How to start in window prostitution in Amsterdam?
But more importantly it proves how difficult it is to begin with this job, and the lack of information and help to get started, which again makes them vulnerable to human trafficking. Because if there's nobody around to help you with this, and give you the information you need, it's easy for a human trafficker to take advantage over that, and making you a victim.
Now I've been working behind the scenes at PROUD a lot to improve these things, although this will take some time. Many politicians are more focused on fighting human trafficking, using clients as their shield and letting them take the fall for them if they get it wrong, by criminalizing them if 'they should have known' it was a victim. A ridiculous idea of course, because the point of course is that clients hardly ever know they're visiting a victim, which is the same problem the police has, which is also the reason this crime still exists.
What they don't realize so much however, is that if they want to tackle the problem of human trafficking, it's not about how many you can save after they've become victims (by using clients as private detectives and punishing them with jail if they didn't get it right), but by preventing they become a victim in the first place. And this happens when they step into prostitution.
The other day I received an e-mail from a Dutch woman, who wanted to know how she could start working behind the windows. It's not the first e-mail I got with this question, as I got several e-mails already from both Dutch and foreign women with this question. And it's not so weird, since there's very little information online available about this.
Now if you can imagine that it's already difficult for a Dutch woman to find out how to start working behind the windows, now imagine it for a foreign woman who doesn't speak the local language, doesn't know where to look for the information, and on top of that also has the problems of immigration. This makes them very vulnerable to human traffickers, who gladly will help them out in an attempt to exploit them for money. So the key to stop human trafficking for a large part lies within facilitating a safe and legal way in, that takes away the need for human traffickers their 'help'.
Now, to start things of I will explain that prostitution is a legal job in Holland already since 1911. Many people think we've only legalized it back in 2000, but this is incorrect, in 2000 they nearly lifted the brothel ban, it wasn't illegal before to work as a prostitute or visit one for that matter.
And working behind the windows means you become a self employed business owner or ZZP'er as they call it here in Holland. Each window prostitute is a ZZP'er and is the owner of her own prostitution company. As self employed business owner you than rent a workplace from a brothel owner that rents out windows, so basically nothing more than someone that rents out space to self employed business owners. Sadly however you need a permit for a brothel, unlike with other self employed businesses, which are given out by the city and they hardly ever give out permits at all, which is also the reason why prostitutes never tried to set up their own brothel, as ms. Shahsavari naively stated in her column a while ago. You can't, since you need a permit for this, and Amsterdam hardly ever gives out permits at all.
Beyond a permit as a brothel, window prostitution is only allowed in buildings that have been appointed by the city as a destination for prostitution. And since they only appointed those buildings that were already brothels, you can never open up a new one, since you're not allowed to open one up in a building that has no destination for prostitution, And the ones that do, they are currently closing down, so that's not making things any better either.
To begin with window prostitution you need to have a few things first. You need a valid passport or ID, you need to be 21 or older in Amsterdam, you need to be registered at the municipality where you're living and for foreign people from outside of Europe they need to have a visa (a tourist visa doesn't count) and a bank account (forget about trying to get a business account, they won't give you one).
To start off with you would first need to set up your own prostitution company. Which means you need to go to the Chambers of Commerce to register your prostitution company, something that ms. Shahsavari is apparently unaware of, since she stated in her column the question why prostitutes don't register at the Chambers of Commerce. But fact is that without being registered at the Chambers of Commerce you can't work in prostitution legal, so we do ms. Shahsavari!
You have to take with you a valid ID, the registration that you are registered at a municipality (also known as a GBA form) and you would need to have an address where you can register your prostitution company. Be warned, not all landlords allow you to register your company at the address where you live, so be sure to check that before you move ahead,
You can register yourself as a prostitution company at the Chambers of Commerce, but I would advise you not to do that. Other people can look this up online for only a small payment, and beyond that also several other websites copy all of the companies information and publish them online to find companies. I found my own company back on several other websites, which took me a hell of a lot of work to take down, and in one of them I was even mentioned as a prostitution company including my address, phone number and real name. You don't want that, so I would advise you to register yourself as a company that provides personal services which is called Persoonlijke Dienstverlening in Dutch. This is also the only other thing you can register your company under, besides a prostitution company.
Now that you have set up your own company you should also automatically be registered for taxes with the Dutch IRS called the Belastingdienst. Since you need to pay taxes I would advise you to find a good accountant that can do all the paperwork for you. Usually other colleagues can refer you to one, or you can ask the brothel owner if they know someone, they mostly know good people.
Now that all the paperwork and registration is done, you can finally start searching for a place to work behind the windows. So people that always claim they ended up behind the windows from one day to the next are lying, this is almost like those police movies that skip on the paperwork that comes with the job to skip towards the action. In reality you can't skip that, so those stories are either bullshit, or were happening before it was obligated to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce, which was before 2000.
Make sure you take all your paperwork with you when you go to look for a place to work. So your GBA registration, your Chambers of Commerce registration, your ID and visa. Without those you will never get a room, and they'll simply send you home and tell you to come back when you do have the papers with you. Make sure you take all those papers with you every day when you go back to work, because if you don't have them with you every day, they'll simply send you home. They don't want to risk their permit over someone who forget their papers.
Finding a place to work in window prostitution is not easy. Once there used to be 2006 windows in Holland, now there are only 1333 windows left. Amsterdam alone already went from 512 windows to currently 395 windows, so there are a lot of girls fighting over those windows.
But to set you off into the right direction you would first need to go to the brothel owner to see if there's a room available at all. Brothel owners don't advertise online generally, so the best way to find them is to walk into the Red Light District until you will see in one of the windows a sign hanging with the address and phone number of the brothel if you want to rent a window.
My advise would be not to call, but to go to the address. Brothel owners are scared to loose their permit because they let in one girl they didn't know and they don't want trouble, so they want to see you and talk to you before they'll rent out a window to a girl they've never done business with before. This also goes in against all those people who always think you can just get a window anywhere, and the brothel owners are to blame for human trafficking. They have no interest to hide human trafficking within their brothels, since that could only cost them their permit, and with that their entire business, which is not something they want to risk. Especially not because there are plenty of girls without problems they can rent the window to.
The prices for the windows range from the day time between € 80 and € 110 to the night time which is around € 150 to € 160. Windows in the night are more expensive, since the night times are more popular due to the fact that there are more clients around to make money with. Currently the day time is very quiet, and many girls have trouble to even make enough money to cover the costs of their window. So I guess all those 'supposed' pimps won't be so happy with that, since they would loose more money than they would supposedly be making in the day time.
You pay the room per shift, meaning you either pay for a room during the day or for a room during the night. The rooms are paid per day, and not by month or by week. However, if you come into the office of the brothel owner, and they have a room available for more days that week, and you want to make a reservation for that room for more days, you are expected to pay in advance for those days, as an insurance to them that you will actually show up. Otherwise they would only loose money keeping the room reserved for you, while you don't show up and didn't pay for it, while other girls gladly would have paid for that same room.
These days the brothel owner will make you do an intake interview. This is not something they like to do, but it's obligated to do by the city government. They ask you a bunch of stupid questions, which are intended to find out if you're a victim of trafficking or not, but in no way help to actually find out about that. You do the intake interview, and if you can get a room, you pay for the room in advance and than you can finally get your key for your workplace.
The workplaces are very simply. Some people call them small, but than again we don't live there, so we don't need much space. All workplaces have a bed, a chair, a locker for your stuff, a sink and a mirror and a mattress. Some brothel owners supply a sheet and pillow for the bed, others (because of city regulations) don't. So it's wise to pack a towel and pillow with you. All workplaces have a toilet and a shower shared and some have their own.
Any other things like condoms, lubricant, costume, shoes etc. are all things you need to arrange for yourself. After all, you are now a self employed business owner.
All the other things are usually explained by the brothel owner. They usually have a set of house rules, and explain you usually what they do and do not allow. Brothel owners are very careful people, since there's a lot of pressure from the government, and they can loose their permit if they don't do one thing right. So please follow their rules, and do as they say, it's not for their own good, but simply because the government wants things that way, or otherwise they can loose their permit.
For further information I'd like to refer you to the website of the SOAIDS Fund, who have a lot of information available about working in prostitution. You can find the information on this link.
Also for Amsterdam the P&G292 has valuable information about how to start working in prostitution on this link.
One advise for those that are considering to work in prostitution, and especially window prostitution. It's not a job for everyone, you get to meet a lot of different people, and some of them can be quite crazy. It's not a job without risks, but on the other hand you do get to meet a lot of people.
Window prostitution is a job for strong women that like to work and meet lots of different people. You get to talk a lot, be your own boss, plus have a very good salary most people could only dream about having. Don't try and get personal with clients, I've seen this happening before, and basically you fuck up your own work. And do remember, as a window prostitute you're out in the public for everyone to see. This means family or friends could recognize you standing behind the windows if they pass there. Beyond that there are many people that will try to take pictures or videos of you, so be warned about that. And getting daily insults isn't for everyone, so you have to be capable of handling yourself.
In short, it's a good payment, can be a fun job, meeting many different types of people, and being your own boss. But you have to be really strong, and this job isn't for everyone. Think good about it before making a decisions, but always be proud of the decisions you've made and be proud of yourself no matter what other people say.