6 More prostitution windows closed down in Amsterdam
And while everyone's busy with the prejudice documentary of Jojanneke van den Berge and their false statistics, meanwhile we, the prostitutes themselves, have lost again. On the 1st of January another 6 windows were closed down in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Part of project 1012 to 'clean up the Red Light District', which mainly seems to be aimed at just getting rid of prostitution and coffeeshops.

The windows that were closed down are 6 windows in the Bethlehemsteeg on the numbers 1-6 (the first 6 windows on your left). We already knew for some time the windows were going to close down, as the owner of the buildings was in talks with the city government of Amsterdam about selling his building to them. The window operators didn't had much to say about this, as they had to watch how the building owner finally gave in to the huge pressure the city government had put on owner, to sell the building in which their business was located.
For a while there was talks about more windows closing down, causing confusion and a lot of stress with a lot of the other girls, if perhaps their window was also going to close down. Basically nobody knows a thing, until the building owners and the city have come to an agreement, and we're usually the last ones to find out.

For us it's always a surprise to hear if and when a window is going to close down. The government says they're doing it to fight human trafficking and forced prostitution. But how can they know that, if they've never even talked to the girls working in the windows they're shutting down? They're just randomly closing down windows, with the excuse of  fighting forced prostitution, without having any knowledge about the girl they're kicking out on the street, who she is, what her situation is or what else she's going to do once her workplace has been shut down.

According to former alderman Lodewijk Asscher, the project 1012 was to reclaim the city's center from the criminals. But the only ones they're reclaiming things from, are honest hard working people like us. They're not reclaiming windows from pimps, they don't own any windows, the brothel owners do and they have a permit for this.
Lodewijk Asscher defended his plans by referring to the stories of Patricia Perquin, who was also the main adviser on the project 1012. But of course, she was later discovered as a fraud. But even after she was exposed the project still continued. According to Laurens Ivens from the SP, he didn't need the stories of Patricia Perquin to know that there was a lot of crime in Amsterdam's Red Light District. According to him there were enough reports that showed there was a lot of things wrong in the Red Light District. Laurens Ivens said:

"When I walk in the Red Light District, I see the suffering in the eyes of the women behind the windows"

First of all, when he said this I was already working there for about 3 years. I've never seen him there. But more interestingly, how can you know that just by walking through the streets? Is he some sort of medium that can read people's mind? Of course not!
And the reports he's referring to are also not as waterproof as he wants it to sound. Like I've written in on of my very first posts, all the reports that show high numbers of trafficking have done extremely little research in the field. The KLPD only talked with two prostitutes (who both just happened to be victims as well) (page 135), and than based their conclusion of 50-90% human trafficking on near guesswork of a couple of police officers when asked what their personal estimations were (most by the way claimed that was impossible to estimate) (page 76).

The other report from Bureau Beke wasn't much better. The number was already much lower in their report (30-40%), but also they've only talked to 8 prostitutes, of whom by the way were only working in the Singel area (page 223). None were spoken in the Red Light District area itself!
On top of that their interview was done with a questionnaire which didn't even refer to any questions regarding human trafficking or forced prostitution (pages 220 and 221). They only asked for: sex, age, origin of country, current living place, how long they were living here, which languages they spoke, the numbers of years working in prostitution, if they did any other forms of prostitution, how many hours they worked, if they has any other sources of income and their plans for what they would do if they would close down their window.
Also everyone knows, as also statistics show, that most of the girls working in the Red Light District come from mainly Romania and Bulgaria with a smaller portion of Hungarian girls, and after that it spreads out into small groups. But for this report they've interviewed only 2 Romanian girls and no Bulgarian or Hungarian girls. So the (poorly done) interviews also don't give a good representation of the groups that are working in the Red Light District.

The rest of the reports state much lower statistics. Amsterdam Sociaal stated a percentage of 10% human trafficking, and Scharlaken Koord even came to only 8% human trafficking. Both by the way interviewed a substantial amount of girls. Bas Merkx for Amsterdam Social interviewed 94 prostitutes for his research. Scharlaken Koord even came to 220 prostitutes.
So how did Laurens Ivens exactly know again there was so much wrong? You can't see it on the outside, like how he suggests in his comment in the newspaper. All the reports that show high figures are doubtful to say the least, as to how they came to their conclusion. And the reports that show low figures were actually done among a large group of prostitutes, and both of those researches stay very close to each other, even though they came from two completely different sources.

But beyond that, how can they dismiss the fact that Patricia Perquin was one of the main advisers on the project? How can you still continue a project, of which the main adviser turned out to be a fraud! That at least would require some sort of investigation, to see how large her influence was, and if the project still even has any basis to continue without it's largest adviser.
To put it more simple. If we would take out the influence of Patricia Perquin on project 1012, would it still hold up? That should be investigated, but never was, which begs the question why the politicians were so reluctant to do that? What are they hiding that they don't want to be investigated? What are they so afraid of that we'll find out?

In 2011 however, Lodewijk Asscher did an interview with Eva Jinek. That interview revolved around project 1012, and Asscher's attempt to close down large parts of the window brothels. And of course the interview turns towards the question why they are closing down windows. Asscher his response is of course that it is because according to him there's much wrong in Amsterdam's Red Light District.

Eva: "About how many people are we talking? How many women?"

Lodewijk: "About many women. The estimations are unclear"

But if estimations are unclear. Than how do you know you're talking about many women? Would be my question. After all, many implies a large potion. But if the estimations are unclear, than how do you know we're talking about a large portion of it? After all, even mayor Eberhard van der Laan has stated that they don't know, because the estimations reach from 8 till 90%.

Eva: "But are we talking hundreds, or thousands?"

Lodewijk: "Next week a new book will appear, 'Slaves in the Polder' it is called, and there they say: about 50% of the prostitutes are forced. Can you imagine, the half of those women! But it also says that from those Hungarian girls, there are now many Hungarian girls in the Red Light District, it is about 100%. If you know, that a couple of hundred feet away, this is happening in the capital of a wealthy country. Rape, every day again."


The book however that Lodewijk Asscher is referring to, is written by Perdiep Ramesar, the journalist recently fired for not being able to show his sources. Ramesar was best known for his articles on prostitution, human trafficking, but also about a neighborhood in The Hague, De Schilderswijk, which would be in the hands of radical Muslims. Also his book, 'Slaves in the Polder', has been retraced from new prints from it's publisher after these recent events.
This now has been already the second time Lodewijk Asscher has referred to someone else to defend it's project 1012, that the person in question has been exposed as a fraud. All the research they're referring to turns out to be based on guesswork by people from the government themselves, rather than actual field work and prostitutes. The researches that prove otherwise however, have done extensive field work, interviewing prostitutes.

After Perdiep Ramesar was revealed to be a fraud, the people from the Schilderswijk in The Hague went in talks with the newspaper that published the articles about them. Yet I'm surprised nobody has said anything about all the lies Perdiep told about prostitution and human trafficking in all of his articles and his book.
Especially considering the fact that now already two of Lodewijk Asscher his sources have turned out to be frauds. How can a project like that still continue without any questions? How can it be that no journalists has stood up, and thought: "Wait a second! There's something wrong here! This is already the second fraud connected to Amsterdam's Project 1012, I'm gonna write a story about that and ask some serious questions about that?"

The media might have woken up about Jojanneke her lies, but that's only because I handed it to them on a silver platter. Do I need to do all the work for you people? Have journalists become copy machines of the people that really delve into the truth? When are you going to wake up, and do some actual journalism, in stead of just copying what me and many other people are saying?
I mean, you are also just copying exactly what Lodewijk Asscher is saying without question. If Lodewijk Asscher says that 50% of us are forced, you don't investigate it, you write it down as if it was a fact. If I write that Jojanneke is using false statistics, you write it down without checking it. Fortunately I still check the facts, or rather my boyfriend does, who helps me a lot in that respect for doing most of the fact checking on my blog. But the media doesn't check their facts anywhere! And that was exactly the mistake Perdiep made and the reason he got fired!

Fact is, that Amsterdam's Project 1012 is built on lies. Lodewijk Asscher used frauds as evidence to support his project, namely Perquin and Ramesar. All stastics about forced prostitution are unclear to say at least, so any conclusion based on that is a false one. Fact is that Lodewijk Asscher is now the vice-prime minister of this country because of this prestige project of his. So this man basically became vice-prime minister, by lying and using frauds as proof, and nobody's asking questions? Go shame on you!

As for the girls working in those 6 windows? Well, they lost their workplace, which basically means they're without a job, unless they can find another window. They don't have a fixed income anymore to pay their bills, and some might resort to illegal prostitution in order to pay for those bills. But that's okay, as long as you people can still believe in the illusion that you're fighting human trafficking, right? Great job!

Update 3/2/2015:
I've updated the blogpost because it turned out that not the window operators but the building owners sold it. The window owner therefore became as much a victim of this as the prostitutes themselves.

Dutch version
3 Responses
  1. Frans Says:

    Although your tirade against the criminal activity lies and shrewd strategies of the city to clean up de Wallen (Project 1012) is right on, the closing of these six windows is almost certainly not related to suspicious activities of the landlord(s).

    As the blueprint for Project 1012 shows, all windows of the entire Annenkwartier of de Wallen (where Bethlehemsteeg is) will be closed in the coming years. The Project 1012 manager stated that the city is already negotiating a buy-out with the owners who, being business men, will probably come out as the big winners, like Charles Geerts did!
    The big losers are the individual sex workers but, as we're going to hear from our expert, Jojanneke, 70% are anyway forced and should be rescued, so we're supposed to be happy: the sex workers come out as winners, too!
    'Gentrification' and pleasing developers, that's what the trafficking hysteria has been about during Project 1012, I think, at least since Asscher became alderman. But the history goes back to the 1996 Van Traa Rapport. That was the wake-up call. And, unfortunately, the Sneep Affair (2006-2008) with the Schone Schijn report (2008) gave the cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Alkmaar the ultimate political justification for their prostitution policy with the outcome we know and the unbelievably stigmatizing effect on sex work in general. Both devastating.
    Smug Asscher must feel the great personal satisfaction that fits his ego. All sex workers can get lost and stay home, as far as he's concerned. Aren't most of them immigrants anyway? That's another 'good' reason to close windows. The man is a dangerous technocrat, as far as I am concerned, unfortunately too smart for his and our own good.


  2. Fietsertje57 Says:

    Combat human trafficking? One of the most common legal back doors to get rid of the prostitution. The legal argument to give the Red Light District another function. According to an article in the newspaper Het Parool on Nov 9. '14 project developers buy many parts of the Wallen against high prices. The area has become very expensive according to two GPs who after 28 years also have to disappear. "The most beautiful (!) parts of the city are controlled by thugs" said a well-known former alderman. When the judge did not accept the withdrawal of the licences in the St. Annen area it was simply "One way or another, we will close it, we want to give the area a different function." The Wallen are a prime location and the girls have to go. "The girls will go to somewhere else or they will retire" said alderman Asscher in a television program. Eros Centers replacing red light districts have never got off the ground because of endless procedures of local residents and companies who fear loss of customers. So usually no effort is made.
    The police also doesn’t need this headache file. She appears to cooperate with the municipality with the same obscure and undocumented reports. No statements about the nature of human trafficking and forced prostitution, not divided in different categories with percentages as is usual in a solid report. The taxi driver who transports the girls across the border is also a human trafficker when he knows that they aro goiing to work in the prostitution. Forced by poverty is also called forced prostitution. Of course poverty is the most common reason. Public, polititics and the media accept it almost without criticism, with the exception of the Dutch tv program Brandpunt that asked the mayor critical questions.

    Is this the way to fight crime? Of course not, it will just go to somewhere else. Indeed, until now there is little risk of fanning out in the Netherlands. The Netherlands simply sends its problems to neighboring countries where Eros centers could be established. Also in these countries the windows have become too expensive. Especially in Germany street prostitution has greatly increased. In broad daylight in busy (shopping) streets. The police says it is powerless against it. That’s what is to be expected in a very rich country surrounded by very poor countries. Of course they are not going to solve our problems and they will send it back again.
    But that's a problem for future city councils, and there are terraces and horeca for the high profile tourist on the Oudezijds and surroundings .


  3. Anonymous Says:

    I am a girl, working on that place already two years! First of all we can use quite a good level of English and some of us even speak Netherlands as well. I am sorry for the dissappointment!

    Second as far as I am concerned a city council doesn't mean a government. Which means that for the eminent A-dam council would be a little bit hard to change the law. Therefore, as paying taxes and living according the laws of the Netherlands we can surely be qualified as legal with our obligations and ( I am sorry ) rights!

    I would reccomend the mayor to come there himself and take a close look to us! We are everything else but forced by whoever to do that! It has been found that there are a lot of girls with pimps... ok. We wait for some evidence. As a worker practicing BDSM as well I don't count the body scars, sorry.

    http://www.minbuza.nl/binaries/content/assets/minbuza/en/import/en/you_and_the_netherlands/about_the_netherlands/ethical_issues/faq-prostitutie-pdf--engels.pdf-2012.pdf


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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.