Sex work and tourism in the Red Light District
The Red Light District in the summer around 4 AM in the morning
In the last couple of years the debate about human trafficking in the Red Light District has been replaced with the discussion about tourism. This debate started a couple of years ago when some locals complained about it being too crowded with tourists in Amsterdam, but quickly got picked up by the media and turned into a witch-hunt against tourism. Now the media has turned this anti-tourism sentiment into a weapon against prostitution in the Red Light District, as they are blaming prostitution in the area for attracting too many tourists, while at the same time claiming sex workers can't work because of all these tourists.

The timing of this debate seems very convenient for the people that have been trying to push prostitution out of the Red Light District for years. Just after we did our protest against Project 1012, the gentrification project to close down windows in the Red Light District, which used the narrative of human trafficking as an excuse to close down windows, this narrative slowly died. After all, it's quite hard to disagree with the people you're claiming to help. Quickly after that the media picked up the complaints of some people that Amsterdam became too crowded with tourists, and slowly worked their way towards a narrative where the Red Light District would be too crowded with tourists. Their end game seems to be the same as before, now they're just using the new excuse of over-tourism in stead of human trafficking to get rid of prostitution.

This masterplan consists out of the media influencing the public opinion about tourism. Their masterpiece was released last week. After a couple of years of a slow build up, they released an article with a sex worker complaining about before having customers on the streets, but now only tourists on the streets. And that the income of sex workers has dropped a lot because of these tourists. At least, that's the narrative they presented. Most sex workers in the Red Light District however feel different about it.

We did a small round and talked with a dozen of my colleagues. The results might be quite surprising  for those that think we're not making any more money because of tourism. Because when asked if sex workers in the Red Light District thought it was too busy on the streets, a whopping 75% of them answered no. In fact, they even claimed it has become less busy. Quite the opposite of the narrative in the media. And just to clarify, we asked them specifically about the people on the streets, not about their clientele.

The sex workers that did feel it's too busy in the Red Light District, where interestingly all sex workers with a short career in the Red Light District. Of all the sex workers who have worked here for 5 years or longer, they all felt it was less busy then before. In short, sex workers that are new here might think it's busy now, but haven't seen how things where before. I have however, as I am one of those sex workers who thinks it's not busy at all, but in fact the Red Light District has become much more quite compared to 9 years ago when I got started here.

When I started working here 9 years ago, it was busy as hell in the Red Light District. What now you can only find on a Saturday evening, used to be how all the days where before. It was so busy back in those days, that I had to leave earlier from work to get to my window, because I had to wave my way through the crowds. These days this only happens in the weekends. On a regular Tuesday these days however, it's quiet on the streets. Especially in the late hours it gets really quiet. Before there where every day people walking around until 6 AM in the morning, but these days the area becomes quiet after around 2 or 3 AM in the morning already. The only people that are left after that, are a couple of people still walking around because they don't have enough money to go inside with a sex worker, them and the drug dealers on the streets. Often around 5 AM in the morning there are actually more drug dealers still left on the street than other people.

So the claim that the area has become much busier is just nonsense, unless you would compare it to decades ago, let's say the 80's. But if that would be the case, then why didn't this come up earlier? The witch hunt on tourism didn't start until around 2016, almost a year after we did the demonstration. The sex worker they spoke with in the media started working here by the way in mid 2016. Yes, she has 35 years of experience of working as a sex workers, of which mostly in her home country, not the Red Light District. Apparently she just occasionally would fill in for one of her friends who worked here in the past. But she didn't really start working here on a daily base until about 3 years ago. So comparing that blue Monday you worked a couple of times with how things are now, isn't really very reliable. And claiming things of 10 years ago, when you weren't here every day also isn't.

Because one of the claims that she makes, is that the windows in the day time 10 years ago where full. Interesting to say for someone that rarely was here back in those days. I started here 9 years ago, and back then already most of the windows in the day time where empty. So either something radically changed in 1 year time, or she simply is stating things she doesn't know about, because she wasn't here. Especially, since my other colleagues that have worked here longer then me, say the same thing: the windows in the day time have always been mostly empty. So this isn't because the work turned bad, this has always been the case.

The only places where mostly sex workers would be working in the day time, back then and now, are in the narrow alleys. But unfortunately those are the windows the city mainly has closed down in the past decade. While those windows where the most popular with sex workers, because customers in the day time feel more comfortable in a small narrow alley, compared to a big open canal where everybody sees you going inside. These narrow alleys are the best workplaces, because it offers customers a little more discretion compared to the main canal for example. So yes, there are less sex workers working in the Red Light District in the day time compared to 10 years ago. But this has nothing to do with the work being good or bad, but is simply because the best places got closed down, and the places nobody wants to work in are mostly what is left these days.

Then the narrative that before there where customers and now only tourists. An interesting narrative, since I've only ever worked with tourists in the past 9 years, just like most of the sex workers here. If you wanted to work with locals, the Red Light District was never the place to do this. Especially in the nighttime, like 99% of your clientele has always been tourists in the past 10 years in the Red Light District. For sex workers that work in the day time it's a different story, they work more with locals, and we can see how that worked out, most of the windows in the day time are empty. That alone should already say something about sex workers and tourism. After all, if sex workers hated tourists so much, and preferred more local customers. Then why do most sex workers work in the evening, when there are the most tourists? Wouldn't it make more sense that they're been working in the day time, when there are fewer tourists and the rent for the room is cheaper as well?

Yes, the income has dropped a lot. I remember when I came here 9 years ago, I was making a ton of money. But already back then colleagues that had been working here longer than I had, where complaining about how bad the work got. When I heard how much these girls where making before, I regretted I hadn't started working here years ago. In 2012 however the work got a little less. At first I thought it was something about myself. I thought it had something to do with my look, my costume or my hair. I got really depressed because I couldn't figure out why I wasn't making as much as I was before. In 2014 however the work got really bad, and not just for me, but for many girls. I realized the problem wasn't me, but it was the work. There where less people left on the street to work with, and the people that where still walking around had no money.

Every year since then the work got worse and worse, until last year, which was the worst year ever. Every girl is complaining about the work. But the problem isn't that it's too busy with too many tourists. No, quite the opposite. Late at night there's nobody left anymore on the street to work with. Look around at 3 AM in the morning, and see how many people are still left. There is a reason why so many girls these days go home earlier. Years ago most of the girls would stick around until the very last minute, because you still had people you could work with. But these days girls go home earlier, because the streets are empty.

The majority of the sex workers in the Red Light District don't think it's too busy with tourists, these tourists are actually most of our clientele. So why would we ever want to get rid of that? The reason we're not making money anymore is because in the last decade there are less people on the street, and the people that are left are all people that don't have money to come inside. The windows during the day time also where never full 10 years ago, they've always been empty mostly in the day time. But the best workplaces for sex workers in both the day and the night time have been closed down by the city itself. This whole narrative in the newspapers is just aimed at gaining support to move prostitution out of the Red Light District, something these people have already been working on for over a decade, but now have found a new excuse to use.

Funny enough their narrative isn't working out so well. The media recently also published a 'research' among people in Amsterdam that would support the notion that prostitution had to move out of the Red Light District. Fun fact is that this article got completely bashed on social media with people calling it fake news and blaming the 'import Amsterdammers' (people that aren't originally from Amsterdam) as the reason. There seemed to be full on support to keep the Red Light District as it is, in fact, the number of people that have responded negatively on this article have now even succeeded the number of people they did this research with.

But the most interesting thing perhaps is that there's something fishy going on with this research. One of the questions was for example how often people from Amsterdam come in the Red Light District. From this question they concluded that people from Amsterdam would avoid the Red Light District. But that's not how things work. After all, just because I don't come somewhere, doesn't mean I actively avoid it. And especially the Red Light District. Why would someone visit it if they're not looking for the thing you can find here? It's no surprise the research is nowhere to been found online. The OIS who conducted this research hasn't published it on their own website, and non of the media seem to be able to provide a link to this research. Funny enough this research was also led by someone from the PvdA, the same political party that wanted to get rid of prostitution from the Red Light District in the first place. Coincidence much?
Amsterdam not listening to sex workers
Is this really busy?!
Recently the political parties who are in the city government of Amsterdam announced a plan to reduce the business in the Red Light District. They want to open alternative locations, by giving out new licenses in other parts of the cities, for prostitution in hopes that it will reduce the business in the Red Light District, theorizing that sex workers in the Red Light District are fed up with the tourists.

First of all I completely don't understand this nonsense that people are complaining about the Red Light District being too busy. I've been working here for 9 years, and when I started out here it was much busier than it is these days. Before every day was like a Saturday in terms of how busy it was on the streets. In fact, it was busy until the early morning in the Red Light District, but nowadays after 2 or 3 in the morning the streets are almost empty. And I work in the busiest part of the Red Light District!

This isn't just my opinion, we started asking around colleagues and the majority of the sex workers in the Red Light District seem to agree with this. Almost 75% of the sex workers in the Red Light District don't think it's too busy in the street, but are saying it's become less busy. The sex workers that did think it was too busy turned out to be sex workers that haven't worked here for very long, so for them it's all new and they've never seen it how it was before. But even those who thought it was too busy said this wasn't much of a problem for them, as long as they are people with money who come inside with us. Sadly enough however these days there are more people just looking rather then coming in. Partially because they only come to look, partially because they simply don't have any money to come in.

So the claim that these political parties make about sex workers feeling it's too busy, and thus would prefer to work elsewhere is simply not true, but an opinion they projected onto us. But this isn't just the opinion of sex workers in the Red Light District, I've also asked people who work at the sex shops and at the sex shows, who've been working here for years already, and they say exactly the same thing. It's not busy, it's become more quiet in the Red Light District.

So the plan that the political parties have to open other locations for prostitution elsewhere in the city, serves no goal. We don't it's too busy, you've been pressured into thinking that because there's a group of residents that keep shouting this out in the media. And this group their voice is very big in the media. But that doesn't make it true!

It looks like an excuse they can use to kick is out. We've seen the same thing happening in 2013 in Utrecht, another Dutch city, which before also had window prostitution, in total 165 windows. They closed down all the windows over there for a different reason (also a lie), but with the same claim that they would offer the sex workers a new location. That never happened, but the windows where closed down nonetheless. The same thing applied to Arnhem in 2006 already, over there they also closed down 240 windows, claiming they'd open up a new location. Also there it never happened.

The way that Project 1012, a gentrification project in the Red Light District, was sold to the media as a project to fight crimes like human trafficking was used as an excuse to close down windows, they're now simply using a new frame to get us out, which is over tourism. It's just a new excuse to reach the same goal.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. In other words, I don't believe any of this crap. The city government got betrayed by their own mayor this week, who stated that the windows in the Red Light District that where scheduled to close down as part of Project 1012, are still going to close down. These are 37 windows with windows that are especially popular with sex workers because they're located in narrow alleys which offer more discretion to customers.

And also when we're talking about this supposed business, closing down more windows in the Red Light District doesn't make any sense, because that means the rest of the Red Light District will just because busier due to the fact that it's getting further reduced in size. In short, this is such a bullshit story. You're so adamant on fighting this business, yet you're still reducing the size of the Red Light District, making it even busier.

But even the plan itself, to open other locations elsewhere, isn't going to solve their problems. First of all because of the fact that there's simply no other place for it close by. Secondly because the logic of these political parties contradict themselves. After all, if this new plan is to reduce the business in the Red Light District, and at the same time offer sex workers a new place without tourists, then where did all those tourists go to? Either this new location is supposed to attract new tourist, this making it less interesting for sex workers to work there, according to the logic of these parties. Or sex workers would go to this new location because it's tourist free, in which case it doesn't do anything to reduce tourism in the Red Light District. It's one or the other, but this plan can't do both, it's contradicting itself.

Above all, we already have alternative locations. The Singel area is just a 10 minute walk away from the Red Light District, and there are no tourist there whatsoever. In fact, it's pretty much empty. So why would we need another location, of we already have one, or even in fact two alternative locations, because there's another area with window prostitution on the Ruysdaelkade. In short there are two alternatives to the Red Light District, yet still most sex workers prefer to work in the Red Light District. That doesn't seem to support the idea that sex workers want to move out of the Red Light District, nor does it support the idea that other areas will reduce the business in the Red Light District, otherwise it would've been a lot busier in those other areas as well.

What I see very much in this plan is that they claim to have listened to us, while in fact they've not listened to us at all. In fact, they're doing exactly the opposite of what we wanted. They're still closing down windows in the Red Light District, which we protested against, and which would only further increase the pressure of tourism in what remains of the Red Light District. Plus they think we're stupid enough to believe that they're going to open up alternative workplaces so in the end they can close down completely the Red Light District, using the new excuse of tourism in stead of trafficking.

If you really care so much about us, open up those new locations in the Red Light District itself, stop closing down windows in the area, and tourism will spread over more streets in the Red Light District. It's very simple. But they don't want that, they're just trying to deceive us with the promise of a new location, which is never going to work out, we've heard this promise before already in other cities.
Lies about debts of prostitutes in Red Light District
In a recent article published by newspaper Trouw, several Christian organisations talk about how girls in the Red Light District of Amsterdam would have debts of thousands of Euros with brothel operators, due to the fact that the income for us had dropped enormously in recent years.

And while it is true that the income has gone down a lot, the story that girls would be in debt with brothel operators is largely bullshit. Of course there can always be exceptions, but generally speaking there are no debts with brothel operators for a number of reasons.

The first and most important reason why girls don't have debts with brothel operators, is that you have to pay your room upfront per day. In short, if you don't have money to pay for the room, you don't get a room, and therefore also can't built up any debts. Brothel operators are not in the habit of giving away rooms for free, with the ‘pay me back later’ attitude, simply because you never know if you'll ever get paid back later. If a girl decides to quit and go back home, she can just leave, leaving the brothel operator with no money for the room.

In short, no money, no room. If you can't afford to pay the rent, you don't get the room. It’s just like with any other business, if you don’t have the money, you don’t get the place. So this whole story is largely bullshit. And brothel operators certainly won't let any debts run up to thousands of Euros, since that would cost them their income if a girl decides to make a run for it.

Than this whole story of the prices being so incredibly high for the windows. An average price for a room in the night time is about 165 Euro. The most expensive ones being 190 for the evening shift, the cheapest one being 130 Euro. For the daytime the average rent is about 90 Euro, ranging from 80 to 110 Euro. One brothel operator in the Red Light District works based on a one shift per day system, with a higher price of currently I believe 245 Euro.

But let's compare the price of these rooms with a hotel room for example, to see if it's really that expensive. A cheap hotel room in the Red Light District is about 220 Euro per night. That's a lot more expensive than the average of 165 we pay for the rooms. And it's basically the same thing, you rent one room with a bed of about the same size our perhaps a little smaller.

If you'd compare it to other businesses, we're also much cheaper of with our brothel operators. Try and find a business space for less than 165 Euro per day, that you don't have to pay for on the days your business is closed and even allows you not having to pay rent for your business space when you go on holiday.

Annemarie van Gaal recently complained in another article that the prices of the rent for rooms in brothels in the Red Light District of Amsterdam where extremely high. Interesting that she should claim this, since miss Van Gaal herself is in the board of directors of Start Foundation, the investor in the My Red Light brothel in the Red Light District. And My Red Light charges 165 Euro per night for their rooms. In other words, if Van Gaal complains about the rent for rooms being too high, and accuses the owners of brothels of 'exploitative behavior’, perhaps she should take a look in the mirror, since My Red Light does exactly the same thing!

In the opinion of most of the girls the rent is not too high, it's much cheaper than a hotel room or business space that other businesses pay for. Plus with the additional security measures of the brothel operators they offer, I'd say it's a fair price. Of course cheaper would always be better, but we don't blame the brothel operators of being exploitative for the prices they charge for their rooms, because in all honesty it's a fair price for us. Real estate in the city center of Amsterdam, where the Red Light District is located, is simply very high. That has nothing to do with the brothel operators, but does have something to do with a gentrification project called Project 1012.

The whole point of the article in Trouw was a clear example of how Christian organisations try to victimize sex workers every chance they get. Using the frame of how our income has dropped versus the rent we pay for our workplaces, they try to frame the brothel operators (again) as the bad guys. Sadly enough Annemarie van Gaal, who has good intentions I presume, but clearly lacks any knowledge of the Red Light District, follows the frame, not knowing she's riding the bandwagon of sex work abolitionists posing as heroes.

If the problems were really as big as those Christian organisations claim, then why would we still come to work here? After all, we're not making any money according to them, and are only making losses. So then why show up every day to make the loss even bigger? You don't have to go to work there. But of course that's the whole frame they're trying to use. They're trying to make it look like we're forced to work there, without explicitly stating it.

The funniest thing about the whole article in Trouw is that they still try to hint at large numbers of sex workers in the Red Light District being forced to work for pimps. But if that'd be the case, and so many of us wouldn't be able to even break even from our rent, that'd mean that the pimps also wouldn't be making any money. In short, there's a huge flaw in their narrative. No money for us, would mean no money for the pimps. And if those pimps wouldn't be making any money, than what would be the point for them to be here?

The flaws in this narrative are so hilarious, they even completely contradict each other. Either the story is that we're independent, but we're not making any money and even would be making losses on the rent. But that can't happen in reality, since the brothel operators wouldn't be making anymore profits, thus everything would die out pretty quickly. Or the story is that we're all forced by pimps, thus the income must still be profitable enough, otherwise there wouldn't be a point for a pimp to exploit us, since there would be no profit.

The only reason these organisations claim these things, is so they can profit from it themselves financially. After all, these christian organisations their whole reason of existence is based upon the idea that they have to save us. But if there’s nothing to save us from, there’s no reason for them to exist, and thus no reason for people to finance their schemes. So the only reason they claim these lies is so they can profit from it themselves.
Dutch government's 'pimp ban' is dangerous
For a while now The Netherlands has a new government, a coalition between right winged liberal party VVD, D66 and Christians from CDA and ChristenUnie. And apparently while negotiating about the new Dutch policies, the Christians where able to trade out their opinion in exchange for other things. Thus this new Dutch government came up with a plan for a 'pimp ban'.

Now a pimp ban might sound like a good idea, but the name is deceiving. Because in reality this pimp ban aims to criminalize anyone that aids and financially benefits from illegal working prostitutes. And just to clarify, illegal working prostitutes are not victims of trafficking, but simply sex workers that don't have a license to do sex work. Those licences are also almost impossible to obtain, since cities in recent years have basically only reduced the number of licenses, in an attempt to clean their cities of prostitution, with the excuse of fighting human trafficking.

The best example of this is in the Red Light District, where they closed down 128 windows. But also other cities have followed Amsterdam's example. In total 800 windows have closed down alone, leaving now 1200 windows in the Netherlands, in stead of the 2000 windows they had back in the year 2000. And in total there are now 46% less licensed prostitution businesses in The Netherlands since the brothel ban was lifted in 2000.

New licences are rarely ever given out, simply because cities don't want to. In short, even if you wanted to get a license to work legal as a sex worker, it's virtually impossible to get one. So a lot of sex workers are stuck working illegal, under the radar. Not because they are forced by a pimp, but because the government forced them, by reducing legal workplaces and not creating any new legal alternative workplaces for them.

Now you might think it's still a good idea to criminalize people that financially benefit from sex workers, because most people often think about pimps when they hear this. But this is exactly where this new upcoming law is so deceiving. Because this law doesn't aim at pimps, but anyone that benefits from sex workers without a license. So also for example the driver of an escort girl, the bookkeeper and the security guy. Literally anyone that financially benefits from a sex worker that works without a license.

To mislead the public opinion, the ChristenUnie party leader Gert-Jan Segers claimed that the pimp ban aims to criminalize human traffickers, and anyone that benefits from human trafficking. But this is simply not true. Nowhere in the entire proposed law it is mentioned that this law would only apply in cases of human trafficking, but in stead criminalizes anyone that aids and financially benefits from sex workers that work without a license.

Some people have said that Gert-Jan Segers is not well enough informed about the new law to realize the negative effects of his laws, but the reality is completely the opposite of this. In fact, he designed this law, so he knows very well what he did, and he intentionally designed it this way, so he could mislead people into believing it was about fighting human trafficking, while in reality it serves a different goal: to fight prostitution any way he can. You see, in the end Gert-Jan Segers his goal is not to fight human trafficking, but to try and ban prostitution anyway he can, and this law is designed to do exactly that. So he knows very well what he's doing, and Segers is extremely well informed about the prostitution industry and how things work, for example by Christians saviors Frits Rouvoet.

And to hive you an idea of what would happen if Gert-Jan Segers would succeed. If this 'pimp ban' gets implemented, it would mean that people who do business with sex workers working without a license don't want to do business with them, out of fear of being caught as a pimp. So bookkeepers, accountant, landlords, security people, drivers and chauffeurs would not do business anymore with these sex workers, making the life and work of these sex workers extremely difficult. Of course these sex workers would love to work legal, but since the cities don't allow them to get a license, their stuck working illegal. Obviously they won't stop working as a sex worker, since that would mean a loss of income, so they would continue working illegal, but can no longer do business with safe people, leaving only criminals to take advantage of that.

Indeed, this law would lead to more extortion of sex workers by criminals, which is also called human trafficking. So in stead of fighting human trafficking with this law, it would increase it. Obviously Segers knows this, but he simply doesn't care, as long as he gets his way because of his Christian morals. He wants to make the work of sex workers as difficult as possible, in an attempt to reduce prostitution as much as possible.

For me personally, this law doesn't affect me. I work legal, so for me this law is not a problem. But unfortunately not everyone can work legal, because of the problems of obtaining a license. So there are a lot of other sex workers out there in The Netherlands, who are in danger of only being able to do business in the future with criminals who want to try and exploit them. Obviously this is very bad, and the whole reason why this misleading pimp ban is such a bad idea, and proof of why people should never believe politicians like Gert-Jan Segers about topics like human trafficking and prostitution.

Dutch version
The lies of CDA and ChristenUnie about the Red Light District
We as prostitutes are getting so tired of all the lies that (mainly) christian political parties are spreading about the Red Light District. Ever since the new elections are coming up, they've been spreading so much bullshit, it's almost impossible to keep track of all of it. Let me first of all state that the christian parties such as CDA and ChristenUnie are not to be trusted in their information regarding prostitution and the Red Light District.

The problem with the statements of these christian political parties is that they attempt to get rid of prostitution. Not because in reality there's so much going wrong in the sex industry like how they claim, but simply because it's against their christian morals. They manipulate and often just lie as hard as they can about so many things, claiming to protect us, the women working as prostitutes, while in reality they are completely not protecting us at all!

The biggest bullshit they're spreading is about forced prostitution. They falsely claim that none or very few women choose to do this work. This is downright a lie. They keep coming up with made up numbers of human trafficking, which are simply made up. They constantly spread the lie that 50 tot 80% of us are victims, which is not true. They also claim that 70% of us have PTSD, which is also downright a lie.

All of these lies are carefully prepared and coordinated in an attempt by these christian parties to ban prostitution in any way they can. Whether this is by closing down more windows, criminalizing customers or just banning prostitution completely, every step takes them closer to their ultimate goal: banning prostitution. And they use human trafficking as a false argument to justify their goals.

So here are the facts. No, it's not true what they're telling you. Not 50% of the girls working in the Red Light District are forced. This is pure bullshit stories. I've written in the past couple of years a lot about the realities of human trafficking and tried to give more people insight into the (possible) scale of this. But to put it very simply, the Dutch Rapporteur on Human trafficking has received only 2 reports of possible victims in window prostitution in Amsterdam in 5 years time. That's pretty much it. So unless you believe there are only 3 or 4 women working in the Red Light District, you know all the stories of hundreds or thousands of women being forced here are utter bullshit.

Now I know what some people will say. "But these are just the victims that pressed charges, there are many more victims, but they're scared to press charges because of their pimp." Well, let me first of all say to you, why do you think you know it better than the people like me who works here? Secondly, no, this is not the case. Those 2 possible victims are all the people the police had suspicions about that they could possibly be a victim. So no, these are not victims that pressed charges, they don't even require any bit of evidence, simply the gut feeling that 'something might be wrong' is enough to report a person as a possible victim. In short, there is no more!

Now another bullshit thing CDA and ChristenUnie keeps spreading is about PTSD. They falsely claim that 70% of the prostitutes suffer from PTSD. This is another downright lie. Their statistics come from an American anti-prostitution activist who did selective research. In short, the research is manipulated to give a bad representation. The researcher hand picked her subjects with the highest probable rate of having PTSD (mainly street workers), to falsely claim this would be representative for all people working in prostitution. But of course the point is that it doesn't.

Secondly the research wasn't even conducted in The Netherlands, so it says nothing about the Dutch situation, it rather says more about what happens if you criminalize prostitution, like in the US where this research was conducted. So it actually points out more what will happen if CDA and ChristenUnie will get their way.

But more importantly, there's been various other researches done among prostitutes in the Netherlands as well as the Red Light District which shows a vastly different image, namely that prostitutes are actually feeling quite well and rarely come across any violence or things that cause PTSD, as a result of the fact that prostitution is rather safe and organized in the Netherlands compared to countries like the US where it's criminalized and therefore quite dangerous.

So no, it's not true that most women in the Red Light District do this job against their will. In fact, many of us chose to do this job, not because it was our dream job, but simply because it pays good money. For us this job is a means to an end, a way to achieve our goal, not the goal itself. So if you ask us if we love doing this job, most of us will answer no. Of course not, but that doesn't mean we didn't willingly chose to do this. For us prostitution is a way to achieve something in life, to get ahead in life. To save up money for our future, for our families, for our children. Not because we do this out of poverty, but because it's the quickest way for us to get where we want to get.

Prostitution for many prostitutes isn't the dream job. It's the job we do that helps us get to where we want to get in life. It's the road we take to achieve our goals and our dreams. Prostitution helps us to make our dreams come true. Prostitution is our road we willingly chose, so we can achieve our goals in life quicker than most other people would in life. Not because we're forced into this job by some pimp or loverboy. Those things happen, but like the statistics show, these are the exceptions, and not the women willingly choosing to do this work.

So CDA, ChristenUnie and every other political party or organisation that claims that many of us are forced. You don't speak for us. You don't care about us. You're fakers. You're liars. You're manipulators. You're only interested in your own political agendas, and you don't give a fuck about us! If you want to hear the true story, listen to other political parties like D66, Bij1 and Piratenpartij. Those where the only political parties that actually listened to us. The others just pretend to care about us.

Dutch version
Fake news from Daily Mail about Amsterdam's Red Light District
On the 10th of February the Daily Mail posted an article written by Sanchez Manning about 'the truth of the women in the window'. The article is however strikingly filled with complete lies and fake news beyond what I've seen before. Even simple things that are pretty well known are lied about, even though for the cause of the article it could've been better to tell the reality rather than some of the lies.

The article is clearly aiming to paint an extremely negative picture about prostitution and Amsterdam's Red Light District. But the article is so full of mistakes its hard to take serious at times. The article poses a fake interview with a former prostitute and victim of trafficking, but the stuff that she tells in the article are so obviously fake, it just displays their huge lack of information to write a good fake story.

So, where to begin? I could of course begin with something mentioned in the headline. One of the headlines reads: "Women working in Amsterdam's Red Light District can earn up to 350 pounds a day". If you make as a prostitute in the Red Light District of Amsterdam an earning up to 350 pounds on a 'busy day', you're clearly doing something wrong. It wouldn't even be considered a normal day, let alone a good day, like how it's claimed in the article. A good day a couple of years ago was around 1500-2000 euro, but I even knew girls that made up to 5000 euro on a busy day. Right now 1000 euro or above is considered a good day. But the 350 euro is even considered on a quiet day kind of average.

Then of course we have to come to their claims about human trafficking, Eastern European girls and pimps, and that 'many' are beaten, raped and knifed into it. What a load of bullshit. I'm not going to explain again why these claims are such bullshit, especially since the article also doesn't provide us with any statistics, so I'll let that be. But it's largely bullshit. If you care to read more about that, just read the other articles on this blog.

Then we come to the fake story of Angelica, who supposedly would've spend 5 years here in the Red Light District. The fake tale goes that when Angelica came to Amsterdam and saw the girls in the windows, she cried, because the girls looked horrible. This was the moment I just started laughing out loud. The girls looked horrible? Are you kidding me? Any tourist who visits the Red Light District can see this is complete bullshit. Most tourists are even surprised at how gorgeous most of the girls over here are, since they're not expecting this, I guess based on the experiences and ideas they have in their own country. This is just laughably fake.

The story of Angelica also mentions how her passport was taken away, which would've hold her effectively a prisoner. Well, that might work in London, not in Amsterdam, since you're always required to have your passport with you, otherwise you can't even rent a window. And even in the hypothetical case that she would be able to rent a window without a passport, once the police comes to check her up, which they do frequently (1900 checks on 300 windows alone a year), she can pack her bags and go home, and would immediately have gained the interest of the police to start an investigation. You simply cannot work here without a passport, it's not possible. And let's not even mention the fact that if this indeed would've happened a couple of years ago besides a passport, she would've also needed a permit to work here, since Romanian people where not yet accepted by the Netherlands to work here as part of the European Union. In short, this story is fake as hell.

Then we come to one of the biggest flaws in this article, which really gave away the story was fake. The price she charged. She claims the clients where charged 35 pounds, which comes down to about 40 euro, even though the price has always been 50 euro. Even most tourists know this. It just shows how the writer who came up with this fake story lacks good information about the Red Light District to construct a believable fake story. If a girl charges 40 or 35 euro, she wouldn't last a week before she got kicked out by the brothel owner, because the other girls would start to complain about it.

Then the fictional character of Angelica says she was cut on the face with a knife by her captors when she tried to refuse a client's demand to have unprotected sex. First of all the captor would have to be a huge idiot to cut her face, since it would damage his 'property' and devalue her worth in the market, but secondly it's also obvious not just to customers, but more importantly: the police. A cut in the face sticks out like a sore thumb, and would definitely get noticed by the police who walk by every 5 minutes, let alone that they wouldn't keep a sharp eye on her, since this is like the most obvious sign of human trafficking you can get. If this really happened, this girl couldn't have worked longer than a day there, since immediately she would've gotten the attention from the police.

According to this Angelica, English customers would be the worst. Laughable, since I don't know one single girl who doesn't like English customers. It's actually completely the opposite of what the article claims. English guys are probably the most respectful customers, and even when they get drunk (which happens a lot), they're still very respectful, let alone that they would hurt people. This section of the story is so clearly aimed at scarring off English guys to visit prostitutes. If this article would've been published in the French media, they would've changed them to French guys being the worst.

Then another thing which was sticking out in this story like a sore thumb. According to the story Angelica slept in her brothel in case a punter (customer) wanted sex early in the morning. I laughed my ass off when I read this, since it's so ridiculous. That's impossible, since brothel owners rent out the windows twice a day, so a different girl would be working there in the day time. So you can't actually sleep here. It's so freaking hilarious to read how poorly this writer did their research, if they did any at all.

Considering the story, the 350 pounds a day that this girl could make also doesn't add up to the whole trafficking story. Girls that are trafficked are pushed to work hard and make a lot of money, they would make much more than 350 pounds a day. It's just laughable to read such a fake victim story. Honestly I don't understand why they didn't just interview a real victim, or copied a real victim's story. In stead the writer opted to make up their own fake story, which is so full of inaccuracies and impossible things, you can just see the writer did little to no research at all to create this fake story.

The article also speaks about a protest in The Hague, where 'thousands of protesters' are expected to march to demand the country's brothels to be outlawed again. Again a pure lie. There is no upcoming protest in The Hague to protest against the legalized brothels in 2000. There was a small little protest in The Hague against prostitution in one street there, mainly local residents. Here's a picture of the protest, which as you can see, is not 'thousands of protesters':
The whole story is pretty much a completely fabricated lie, added with some quotes from mostly anti-prostitution activists, such as Renate van der Zee. In these times of fake news, I cannot possibly understand why the writer didn't put more effort in coming up with a more realistic fake story, and how this ever got passed the editor.

I urge you all to report this article from the Daily Mail as fake news. Because that is precisely what it is. Write the editor of the Daily Mail, comment on their article, Tweet about it on Twitter, post it on Facebook. It's about time the fake news about prostitution comes to an end, and the people responsible pay for it.

UPDATE 13/02/2018 18:35
I was just contacted by one of the people interviewed for this article for the Daily Mail. Apparently the journalist, Sanchez Manning, lied about the newspaper they where working for. Manning also lied about the intention of the article, which was supposedly going to be about the tourism in the Red Light District and not about some story exposing the 'myth' of the happy hooker. So apparently the lies in the article aren't the only lies this journalist told people.

Dutch version
The lies of politicians about the Red Light District
About 4 years ago I started this blog to fight all the misinformation and lies spread around in the media by politicians and opinion makers about prostitution, human trafficking and the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Working there myself behind the windows, and seeing all these people talking such incredible bullshit on TV, in newspaper or in other media, just makes me feel sick in my stomach. Especially because the most often claim being heard is that 'those Eastern European women are the victims', because they can't believe someone from East Europe would come all the way here just to do this work as a job, and not be a victim.

In the past 4 years I tried explaining people the truth. I've been working here now for 8 years, and the stories about the Red Light District being some kind of hub for human trafficking are just pure bullshit. Yes, human trafficking can happen, and sometimes does happen. But anyone claiming there are 'hundreds of women' victims here, or being raped, or that's it's more than 50% or all these statistics are just lying their asses of for their own hidden agenda.

Yesterday was another good example. There was a political debate on TV and also an article was published today with the leader of the Dutch christian political party CDA, Sybrand Buma, where he claimed that more than half the women are forced behind the windows. He even claimed that "if you'd ask those women, they'd say they choose this voluntarily, but it isn't the case". In short, he tries to silence our voice, and speaks for us, proclaiming that no matter what we say, people cannot trust our word. And this is coming from a politician, can you believe it? This also begs the question how someone could ever find out that someone is forced if you can never trust a sex worker on what they say? Wouldn't what work both ways?

He continued his argument by stating that 60% of the women come from East Europe, and stated that "they didn't come here with with a train ticket, but are often lured into this under false pretenses, picked out of the gutter in Budapest." Like I said, the claim is often about girls like us from East Europe, which is weird if you think about it, because we have more reason to do this job, considering our counties economic position, than women from The Netherlands for example, so this reasoning makes no sense. And it's also funny to see how poorly informed Buma is, considering the fact that he mentions Budapest as an example. There aren't so many Hungarian girls working in the Red Light District, let alone from Budapest. But whatever.

This is a perfectly good example of a lie. Buma is lying because as a christian he opposes the idea of prostitution, and would rather have it forbidden. His concerns aren't really about human trafficking and forced prostitution, he just abuses terms such as modern slavery for his own political agenda. Yes, I know, what a shocker, a politician telling a lie for a political agenda, who would've thought that, right?

Now of course it's no surprise that a politician with a christian background lies about something to achieve something from being banned which conflicts with his own christian morals. Christians have been doing the exact same things on topics such as homosexuality and abortion. Christians in the US for example claimed for years (and perhaps even today), that homosexuality is a decease. Or that homosexuality is the cause of AIDS. They say these kind of things, because everyone is against deceases and AIDS, so by using it as an argument, they hope to convince people into supporting their cause.

The reason Buma doesn't make such claims about homosexuality, is because it's much too accepted in the Dutch society. It would rather damage his political career, and cost him voters than gaining any. But prostitution is still a debate that's not been decided yet, plus the fact that unlike gay people, sex workers hardly speak out for themselves because they want to protect their privacy. And even if we would speak out, his argument is that we would be lying anyway, so nothing we say could be trusted. So it's kind of like shooting sitting ducks, it's very easy to do, and because there are no hard facts and little publicly known about the reality of prostitution, it's easy to get away with it.

Good thing though that a while ago the Dutch Rapporteur on Human Trafficking published this rapport on the relation between human trafficking and prostitution. In this rapport it also specifies how many suspicions there where from for example the police, city officials and any officials that are part of fighting human trafficking or have any dealings with this. And guess what? They specified how may suspicions of human trafficking they had by region and per prostitution form. So, now we can look up how many possible victims there really are according to the people that report this to the government.

In the rapport "Prostitution and Human Trafficking" on page 177, it is specified that in Amsterdam over a 5 year period from 2011 until 2015, there where 2 possible victims in window prostitution. Not hundreds, not thousands like some video from Stop The Traffik claims, not even dozens. No, just 2. In 5 years! That means one victim every 2,5 year. Not 400 women a day, like the previous mayor claimed, not hundreds of woman a day, not even hundreds of women a month or even a year.

Now I know that people will start claiming that the police doesn't see everything. But then again they don't have to see anything to report it, all they need is a gut feeling, no evidence is required and even than we only come down to 2 possible victims. And trust me, they check things out. Official statistics from the city of Amsterdam show that they do around 1900 checks a year on window prostitution alone in Amsterdam. To put that in perspective, we have 290 windows in the Red Light District.

So 2 possible victims, that's not 50%, heck, that's not even 10%. We have here on a daily base around 400 sex workers working here, so this is more like 0,10%. Not even one percent, but a tenth of that. And yes, around 60% of us are from East Europe. But just because we come from there, doesn't mean we didn't choose to do this job ourselves. It's a pure lie claiming that most of us where brought here under false pretenses. In fact, I've never met a single girl in the Red Light District who didn't know what she was coming here for. Even victims, and I know some victims, even they knew what they came to do here, and they had no objections to it.

Because in the end, even for most victims, the problem isn't the job. Very few girls do this job involuntarily, despite the fact that human trafficking sometimes happens. Not as much as people often claim, as you can see, but it does happen sometimes. But abolishing prostitution isn't the solution to human trafficking. After all, if it was, then how come they never propose abolishing other professions where human trafficking exist, if it's such a good solution?

No, Sybrand Buma is a liar, just like Gert-Jan Segers, Lodewijk Asscher and many, many other politicians and opinion makers often claiming to 'want to do something against human trafficking'. It's not about human trafficking, they don't care about fighting that, it's a scam. They're just using it for their own political agenda. Just look through my blog, there's about 4 years worth of articles with sources. And it's not about denying human trafficking, I don't deny that human trafficking exists. In fact, I wrote plenty of artciles about how human trafficking works in reality, and even how human trafficking in prostitution could really be reduced. But also articles about the reality of working behind the windows in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, which is vastly different from how Buma claims it is. And I should know it, because I work there, and not him or any of the other politicians claiming bullshit about us.

Dutch version
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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.