The report Kwetsbaar beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam [Vulnerable profession - a research into the prostitution branch in Amsterdam] (Bureau Beke, 2010) just entered my mailbox and I read some pages quickly. I must conclude that the world is still a bad place. The book is kind of boring, with lots of numbers, facts and figures. I think the researchers couldn't find other information. But the positive side is, the books smells really good! Really new. (Actually, you can download the whole report: here)
About pimps on De Wallen (page 165), this piece is very interesting, so for now a direct unofficial translation:
On De Wallen there is virtually no prostitute who works without a pimp, at least that's what several interviewed respondents say, police as well as social work and the prostitutes themselves. The pimps can offer the prostitutes protection and share in the profits. The last thing isn't necessarily illegal, provided that the prostitute can decide this in full freedom. From interviews with prostitutes it emerges that strictly speaking nothing is necessarily wrong with pimps. They can arrange things for the prostitutes and act in the ways of a manager. A pimp in their experience is comparable to a boss from the normal business life. A number of prostitutes previously have also worked for a pimp, but can fend for themselves just fine now. Some admit that they still have 'a boyfriend', but according to the prostitutes themselves you can not speak of coercion or involuntariness. They decide for themselves when, where and how long they work. About their colleague-prostitutes on De Wallen, they say that 90 percent work for a pimp to whom they have to hand over a large part of their income (after deduction of the window rent half of the revenue). When prostitutes don't want to work for a pimp, these men sabotage the entry of customers by simply standing in front of the door permanently. This way they force the women into paying 'protection'. There is also a group of prostitutes on De Wallen of whom many respondents say that they work completely independently, without a pimp. This involves transsexuals and South Americans who work in the Bloedsteeg. These are prostitutes who in the view of a respondent 'don't let themselves be forced'. They work here in prostitutes for years.So to summarize: prostitutes are still blackmailed on De Wallen. What I also read is that the Singel area (Oude Nieuwstraat and surroundings) is not so good at all (page 166). Many Eastern Europeans do work there. Actually I saw that with my own eyes, so the idea that only older women work there is not completely right, only on average. According to the people interviewed by the researchers pimps collect the women in the Singel area in big BMW's and bring them to De Wallen. This is another mirage of mine which is shattered (I actually visited two prostitutes there recently).
Now, The Scharlaken Koord survey among 202 window prostitutes:
The reason for staying in prostitution
table 10.3 page 193
102 (95%) For the money
3 (2%) Likes the work
8 (4%) For the attention
1 (0.5%) For the thrill
41 (20%) The step is emotionally too big
16 (8%) Is coerced
43 (21%) No education
123 (61%) No alternative
157 (78%) Don't speak Dutch
70 (35%) No knowledge about the Netherlands
106 (53%) Not allowed to do other work
One more note: the researchers only interviewed a handful of prostitutes in depth: 8, in the Singel area. Come on, that's no thorough research! Why not interview a hundred prostitutes? The prostitutes interviewed are from the Dominican Republic (1), Ghana (2), the Netherlands (2), Romania (2) and the Ukraine (1).
Oh, and I wanted to say that another book has entered my mailbox: Beminnen als beroep - Mijn carrière als courtisane [making love as a profession - my career as a courtisane] (2010) written by Roos Bachelier. She also did a radio interview radio 1. She told that forced prostitution doesn't affect more prostitutes than 5%. And she really loved her work. She catered to rich men in club Mayfair in The Hague (I have been there too!). Mainly drugs barons by the way.
I now have read the first part of the book where she went to prostitution-training in an amateur club together with her female friend and her friend's boyfriend! They had paid sex with several guys there and the boyfriend acted as their pimp.
(Oh oops, I really start to believe that I'm becoming criminally insane! Don't know what to believe anymore with all these happy hookers and sad prostitutes passing by! But I'm glad as a prostitutor that at least one woman seems to be happy allowing her body and person to be degraded in such a way. Ooohhhh, I'm just jealous, I can't stand it when women have sex with other guys than me!)
While reading through the book ('Kwetsbaar Beroep') some more I read some more flabbergasting facts:
-(on page 20) The Police people of the Beursstraat (near the Wallen) registered from mid 2007 through May 2009 a total of 670 window prostitutes and 208 men whom the police refer to as persons who commit violence (geweldplegers). These men directly or indirectly surfaced in cases of trafficking in women. Well, I hope that the police is just thoroughly wrong and just prejudiced! If they are right this could hint at a ratio of 3 evil pimps for every 10 prostitutes on the Wallen.
-Another fact. The writers of the book estimate that prostitutes work 4 shifts per week on the Wallen (on page 67). One shift takes approximately 8 hours. That means a 32 hour working week. And in my opinion this contradicts the notion that many prostitutes are forced, because wouldn't they work much longer then?