on his own request within the police system.

Both officers are only allowed to point out problems and refer that to police-investigators of the youth and vice squad. They [of the vice squad] state that there are too many cases and there’s too little capacity.

“We are in the middle of modern slavery here”, says Ron, who until recently was a vice inspector on de Wallen in Amsterdam.

“We can’t cope with the daily confrontation with women who are in fact being raped anymore”, says his colleague Hans.

The police is not doing enough to stop forced prostitution and all it’s excesses, according to the police officers. The officers don’t want their names in the paper, because on several occasions they have been threatened by criminals.

“After 5 years after the lifting of the ban on brothels it has to be established that the goals of that law have not been met”, says the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. “Lately there are more and more signals that abuses are still taking place.” Cohen promises to come up with ‘additional policy’.

Since the legalisation in 2000 prostitution is a normal profession, controlled by local authorities and the police. The law against pimping was removed from the penal code. De Wallen in Amsterdam are a million-dollar industry with a yearly turnover of 83 million euros.

On de Wallen there are two groups of pimps, the loverboys and a group known as ‘the Turks’. They [‘the Turks’] do a lucrative trade in women from the Eastern bloc. According to officer Ron “everywhere in the Netherlands” accusations of abused women are “collecting dust”. In Januari 2003 a team of 4 men was investigating the Turkish group. “The investigation turned out to be a gigantic fiasco”, says Ron. Investigations are not allowed to last longer than three months. In June, the four investigators were told by their bosses to stop this case. Some arrests were being made, but the public prosecutor thought the evidence against the detainees was too thin.

also read:
Slave trade on de Wallen

Back to index

Monday, September 19, 2005

My story: part 2

Continued from.....

Back to index

September 28, 2005

When you start reading about prostitution you’ll immediately notice there’s a big and emotional war going on between advocates and opponents of prostitution. On one side are the religious fundamentalists. And obviously they are against prostitution. But to my big surprise they are joined by radical feminists!!!(however, not all feminists are against prostitution) That’s funny because feminists support the right of self-determination of women over their own body. For instance, the right of a woman to kill her own unborn child. You would expect they would also support the right to sell sex. But they don’t see it that way. They don’t belief a woman could ever voluntarily sell sex. No woman wants to have sex with 10 men a day. They see prostitution as paid rape. The client subcontract the violence that’s necessary to keep the woman in prostitution to the pimp. A country like Sweden takes the radical-feminist position. Men who visit prostitutes in Sweden are liable to punishment. Brothels are forbidden.

The ones who ‘support’ prostitution are the persons I call the ‘libertarians’. They believe it’s nobody’s business to interfere in a deal between two persons in which they both agree. If two persons want to have sex, and they both agree that one pays the other for it, why should people bother? They believe that the abuses associated with prostitution - such as human trafficking – can by contributed to (for instance) poverty, illegal immigration and prostitution being illegal. Many poor women want to work abroad, but because the borders are closed they seek help from criminals to cross the border. That makes them extremely vulnerable because the criminals could turn out to be human traffickers. The solution would be to make immigration legal. When prostitution is illegal prostitutes have to rely on pimps to defend themselves against the police and aggressive clients. They don’t dare to go to the police because they are afraid they will be arrested, which makes them extra vulnerable. Furthermore, they are forced to work ‘underground’ where aid-workers can’t reach them.

The radical feminists immediately respond to that by pointing out that for instance in Australia (where in some districts prostitution is legal), the abuses associated with prostitution didn’t decrease. The prostitutes don’t want to go to the police anyway because they are afraid it will be revealed to the outside world that they work as prostitutes. They also point out that for every legal brothel in Australia (in the districts where prostitution is legal), there are four illegal brothels. Furthermore, more trafficked women are found in the legal brothels than in the illegal ones.

At first I supported the ‘libertarians’, but with some doubt. The theory is good. Everbody should do anything he/she likes, as long as it’s consensual.

Why I read so many thing about prostitution was because I wanted to know a place where there were no trafficked women. I know that in street-prostitution there are many trafficked women. And to my dismay I had to hear of a window-prostitute that many window-prostitutes are essentially being trafficked too. In literature this is confirmed many times. A Christian aid-organisation called the ‘Scharlaken Koord’ has many contacts with the window-prostitutes in the RLD of Amsterdam. What they say is shocking. Slightly more than half of the prostitutes hands over all their income to their pimp!!!! What’s more horrifying, nearly all (87%) Dutch window-prostitutes have been introduced into prostitution by so-called ‘loverboys’. These pimps engage with women with the goal of manipulating them into prostitution. These pimps could say to a girl who is in love with him, that they have huge debts and need money quickly. ‘Together’ they find a solution. The pimp could carefully bring forward the idea of working as a prostitute. The girl who is totally devoted to him, will agree. That’s basically the main route into prostitution for most Dutch window-prostitutes. Most loverboys are of Moroccan or Turkish descent.

I immediately concluded it would be better if I didn’t visit window-prostitutes anymore. Approximately 30 percent of the window-prostitutes is Dutch. Of all prostitutes in the Netherlands 20 percent work behind windows. Almost half the prostitutes in the Netherlands are Dutch. There’s lots of information about street-prostitutes and window-prostitution. But not about other forms of prostitution. when you read about prostitution in clubs, you’ll hear bad stories and positive stories. There are horrendous brothels completely filled with trafficked women. And there are good brothels where all prostitutes more or less work voluntarily. But it’s very difficult to find information about which brothels are good brothels and which brothels are bad brothels. When prostitutes talk about the brothels in which they have worked, they rarely mention the name and location of the brothel.

Xaviera Hollander, a Dutch ex-prostitute once owned brothels in New York. She wrote a book about it, “The Happy Hooker”. This book is supposed to shed a positive light on prostitution, but actually it’s a horror-story. She did a suicide attempt, was blackmailed twice by two rivalling gangs and she lost a large proportion of her income to a man who she thought to be her lover. She sometimes mentions other prostitutes. And even in the brothels in which she worked there were women who were pimp-controlled, although most were not. Keep in mind that Xaviera Hollander was a high-class prostitute, in high-class brothels. When she owned brothels herself she tells about doing business with pimps. She talks about it as if it is the most normal thing in the world, no strange thing about it. However she didn’t like the pimp-controlled girls, not because they essentially were trafficked, but because they caused trouble. At on point she writes about a pimp-controlled girl who copied her client-database. She was really angry about it. Xaviera Hollander also reveals that most prostitutes who didn’t work for madams had a pimp!!!

Months went on and I still couldn’t find the right information. I decided for myself that if I don’t know who the real prostitutes are and who are the trafficked women, it would be better never to visit prostitutes. Hey, that’s funny. Isn’t that an entirely different position!!! It doesn’t matter if there are prostitutes who do their work voluntarily, as long as you don’t know who the real prostitutes are, it’s better not to visit a prostitute! And I figured out that the pro-prostitution-advocates are wrong when they say human trafficking is caused by poverty or illegal immigration. How come that also so many Dutch prostitution are trafficked? Isn’t that because there are too few women who want to do that job? Aren’t the radical feminist essentially right when they say no woman wants to have sex with 10 men a day? Because there are so few women who want to work as prostitutes, and because so many men want to visit prostitutes, the demand is much higher than the ‘supply’(of prostitutes). That means criminals can make a lot of money when they force or manipulate women into prostitution. That’s the real cause of human trafficking.

Although I decided I wouldn’t visit prostitutes anymore, it must be said that prostitution IS an interesting subject! I kept on reading.

Then…….I stumbled upon a blog of a Dutch ex-prostitute (Jeanette). She has worked in two what we call in the Netherlands ‘privé-huizen’. Those are essentially clubs without a bar. What she says about the other prostitutes she worked with is shocking:
I have met many girls who were forced to work in this world [of prostitution]. The majority were forced. Either by their partner, boyfriend, or their addiction. The strange thing was that the ones who worked for a pimp always pretended he was their boyfriend. Well, I believe some really believed that and that they didn’t realise in what kind of unhealthy relation they were in, but I am amazed about how these girls delude themselves. I realise that many women who enter this world are forced to stay there because they trust nobody and therefore nobody can help them to step out of this.

[A March 16th 2009 update: Jeanette started working again in prostitution and notices that there is a lot less force in prostitution nowadays and that women start working in prostitution for more positive reasons]

I was infuriated. So, it is true. Not only in the window-brothels most woman are forced, but also in the clubs!!!!!!

She also mentioned that most prostitutes worked extremely long hours, 14 hours a day, six days a week. They slept in the brothels, and they had an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. They basically ate junkfood every day. (Oops, a misinterpretation. She never actually said MOST women worked long hours and sleep in the brothels. SOME women do.)

At that moment, I totally turned against prostitution. Prostitution sucks. And those fucking feminists are right after all!!!! Those stupid clients are to blame!! Without clients there would be no forced prostitution. Prostitution….should be PROHIBITED!!!! Just like in Sweden.

I asked Jeanette, how many prostitutes were actually forced and how many were on drugs. She said 9 out of 10 were forced, and half of them were on drugs. But she stressed that she had only seen a tiny proportion of that world. We misinterpreted each-other. When I talk about forced prostitution, I only mean forced by other persons, not forced by circumstances. She didn’t agree with me that prostitution should be prohibited. I said when humane men don’t visit prostitutes anymore, there would be far less human trafficking. She countered that the inhumane men would still go, and that would be bad for the prostitutes.

Shortly thereafter a government report was released, done by professor Bovenkerk. The authorities of Amsterdam ordered the research. They wanted to know if there really was a ‘loverboy’-problem in Amsterdam. The researchers made a shocking discovery. They discovered the brothel-owners didn’t do anything to prevent pimp-controlled women from working in their brothels. Prostitutes they spoke with, revealed that it is nearly impossible for a prostitute to work independently. Rarely a prostitute works without a ‘man’. Those who try to work for themselves, cannot offer resistance to men who force themselves upon them.

I became even more angry. In my anger I totally missed some key points of this report. Namely, the researchers concluded that although many prostitutes work for a ‘man’, only a tiny proportion of them is forced. Furthermore, pimping in the escort-industry and in the clubs is extremely rare. They referred to another report in which some researcher tried to track down on forced prostitution in clubs and in the escort-industry. They found...…. nothing. They only found a few who worked for a pimp. Bovenkerk even said that there are "only" a 100 violent pimps in Amsterdam. When you carefully estimate these pimps have on average 3 girls working for them, there are "only" 300 forced prostitutes in Amsterdam. Not many when you compare that number to a total number of more than 4000 prostitutes working in Amsterdam. (Another misinterpretation: Bovenkerk only speaks about Dutch male pimps. Actually, most human traffickers are foreign [~60%] and many human traffickers are actually women [~25%])

This report is actually sensational because it totally contradicts the estimates of the national rapporteur on human trafficking, Anna Korvinus, who estimates that at least 20 percent of the prostitutes in the Netherlands is a victim of human trafficking. Even ex-prostitute Metje Blaak who works for the Red Thread (‘rode draad’, a labor-union for prostitutes), once estimated that only a few prostitutes really work voluntarily. She estimates 60 percent has been sexually abused, 30 is incited by her boyfriend (to work as a prostitute), and 10 percent really works voluntarily. What’s important, she actually states that those ‘loverboys’ are real.

When you read a lot about prostitution you’ll constantly stumble upon those contradictions. I believe it’s because it’s difficult to figure out what is the exact role of the boyfriend of a prostitute. Is he a pimp or not? If the boyfriend of the pimp is violent, is he a pimp? Is that human trafficking? Is the violent boyfriend of a nurse a pimp too? The prostitute often doesn’t realise in what kind of situation she is. She believes her relationship with her pimp is serious, but in reality for her boyfriend it’s all about the money. Actually she works ‘voluntarily’ as a prostitute. She decides to stay with him. Therefore one researcher could say that this prostitute works voluntarily as a prostitute, and that her boyfriend is just that, her ‘boyfriend’. Another researcher could see that differently, and sees it as human trafficking. That perhaps is the reason why researchers could come up with these contradictory results.

But I totally missed what Bovenkerk said about pimping being rare. I thought Bovenkerk meant that nearly all prostitutes where forced or manipulated by their boyfriend, and that they were blackmailed by them when they didn’t have a pimp.

I believed, it was time for action.

There is a big Dutch internet-site for men who visit prostitutes (hookers.nl). They give reviews about the prostitutes they visit, and chat with each-other about their hobby. Almost 4000 prostitutes in the Netherlands are reviewed.

It is time for war!!!!

I decided I would tell these dirty bastards the truth.

I used the Bovenkerk-report to prove to them most of the prostitutes are forced by pimps.

To my astonishing surprise the first person to respond was actually a prostitute herself. She said that what I said was total nonsense, because she has worked for years in the sex-industry and she works voluntarily and ALL the women she knows do it voluntarily too.

Then, something funny happened. The administrator of that site, recalled what Mariska Majoor once said to him. Mariska Majoor is an ex-prostitute who owns a store in the RLD of Amsterdam. She also gives information to tourists about the RLD. She tries to put forward a positive image of prostitution. According to the administrator she told him that at least 70 percent of the prostitutes in the RLD has a ‘dubious boyfriend’!!!(Later I have met her in real life, she denies she has ever said that to him, she puts the real number at 20 percent) He said many girls who work for a ‘loverboy’ deny that for themselves.

Then, one client actually confirmed what Mariska Majoor, supposedly had put forward. He said 70 percent of the prostitutes he visited in the The Hague had a ‘dubious boyfriend’ too!!!!

Understand what’s happening? A prostitutes totally denies the theory that most of the prostitutes are forced, and states that nearly all the prostitutes she knows chose to be there. The administrator and a client, confirm the theory.

That was the start of an energetic discussion. I explained to them that the prostitute I visited in the RLD of Amsterdam said to me many girls there had a pimp. I said I couldn’t differentiate between a forced prostitute and a voluntary prostitute because they all look very normal. That’s why it would be better to stop visiting prostitutes after all. The same client who said that 70 percent of the prostitutes he visited had a dubious boyfriend, confirmed what I said, he couldn’t differentiate between those prostitutes and the ones who worked for themselves. But if he found out, he stopped visiting ‘those’ prostitutes. I said men shouldn’t visit prostitutes and that those men (who visit prostitutes) are rapists. Obviously, they called me a ‘moral crusader’ and a moralizer.

I could gather some interesting information. I divide the prostitute-clients into two groups.
1. The deniers. They simply don’t believe human trafficking is a big deal. Often they boast that they can perfectly ‘see’ when a prostitute is forced or not. They don’t ‘see’ many forced prostitutes. Therefore human trafficking is rare.
2. The ones who acknowledge there is a human trafficking problem, only they don’t see it as their responsibility to do something about it. They'll argue that many products you buy in the store are created by wage-slaves in third-world-countries. For instance, most of the chocolate you eat is produced by slaves. Does anybody feel guilty when eating chocolate? Of course not!!! Then why should we bother about the prostitutes?

Only later the mystery about the contradictory statements from the prostitute and the clients was resolved. It turns out that those clients who said many girls they visit have a pimp mainly visit window-prostitutes. The prostitute who said she rarely met a forced prostitute was an older prostitute (age 36) who works in clubs where only older prostitutes work. Then why did Jeanette(the ‘blog’-prostitute) meet so many forced prostitutes in the clubs she worked? Because, the prostitutes she saw were very young (average age ~22), and mostly of foreign descent.

I am more careful now with analyzing data. But it remains difficult. Now I know that victims of human trafficking and ‘loverboys’ are usually very young. The average age of a trafficked woman is approximately 23 years. The average age of ALL prostitutes is approximately 28 years. That means there is a wide gap op 5 years in between those average ages. I have carefully analyzed 25 stories of Dutch victims of human trafficking. I turns out that many of those victims are put to work in window-prostitution, ~50 percent. Only a small percentage is put to work in clubs, ~16 percent. Only a tiny proportion of the Dutch prostitutes work behind windows, ~13 percent. Most of the Dutch prostitutes work in clubs, ~60%. That means that pimping is indeed rare among Dutch prostitutes who work in clubs. Most of the prostitutes who work in clubs are Dutch(~60%). Professor Bovenkerk is right after all!!!

Of the many clients I encountered, only two clients basically agreed with me. One client visited prostitutes in Germany, in the so-called FKK-clubs (sauna-clubs). At first it was paradise on Earth, but slowly he realised the brothels were full of East-European victims of human trafficking. He even noticed that the pimps entered the brothels as clients to keep an eye on the women. He sometimes saw new young girls enter the brothels. At first, they looked frightened and insecure. But after a couple of months they were transformed into professional prostitutes, described by many clients as one of the best. He was surprised how well these girls could fool the clients. Those girls seemed very willing!!!! When I first visited this forum, he still visited those clubs. Only later on he decided it would be better to stop.

I again have to stress that the perception that a client somehow can ‘see’ that a prostitute is trafficked is a myth. Many people believe that. But this is not true. Prostitutes are entertainers. They make the client believe he is the best person in bed, even when they hate their job.

Another client said to me he thought a short while ago human trafficking was not a big deal, until he had an internet-connection. Now he rarely visits prostitutes, only the ones of who he is certain they are not forced. Usually older house-wives who want to make some extra money.

The knowledge that Dutch prostitutes in clubs are rarely trafficked, has changed my opinion again. A short while ago I decided I would visit prostitutes again. I carefully looked at the reviews of that forum, and selected some brothels which I thought would be okay. But only a couple of days ago I found out a brothel which was high on my list, employs trafficked women too………

The struggle continues…..

Previous part

Back to index

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My story:I visited prostitutes

Back to index

Well, anyway. Once, I was hanging around in Amsterdam…..and…..the most obvious thing you do when you are in Amsterdam is………yep……….to visit ‘de Wallen’, the Red Light District. And…I have to say….that was a shocking experience. Obviously I’ve heard about window-prostitution before, I have lived in the Netherlands whole my life, but to see those women challenge the public so openly from behind their windows was….shocking. (To be honest, I had been to a red light district before with my parents when I was a kid, but I can’t remember anything of that occasion) I mean, the shopping public just walked through this area as if it was the most normal thing you can do. A fat black prostitute sat there behind here window smiling at the crowd. A latin girl was dancing behind her window shaking with her behind. And…there was a man in a lion-suite showing around some tourists!!! An older couple walked in front of me and they were really watching with awe and wonder (and horror). A young blond girl laughed at me from behind a window. That….was such a thrill. To be honest, I was having some plans in my mind before. But…I never had sex with a woman before in my life, and this was the chance I’ve been waiting for. And it was so close, and for just 50 bucks…...but I was too scared at the moment.

I waited a couple of days and I went back to Amsterdam again. I mustered up all my courage and I stepped towards a window of a somewhat older prostitute (I believe it was in the Sint Annenstraat). “Fifty?”, she asked….”Okay”. She asked where I came from. “The Netherlands”…she answered:“Oh, uit Nederland!”. She spoke Dutch fluently, but with a German accent. She asked me if this was the first time I’ve visited a prostitute. She explained to me what the tariffs were, 50 euros was just sucking OR fucking, 70 euros sucking AND fucking, for a 100 euros you can stay for half an hour and do whatever you want (except anal and stuff). I chose 70. Should have done a hundred because she kicked me out within no time. But….it was a nice experience anyway. I lost my virginity.

The atmosphere in a window-brothel was really cool. There’s a bed, a mirror (you can look at yourself!), a red light. And the smell….well….the place smelled like decontaminating stuff. It was as if I was visiting the dentist really. The lady behaved exactly like the female dentist assistant. You lie there on a bed naked, with a naked lady you just know for two minutes. She gives you blowjob. She said…”well, it it’s hard enough now, I think we can fuck. Which position?”. That was a difficult question. It took me a minute to reach a decision….doggystyle!!!!! A little bit agitated, she said: ”Then we’ll do it doggystyle”.

That was disappointing. I’ve seen porn-videos and these guys have these huge dicks. Mine’s only ‘average’. The porn-guys can really bang all the way; they have over 8 inch dicks, and have a large margin to thrust. I found out, that basically, despite my dick being 6 inches, I only have a margin of 2 inches really. If you pull out your dick more than 2 inches, you’ll easily slip out. The woman was making noises too, as if she was enjoying it. I’m not naive. She must have sex with 10 men a day. Nope, it’s just labour for her.

Anyway, after it was over, I was really excited. It tasted like more. I decided that from now on, I would visit a prostitute every once in a while.

A couple of days later I read a woman’s magazine. And…what a coincidence!!!! There was an article about the red light district in Amsterdam. The female reporters said it was a humiliating place to be for a woman. And they mentioned pimps. I was shocked. Pimps? I haven’t seen any strange persons when I visited the RLD. They interviewed Mariska Majoor. She is an ex-prostitute. She has her own shop in the RLD and gives information to tourists. She explains how she entered prostitution at age 16 because she wanted to buy a dog.

In the same article there was an interview with a woman who was a victim of human trafficking and who was forced by the traffickers to work in the RLD behind a window. It was a shocking story. She was really angry about the men (clients/Johns) who were taking examining glances at her. She could escape because at one point the trafficker was forbidden by the police to enter the RLD. She hid in the home of a girlfriend. The trafficker found her new location and he beat her up in front of her new residence. The neighbourhood became alarmed and warned the police. The man was detained.

Yep, that was an awful story. But I decide that such events must be really rare. Actually it didn’t interest me really. I was more interested in the size of my dick really. I was insecure about that, thought it was too small. I measured the length and the circumference. I looked on the internet, and I found out my dick was actually average, not small. I saw a site which was especially dedicated to the penissizedebate. The guy who made this internetsite even made a diagram, in which length, circumference and the pleasure the woman got from a penis where connected to each other.

Unfortunately, according to him, my dick is ‘only’ enjoyable. Actually a woman is really satisfied by a dick which is above average, between 7 and 8 inches, rather than six inches which is average.

But nonetheless visiting a prostitute was a big boost for my self esteem. At first I didn't pay much attention to the way I looked. But from this moment on I wanted to be beautiful... for the prostitutes. I wanted to impress them. I bought beautiful pants, nice shoes and a beautiful leather jacket. (Okay, and I also have to admit that the thought of being a woman and working as a prostitute turns me on. I believed that if I were a woman, I would have worked as a prostitute, cause I would have made a heck of a lot of money....... and it turns me on.... buying all those sexy lingery, watching yourself in the mirror undressing....... being fucked by a strange dirty men ...... but don't tell anyone else .....)

A couple of weeks went on until I visited my second prostitute.

The previous time I visited a prostitute, it was on a friday-afternoon. It was very calm in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. This time it was on a friday-evening. And this time is was very busy out there. The prostitute-clients moved in large groups through the alleys. I had the chance of looking at them. They looked very normal, not the dirty men you have in mind when you think about prostitute-clients.

As I mentioned before, I haven’t seen any pimps the previous times I visited this area. But this time, there actually were strange persons standing in the alleys. I didn’t know what to think of them. I was very nervous and basically I stepped as quickly as possible towards the nearest prostitute I saw (I believe it happened in the Bethlemsteeg). It was a nice-looking young blond girl. In front of her window stood some of these strange-looking foreign men, talking to each other with wild gestures in a strange language. She looked bored, and totally didn’t look at my direction. Suddenly I stood right before her window. She looked a bit surprised and stepped off her stool. She opened her window and said: ”Fifty?”. I replied: “a hundred”.(I didn’t make the same mistake again) “Half an hour?”, she asked. “Okay”. I stepped in and she closed the curtains.

I took off my coat. She pointed at the coathooks. “First pay?”, I asked. I gave her the 100 euros which she put in a wallet. She asked me, “where do you come from?” “the Netherlands” “The Netherlands? Geen Nederlands”. She couldn’t speak Dutch.

We both took off our clothes. She sat on her bed and she signalled I should lie down. She moved her face closely towards mine. “Do you have a girlfriend?”, she asked me. “No girlfriend!” “Why?! you’re beautiful!”. That was the probably the biggest compliment I’ve got in my whole life. (But now I believe: didn’t she say that to everybody?!)

In the background I heard the strange men talking in their strange language.

While we were busy I asked her how she knew when the time was up, because there wasn’t a clock in her room. Unfortunately her English wasn’t too good so she didn’t understand me. I asked her where she came from. She said: ”Latvia. Letland”. She smiled.

I said to her it was only the second time I had sex in my life. “Second?”, she said. She thought for a moment. Then she moved her face towards mine again. She said: “Heeyyyy, are you……” and she pointed to her head. I was totally surprised. How did she know?!!! (As a matter of fact, I AM crazy) But I thought she believed I didn’t feel well. I said: “I’m okay”. “You’re okay?”.

After we were finished we didn’t say a word to each other anymore. I basically came, and she said “finished?”. She removed the condom with a tissue. Then she sat on a bidet to wash herself from underneath. (the bed, the washstand and the bidet are all in the same room)

I quickly got dressed, and left. “Thanks”, I said.

At the same moment another man stepped out of another window. “Thanks”, he said. The prostitute with an Egyptian wig, just looked far ahead at nothing and moved her tongue across her lips. Behind another dark window, I saw the silhouette of a young man and a prostitute.

I decided I would examine this place in more detail. The strange men I didn’t see the previous times, I saw them now! I walked passed a window and saw two prostitutes and a young Moroccan man standing in the background!!! A young black prostitute sat on her stool smiling at me. Behind her another girl was combing her hair and was fully dressed. Probably she just finished her shift. The Moroccan guy was talking to her. I didn’t know what to think. I was in a state of denial basically.

De Wallen really is a strange place. I noticed a snack bar standing right between the window-brothels. I walked passed an outdoor-café and I looked at the people. There were men and women sitting there. Right next to this sidewalk-café there was a…….window with a girl behind it. The Egyptian wigs are popular, she had one too.

The Netherlands really is strange country.

I was really proud about what the girl said to me about being beautiful. I was so proud that I told my parents that I had visited a prostitute and that she said I was beautiful. They thought it was okay. They both said I had my "needs". My mother said that prostitution is the oldest profession. My father looked very stern at me and said:"If there where no prostitutes many more women would be raped."

A couple of days later I read a woman’s magazine. What a coincidence!!!!! There was an article about a victim of human trafficking. And guess where she came from???? From Latvia!!!! Remember the girl I just visited also came from Latvia?

That was a big shock. I immediately thought about the possibility that the girl I visited was trafficked too. I started to make plans to rescue her. I fantasized what would happen if I took her with me. Does she have clothes of her own? Should I buy clothes for her in advance? Should we swap clothes? Would the pimps follow us? How would it be to have such a girl in my home? All kinds op plans, but in the end, they were only fantasies. I did nothing to rescue her.

I wasn’t planning to stop visiting prostitutes anyway. But, I wanted to prevent visiting a potential victim of human trafficking again. What I did was to read a lot of books about prostitution and human trafficking. And I came to the conclusion that human trafficking was not a big deal. In one book it was said that there were ‘only’ a 1000 victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands. That’s not many if you consider there are 20.000 prostitutes in the Netherlands. I believed the chance of encountering a victim of human trafficking was slim.

Again, I headed to the Red Light District of Amsterdam. This time I visited a Dutch girl (I believe in the Dollebegijnensteeg). She was black, probably an immigrant from Surinam or the Netherlands Antilles. She looked at my penis and said: ”Lucky it’s not that thick”, and she smiled. I forgot about that. We were having sex, and at that moment, a man came at her window, who brought her some Chinese food. I became suspicious; was that man her pimp? She said the man was a lonely person who often brought food to the prostitutes, even if they didn’t pay.

I asked her what the strangest request were from clients. She asked me to give her an example. I proposed anal sex. She said: ”Oohh, I hear that 10 times a day.” I asked her if she did anal sex. Yes, for 200 euros. Obviously that’s not what I wanted. She said that some men also ask her to pie over them.

After we were finished, we talked to each other while I got dressed. I asked to her: “Do you have a pimp?”. She said: ”Haah!!! That word is not in my dictionary!!!!” I asked her if those girls were in love with their pimps. She interrupted me and said:"But he is not in love with her!!! It's all about the money." She seemed at bit angry. We were both silent. Suddenly she said:"Many girls who work here have a pimp. Yes.. a pimp!!!! A pimp, a pimp, a pimp.”

That was a totally new revelation. I wanted to talk to her about the awful stories I read, but unfortunately I had all my clothes on. She opened her window and said goodbye.

I was very shocked. It turned out te be the last time I visited a prostitute.

Almost a year has passed. I have read a lot of books and articles about prostitution. And the funny thing is, the world of prostitution is such a complex and strange world. Prostitutes are so elusive. Researchers give very contradictory views about prostitutes. Will one researcher say that prostitutes have usually been sexually abused and are exploited by pimps, another researcher will say that prostitutes actually don't differ very much from other women and that pimps are rare.

The more I read about prostitution the less I understand of it.

Next part

Back to index

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A self-confident woman

Back to index

.....translated from Dutch into broken English....again.

From the same book as in my previous post: ’Verlicht Kwartier, 40 jaar Arnhemse Spijkerbuurt.’ by Kees Crone(2003)

Hmmmm, I have posted only the window-stories. Usually negative stories. In the future I’ll do some club-stories too. Fortunately there áre some good clubs that don’t employ trafficked women. On the other hand, one prostitute said that in every club there are some girls who are forced by their boyfriends.


Some excerpts:

A self-confident woman.

Kees Crone

‘A little bit of respect please. I am a human being, not a blow-up doll.’

Blond and white window-prostitute Bianca immediately strikes the right note by indicating that she doesn’t want to answer personal questions. She’s in her twenties, doesn’t live in Arnhem and she’s in the business for approximately three years. She works for the largest amount of time in the Spijkerkwartier, but a short while ago she tried her luck on de Wallen in Amsterdam. She didn’t like working in the capital city. ‘There are only tourists there who are trying to make pictures. You hardly build up your own clientele and I wasn’t doing fine with the other girls. There only was competition. For that matter it’s a lot more cosy here.’ She actually can get along well with the other girls. If there are problems with clients, they help each other out.
She won’t take long to take an opinion about loverboygirls[girls with a pimp]. ‘Okay, it’s a pity for some indivuals, but often they are so stupid. Often they fall in that trap with their eyes open. Sometimes a girl just got rid of such a guy, two months later she’s hanging around with the next one. I don’t feel compassionate for them. They are doing it to themselves, that’s what I believe. Some girls are weak and cannot be alone. They only want to receive presents and attention. You warn such a person, but if they don’t listen they'll have to decide for themselves.’
She laughs, luckily she doesn’t fall for Turks and Moroccans she adds. ‘That’s the advantage I have. Mind you that I don’t have a relationship and I don’t want one too. Obviously, men have tried to set me up, but I don’t get bothered by that anymore. Newcomers are always tried out. They know exactly where I’m at right now!’

(...)

Experiences
She admits getting in contact with the foreign girls is difficult. The language is a barrier. The girls from the Eastern bloc simply all have a pimp and barely have the chance to talk to someone else. If they try, they’ll have to deal with him first. A big mouth is the least they can get. She finds that really annoying. As far as that’s concerned, she has had more nasty experiences. It happens that a loverboy[pimp] just knocks on the door if he believes the time is up for the client. He[the client?] disappears and he[the pimp] takes all the money. ‘There was a girl up here in the basement that was forced by her boyfriend to always let her window stand open. He just stood there listening at the window and keep an eye on things. Sometimes a girl is scolded in such a horrific way that I stand up for her. Be glad this girl gives all the money to you. But, these girls are also so stupid.’ She has had her experiences with addicted prostitutes too. They ask for money and promise to give it back. But afterwards she can kiss her money goodbye. She knows the police bears a grudge against the foreign loverboys. But according to her the behaviour of the Dutch men is equally embarrassing. ‘Okay, they don’t deal and stuff, but often they hang around in front of your window for hours. If there’s a new girl, they’re standing there seven strong in front of her window making comments. Oh, you’re so ugly, you have fat tits etcetera. As far as I’m concerned, the police should take action against those things too.’

Back to index

'I love my job'

Back to index

.....translated again from Dutch into broken English.

It’s from a book called ‘Verlicht kwartier, 40 jaar Arnhemse Spijkerbuurt’.(‘Illuminated neighbourhood, 40 years Arnhem Spijkerbuurt ’, 2003) by Kees Crone

Here is a good example of Dutch fatalism. A police officer speaks. She sees all kinds of bad things in the red light district of Arnhem. Human trafficking, 'loverboys'. You might believe that she would stand up against prostitution and wants the red light district to be closed down. Wrong. She beliefs window prostitution will be more 'under control' when the red light district stays where it is. What do we keep 'under control'? Do we keep 'human trafficking' under control?

I'm not against prostitution. But if you make the observation that window prostitution attracts human traffickers, then window prostitution should be closed down if I was concerned. What's not good, should not be tolerated.

Oh, aside from that. Notice what she says about how most Dutch prostitutes have entered their profession: didn't that POOP from my previous post say that like 87 percent of the Dutch window prostitutes in the red light district of Amsterdam were introduced into prostitution by loverboys[pimps]?[40% of the window prostitutes in the Amsterdam RLD is Dutch] This police officer says something similar.

Some excerpts

“Gebiedsagente”

Kees Crone

‘I love my job’

Manon Niemeijer doesn’t have to think long to name the biggest problem in the Spijkerkwartier[red light district in Arnhem, window prostitution, will be closed down soon]. According to her, that’s the loverboy. ‘In Arnhem they are mainly immigrants. They cunningly seduce young girls. Especially white, blond girls are in demand. They are nice to her and initially give her a lot of presents. At the moment she’s in love, he will manipulate her into prostitution. She will rent a window, and hands over all her income to him.’ Manon Niemeijer is a police sergeant at the Arnhem police in the Spijkerkwartier and works together with her male colleague Henk de Borst. As an “Area-policewoman”[gebiedsagente, don’t know what that means] and/or social worker she often has intimate contact with the ‘girls’. Many girls say they work for themselves, but it turns out that nevertheless certain men are circling around them. ‘If I ask such a person how she got here, I usually hear the same story. At the age of eighteen, they fell in love with a dark boy, just at the moment there were problems at home. One thing followed after another, and at the end, they stood behind a window. I can’t prove it, but I think most girls enter prostitution this way.’ Niemeijer, who solicited two years ago especially for this place, is devoted to her job. ‘I was shocked by the tragedies behind many stories. Not that the girls are always aware of that. They don’t expose their history to the outside world. Let alone to the police. By the use of gross threats a loverboy keeps his girl under his thumbs.’ She tells it is difficult for the police to penetrate this world. There could be, for instance, a report of a quarrel in a car in the Spijkerbuurt or in the immediate vicinity. ’When you head to that place, you’ll see a young couple. The girl suddenly becomes very distant. You feel that something is going on, but there is so little you can do.’ It is difficult to get in contact with these girls without the loverboy getting suspicious. The police tries to be visible and approachable as best as it can, at different moments a day. Last time, a girl was addressed who had been beaten up a short while before. As a result she didn’t show up for two weeks and also her room was turned upside down. ‘If you put up the pressure too much, often it turns things into worse for the girl. Her ‘boyfriend’ does something bad to her and just puts her to work somewhere else. That, you’ll hear from the other women[prostitutes]. They’ll tell she is in Utrecht or Amsterdam now.’

(...)

If prostitution should stay in the Spijkerkwartier? She has no judgement about that. Of course she understands people who want it to disappear. ‘I have a double vision about that. The nuisance on the street is lessened after the mandatory closure at two o’clock at night.’ Besides, prostitution is here for such a long time. If it were up to me it should stay in this corner. It keeps window prostitution under control. When the red light district moves somewhere else, I’ll move along with it. Contacts and information I gathered here, doesn’t get stored in a computer just like that. Most of it is just in my head. It would be a shame if such information disappears.’

Back to index

Friday, September 02, 2005

Illuminated from Darkness

Back to index

The following is a manifesto written by a group of Christan organisations who work with prostitutes. They call themselves the POOP(‘Platform Organisaties Opvang (ex)Prostituees’=’Platform of Organisations who shelter (ex)Prostitutes‘) which was initiated by the Christenunie (a protestant Christan political party).

Among those organisations are:


Innercity Project, Rotterdam
Leger des Heils, Amsterdam (Salvation Army)
Platform Zorg en Politiek
Revival Joy, Utrecht
Scharlaken Koord, Amsterdam (Scarlet Cord, not the same as de Rode Draad=the Red Thread)
(visit the Scharlaken Koord on this
website and the website of the Tot Heil des Volks)
Stichting De Haven, Den Haag
Stichting De Tweede Mijl, Amsterdam
The Cleft, Amsterdam
Victory Outreach, Rotterdam
Women Trafficking, Amsterdam

The name of the manifesto is:

“Uit het donker opgelicht” (Illuminated from darkness)
(Date:October 2003)

(orginal document) )

It was a respons to an evaluative survey done by the WODC(‘Wetenschappelijk onderzoek- en documentatie centrum’=’Scientific Research and Documentation Centre’) in 2002 to check if there was progress after the brothel-ban was lifted. ("De sociale positie van prostituees in de gereguleerde bedrijven een jaar na de wetswijziging” (2002) [the social position of prostitutes in the regulated businesses a year after te amendment]..... on no, excuse me, they mean this report: Het bordeel-verbod opgeheven written by A. Daalder in 2002)

The following are some excerpts from that manifesto which I translated from Dutch into [broken] English.

They are making some shocking revelations too. But I have to note that, the social workers who are behind this manifesto are mainly active among street-prostitutes and window-prostitutes. The WODC has researched a much wider variety of prostitutes, including prostitutes who work in clubs. I strongly believe that human trafficking occurs a lot more in street-prostitution and window-prostitution than in other forms of prostitution. But the POOP assumes these prostitutes are representative of all prostitutes. I believe in clubs many more ‘voluntary’ prostitutes can be found.(By the way, I am not a Christian)


Illuminated from Darkness

In this Manifesto we like to inform you about our experiences as social workers concerning the lifting of the brothel-ban.
We are glad that many institutions and political parties aim the same thing, namely, that no woman should work as a prostitute against her will. We fully agree about countering issues like human trafficking, force, manipulation and loverboys in the world of prostitution. The law that made possible the lifting of the ban on brothels aimed at that in the first place. However, it is assumed that there will be a time there will only be women in prostitution who want that and who want full recognition of their “profession”.

Our experience – for some organisations it’s more than 10 years – in working with this target group shows that this is not realistic. We encounter only a few women who like their work as a prostitute, they don’t want recognition for their “profession”, on the contrary, they want to be anonymous and for the majority of women working as prostitutes, the only positive side about this “profession” is the vast amounts of money that can be made in prostitution (on average 350 euros per evening).

With this manifesto we as social workers want to give a voice to the thousands of women who are only surviving in prostitution and have to work long hours to pay their window-rent, a meal and money for their children and families in Africa and South America and, what’s left of it, to pay off their debts. Labour laws, taxes or being socially accepted are literally a ‘far-from-my-bed-show’[this saying doesn’t exist in English] for these people.

We can imagine that when you read this manifesto, you would think like, of course these Christian organisations are against the lifting of the ban on brothels, they are after all “against” prostitution. We would like to explain to you that we don’t want to hand over this report to you from a moralising point of view, but because of a sincere concern for the prostitute and even the prostitute's client. Our experience shows that the life of a prostitute, even despite how well the government wants to regulate prostitution, is a life that causes deep damage. This can be on an emotional level as well as on her physical condition. We will show you this through our surveys we have carried out.
.
.
.
[skip]
.
.
.

Controlling and regulating the exploitation of voluntary prostitution depends on the willingness of the prostitute and the operator [of brothels] to be registered. The readiness of a prostitute to be registered for the purpose of, for instance, paying taxes is completely lacking. We know from our own research that 93% don’t pay taxes and of the 892 contacts the Scharlaken Koord had with prostitutes in 2002, only 19 (which means 97% don’t pay taxes) said they were paying taxes or were willing to pay taxes if they had made enough money. More than 450 women had no say in the money they earned. They turned over all the money to their pimp or loverboy. All other prostitutes ridiculed even the thought of paying taxes. Only a small number of women of those 892 knew the brothel-ban was lifted. Even monitoring bodies like the tax department show through their numbers that there was no willingness to pay taxes. Of the approximately 20.000 prostitutes in the Netherlands, only 923 are registered, so that they are willing to pay taxes. The other 19.077 knowingly don’t choose to do so. Therefore there is no increase in tax revenue from this sector. This observation is important, because the image of the prostitute as a career woman that is put forward by the “Rode Draad”[Red Thread] and the mr.[LL.M] A. de Graaf foundation is certainly not in accordance with the situation of the women we see in practice.
.
.
.
[skip]
.
.
.
At least one quarter of de approximately 20.000 prostitutes in the Netherlands is a victim of human trafficking. That means more than 5000 women and girls in the Netherlands are working under duress and/or manipulation. The persons who run the brothels often work in the criminal domain themselves. [a footnote at the bottom of that page says that they have drawn this information from the Dienst Nationale Recherche 23/09/02. I'm quite confident that they mean the report Mensenhandel in Nederland by Essy van Dijk. I believe the writers of the Christian manifesto misinterpreted the report and that Essy van Dijk who on her turn misinterpreted the report "Mensenhandel Vanuit Centraal- en Oost-Europa" about Eastern European prostitutes, which was written in 1997 by the IPIT and the IRT Noord- en Oost Nederland. Essy van Dijk says in her report that this research estimates there are some 5000-7000 forced Eastern European prostitutes, but in reality they estimate it is 500 at each moment and 2000 on a yearly basis.]
Involuntary prostitution has boomed the last two years in the Netherlands. There seems to be a shift within the criminal domain from the high risk trafficking in drugs to the almost risk-free exploitation of women. Because of the lacking supervision by the government of the huge flow of money within the prostitution industry, it is very tempting for criminals to change over to this lucrative ‘branch of industry’. Therefore it came to no surprise that among a random sample survey of 439 Dutch window-prostitutes in de Wallen in 2001 and 2002, more than 380 women indicated that they were introduced to prostitution by a loverboy[pimp]. 873 window-prostitutes in the same period on de Wallen, came from countries outside the European Union. (mainly Nigeria, Ghana and Bulgaria)[the numbers are from the Scharlaken Koord]. By way of human traffickers these prostitutes get false passports and means of transportation. A lot of money has to be paid for that. Trafficked women from Africa in the red light district of Amsterdam first start to pay back their debts to the trafficker in exchange for given services. It concerns debts of between 40.000 and 60.000 dollars. To be certain that a trafficked woman pays back her debt, human traffickers use voodoo-rituals, violence and intimidation. At this moment, October 2003, we still encounter many girls from Africa. Our question to you: how do these women get their Dutch passports, or identity papers? It may be clear that there exists a brisk and expensive trade in Dutch passports.

‘Voluntary’ prostitution
One of the goals [of legalizing prostitution] was better supervision, so that ideally only voluntary prostitution would remain. It should have been possible, just as voluntary as for any other random job, to choose for a career in prostitution. As a logical consequence, in the same bill that regulates the lifting of the brothel-ban, the provisions in the penal statute against human trafficking have been severed. The section in law against involuntary prostitution is formulated exhaustively. Not only factual force or pressure, but every abuse of a factual situation of ascendancy which results in the performing of sexual acts with a third person, is penalized. Aside from that, also the client is penalized when a prostitute is concerned who certainly is older than 16, but younger than 18.

In the inquiry that the POOP carried out a prostitute gave a telling answer to the question: do you work voluntarily as a prostitute: ”What a stupid question, I say yes, but if that were not true I would also say yes. I estimate that 8 out of 10 women who work her are not voluntarily in prostitution”.

The POOP has the guts to say that practically no woman really voluntarily enters prostitution!!! Underlying causes of prostitution could have been, not given attention and warmth during childhood or incest/sexual abuse: who has gotten it voluntarily? We as social workers know that women as a first response always say that everything is going fine and that her profession is not a problem, until we get deeper contact. Then the distressing causes often surface. Also we hear from women who have worked as prostitutes for years, that they never have encountered women who liked working in prostitution. Reasons prostitutes often give why they entered prostitution are varied. We’ll name the most important ones:
-human trafficking: coming to the Netherlands under false pretences to quickly earn a lot of money in connection with poverty and lack of perspective in their country of origin.
-economic motives: very quickly earn a lot of money, mostly because of problematic debts.
-by loverboys [pimps who use romantic techniques to lure a girl/woman into prostitution]
-a drug addiction
-a history of maltreatment/incest/sexual abuse or a lack of warmth and attention during childhood.
In which other profession would you see such an enumeration? Perhaps you could even say: If the goal of the law, combating involuntary prostitution, would indeed be the aim, then nearly all prostitutes would be helped to step out.

How many women are factually working against their will in the sex-industry, is even more unclear. The WODC-report says that nearly half is saying that they rather want to stop with that work. They are only stopped from doing that because of the circumstances (they are stigmatized, don’t know how to start a new and different life, etc….)
Our own research on the streets indicates that the most important reasons why they have entered prostitution are money, financial problems and human trafficking..
Of those prostitutes 72% immediately want to stop and be eligible for a step-out-programme. That’s a much higher number than the WODC presents. Some have tried earlier, but returned because of problems with paying off their debts, didn’t find another job, no accommodation, language barrier or being illegal.

Furthermore the WODC states that three quarters of the prostitutes in the regulated sector say to enjoy their occupation, but [the WODC] immediately stresses that it doesn’t rule out negative feelings. It turns out that the WODC apparently does not want to substantiate its own research-data, because as stated earlier, when you continue to ask questions the prostitutes will indicate how many troubles they have and that they find their occupation humiliating at least. Also, the vast majority of those we surveyed say they feel unsafe. Some even feel threatened by customers and some say they have been raped by them. Even these numbers are strangely enough contradictory to the numbers of the WODC.
.
.
.
.
[skip]
.
.
.
.
Protecting the position of the prostitute
Since October 1, 2000 prostitution is a legal sector. This implies that employers and employees have to work by mutual agreement on normal labour relations. This is primarily a responsibility of the person concerned and they will be addressed because of that. [I don’t understand the previous sentence]. Of the 427 Dutch women the Scharlaken Koord encountered on de Wallen in 2001/2002 and who entered prostitution by a loverboy, there were no normal labour relations. In 7 out of 10 contacts, within 2 minutes the mobile phone rings and the woman behind the window immediately has to explain why she is not working and who is visiting her. Hereby a great difference becomes visible between the factual situation and the desired/presented situation of an independent entrepreneur or a self-confident employer who takes care of things. As stated earlier, of the 892 contacts with window-prostitutes in Amsterdam by the Scharlaken Koord in 2002, only 19 where independent entrepreneurs.
.
.
.
.
[skip]
.
.
.
.
[end]

Back to index

Story of a Dutch pimp

Back to index

This I translated from Dutch into 'broken' English from a Dutch book about pimps, ‘loverboys, een publieke zaak’ by Anke van Dijk and Linda Terpstra['Loverboys, a public matter', 2005]

In the Netherlands, pimps who use romantic techniques to persuade girls to work as prostitutes, are called ‘loverboys’. We use that English word literally…’loverboys’.

This pimp brings a shocking revelation about window-prostitution in the Netherlands. Here are some excerpts of his story:

‘I did’t realise what we did to those girls.’

Loverboy: once, but never again.

Once, Hamids [age 22] greatest wish was to have a girl that worked for him as a prostitute. He saw how other guys made a lot of money and evoke a lot of respect. That’s why he made a pass at Laetitia, he made her dependent on him and persuaded her to work as a prostitute. Now, Hamid is imprisoned, convicted of human trafficking, confinement, kidnapping and maltreatment. Although he still believes that he didn’t break the law, he regrets what he has done to Laetitia. ‘I didn’t coerce her but I did abuse her. Because there was no coercion, I could have challenged the verdict but I didn’t. I believe that morally I was wrong indeed. That’s why I accept that I am guilty.’

(...)

‘Today it’s nearly impossible as a Moroccan to find a job in Dutch society. Economically it’s going bad. There are no jobs, let alone for Moroccans. We have a bad name and it works against us. Obviously it has a reason, but it is all exaggerated. You never hear something positive about us, that’s why we feel excluded. The result is that we visit mosques more than ever, our wives are wearing headscarves again and we are forming our own group. Politicians don’t bother about us. Instead of giving us chances, we are criminalized and driven into the arms of terrorists.’

(...)

Pimp-style
‘You have to do a lot to impress a girl as a loverboy. You have to make sure she falls in love with you. That means you have to be well dressed. Many guys I know, have a fur collar and proprietary clothing, Versace for instance and Botticelli shoes or something. Also your pose is important, you have to make a serious and cool impression. To amplify the latter, you see a lot of guys move their neck up front. That's real pimp-style. Furthermore you got to have a beautiful car. You take your girl out, and show her that you have a lot of money and that other guys respect you. That’s all fake, but the girl doesn’t have a clue. From my experience I know that if you pick the right girl, she always falls in that trap.’
‘I didn’t have Laetitia as a girlfriend because I was in love with her, but to put her behind a window. I knew she wasn’t happy at home. She was adopted and got no love from her stepparents. Her brothers had everything, but she even had no own bedroom. They all went on vacation, and Laetitia had to stay home. She had many problems and was very unstable. Her mother told me she was a borderliner. Even before I got acquainted with her, I knew about those problems and that she was very easy about sex. To win her love, I took her with my Mercedes. I bought it with the little money I made from drugs. In the dashboard I had a pile of cash, which she saw when I refuelled. I knew she would be impressed by that. When she saw I was also very popular and how respectful other guys treated me, it was really easy to make a pass at her. Once we where together, I asked her if she wanted to work for me. At first I didn’t speak about prostitution, but I made her believe that we would start running a café together.

Sperm-money
The first time Laetitia stood behind a window, was more or less a coincidence. A friend of mine also had a girlfriend who would be working for him. One day we went to de Wallen in Amsterdam [the red light district]. You don’t do something like that in your own town, cause you could meet acquaintances. You don’t want your friends to have sex with her or, what also happens, is that another loverboy steals her from you. On de Wallen, all kinds of windows were for rent, and we made phone-calls. Within no time we had a window. Laetitia first had to legitimize herself, but at that time she was 22 years old, so, it was no problem. Of course the landlord knew she worked for me, but why should he care? Eighty percent of the girls who work there really don’t do that for themselves but have a pimp. That’s what they call legal prostitution. The way I see it now, they should prohibit it altogether again. By legalising prostitution you play into the hands of loverboys and human traffickers.’
‘Laetitia mostly worked from eight in the evening until three o’clock at night. In the meantime I was smoking dope in a coffeeshop with other loverboys. I didn’t realise what we did to those girls. It didn’t interest me, it was all about the money. I haven’t seen other loverboys show regret either. Most I knew personally. They were all in their twenties, some were even minors. Among them were many Moroccans, Turks but also Dutch guys. Some had more than one girl. I only had Laetitia. At the end she did that work for one and a half year. The money she earned, she gave that to me. That’s the way it goes. Everybody who worked for a pimp, did that. Now it disgusts me, it is dirty money, sperm-money. That’s why I’ll never start doing that again, there isn’t any benefit.’

(...)

‘Actually you can do everything you want to as a loverboy. If you get caught, most of the time you are acquitted due to lack of evidence. Most girls don’t want to report the crime. Their boyfriend is everything. Those who do go to the police, regret that later and drop their charges. It’s sounds silly, but in their way these girls are happy with their lives. They would never had caught me, if I wasn’t so vulnerable.’

(...)

‘At the end I was sentenced to two years in jail, while I didn’t force her or misguided her. I was found guilty because I had too much authority over her. That’s why, according to the judge, she had no space to manoeuvre. So I’m still serving my sentence. A couple of months to go, and I’ll be free. Sounds funny, but I am afraid to be free. The Dutch society frightens me. Whichever way you look at it, I have the appearance of a bad Moroccan in a society that is becoming more hostile towards us. I belong to the second generation of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands. I am not a real Moroccan anymore, but I am not Dutch either. I am struggling with my identity and I feel powerless. Should I accept that I belong to a lost generation? Or can I still be successful? What happens if I don’t find a job and live on welfare. What’s the alternative? Don’t misunderstand me, I know for sure I will never be a loverboy again who puts girls behind a window, but I need money to live. If society doesn’t give me a second chance, isn’t crime the only way out?’

Back to index

Thursday, September 01, 2005

article:'Dutch prostitution policy is bankrupt'

Back to index

I translated this article from Dutch.

The author is a radical feminist. I do not fully agree with her, but what is interesting; she mentions a window-prostitute in The Hague who says most of her colleagues have been coerced into sexwork.

Prostitution policy bankrupt

By:Hester Jansen

It is very difficult to interview prostitutes about their occupation. A nineteen-year-old woman from the Geleenstraat [window prostitution] in The Hague wants to speak: She finds prostitution a normal occupation, but she doesn't flaunt with it. She earns between a hundred and two-hundred euros a day, of which she pays eighty-five euros rent for her window. She works voluntarily, but she estimates that more than half of her colleagues are forced into prostitution. The girl in the window on her opposite is forced to hand over all her money to a ‘loverboy’ [pimp] once she has had a client. For African prostitutes this issue is different: many women from Nigeria for example work under the curse of a voodoo-priest. They have promised never to reveal the name of their trafficker. The one who breaks that promise, will go mad or die. The threats of the wizard are enforced by voodoo-rituals.

The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, mr.[~LL.M.] Anna Korvinus, estimates the number of victims of human trafficking in the year 2000 the be 3500 persons. Compared with the total number of prostitutes (approximately 25.000), this means that at least one out of seven prostitutes in the Netherlands is a sexslave. The numbers suggested by the scientific bureau of the ministry of Justice are much higher. According to the WODC[‘wetenschappelijk onderzoeks- en documentatie centrum’=’scientific research and documentation centre’] approximately half of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are of foreign descent, mostly from outside the EU. It appeared upon inquiry that none of these women have a working permit. It is assumable that the illegal prostitutes depend a lot on their pimp: they cannot determine their own working hours and have no control over their money. Often they live and sleep in the brothels. In our civilized and liberal country there are at least 3500, and perhaps even 12.500 sexslaves.

The prevailing opinion on this question is that getting paid for sex is the pinnacle of emancipation for women. The free and liberated prostitute has a social security number, an accountant, pays taxes and enjoys it to sexually satisfy men. The selling of sexual services is not humiliating according to the influential organisations for prostitutes. The Red Thread even finds the word “hoer”[whore] a “geuzennaam”[a word that was first a term of abuse but now is a honourable name].

Even the mr.[~LL.M.] A. de Graaf foundation [dissolved early 2005], the centre of expertise on the area of prostitution and the advisor of the ministry of Justice, judges prostitution positively. The goal of the foundation is to ‘stimulate the acceptance of prostitution’. Andrew de Graaf (1867-1945), after which the foundation was named, wanted to root out the exploitation of women with every means possible.

At first the foundation targeted the abuses in the sexindustry, but since the seventies the social acceptance of prostitution becomes the objective. The current De Graaf foundation stands miles apart from the original organisation that stood up fiercely against the trade in women and children. Around the year 1900 human trafficking was seen as a big problem in view of the numbers that have exploded in the meantime, but the most important advisory body of the Duth government shrugs its shoulders. Sexslavery is an anomaly in the eyes of the Red Thread and the mr.[~LL.M.] A. de Graaf foundation.

Those who look at the facts, can come to only one conclusion: the Dutch prostitution policy must be altered. The thousands of involuntary prostitutes must be better protected against abuses. The blind spot for this problem can only disappear when we abandon the dogma of voluntariness. Prostitutes on the contrary are often not ‘free and independent’, even when policymakers and whore-hoppers want to see it otherwise. The other side of the coin of the Dutch liberal prostitution policy is sexslavery. It is time to realise that.

Drs. [M.A] Hester Jansen is a historian, member of the ‘Derde Kamer’, a forum for discussion about international cooperation.

www.dederdekamer.org, en has a communication office in The Hague, hesterjansen@usa.net Source: Het Financieel Dagblad, woensdag March 24, 2004 / page 9
2004-03-26 15:26:57

Back to index