Julie Bindel's bullshit about Amsterdam
Recently my boyfriend was contacted by Julie Bindel, if he wanted to do an interview with her. Surprised as to why someone would want to interview him, rather than me, he started looking up some stuff on her on the internet. Quickly we found out that Julie Bindel as a typical radfem (radical feminist), who sees prostitution only as female abuse, and wants to get rid of prostitution, since in her opinion prostitution equals human trafficking.

And to show you a little bit about how little Julie Bindel knows about prostitution, I started looking for an article written by her about Amsterdam. After all, Amsterdam is an article almost every abolitionist writes about, and in 99% of the times it's so full of bullshit, that it's easy for me to shoot holes in their stories. And just by typing in the words 'Julie Bindel Amsterdam', I ended up on the first article, which is immediately our candidate for today (link here).
So, get ready for another article being debunked about Amsterdam, exposing the lies used by abolitionists to conflate prostitution with human trafficking, purely because of someone's personal believes, and not based on any facts. The bullshit of Julie Bindel:

The artile is called: "Why even Amsterdam doesn't want brothels"
And interesting title, since indeed Amsterdam has shown in the past few years that they'd rather get rid of prostitution brothels, than actually be proud of them. Of course we all know the real reason behind Amsterdam's closure of brothels: money and real estate. But let's see what Julie Bindel has to say about this, and if she will follow the bullshit delivered by the multiplicity, or if she'll come up with her own bullshit stories.

She writes:
"In 2000 the Dutch government decided to make it even easier for pimps, traffickers and punters by legalising the already massive and highly visible brothel trade."

Interesting. I didn't know brothel was a trade these days. And here I was, thinking brothels where simple places prostitutes work, in stead of (apparently) markets for pimps and traffickers. Of course the statement made in this part is ridiculous. Why would the job of traffickers become easier if brothels get legislation? Do rules, created by the government to control and regulate brothels, make it easier for a trafficker to let a woman work there? It doesn't make any sense. If anything, legalizing brothels and legislating it, would make it more difficult for traffickers, since now brothel owners (even if they had bad intentions) have to move around the heavy legislation surrounding their brothel, while before they didn't have to worry about a thing.

She continues that she knows the results of the legalization of brothels, with another statement that doesn't make any sense:
"Rather than afford better protection for the women, it has simply increased the market."

First of all, how does she know that the legalization hasn't offered better protection for women? The only statistics about this subject come from the evaluation report done for the Ministry of Justice. This research was done among 354 sex workers (not only women are sex workers, Julie!) all over the country. In only 8% of those sex workers were coerced. That's not little, but it's doubtful that less than 8% of the sex workers were victims before brothels were legal.
But, since there are no statistics about coercion or human trafficking from before the brothel ban was lifted, it is unknown if this has increased or decreased. The only thing we do know, is that we can measure this right now, because prostitution and brothels, as well as their clients are legal, and therefore more easily accessible to do research on, as opposed to other countries in where prostitutes are more difficult to track down for research purposes.

The statement that the market has increased seems to be false. After all, since the brothel ban was lifted in 2000, the total amount of legal workplaces has decreased with 1/3, window prostitution alone has already decreased with 673 windows (also 1/3 of the total amount). It seems therefore highly unlikely that the market would increase if there are less legal options available.
Above all, the evaluation report of the Ministry of Justice asked the same question to the 354 sex workers they questioned. Most of them answered that this has remained the same throughout the years, another large group answered they didn't know.

But Julie Bindel continues with something even funnier, when she states:
"Rather than confine the brothels to a discrete (and avoidable) part of the city, the sex industry has spilt out all over Amsterdam — including on-street."

If Julie Bindel could please tell me where prostitution has 'spilt out' in Amsterdam, because I'd love to know to which part. She claims that rather than confine brothels in just one part of the city, it has spilt out all over the place, which is the exact opposite of reality. Reality of course is that Amsterdam's Red Light District has always been where it was. It hasn't spilt out all over the city, in fact, the closure of windows in recent years HAS confined the area to a smaller (and more avoidable) part of the city.

She claims it has spilt out onto the street, which is absolute nonsense. Even the local politicians have noticed that street prostitution behind central station has heavily decreased to an almost non-existing state since the brothel ban was lifted. Street prostitution is something that rarely ever occurs, and the only visible forms of prostitution in Amsterdam have been reduced rather than spilt out all over the city.

But comedian Julie Bindel continues by saying:
"The government-funded union set up to protect them has been shunned by the vast majority of prostitutes, who remain too scared to complain."

An interesting thing, for a union that by the time this article was published (January 2013), didn't even exist anymore. In fact, the union was already active for over 20 years, when a couple of years after the brothel ban, the government decided to pull the plug on their funding. Perhaps this might explain why the vast majority of the prostitutes shunned away from it, since it didn't exist anymore!

Bindel continues with the most absurd claim of all:
"Abuse suffered by the women is now called an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe."

LOL! I'm sorry, this is just hilariously nonsense. Occupational hazard? LOL! What a complete bullshit. In fact, it seems to be more the other way around. Each abuse, in any form, even things that in other jobs would be considered domestic violence, all of the sudden is named trafficking when you're a prostitute. The idea alone that someone in this country would dismiss abuse suffered by sex workers as an 'occupational hazard', is so ridiculous, that this has become the point that Bindel shows she's not just some writer that misunderstood things, but a writer that makes stuff up.
This is absolute bullshit in it's purest form!

She continues by stating something interesting:
"Sex tourism has grown faster in Amsterdam than the regular type of tourism: as the city became the brothel of Europe, women have been imported by traffickers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to meet the demand."

Has sex tourism grown faster than regular type of tourism in Amsterdam, after the brothel ban was lifted? That's very doubtful, since the brothels have always been there even before the brothel ban was lifted. They also didn't open up more brothels, in fact, they closed down brothels. The closure of a large part of the brothels in Amsterdam even made international headlines, which would have caused less sex tourism rather than more.
But, this is pure speculation. Reality is, we don't know if there is less or more tourism related to sex. Amsterdam always had an attraction due to it's famous Red Light Districts, that was already the case before the lifting of the brothel ban. If anything would have changed sex tourism in either positive or negative means, it would be negative after they announced the closure of brothels.

Then the part about traffickers trying to meet the demand. That begs the question. Would regulation by the government, regular inspections by police and other authorities attract criminals, or shy them away? You tell me.
Like I stated before, they did an evaluation in which it showed that 8% was coerced, so trafficking is happening. And for sure some traffickers may have thought Amsterdam would become an interesting place once the brothel ban was lifted. But if it was also in reality the case that traffickers had to step up their game to meet the demands, or now all of the sudden all turned to Amsterdam because brothels were legal here, sounds doubtful.
After all, more police and authority seem to scare away criminals more than to attract them, Sure, more women from Eastern Europe have come to Amsterdam, that's absolutely true. But was that the result of traffickers trying to meet their demands, or women finding a safe haven to execute their job?

The conclussion Bindel draws from this is nothing more than a bunch of nonsense:
"In other words, the pimps remained but became legit — violence was still prevalent but part of the job, and trafficking increased."

Violence never became part of the job, and it seems unlikely that more control from the police and authorities would increase trafficking. In fact, the 8% coercion shown in the evaluation report from the Ministry of Justice is already pretty low, it seems highly doubtful that before lifting the brothel ban this was much lower.

And with this statement, Julie Bindel shows she has never even read anything about Holland and prostitution, when she states:
"Support for the women to leave prostitution became almost nonexistent."

Excuse me? The list of programs that offer prostitutes support to leave prostitution is endless. In fact, some prostitutes even get it offered just when they come for a regular STD check up every time they go there. Last year the Minister of Justice even announced to invest 3 million euro annually into exit programs for prostitutes, in respond to the exit programs that already existed.
And since there are exit programs for prostitutes, unlike how Julie Bindel claims, we also have some results from those exit programs, which show that 43% of the prostitutes eventually choose to stay in prostitution rather than actually exiting it.

Bindel continues with mixing up some truths with some lies:
"The Dutch government hoped to play the role of the honourable pimp, taking its share in the proceeds of prostitution through taxation. But only 5 per cent of the women registered for tax, because no one wants to be known as a whore — however legal it may be."

What is true, is that the Dutch government indeed plays the role of the pimp, by taking it's share through taxes. But that only 5 percent would be registered for taxes is bullshit. By default all legal working prostitutes pay taxes, you don't have to register yourself to pay taxes, this happens automatically. In short, this is absolute bullshit.
And than the part about being registered as a 'whore'. In Holland it's not obligated to be registered as a prostitute. You can also register yourself under 'personal services'. Perhaps that Julie Bindel misinterpreted the numbers that only 5% are registered at the Chambers of Commerce under prostitution, and the rest is registered under personal services to avoid stigma, but I doubt she had insight in that information, since not even the Dutch government knows that.

Julie Bindel continues with the statement:
"Illegality has simply taken a new form, with an increase in trafficking, unlicensed brothels and pimping; with policing completely out of the picture, it was easier to break the laws that remained."

Now it is true that illegal prostitution has grown, but is that because it's easier to break laws and because the lifting of the brothel ban has put things completely out of the picture with the police? Or is this perhaps what happens if you make prostitution or it's clients illegal, in where all of prostitution goes underground into illegal prostitution and not just a portion like is the case in Holland?
With this piece Julie Bindel actually describes the effects of what happens with the Swedish model, or when you criminalize prostitution itself, and this is exactly the reason why Holland has chosen for a more visible model, so policing is not completely out of the picture and laws aren't broken that easily.
And if you wonder why illegal prostitution has grown, if things are so positive, well that's actually very simple. That's because Holland has regulated things too much, creating it to be more attractive to work illegal than working legal. In short, they made it legal, but create so much difficulties with regulating it, that most people prefer to avoid all those troubles all together, and work illegal.

The next thing Julie Bindel writes couldn't be further from the truth:
"Legalisation has imposed brothels on areas all over Holland, whether they want them or not. Even if a city or town opposes establishing a brothel, it must allow at least one — not doing so is contrary to the basic federal right to work."

Can I first laugh out loud hard on this quote? LOL!!!!! What a complete nonsense. Since the brothel ban was lifted in 2000 (prostitution itself hasn't been illegal in Holland since 1813), the amount of brothels and legal places to work in Holland has been decreased with 1/3 in total. Just window prostitution alone has decreased from 2006 windows to 1333 windows today, a loss of 33,5%.
Beyond that, the claim that every town or city is obligated to establish at least one brothel is complete nonsense. If only there was such a thing as a minimum amount of brothels, that at least would stop cities and towns from closing down so many places since the lifting of the brothel ban.

But all of the sudden Julie Bindel seemed to have remembered she can't write this bullshit, without adressing the fact that Amsterdam is indeed closing down things, when she writes:
"A third of Amsterdam’s bordellos have been closed due to the involvement of organised criminals and drug dealers and the increase in trafficking of women."

But Julie makes the classic mistake to claim that they closed things down due to organized crimes, drug dealers and trafficking. In fact, in none of the closed brothels it has ever been proven that any of these things were happening. In fact, not one single victim was ever found in any of the closed windows. Organized crime has never been proven, despite the fact that the city of Amsterdam ran repeated a BIBOB procedure to investigate that on all brothel owners, without anything ever popping up.
And drug dealers? What do drug dealers have to do with closing down windows? Drug dealers aren't bound to the number of windows there are, in fact, I count these days more drug dealers on the streets than when I started 5 years ago. And above all, brothels and prostitution has nothing to do with drug dealers on the streets.

Julie continues with:
"Police now acknowledge that the red-light district has mutated into a global hub for human trafficking and money laundering."

Indeed they did claim that, but than again, that claim was based on their opinion, and not on any actual research. The report 'Schone Schijn' is the main example in this case, claiming 50-85% of the women are forced, but being purely based on the opinion of 6 police officers and no actual research about this at all. In fact, actual research done among prostitutes themselves show a very different image of 8-10%. So it's not exactly the global hub for human trafficking as Julie Bindel claims.

But Julie continues with another example that she's never even been to Amsterdam:
"The streets have been infiltrated by grooming gangs seeking out young, vulnerable girls and marketing them to men as virgins who will do whatever they are told."

Anyone who's ever been to Amsterdam knows that there aren't any gangs on the streets looking for women. This above all conflicts with the fact that most women standing behind the windows aren't Dutch but Romanian or Bulgarian. So how exactly do all these gangs find Romanian and Bulgarian women in a street in Amsterdam? In short, complete bullshit.

But that doesn't stop Julie from writing more dumb bullshit, when she even claims that:
"Many of those involved in Amsterdam’s regular tourist trade — the museums and canals — fear that their visitors are vanishing along with the city’s reputation."

Seriously? The regular tourist trade in Amsterdam is scared that their visitors would end up in prostitution? You got to be kidding me! People take this serious?!

Julie Bindel continues with more information that shows how poorly informed she is:
"Women who rent the windows will soon be obliged to register as prostitutes. This will be as ineffective as the obligation on them to pay tax."

Bindle confuses the fact that the city of Amsterdam a while ago wanted to demand sex workers to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce as prostitute, and not under personal services. She confuses this with the idea that we wouldn't be registered, but that's complete bullshit. In fact, by definition all window prostitutes are registered at the Chambers of Commerce, otherwise you won't even get a window to rent by the brothel owners. So by definition we already pay taxes.
A simple example of how little Julie Bindel informed herself about this, and how much bullshit she writes about things she has no knowledge whatsoever about. Even my own mother, who knows nothing about my job, could write a better and more accurate article about this than Julie Bindel.

But Julie Bindel is not finished with bullshit:
"When the fake and government-funded union supposedly representing those involved in prostitution did a massive membership recruitment post-legalisation, only a hundred joined, and most of those were strippers and lap dancers"

Sorry to disappoint you here folks, but none of what she writes here is true. This is completely made up, you can ask any authority in Holland about this. Above all, the union she talks about, De Rode Draad, had already existed for more than 20 years before the lifting of the brothel ban, and most of them were already members of the union before the legislation.
There are however no statistics available as to how many joined, or how many members they even had at all, let alone what their occupation was. The idea that most of them were strippers and lap dancers is bullshit, which shows that Julie Bindel has little knowledge about Holland. I actually personally know some people who were leading the union back than, and most in fact were sex workers and not strippers or lap dancers, in fact, the lap dancing and stripper business isn't even so much of an industry over here to begin with.
In short, this part is completely fabricated, and none of it is true, a simple fact!

"Rather than remove the sleaziness of the red light district, it made the area more depressing than ever — full of drunken sex tourists who act as window shoppers, pointing and laughing at the women they see."

This was already the case for years before the legislation, so it's nonsense that this would have increased. This has always already been the case in Amsterdam, but it's a hell of a lot better than working in some unsafe shit hole or on the street, because brothels aren't allowed!

The rest of the article continues with some nonsense about street prostitution. Yes, street prostitution is allowed, but only in a very few places heavily controlled by the government, to protect and help those women. Often areas are being closed with as an excuse trafficking, but anyone with a little bit of brains know there's little money to be made on those women. Street prostitutes often have a drug problem, causing them to work on the streets to work to pay for their drugs. A pimp would hardly make any money on this special breed of prostitutes, they're too much hooked on drugs to care about paying off their pimp, they're more interested in drugs. And if a pimp would be giving them drugs, and taking their money, there wouldn't be enough left for them to make any money on, since they need to buy them drugs, so that's no very profitable either.

Bindel continues with her own judgement on prostitution. A twisted vision of her own twisted and distorted mind. It actually shows more how judgmental she is, than it shows how 'right' she is.
After all, a total count of the number of times she stated false facts versus true facts, comes to the conclusion that there are at least 29 false facts in this article, and only 10 facts which are true (mostly facts about what is legal). With almost 75% of all the facts in this article being pure false facts, and only 25% being true facts, all I can say is that it's a shame that articles like this are even published.
I don't know what kind of platform The Spectator is, but I wouldn't think to high about it, considering the amount of pure false facts they spread. Facts that can just be verified by making a few calls. I guess this yet again proves fact checking is not a priority to the media, as long as it sells magazines.

Dutch version
7 Responses
  1. Korhomme Says:

    I'm sure that Ms Bindel's views are sincere. Unfortunately, sadly, her personal viewpoint informs and distorts what she says. Sadly, empirical evidence is something that disappears through the filter of radical feminism.

  2. Cliente X Says:

    I think that Julie knows much more than u think about prostitution. I stopped reading when I realized than once more (again!) u mix coertion with human trafficking. Even the most stupid abolitionist can tell ya that HUMAN TRAFIKKING DOES NOT NEED COERTION. I have told u here a dozen times and I'm already tired.

    Its nice that u open a blog prostitution and most things u write. But please Felicia u need to be DOCUMENTED. First, read and study, I'm sure that u know a lot about prostitution in RL but its evident that u lack a lot of academic concepts about it. Only when u had understand what abolitionists are really telling u can argue against them.

  3. Bobby Says:

    @Cliente X, I would agree that Felicia can benefit from more academic knowledge on the topic but at the same time I think that the views of a real-life (East European) sex worker are much more valuable and representative than those of a privileged white journalist who reads academic material produced by other privileged white women, who study East European, etc. victims of trafficking in women's shelters and present this as the only reality of prostitution.

    And the statement that "human trafficking does not need coercion" is just completely wrong, unless it's "your own opinion". Human trafficking by definition has three main elements - the method (recruitment, transportation, harbouring of people), the means (deception, coercion, threat or use of force) and the purpose (exploitation). If there is no threat, deception or coercion, it means that person A offers person B a very badly paid job and person B agrees to it. Where coercion/deception/force is used, person B's consent is irrelevant to the crime of human trafficking. Thus, you can't have human trafficking without coercion.

  4. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Cliente X,

    I need to be documented first? If you could please tell me which document I haven't read yet on prostitution in Holland, which you would be referring to? Because like stated in this article, there's not much documentation on sex work.
    I should know, because I talked with the few people that did do documentation on sex work in Holland. People like prof. Ronald Weitzer, Laurens Buijs, Alexis Aronowitz etc.

    Just a smal correction here. Exploitation without coercion is defined in Holland, and treated in Holland by police and the justice department, as human trafficking. I know this, because I know a few girls that have been in such a situation, in where they were not threatened of coerced in any way, but only exploited. Yet, still they went to court for human trafficking.

    But Cliente X, if you don't like my blog, you don't have to read it. I'm also tired of your stupid comments. So if you feel so tired as I am about your comments here, please don't comment on my blog anymore.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Cliente X's statement that "human trafficking doesn't need coercion" is absurd, as Bobby already explained in a clear way.
    Why abolitionists spread such absurdities?
    Because they NEED a way to say "hey, there is a lot of trafficking here!" even when trafficking is small minority and being a sex worker is a FREE CHOICE.

    An example is the concept of "loverboys": I don't know how many of them really exist in the Netherlands, but they are called "pimps" because, as a sensationalist journalist wrote, "they use promises of love, romance and even marriage to win the trust of young girls who they then trick into working as prostitutes. Dutch police and social workers often refer to it as 'brainwashing'".
    Well, in Italy we had, until 34 years ago, the crime of subjugation (in Italian: "plagio"), that dated back to the Fascist era, with penalties until 15 years in jail. Then our Supreme Court ruled it to be uncostitutional and cancelled it, because it's impossible to determine if there was persuasion or malicious suggestion. The concept of "love" was used in the debate as an example of (legal) "subjugation", showing that you can't criminalize the "act of convincing someone" without criminalizing legitimate behaviours.
    Maybe Dutch authorities should study that Italian judgement when dealing with the "loverboy" issue!

    So the bottom line is: between consenting adults in their right mind can't be any form of coercion, neither physical (i.e. trafficking) nor mental (i.e. subjugation in the "loverboy" sense).
    If there is coercion, like in human trafficking, there is no consent.
    If there is consent, there is no coercion.
    I can't find another reasonable way to approach these matter.

    My congratulations for your blog, I mentioned it into a post I wrote on my own site: https://jonathanxblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/la-situazione-olandese-un-contributo-diretto-dal-red-light-district-di-amsterdam/

    BTW, I knew Julie Bindel LIES since many years ago! (see for example: http://jonathanx.altervista.org/estero/duello5.html )

  6. Pino59 Says:

    Excuse me but I think there has been some kind of misunderstanding here. I'm not sure what Cliente X meant to say, but from what I read in this blog, according to dutch law there can be human trafficking even without coercion, deception or blackmail. Just read what Felicia herself wrote in her post from 2.5.2014: according to the human trafficking law 273F 1.3, if someone is helping a person to travel from one country to another, knowing that person will become a prostitute, even though this person agrees with it, that is considered to be human trafficking. As Felicia states there, there is a problem with this definition and I think we all agree that it looks like it was invented just to blow up the number of "trafficked" sexworkers and make people believe that almost everybody in the sexwork industry has been forced. Or perhaps to make it very hard for a foreign women to legally work as a prostitute in Holland. It's possibile that different countries have different definitions of trafficking, but when I read on some newspaper that 70-80% of sexworkers are trafficked, or very high numbers like that, I immediately suspect that some very broad (and devious) definition of "trafficked" has been used.

  7. Unknown Says:

    @Cliente X

    All the education/academic knowledge in the world doesn't matter a jot if what the person writes is subjective nonsense full of lies, gross exaggerations and propaganda which is exactly what those opposing prostitution do.

    Felicia Anna is to be commended for informing the public of the truth about prostitution. I think I'll believe her any day over any of your 'academic researchers' who have never once actually consulted a current sex worker who freely chose to be a sex worker. Yet they have the cheek to speak FOR them by projecting their own disapproval of prostitution onto all women. Every woman has the right to choose sex work if she wishes and nobody has the right to tell her she can't.

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