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
Amsterdam forces 100 sex workers to work illegal
Prostitutes in the narrowest alley in 1968, currently scheduled for closure.
The city council of Amsterdam recently approved the plan of the expropriation of 12 more prostitution windows in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, and managed to force another brothel owner to change 23 windows into something else. As a direct result, soon about 100 sex workers in the Red Light District of Amsterdam will loose their workplace as a result of these closures, forcing them to work illegal since they do not offer any replacement workplaces or (financial) compensation of any kind for these sex workers.

The plans are all part of Project 1012, the long running 10 year project aimed to gentrify the Red Light District of Amsterdam into a more profitable area, mainly aimed at tourism, as many former window brothels and coffeeshops that have closed down got turned into touristic shops aimed mainly at selling food to tourists. Doing some research into 128 buildings handled by Project 1012 shows that about 60% of the buildings, (mainly former brothels and coffeeshops) got turned into touristic shops mainly aimed at selling food (waffel, Nutella, ice cream, etc), with the remaining buildings mostly aimed at artsy concept stores that really have no place in this area.

The results of this project thus far have been disastrous. Illegal prostitution is growing as a direct result of the closure of brothels nation wide, a good 46% of the legal brothels since the legalization have closed down. Residents of the Red Light District have complained about the busyness in the area, mainly caused by being overloaded by tourists, and have criticized the many touristy food shops that have popped up as a direct result of Project 1012 (although most residents don't realize this is the result of Project 1012). The complaints have even become so big, that a couple of months ago the city council decided to put an immediate ban on new touristic shops, and have declared war on tourism.

Extreme busyness on the main canal of the Red Light District
But in stead of pulling on the emergency break, and concluding that the gentrification project of the Red Light District has not just been a failure, but even disjointed the entire city center, the city council apparently decided to continue even further with this project, by closing down another 37 windows in the Red Light District.

All the windows due to close down are located in the narrow alleys of the Red Light District, once a busy place where many customers would walk around, but now a quiet area that has mostly died as a result of the many window brothels that already have been closed down in this area. The shops replacing the former brothels in this small area have been rather unsuccessful, since they aren't quite located at a very good spot in these narrow alleys.  As a result of that, most of the people walking around in the Red Light District have moved to the main canal, where often it get's so busy it's become extreme, with many residents complaining about the busyness as a result.

Very quiet in the narrow alleys of the Red Light District where many windows have closed.
So it's logical residents of the Red Light District are complaining about the busyness and the tourists, since that's the result of reducing the size of the Red Light District with 40% and concentrating everything on the main canal. Also for sex workers the results are disastrous, not just because many lost a legal place to work, and where therefore forced into illegal prostitution to survive. But also for the remaining sex workers that saw their business going down since the increasing tourism hasn't brought in more customers, but just more people coming to take a look, turning them into more of a touristic attraction than even before.

The city has a huge problem handling the huge increase of tourism, a result of their own tactical plan to 'clean up the Red Light District' with Project 1012, and promote Amsterdam across the borders as 'the place to be'. Their aim was to turn Amsterdam into the Barcelona of the north of Europe, where they would attract tourists with a bigger budget to visit their musea and experience cultural things, but has backfired into being over flooded with tourists, of whom almost all want to see the Red Light District on a shoestring budget.

What I cannot understand is how the city council can still agree with the plans to continue the closure of 37 more windows in the Red Light District, increasing the pressure on the remaining main canal of the Red Light District, plus forcing sex workers to go into illegal prostitution. Because yes, closing down these 37 windows will mean the remaining people walking around in the Red Light District in this area will move to the main canal, meaning more people on the main canal, where it's already extremely busy.

And what to do with those brothels once they're closed down? They can't turn them into more touristy shops like they did before, their own new policy forbids that. So are they to remain empty just like many of the other window brothels that nobody wants because of the limited space available and the fact that the location of these buildings (in the narrowest alleys of Amsterdam) aren't really good for most businesses?

But worst of all. What about the sex workers? The brothel owners are still trying to fight off this decision, not for themselves, but for the women that work there. One of the brothel owners also wanted to address this during the city council meeting, but the city council voted on it without there being any discussion about it. They just did it without thinking of the consequences for these women that work here. Even the other brothel owners, who are not being threatened with closure, are worried about these closures, because the simply can't supply for 100 sex workers a workplace, thus resulting in many sex workers being forced to go work illegal.

How the fuck can you do that? How can you make a decision that is wrong from every angle? Wrong for the sex workers, wrong for the pressure felt by the residents of the area, wrong for the increasing pressure on the smaller remaining area. For what, and why? Who benefits from this? Absolutely nobody! Yet it's gonna cost millions to buy out the brothel owners, and change it into another shop, if somebody is interested to begin with. Because if nobody's interested in it, it will just remain an empty building, like many others, and it will just have costs tax payers millions of euro's for a stupid ass decision that nobody profits from.

Dutch version

Overestimating trafficking victims to hide the truth
Shocking numbers from the Dutch Rapporteur Human Trafficking where presented last week. According to the Dutch Rapporteur the number of trafficking victims are even higher than they thought, an estimated 6,250 people according to her. But what most media and people missed was the fact that the number of people that were reported as possible victims are the lowest numbers in years, and the estimations are highly flawed.

Estimations based on flawed numbers
First of all, the estimated number of victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands is 6,250 people according to the Dutch Rapporteur. Those numbers are highly questionable, since they are based on flawed numbers, and basing an estimation based upon flawed numbers is not very reliable. Interestingly enough the Dutch Rapporteur herself claims the estimations are very reliable, but then again, who wouldn't say that if they made the estimations themselves?

Flaws in reporting victims
The estimations are based on reports. Not reports of the number of victims of human trafficking, as people often thing. No, they're based upon the number of people 'they' have suspicions about that they could be victims. In short, they're not all real victims, some could be, many other may not be, it's all purely based on loose speculation. No proof, no evidence or even solid signs are required. No, in fact, even the slightest suspicions are used to beef up the number of 'possible' victims. In short, the number of 'possible' victims are flawed by default, since they're not based on anything other than what some people 'think'.

Proof of flawed reports from the past
I'm not just claiming the reported number of 'possible' victims are flawed, I also have proof that this happened frequently and on large scale in the past. For example, in 2012 the Dutch Rapporteur reported a record number of possible victims. According to the Dutch Rapporteur 'the tip of the ice berg'. In total 1,711 people where reported as 'possible' victims. A large part of that coming from prostitution, in total 1,216 people where reported in prostitution as possible victims.

This year however the Dutch Rapporteur wrote in her report that those numbers where basically incorrect. The numbers of 2012 have now been adjusted to in total 1,256 possible victims, in stead of 1,711. A small mistake of 424 people being 'mistaken' for victims. And funny enough, they're all people from the sex industry. Meaning, the number of possible victims from prostitution in 2012 shouldn't have been 1,216 but rather 792 people.

Reporting innocent sex workers as victims
In the past 5 years they reported in total 1,314 sex workers incorrectly as possible victims of human trafficking. That is in total 19% of all the reported possible victims in the last 5 years, almost a third of all the 'possible' victims in prostitution they reported incorrectly. All of the incorrect reported victims were migrant sex workers, and in the latest report of the Dutch Rapporteur she explains how they were able to make such a huge mistake.

Migration was mistaken for trafficking
Basically what happened is that they were mistaking migration with human trafficking when it regarded sex workers. In fact, the Dutch Rapporteur even wrote a couple of years ago an article, claiming how sex workers that were not being exploited or coerced should still be considered victims of human trafficking if they received help to migrate. The Dutch Rapporteur even called out judges to uphold this, and presented the number of convictions of people who were convicted only for helping migrating sex workers, and the number of people that went free because the judge ruled that helping someone migrating was not human trafficking if there was no form of coercion or exploitation.

High Court ruled migration is not trafficking
It wasn't until the summer of 2016 when all of this changed. The Dutch High Court ruled in a court case that helping a sex worker migrating was officially not human trafficking. Immediately this changed a lot of things, since especially the Dutch Royal Marshals that do border patrol at the airports, where trained to report any sex worker that might have received help, as a possible victim of human trafficking. They had been doing this since around 2012, because the number of possible victims they reported before was almost non-existent. Apparently they found it hard to believe that there were so few sex workers trafficked, and thus they trained the Royal Marshals into spotting and reporting any migrant sex worker as possible victims that might have received any help.

Excuse for lower numbers
As a result of the fact that now they can't count migration as human trafficking anymore when it comes to sex work, the number of possible victims in 2016 were a lot lower than in previous years. In fact, they reverted back to the same size we had before they started reporting migrating sex workers as victims. This is especially noticeable if you look at the number of possible victims only reported working in prostitution. You'll notice how in years before they started doing this, it was never even above 1,000 possible victims, but when they started reporting migrating sex workers, the numbers went up to even around 1,200 victims in prostitution. But since now that has been reverted, they had to come up with an excuse why the numbers got lower, resulting in a flawed estimation based upon vague suspicions, which are far from reliable, as you can read here.

The system is flawed
Basically the whole system of reporting 'vague' suspicions is a flawed system if you want to get a reliable estimation of the size of human trafficking, especially when it comes to prostitution. After all, right now they are 'assuming' that every vague suspicion is correct. And even worse, that they are only reporting a very small portion of the total size of human trafficking, basically based upon no information at all. Because there is literally no indication that the size of human trafficking is as big as the number of possible victims they report, let alone much bigger.

People are biased when it comes to prostitution
The big problem with reporting possible victims, is the fact that people are often biased when it comes to prostitution. Often people by default assume that women are victims of trafficking, thus resulting in incorrectly reporting sex workers as victims based on 'vague' suspicions, rather than actual evidence or any proof. The stigma of sex work as something a women would never want to do, is reinforcing the number of 'possible' victims, thus resulting in an incorrect image about human trafficking in prostitution.

Real statistics even far lower
And no, I'm not just trying to put a bright face on things. I have good reason to suspect the number of possible victims isn't even close to the number of real victims. Because if you look at the total number of cases the Dutch justice system handles, it doesn't even come close to the huge number of possible victims they report. Every year the Dutch justice system handles around 250-300 cases a year. Compare that to the 1,100 possible victims they averagely report every year in the last 10 years, and you can see there's a huge difference that doesn't make sense. And I'm not even talking about the number of actual convictions of human trafficking, which is even far lower, around 120 convictions each year.

Invisible victims nobody can find
Everything is based on the assumption that victims are scared, and would never or rarely ever go to the police, and therefore never or rarely press charges. But if that would be true, and every year we would have around 1,100 victims a year, that's in 10 years around 11,000 victims. Yet the number of cases each year is somewhere around 275 average, meaning this would be around 2,750 victims that got free. If we therefore have to believe the Dutch Rapporteur there are still around 8,000 victims who never went to the police to press charges for over 10 years, and I find that very hard to believe, especially if the number of reported 'possible' victims is going down in stead of up as well as the number of cases. It's like everyone is chasing a ghost, that everyone is convinced of exists, and they keep chasing it, but they can never find. Well, let me tell you, if after 10 years you're still not able to find it, there's a big chance it never existed.

The 'hidden ice berg'
But the big problem is that people find it difficult to accept the truth that women most of the time choose to do prostitution out of free will. People still have trouble accepting the fact the women can have a free choice, and not everything is being controlled by men. And people apparently also find it very difficult to accept that women are okay with sex, and can take control themselves, rather than men. It's so hard for them to accept, that when actual statistics don't match up with their own ideas, they think they're missing something, thus resulting in manipulation of numbers to uncover this 'hidden ice berg' that doesn't exist. And that's exactly what the Dutch Rapporteur is doing. She has no reason to assume there is more human trafficking than the number of people they report as possible victims, but because they simply can't believe that, so they multiply the number until they get a number that matches their own imagination.

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.