Prostitution, drugs and guns
Apparently there's this whole idea that people have, that the world of prostitution is filled with crime, drugs and guns. It's an idea perhaps that people get from watching movies, or false stories that are out there, but this is very far from reality.
I guess the reason many people think about drugs and guns when they think about prostitution, is because these are things that all have a mysterious attraction to people, people are always interested and intrigued by danger and things they don't understand. For some kind of reason guns, drugs and prostitutes are mysteriously interesting, since there's not a lot known about the world's behind them. I personally don't know much about drugs or guns, I don't use them nor am I interested in them, yet for some kind of weird reason a lot of other people are.

First of all not a lot of people have guns in Holland to begin with. The policies around guns are much tougher than for instance in the U.S., so not many people in Holland even own a gun to begin with. Secondly, most of the people that visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam, are tourists, and they simply don't carry any guns with them, since they wouldn't get passed customs with it.
So fact is that not many people have guns to begin with, and those who do, need a permit for it with some very strict rules about it. It's one of the reasons Holland has such a low crime rate compared to the U.S. (learn from that America!), if you don't have a gun, you can't kill or threaten people with it.
Of course there might be some underground criminals who own guns, but in my 4 years of time working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, getting all kinds of customers, I've never met someone with a gun. It simply doesn't happen. So it's not like people run here on the streets with guns or something.

This brings us to the point of drug dealers on the streets. Criminals who sell drugs. I've had some customers who deal drugs in the streets, their money is as good as any to me, I don't care as long as they pay me. And to be honest, since these guys sell drugs, and make a lot of money, they like to spend money on prostitutes.
But besides the fact that some drug dealers are clients of prostitutes (by far not all, just a few), this doesn't mean drug dealers and prostitution are connected in any way more than it is connected to the accountancy industry, just because some of our clients are accountants.
In fact, most prostitutes don't like drug dealers, since their shady appearance scare away our customers, who become afraid of them. It's not good for business to have them around. So also the prostitutes would rather seen them leave, than hanging around in our working area. If it where up to me, all these guys would need to be arrested and kept in jail for a very long time.

My question is why do I see the same guys on the streets already for years, selling drugs, while the police stands around and does nothing about it? Are they too occupied with 'freeing' prostitutes from their 'pimp'?
How come I see every day the same guys hanging around in the neighborhood, and I rarely see the police doing anything about it? Perhaps the police is allowing this to happen to get the big boss behind these street dealers, but if that would be the case, it must be an extremely slow moving case, because the same guys have been around for the past 4 years that I've been working there already.
If Amsterdam was really so interested in cleaning up the crime in the Red Light District, I don't understand why the police still haven't arrested these guys. Some do get arrested and go to jail for a couple of days, before they get back on the street again. It's one of the reasons why these guys keep selling drugs on the street, because even if they get caught, they only go to jail for a very short period of time, it's almost laughable. Holland's justice system is laughable anyway, criminals go to jail for such a short period of time, that it does pay to be a criminal here. Pickpockets go to jail for a couple of weeks, real pimps who exploit women and physically assault them go to jail for only two or three years, drug dealers go to jail for a matter of weeks. No wonder these criminals keep hanging around in this country, the jail time is so short, and the conditions in jail are so good, it's almost like a holiday. These are no punishments, it's more like a break from work for most of these criminals.
If Amsterdam really wishes to fight crime in the Red Light District, then focus on those street dealers, arrest them and make sure they go to jail for a long time, that will solve 90% of the dark image and crime that's in the Red Light District.

And then of course there's the idea a lot of people have that most prostitutes use drugs. They say the drugs come from their pimp, who uses it as a way to keep control over the prostitutes, and in this way force her to work for him. Keep her drugged, and she'll work for you and make you money.
The funny thing is, I don't even use drugs. I've never smoked a joint, even though I live in Holland and it's completely legal. I don't even drink alcohol. And most of the girls I know also don't use any hard drugs. Some smoke a joint, but than again, so do a lot of people in Holland. In fact, I think regular people in Holland smoke more joints than prostitutes do. Some of my friends smoke a joint sometimes. They're not junkies or addicts. They just like to relax that way, it's like drinking an alcoholic beverage. There's no pimp forcing them or giving them these drugs, they buy it themselves.
But in all honesty, not many girls smoke a joint at work. The girls I know who use drugs, use them when they go out to party. They like to stay sharp at work, and a joint doesn't help with that. And using harddrugs is especially not a good idea in prostitution, you go fucking paranoia if you use harddrugs, from all the people starring at you at work. And on top of that, our offices (exploitant) doesn't allow the use of drugs in our rooms. Of course that doesn't stop some girls from doing it, but those girls that sometimes do it, aren't exactly drug addicts.

The whole idea of a pimp using drugs to keep control over his prostitute is overrated. I've never seen it happening. I'm not saying it doesn't happen at all, but if it does happen, it happens on a very small scale. But most prostitutes don't even use hard drugs. They're not come coke snorting bitches that are to stoned to see what's happening to them. That's just bullshit.
Perhaps there are a few girls who do use hard drugs on a regular base, and they're addicted. But those girls aren't forced, they work this job because they love drugs, and this job pays for it. But the general idea that most prostitutes are using drugs, it just nonsense. The use of drugs and guns in our industry is highly overrated. In fact, the use of drugs is probably higher among the general Dutch population, than it is among prostitutes in the Amsterdam Red Light district.

Guns are rarely to be found there, and if they are there it should be the police to take care of that. I've never come across one any way, so I think this is a stupid discussion. The prostitution industry in Amsterdam is not responsible for the failures of the police who's responsibility it is. And the same thing goes for drugs. The prostitution industry in Amsterdam is not responsible for people selling or using drugs in the area, if people are dealing or using it, it should be the police who should take the responsibility for it. The use of drugs among prostitutes is highly overrated, and it certainly isn't the case that most girls are drugged behind the window by some pimp exploiting them. We prostitutes have a strong social control among each other, and also the offices that rent us our rooms have rules against the use of drugs. If there are still people using drugs, they are violating the rules of the offices, which will kick those girls out if they find out. And on top of that it's also the responsibility of the Amsterdam police and the city government to fight drug dealers on the streets.

Prostitutes just want a safe place to work. Drugs and guns don't fit into that. Besides the fact that there are virtually no guns in the Red Light District, and the use of drugs is restricted to legal softdrug use by mainly tourists and Dutch locals, prostitutes hardly ever use any drugs at all. The idea that prostitution, drugs and guns are related are complete nonsense. It's more something you'll see in movies and video clips with rappers, but reality is not as exciting as movies often show, certainly not in the Red Light District anyway. So this is one of those myths that are complete nonsense.
We are strong advocates of a safe Red Light District, but it's the local police, and indirectly the city government of Amsterdam who are responsible for this. They however seem to be more occupied with closing down windows, taking away safe workplaces for prostitutes, than ensuring the safety of the visitors, tourists, clients and prostitutes in the Red Light District in Amsterdam by arresting street dealers and other small time criminals.

Dutch version
2 Responses
  1. Cliente X Says:

    I see that what u are telling is what ANY person with eyes in his/her face could say. Prostitution is way too different of the imagen media usually depict it. Thats the reason I began to investigate more and, eventually, opened my own blog to tell what I was finding in this world.

    But governments are really interested in giving a bad image of this reality, for example take a look of the propaganda poster that they Madrid govt made linking weapons trafficking and prostitution:
    http://controlpublicidad.com/files/contents/image/b1b4769fb1d21b3830f7350bd61c8fd2.jpg

    Weird, dont u think?


  2. Thank you for writing this. I am a social worker and people have such a distorted view of the people that we work with. They lump everyone into one big category without taking a look at all of the moving pieces. I appreciate you doing a little work to dissect it for the average person. You have done good work.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds


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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.