How I ended up in prostitution
It's the question burning on many people their lips, how did you end up in prostitution? I get this question so many times at work, and probably a lot of people have it on their mind as well when they're reading my blog here. Perhaps some people will think it was a pimp that told me I could have a good dancing career in Western Europe, perhaps they abducted me and too me here to work in prostitution by force.

Well, no. It's as simple as that. The whole dancing career story doesn't happen to girls working in Amsterdam. It's mainly a story some guys use in clubs in Romania, to find girls to work in prostitution in countries where prostitution is illegal (meaning not regulated and illegal by law).
Girls working in Amsterdam for the large majority, and all the girls I know, knew exactly what they came here to do. Even those that became victims of human trafficking, knew they where going to work in prostitution as you can find out from actually reading court cases of human trafficking. So unlike so many people think, those girls weren't tricked into working in prostitution, they knew it and they agreed on it.
And the same thing is true for me. I came here because I wanted to work in prostitution. Not because some guy told me something different, and not because he made me fall in love with him and emotionally forced me into this job. No, I simply wanted to come here to do this job, to make a lot of money.

It all started more then 5 years ago, back in my home country of Romania. I finished high school and started to work different jobs. But everywhere where I went a job paid about 150 to 200 Euro's. Since prices are a little lower than in other European countries, but the salary we get in Romania is about 10 times lower, I realized quickly it would take forever before I could get a house of my own and perhaps even a car.
Some friends of mine had moved to Italy, and started working there in restaurants and bars. Hoping I could follow them, I asked them if they could help me find a job in Italy. They promised me they would look for a job for me, so I could come to work in Italy. I was up in the air, I could go to work in Italy, make good money there, and with a few years I could go back to Romania to buy my own house and my own car.

For a long period I waited on them for an answer. But nothing happened. None of my friends ever contacted me with a possible job in Italy. Thinking about what to do next, I got in contact with someone else who had friends working in Holland in prostitution. It was a couple, and the girl worked there in prostitution herself as well. They told me I could make a lot of money in prostitution. At first I said no, thinking I would still get that job in Italy. But as time passed, and none of my friends ever contacted me about a job in Italy, I slowly started to think about the other offer.
Yes, perhaps prostitution wasn't the dream job I had in mind, but then again so weren't a lot of other jobs I did before. On top of that I could make much more money in prostitution than I ever could make in Italy working in a restaurant. The fact that I could be working in prostitution in another country, without my family or friends ever having to find out about it, made it a lot easier to make a choice.

What holds back a lot of people of doing a job like prostitution, is not so much themselves, as more the social acceptance of prostitution, and people's judgement on it. I had many prejudices about prostitution myself, from what I've heard from the media. But the more I started to talk with the couple offering me a way into prostitution, the more I began to realize my ideas of prostitution and the reality of prostitution where very far apart from each other.
I always thought for instance that you had to have sex with everyone, but as they explained it to me, that wasn't the case, and I could refuse anyone I didn't like. I also had the idea that people who went to prostitutes where old, fat and dirty people, but as they explained me, this was very far from the truth. I also always thought that many girls where forced into this job, but also that turned out to be a big lie as I talked to them.
The more I talked with them, the more I became convinced that this job was a better option then working in a restaurant in Italy for 800 Euro's a month. I could be making much more money in prostitution, than I ever could in Italy. On top of that I would be working for myself, in stead of for a boss telling me what to do. The freedom prostitution offers to women is so much more then any other job could offer. You can decide yourself when you go to work, when you go home, when to quit the job, and nobody tells you what to do.
You're basically your own boss.

With a salary that dwarfs the salary in most other jobs, and having more freedom then any other job could offer, plus the knowledge that nobody would ever have to find out about it, I decided to take the step.
I talked with the couple that offered me a way into prostitution, as I was still worried a little bit about all the stories I had heard about prostitution. They however made it very clear to me, that I could just try the job for a while, and if I didn't like the job, I could quit the job at any point and go back home, no strings attached.
The only thing they wanted was that I would pay them back the money they had spend on me, plus a little extra for all the effort they put into it, which sounded like a fair thing to me. After all, if a friend brings you with a car all the way to another place, you also pay back your friend for the effort he took and the money he spend on gas for the car.

I decided to take the step, and they would help me out to get over here and get started. They bought me a plane ticket to come to Amsterdam, and once I was in Amsterdam I could stay in their apartment as long as I wanted. They helped me out with getting a working permit so I could work here in Holland (before 2014 Romanian and Bulgarian people where not allowed in the country without a working permit, and the working permit could only be given to people if they started a company of themselves). They helped me to set up my own company, since in window prostitution all prostitutes need to have their own company. They even moved to a bigger apartment, so there would be enough place for the three of us to live in.

Because getting all the papers I needed to work here took a while, I couldn't work the first three weeks I was living with them. In order to bridge the gap between working and not having any income, they gave me enough money so I could pay for everything I needed in those first few weeks.
After about three weeks I finally got all the papers I needed to work, and went to one of the window owners for a room to work. Quickly I started making money, and I paid them back the money they owed me, and after I paid them everything they told me if I wanted I could move to an apartment of my own. I however decide to stay and live with them, since they where very nice people.

Eventually of course I did move out after about one year, and started living on my own. The couple helped me to find an apartment for me, and ever since I've moved from one apartment to another. Sometimes sharing an apartment with another girl working there because we became good friends, sometimes living all by myself. I preferred however to live with other girls, since when you're living in a country where you don't know anybody else, and you don't speak the language, you quickly become lonely and bored. Living together with another girl that speaks the same language isn't just financially more interesting because you can share the rent, but also offers you some company.

These days I live together with my boyfriend, who I've been together with for more than two years already. I've never regret the choice I made to come here. I have a good live, have enough money to do whatever I want to do, and have all the freedom in the world to do what I want, whenever I want to. The couple that helped me where very nice people, and helped me a lot to get started over here. Too bad the law still sees them technically as human traffickers (as you can read here), in stead of people helping girls to find a good paying job over here.
It's strange really, that this rule only exists for prostitution. If I would have chosen any other job over here, the couple that helped me would have been seen by the law as an employment agency, in stead of criminals.

My question is to you is, how else are girls like me, who want to start in prostitution, supposed to get started here? Who is going to help girls like me, to get the finances we need for this job? Not the bank, because they refuse prostitutes. Who is helping prostitutes to find an apartment that accepts prostitution as a normal job? Who is helping the girls into prostitution, in stead of getting out of it?
We have so many organisations claiming they help us. But all they do is help us to quit the job. Nobody helps us to start this job in a safe way for the girls who want to do this job. Myself and many other girls didn't have any problems with the people that helped us, but it's no secret that there is a small group of people taking advantage of a few girls, and exploit them. If nobody offers you an alternative, then this is the end result of it.
If people really want to fight human trafficking, then give girls who want to work in prostitution a good way in, and not just a good way out.

Dutch version
The Nordic Model
It's almost time again to start voting for the European parliament in Europe again, so political parties are boosting their marketing campaigns to make a difference in the more than 750 seats in the European parliament. The European parliament however isn't very popular at the moment in Europe anymore. There are simply too many people, from too many different countries, deciding over things people often didn't ask for. A few examples of these are the European constitution (which many people voted against, but still the European parliament accepted), loans to countries in Europe with financial problems (which many people didn't agree on), and of course the Honeyball resolution that not too long ago became accepted by the European parliament.

The Honeyball resolution is a resolution that advises (the European Union cannot make laws for this) countries that are part of Europe to follow the Nordic prostitution model. It comes from a British woman, named Mary Honeyball, and it basically states that all European countries should make clients of prostitutes illegal. This law has already been accepted in Sweden back in 1999, and has become very popular recently among other European countries, among which Holland, who are thinking about adopting this prostitution model.

The idea behind the model is as simple as it is naive, in order to fight human trafficking and forced prostitution, let's just take away the demand for prostitution, and the problem will resolve itself. The big problem of course, is the idea that making things illegal it would automatically stop. Prostitution is with a reason the oldest job in the world, because no matter what you do, there will always be a demand for it.
Think of it like this, did the prohibition of alcohol in the 1930's in the U.S. make people stop drinking alcohol simply because it was illegal? No, in fact, the only thing the prohibition did, was make everything related to alcohol go underground, where no police could find you, and therefore it became attractive for criminals (like Al Capone) to get their hands on it. In short, making things illegal only attracts criminals.

But since the Nordic prostitution model is based on the idea of saving women from forced prostitution and human trafficking, it begs the question how this would help? Because do people not visit prostitutes anymore in Sweden because it's illegal? No! In fact, daily people still visit prostitutes, they just do it out of sight of the police and other authorities, making it more dangerous for both the prostitute and the client.
In fact, the Nordic model even makes it easier for criminals to get involved, since it all happens out of sight of the police, and therefore prostitutes are in more danger of becoming victims of forced prostitution and human trafficking.
As you can see, the Nordic model does opposite of what it claims to do. It doesn't help any victims, since they're all out of sight of the police. And it doesn't help reducing human trafficking, in fact, it makes it easier to happen. In fact, you could even say that the Nordic model supports human trafficking!

Did those people who came up with the idea for the Nordic prostitution model really think a pimp would let a prostitute go, simply because they would make clients illegal? These pimps are criminals, the whole point of a criminal is the fact that they're not scared to do illegal things! Did they really expect those criminals to say to a girl they are forcing: 'Oh, shit, they criminalized your clients. Now we can't make money anymore. Maybe it's better if you go home. No hard feelings, okay?'
Of course not! These pimps have just been given a wild card by those dumb politicians to do whatever they want to do, because nobody can find them anymore, because it's illegal! Just like how the prohibition of alcohol attracted criminals, that's how the Nordic prostitution model attracts pimps. All they did, is make it worse for prostitutes to work. They don't get any protection from the police, since any client they'll receive will automatically be arrested because it's illegal.
And it certainly doesn't stop people from visiting prostitutes. Just because it's illegal, doesn't mean people will stop doing it, how many more times does history have to repeat itself before people will finally understand that! Those people who want to visit a prostitute are still there, now they're just doing it illegal, unsafe and in dangerous places on the street.

I know there are girls in Holland that are working in illegal prostitution and they have no problems with it. They work safe, and they like their job. However I also know girls in Italy, where prostitution is not legal, and there the girls are not that safe. Those girls have to keep moving around through the country, because if they stay too long in one place, pimps will try to take control over them, and force them to pay money for their protection, even if they don't want that. Those pimps are not afraid to use violence, and it's a good example of how working in illegal prostitution is not as safe as working in a country where prostitution is legal, and the prostitutes have rights and have protection from the police and other authorities.

The Nordic model makes it more difficult for victims of forced prostitution and human trafficking to get help, since it happens out of sight and out of reach of the police. It makes the work for free working prostitutes more dangerous, and even can turn them into victims of human trafficking, because of the absence of police, and it also makes it more dangerous for the clients, who now have to deal with pimps in stead of police.
Congratulations Sweden, you've just created a whole new industry for criminals to get their hands on, making women victims of the very thing you where trying to save them from!

You might begin to wonder whoever came up with the idea of the Nordic prostitution model? Where it pimps, who wanted to get their hands on the other part of prostitution they couldn't get their hands on? Where it political men that enjoy the desperation of women, like some sort of sadistic game, when they are having sex? No, they where feminist groups of women who strongly advocated the Nordic prostitution model, because in their eyes prostitution is by default degrading to women. Feminism on itself has become a growing cancer for prostitutes ever since they've been trying to 'save girls from prostitution', though they never asked any prostitutes if they ever wanted to be saved in the first place. There are many feminists out there today, strongly advocating the Nordic prostitution model, like Rachel Moran in Ireland or Renate van der Zee in Holland itself. They often get help from other media, like Opzij, a feminist magazine in Holland for which unsurprisingly Renate van der Zee often writes columns.

Also today Opzij tries to influence the debate about prostitution, with articles that only talks about the bad sides of prostitution, in stead of the (much larger) good sides of it. A good example of that can be found here, where the claim is that one prostitute makes 21.800 dollars for her pimp. A strange thing if you ask me, because prostitutes make much more money then 22.000 dollars a year. If we would only be working for that money, I wouldn't be doing it.
And let's also think about it. If one girl only makes 21.800 dollar, of which everything goes to the pimp, like the article states, than how can these pimps buy all those expensive cars and houses from that? Even if they have 3 or 4 girls working for them, it would take years before they can buy those expensive things, which is in contrast with the story that gets told in the media, that forced prostitutes would make thousands of Euro's a day. Does this mean those forced prostitutes only work about 22 days a year?
If I would be making 22.000 dollars a year, I couldn't even pay for all the things in my life, like my apartment, my workplace, my food and clothes etc. If that's how much money a pimp makes, I wonder how he can pay for all the things in his life, and still has money left to buy that nice car home?

But of course feminists are not the only ones who support this model. Also Christian groups, who've always been against prostitution since the dawn of time, are supporting this model. A good example of that is the ChristenUnie, a Dutch political party, who launched today 10 points that fight human trafficking, in which they admit being against prostitution, and yet seem to promote the Nordic prostitution model, under the pretense of fighting human trafficking. It's a joined force between feminists and Christians that are trying to criminalize clients, and with that indirectly prostitution. Not in hopes of saving women from being forced, but rather from ending prostitution itself.

Of course it's naive to think you can stop prostitution, like I said in the beginning of this blog, it's the oldest job in the world. What's weird though, is the fact that even though it's the oldest job, it's last job in the world to get good and safe working conditions and to be recognized by countries as a legal job.
The feminists and Christian groups supporting this Nordic model, in fact anyone supporting the Nordic model, can be seen as a someone who promotes human trafficking, by pushing prostitutes into the underground, where criminals can easily take control because of the absence of police.
Christians and feminists will often try to scare people into voting for their Nordic prostitution model, using high numbers of forced prostitution, human trafficking and other false messages. They manipulate the debate around prostitution, stigmatizing prostitutes as victims, and as naive, dumb women who didn't choose for this job, but got forced into it, with only one reason, to slowly kill prostitution.
They don't really care about the safety of women working in prostitution, all they care about is destroying it, even if that means women will become victims of forced prostitution, if it helps their case. They are advocates of human trafficking, disguising themselves as the saviors of prostitutes, while with the other hand pushing them off the cliff.

Dutch version
A typical day in the life of a prostitute
Lately I've written a lot about politics, policies and anti-human trafficking propaganda. It's one of the things I both feel obligated and want to talk about, since there are so many things happening out there that I want to discuss here to get out the truth. But simultaneous I also want to write more from my perspective as a prostitute, just how this industry works, and how it is to be in prostitution, to raise awareness about the industry itself. Though I find it difficult to write about myself, since things that perhaps may appear to be strange or interesting to my readers, are very normal to me. That's why I like it if people sometimes write to me what they want to hear more about. This post is at the request made by one of my readers who had a question. His question was how an average day looks like for me. So here goes:

Usually I get up between 12 and 2 'o clock in the afternoon. I'll first drink a coffee, since without coffee I don't function very well, while watching some TV. I have a satellite dish to receive Romanian TV, since on the Dutch TV they talk much to fast for me to understand it. After that I'll start cleaning up the house, the usual stuff, vacuum cleaning etc. This is how I spend most of my afternoons until my boyfriend comes home from work.
Usually after that we go out to shop for groceries, or in the summer to sit on a terrace to drink something. Sometimes it's just me and my boyfriend on the terrace, but we'll often meet up with other girls from my work to drink a coffee or some ice tea there. Most of my friends from work are Romanian and Bulgarian, but even if we're there with just Romanian girls, we'll talk English so my boyfriend can also follow the conversation.
Around 6 or 7 'o clock we'll usually be back home and have some time for each other, before my boyfriend will start cooking dinner. This is for me the time I usually start making my make-up for work. We eat around 8 'o clock, while we're watching Dutch TV or sometimes a movie, depending on our mood.

Around 9 'o clock I'll go to the office to pay for my room and pick up my key for my room. Sometimes I'll meet a girl on the way to work, and we'll stop to have a talk. I'll usually be at the office around 21.30 to pick up my key. At the office I have to show each day my ID card, with my working permit and my registration papers. I'll usually make a little small talk with the people working at my office, and the girls that are there at the moment, before leaving the office on my way to my workplace.
When I get to my workplace sometimes I'll stop to talk with some of the other girls. After that I go inside, and I'll get my stuff out of my locker. These are things like my working costume, my shoes, condoms, hair styling products, perfumes etc. After that I'll usually sit down to smoke a cigarette, relax a little bit, sometimes I'll go to one of my colleagues working next to me to talk with them.
After that I start changing my clothes for my costume, and I'll start to do my hair. And after I'm done with my hair, which is usually around 10 'o clock,  I'll open the curtains to start to work.

Each day at work it's different. After I open the curtains I'll first look around to see what kind of people there are outside. Sometimes I'll get a client straight away, sometimes it takes a long time, half an hour, an hour, sometimes even one and a half hour before the first client comes in. While I'm standing there I'll usually smoke a cigarette, or drink something, like a bottle of water or Red Bull.
Actually a large part of my work revolves around waiting, so not to get bored I'll usually call with one of my colleagues to talk with them on the phone. A lot of people always think we're on the phone with our pimp, but that's really more of a myth. Think about it, if you would just stand all day at work, doing nothing for a long time, wouldn't you want to talk to someone else? Well, we're no different in that, so we call each other on the phone.
The idea that girls are always on their phone with their pimp is also a little bit of a weird thing, since when you're on the phone, people will usually not come to you, because they think you're busy on the phone. So if a pimp would want you to work for him, he would definitely not want you to talk on the phone with someone, since that's how you loose customers.
And sometimes I also call my boyfriend when I'm feeling bored, to talk to him. That's not because he's my pimp, or he's checking how much money I make, but simply because I'm bored and I want to talk to him.
And if one of my collegues next to me is free, I'll also go to them, or they'll come to me to talk, and then we stand both behind one window. Sometimes then people will also come to ask us if they can also have a threesome with the two of us, or two guys will come to ask if they can each get one of us, and that's how we work.

At work I get a lot of people coming to my door. Sometimes they're people I don't want to let in, because I don't want to work with them for whatever reason. Most of these guys are Moroccan guys, who have a bad reputation of being extremely aggressive towards prostitutes, which I've experienced a couple of times myself. It's nothing against Moroccan people, but way too many girls have had bad experiences with them, and so did I, so a lot of girls won't let them in. Of course there are some other groups that have bad reputations that girls don't let in, but the Moroccan guys are the most notorious. Sometimes they'll keep hanging around my door, hoping I'm going to let them in, but usually after a while they'll move away when they realize I'm really not going to let them inside.
The people I do want to work with I open the door for them when they come to me, and they'll start to ask me things. Most people ask me how much the price is, what I do for the price, how much time they'll get for the price, where I'm from. Sometimes these people will just walk away after that and go to the girl next door to ask the same questions, sometimes the guy will come inside.
A lot of times people will try to negotiate a lower price, but I'll tell them I don't work for less than 50 euro, since that's the minimum price here. Some people will accept that, others won't and I'll usually see them walking around the whole night trying to negotiate for a lower price. Especially in the weekends there are people who will try to negotiate a lower price, since they've spend most of their money in the bars and coffee shops, and you'll have more people walking around all night to try and go inside with a girl for less than the minimum of 50 euro, because they don't have anymore money.

Between 2 and 5 'o clock slowly the streets will start to become more empty, as people are going home. slowly you'll see one by one the other girls working in the Red Light District going home. Sometimes they'll come over to talk with me about the work, about how good or bad the work was, depending on the work that night was. When the work is bad on a night, you'll see a lot of girls sometimes going home very early, sometimes even around 11 or 12 'o clock. I don't think if you're forced by a pimp he would allow those girls to go home that early, yet many girls won't stay all night long if the work is bad.
There's no girl that I know, that's never gone home earlier if the work was bad on one night. So when people ask me how I know those girls aren't forced, I always ask them why these girls go home earlier if the work is bad. Shouldn't their pimp be forcing them to work all night long?

If I feel very tired or bad, I'll go home earlier. If not, I'll try to work as much as I can, until it starts to quiet down in the streets, and I can't make anymore money with customers. This doesn't mean that there won't be anymore people in the streets, but usually these people are people that don't want to pay the minimum price of 50 euro's, or they are people I don't want to take in, and you'll usually have a lot of the same people hanging around every night, who no girl wants to let in, because everybody knows they're trouble.
Than I'll close the curtains, I'll start to change my clothes, I'll put my stuff back in the locker and I'll leave the key in a box for the people from my office to pick up later.

When I walk home there usually are some guys who will try to talk with me, they do this with all the girls. Some Moroccan guys will follow me to try to steal the money I made that night, because they know we make a lot of money, and they wait until the girls are finished with their work, to try and rob them. A few months ago for instance a Moroccan guy came after me and he told me to give him 120 euro, because he doesn't have any money and for me 'it would be nothing'.
Fortunately I've never gotten robbed, and I know how to protect myself. Some other girls are more scared, and they'll have their boyfriend come and pick them up, which of course other people would see as a pimp picking up his prostitute, but that's not the case.
When I get home, I smoke a cigarette, I drink something and after I'll take off my make-up and take a shower, and hit the bed after that. And that's kind of how every day repeats itself over and over again, until I get to my free day when I don't have to work.

So that's kind of how an average day in my life looks like. In my opinion it's not very shocking or interesting, since it's not that different from people with other jobs. I think a lot of people have a very different idea about my job, that's it's much more interesting or exciting than it really is. Especially people who claim 'many girls are forced' seem to have a very different idea about this work is, than it in reality is. Funny enough they'll often claim that people who support prostitution 'romanticize' this job and that reality is very 'different and terrible'. Yet truth is that it's often very different from how they claim it is, and they are the ones telling stories that are very different from reality.
Of course this is just how an average day in my life looks like. Other girls who work here can have a different view over this, although I don't think they'll tell very different stories about our work. For girls who are victims of exploitation or forcing, it's of course very different I guess, but I've still got to meet the first girl who's forced or exploited.

Dutch version

Amsterdam's cure for forced prostitution
In the summer of 2007 the city government of Amsterdam came with a plan to fight human trafficking and other criminal activities happening in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. As former alderman from the city government of Amsterdam, Lodewijk Asscher, put it, they thought it was terrible, the idea that there would be forced women working in prostitution in Amsterdam, so they wanted to do something about that.
In my opinion, it's a very good thing that the city government of Amsterdam wants to do something about that. Since I wouldn't want, and I think nobody else wants that either, that someone's being forced to do something they don't want to do. So far so good.

The plan they came up with was to close down a large part of the windows in Amsterdam for prostitution, in order to fight human trafficking and fight prostitution. This project was called 1012, after the area's postal code. What's beyond me, is in what way would closing down the windows help to fight human trafficking and forced prostitution, and more importantly, how does it safe the victims from that?
Behind the windows in the Red Light District of Amsterdam you're safe. There's police walking around there all day and all night long. You've got an alarm button you can push when you have problems. There's a lot of social control from the other girls working there, and the owners of the windows who look out for the girls.
You regularly get people from the city government, police and other government institutions, to check on you, to ask you if you're okay, if everything is going alright. If you have any problems, you can always go to them, or if they are there you can talk to them. In short, one of the safest places to work for prostitutes in the world.

Since the project has started, the city government has closed dozens of windows. Not because they found criminal activities, since they lost every single court case on that, but simply with money. They bought out the owners of the windows. Today those windows are being occupied by artists and other 'creative' people, of which most don't even pay rent, or pay very little rent at all.
Where the women have gone to that where working in those windows however, nobody knows. The city government of Amsterdam was apparently so interested in saving these girls from forced prostitution, that they simply forgot they even existed. The girls where without a room to work, and literally where on the street the next day. Nobody knows where these women are now, since the other windows are already occupied by other girls working there.

It's a pure guess what happened to the women. Did they find another window in Amsterdam? I doubt that, since there are already so many girls who want to work behind a window, and there's a fight for a window every single day, I doubt there was room for these girls to work there as well. So what where did the city government do for the women that lost their place to work? Did the city government offer them anything? Did they offer them another job? Did they offer them another place to work? Did they ever ask them how these girls could now pay the rent to their apartments? Did they ever ask those girls how they could live without a place to work? No!
The city government didn't do anything, for those girls they supposedly where 'so worried' about. In stead, all they did was buy more windows, leaving less room for girls to work in, pushing them away into nothingness.

So what options did these girls have? Finding another room in Amsterdam would be difficult, since they're closing down more and more every time. That leaves only a few options. Either they moved to another country, or they try to work from another place here, like a hotel room or an apartment, or perhaps even on the street if they really needed to.
But if you work from a hotel room or an apartment, who can you call for help? The police isn't nearby, you don't have an alarm button to push, and there's no social control anymore from the other girls because you're now all alone. The only way to get protection, is to hire someone, but that brings again the risk of being exploited, and that's exactly what the city government of Amsterdam was trying to avoid.
So in stead of improving the situations for the women, by closing down the windows, all they did is put them in a more dangerous place. They didn't solve any problem, they just created more problems.

And what do you think would happen to a prostitute that is getting forced? Do you think her pimp would simply let her go because her window closed down? Did they catch those pimps by closing down windows? Where are these forced prostitutes now? Nobody knows, since the city government of Amsterdam really wasn't interested in them at all. In fact, they where never interested in fighting human trafficking and forced prostitution, or any crime at all. All the achieved was loosing those forced prostitutes out of sight, with the risk of now having nobody to help them anymore. How can you help a forced prostitute if you don't know where she is? How can you help such a girl, if the police can't find her? For all we know her situation is now worse than it was before. Before she could get help from the police, now there's nobody to help her anymore. The city government never wanted to fight forced prostitution and human trafficking, they simply want the Red Light District to slowly disappear, leaving the girls on their own, and the forced prostitutes without any help.

The buildings that where previously owned by the windows owners, where not directly bought by the city government of Amsterdam however. In stead the city government found partners in several real estate companies. Those real estate companies that bought the buildings, where however not very successful at renting out the buildings to new companies that where keen on a place in the Red Light District. In stead the windows are now rented out as shops, often for an extremely low price, or sometimes even to artists who pay nothing at all.
Now the windows that used to be a safe place to work for prostitutes, have become awful looking shops, with terrible looking dresses, cheese shops, and other nonsense that nobody wants there. Even outlet stores have better looking clothes than the people are selling in those windows now.

But because the new inhabitants of these buildings are not very successful businesses or artists, the real estate companies loose a lot of money on the project. This is also the reason the real estate companies now have decided to quit buying new buildings from window owners, since they cost a lot of money, and thus far the project has been hugely unsuccessful. The mayor of Amsterdam is therefore looking to the U.S. for companies that might be interested in supporting their project, to buy the remaining windows that are scheduled for loosing their prostitution destination.
If they where ever really so interested in removing the criminal activities from the Red Light District in Amsterdam, than why didn't they simply allow the girls in those buildings to work there and not having to pay rent, in stead of some bullshit fashion shop that's now paying nothing for it's rent.

In my opinion fighting the problem of crime is very simple. If you have a problem of people stealing from shops, do you close down the shops? Or do you try to catch those people who are stealing? In my opinion all the city government did, was close down the shops, where we work, leaving dozens of women without an income and a safe place to work, and let the bad guys run away with the money. If they where really interested in fighting human trafficking and forced prostitution, they would try to keep an eye on the girls as close as possible, not pushing them away somewhere else where nobody has control over it. But the city government doesn't care about us, not about the prostitutes, not about the victims of human trafficking. All they care about is themselves.

Dutch version
What's the life of a prostitute like?
Imagine for a moment you have a boring office job. It wasn't the job you dreamed about perhaps, but it pays the bills, and you're pretty content with it and your salary. Now let's imagine for a moment that there are some people in the world who condemn your boring office job. They think it's such a boring job, that they could not imagine themselves ever doing this job. In fact, they even go that far that they claim that nobody could ever do your boring office job willingly. They claim that people doing your job, must be forced, since nobody in their eyes would ever do such a boring job.

For a while you let people thinking that. What does it matter anyway what other people think about your job, as long as you're content with it and it pays the bills. But those people condemning your job keep on pushing about it, how no right minded person would ever do such a job, how terrible you must feel doing such a job, etc. In fact, they even manage to push it so far, that a research is being done about it.
And to your surprise, the research that comes out, comes to the conclusion that more than half the people doing your boring office job, are forced by their boss to do it. You don't recognize anything about this, so you start to ask colleagues. Did your boss push you to do this job? No? Hmmmm, that's weird. Did they ask you to any questions for a research? No? Hmmm, well that's strange, I wonder who they did ask? You ask another few of your colleagues, nobody is pushed by their boss to do it, and nobody has participated in the research. Out of curiosity you decide to read the report. The researchers however have only talked with people who do labor inspections, those people only get to deal with employees who have trouble at work, so obviously all they see are the bad cases. You start to look at which people they talked to who did your job, but all you can find are 2 people who where all victims of extreme cases. In short, the report shows a very one sided story, since they've only talked to the people with bad experiences. No wonder the conclusion is so far from reality.

But than the media comes in. They state that people doing your job are forced on a huge scale by their boss to do their jobs, because research has proven it. You start asking people from other companies doing your job about their opinion. Again nobody is getting forced. Than stories are starting to pop up in the media about people claiming how they where forced by their boss at gun point to do their job. Books are being written about it. Slowly the general opinion of people towards your job is starting to change. People start asking you about it, colleagues, friends, family, even customers are starting to ask questions.
Than after a while it is uncovered that the person in the media claiming they where forced at gun point to do their job, was a liar. They where never forced, in fact, they never even did this job, they just wanted attention from the media to sell their books about it. But the mood is set already. Even though it's been proven this story was a hoax, people still keep asking you questions about your job. People even start doubting you when you tell them you where never forced by your boss to do this job.

After a while it starts to get worse. Politics are getting involved. And they are starting to come up with rules for your job. The first thing they want to do is to make you more independent as an office worker, and so they say it would be better if they would be self employed, and than the offices could rent your services. Pretty soon colleagues are starting their own companies to meet the demands of politics, and most become self employed, some other colleagues decide it's too much trouble and start moonlighting for themselves. But as a result of the public opinion and the new rules of politics, banks won't give you a business bank account. In fact, most banks refuse people with boring office jobs, and there's only one bank that will accept you. Getting a loan from a bank is out of the question, your job has been contaminated with a bad reputation, and the banks don't trust you anymore. Getting a mortgage is a long lost dream, no bank trusts you anymore, simply because your boring office job. Even renting a simple apartment has become a problem, lot's of people don't except your job. Some landlords are even scared to rent you their apartment, stating 'you might take your work home'. On top of all these problems, because you are now a self employed business owner, you have to pay more taxes now.

After a while everybody is settled again, some of your colleagues have moved into moonlighting for themselves (that way they don't have to pay that much for taxes, and they don't have to follow the stupid rules the government have made), and others have become independent boring office workers. But it doesn't help much. Still people are saying in the media that people doing your boring office job are being forced by their boss. So politics come into action again, and claim that in order to keep control over your office job, and to prevent people from getting forced by their boss, they want to reduce the number of offices, and begin with job inspections to try and save people from being forced into this boring office job.
Now how the hell would reducing the number of offices help anyone from being forced by their boss? All this does is force the boring office workers to start moonlighting for themselves, with as a result that they could even be more easy forced by someone else, since it happens illegal. So, who are we helping here? The people doing these boring office jobs? The people who are supposedly being forced to work this boring job? Or the people that just want to destroy boring office jobs?

Soon enough here and there offices are closing down. People loose their jobs. And because they loose their jobs, they start moonlighting for themselves.
Than more people start coming in from other countries to do this boring office job. It pays better than any job they can do in their own country, and they're willing to work very hard for it. Soon enough more than half your colleagues are foreign people, who don't know your language or your justice system that well.
And again the people who are suspicious of your boring office job come into play. Now they're claiming the foreign people are being brought here by criminals, forced to do this boring office job. You start talking with those foreign people, and they have no idea what you're talking about. They just came here because they can make a lot of money over here with this boring office job. They've noticed a lot of people are asking questions about their job, but they have no idea what the media are saying about their job. Heck, how could they know, they don't even understand the language!

Also the police is getting involved. They start checking you at work. They ask you how many times you've used the printer. How long you sit behind the keyboard to type. If you like typing on a keyboard. Does your boss ever ask you to do anything for your job you don't like to do? Is your boss forcing you sometimes to do things you don't want to do?
Soon enough the police is a regular customer at your job for asking questions about your job, and checking your business papers, and your passport, asking you questions. When you want to go on vacation customs start picking you out for questioning. They ask you if you know the address where you work. If you like doing your work. If your boss is forcing you to work. Pretty soon, everywhere you go, police and customs are asking you questions. It's almost like you're a criminal.

Than finally after years of stigmatization, someone else comes out with a report that shows that there are hardly any people doing your boring office job, that are getting forced. You look at the report, and see that the report has interviewed a large number of people doing your boring office jobs, and indeed very few people are getting forced by their boss. In fact, those who are getting forced, usually quit their jobs pretty quick. That pretty much makes sense.
You think the storm is finally over, and things can go back to normal. But those people condemning your job have a new tactic. Now they claim that the report is not valid, because people with boring office jobs are scarred to tell the truth, because their boss is forcing them to say these things.
Can you believe it! Finally someone comes out with the truth about your job, and now these idiots still don't want to believe it! The only reason they don't want to believe it, is because they themselves have a problem with your boring office job. But we're not asking them to do your boring office job. All we're asking is that they leave us alone, so we can do our boring office job. You chose for it, they don't have to like it, just leave you alone!

Pretty soon rescue organisations start popping up everywhere. They start making campaigns, telling people how many people doing boring office jobs are being forced. They even claim saving people from these boring office jobs. They start telling people not to trust any boss, because any of them could be a boss who forces you into a boring office job. Complete bullshit of course, but the majority of the people in your country believe these stories. You've never even seen or heard about these rescue organisations before. They've never even been to your office before, yet they claim they've saved hundreds of people from your office. The funny thing is, your office doesn't even have more than a hundred office workers.
Artists are beginning to talk in the media about your job. Painters, sculptors, musicians, all kinds of people who never had to work for a boss, and choose for their own independence, are now all of the sudden starting to condemn your job. They start talking about how terrible it is to work at an office, how terrible the conditions to work are. They start talking about all the boring office workers they talked with, and how terrible their life was. They even start saying working at an office is inhuman, like it's a violation of human rights to be stuck at an office all day, without any daylight, no fresh air.
And the funniest things about these rescue organisations, and artists, who are claiming things about your job is that they both make money with what they're telling. Rescue organisations depend on getting funding from the government, and therefore have an interest in keeping up the appearance that many people are being forced to do your boring office job. Artists are making CD albums, books, sculptures and paintings about your boring office job, showing how terrible your work is, and making money on the sales of those.

Again researches come out about your job, this time again stating most of the people doing boring office jobs are being forced. You look at the report, and realize they hardly talked to any people doing boring office jobs, but in stead only talked to politicians, police and rescue organisations. Again your boring office job is being described as terrible, inhuman, a violation of human rights. They talk about how terrible the conditions to work are, how thousands of boring office workers from other countries are being forced to work here by bosses who constantly beat them and force them to work harder and harder.
They even state that at the company you work for, more than half of the boring office workers are being brutally forced to work long hours, print out papers until they're blinded by the paper, type on the keyboard until they loose their fingerprints.
You start talking again with the people from your office. Nobody's seen or heard any of these things. Some people suspect other office workers might be forced, but nobody is for sure. Talking to the boring office workers who are suspected of being forced, because they use the printer a lot according to other colleagues, or because they type very loud on their keyboard, turns out to be nothing to be alarmed about. They simply want to do their job quick, make a lot of money, and go home. They print a lot because they can finish their job quicker that way, and go home. They type on their keyboard so loud because the quicker they type, the quicker they the more money they can make.

You start to see a pattern here. Every time a research comes out that claims many people are being forced with a boring office job, they talk with very few to almost no people who do boring office jobs, and every time they do a research among boring offices workers themselves, it shows a very different image. Every time certain rescue organisations, or the police is involved, it gives a heavily distorted image of the reality. Apparently the police is extremely poorly informed about your boring office job. In fact, when you look up what they police are seeing as signs of forced boring office workers, the signs are laughably bad and stereotypical. Rescue organisations keep telling how many people they save from your job, though you keep seeing the same people at your job every day. Where are all these 'so called' victims coming from, if not from your job? Are they real? Or are they actors? When you start to look into the stories of these so called victims, you start to see holes in their stories. Things that could never happen, or even that boring office workers themselves agreed on their work, and afterwards regret their choice. It almost starts to look like an easy way to make money, just claim that you're forced, and people will believe your story, and the government will come with a compensation. And even if the government doesn't compensate you, you can always write a book about it, and make money that way.
Sometimes you even read reports in the media about forced office workers, who in court even testified that nobody forced them, but still the court decides otherwise.  More and more it starts to look like people are forcing boring office workers to testify that they where forced, even if they weren't.

After a while you decide it's been enough. People have a right to know what's going on. You decide it's time to talk to someone. You go to a newspaper. You talk to a reporter, he does an interview with you. But when the newspaper is published, it reads how terrible you think your job is, in stead of how much people are lying and twisting the truth about it. You come to realize the journalists are being controlled by politicians, politicians who have always claimed many people doing boring office jobs are being forced on a large scale. The same politicians that have closed down many offices already, in order to fight the 'boring office work'. They turn out to be more interested in the property of these office buildings, selling the property after they've closed down the offices, in order to replace it with companies that they do approve, than that they're really interested in saving people who could be forced by their boss. They own the newspapers, journalists want to talk, but are scarred to talk, since they could loose their job over it. In fact, you come to find out that most of the media is being owned by politicians with a lot of power. It's no use to talk to the media.

You decide the best way to tell people the truth, is by opening your own blog, where no journalist, politician, or rescue organisation can tell you what to say. As soon as you've opened your blog, people who condemn your boring office work start popping up to tell you that you're a fake, you're a liar. You're probably a boss of a boring office worker, telling lies to protect his company. It's funny, they blame you of doing things they're doing themselves, how ironic. After a while one of your skeptical readers meets you at your job. He's shocked, you're real, and you're not a boss. Jeez, what a surprise! You tell him the truth, explain everything to him, but in the end he's still skeptical about it. He's heard so many stories, even people who where really forced at their boring office job by a boss, how do you know it's really not happening that much?
How much more does a person need to do to prove the facts? How much more does there need to happen before boring office work is finally being accepted as a normal job? How many more times does the police and customs have to interview you, before they believe you that you're really not forced? And how come everyone believes the stories of people who have an interest in telling these, even though some of them have even proven to be complete lies already? And how much longer do boring office workers have to wait until they can open a normal bank account, get a loan from a bank, get a mortgage, or even just rent a normal fucking house?

If you think this is weird. If you think it's weird how people with boring office jobs are being treated, looked at, stigmatized, even condemned. Than you're absolutely right! Now you know exactly how it's like to be a prostitute. All of the examples mentioned in this story here above are based in one way or another on real experiences, of either myself, other girls, or people fighting for our freedom. They are the true stories about what it's really like to be a prostitute. And I'm not saying forced prostitution or human trafficking doesn't exists, or doesn't happen here. I'm nearly saying it's hugely exaggerated, and the only way to fight it, is to free prostitution of this stigma. If there would be no more stigma on prostitution, people who are being forced also wouldn't be so scared to talk. And than also the majority of the prostitutes who do this job, can finally be accepted as normal people, in stead of constantly being seen as victims, and being treated as outcasts.

Now you know how it feels to be a prostitute. It's not the job so much that makes prostitutes feel bad, it's the way people talk about them, treat them, deny them and condemn them that makes us feel bad. It's the reason why we don't tell our family and friends what we do for a living. Not because we're ashamed of our work, but because other people condemn it so much, and it has such a bad reputation.
People who claim prostitutes do their jobs against their will, because they're either forced by a pimp, or forced by their financial situation are just people trying to scare you. How many people in this world are forced by their financial situation to do their job? Well, everyone actually. Since it doesn't matter which job you do, every job you do you only do because you need money. Some people might love their job, but many people in this world, simply do this job because it pays the bills. So who isn't forced by their own financial situation to do their job? I think this clip from the movie Jack Reacher explains it perfectly:

In fact, if I think about it, I have more freedom in my job, than many other people have in their job. I can work whenever I want to. I can quit this job whenever I want to. I don't have a contract that binds me to finish my job. I can go home whenever I want to. I don't have to show up in time for work. I don't have to work overtime. I have no boss telling me what I can or cannot do. I can go on holiday whenever I want to. And on top of that I make more money than any regular job in the world. How many people can say the same about their job?

Dutch version

Who are these human traffickers?
They're almost every day in the news, newspapers report about them every day, and social media is filled with messages about it. Every single day a new report comes out about a human trafficker being caught by the police, going to court or getting convicted. But who are these men they call human traffickers or 'pimps'? How come they are so hard to catch? And more importantly, why do the prostitutes protect them?
Well, the answer is within the following video. This man is a convicted human trafficker or 'pimp' as some other people might call him. He was caught for human trafficking prostitutes from Romanian into Spain. Yet, interestingly he didn't forced them into prostitution or exploit the prostitutes he trafficked.
And although this man was caught for trafficking women from Romania to Spain, and there are some slight differences between the way they work (I'll explain more about that down below),  and the way these same people work in Holland, this video gives you a perfectly good insight into the human traffickers or 'pimps' and what kind of people they are.

As you've seen in the video, this man was convicted for human trafficking and forced prostitution, even though he never forced any girl into prostitution, and even though the girls he brought to work in Spain in prostitution agreed on it themselves. They are all women who where not forced, and agreed with splitting the income with this man.
And as I've said here above, there are some differences between what this man does in Spain, and what the same people are doing here in Holland, that get caught for human trafficking. Since Spain doesn't offer prostitutes much police protection (since it's not illegal, but also not recognized as a profession), the girls are very vulnerable (like the man in the video explains), and they therefore need protection. The protection they require is aimed at protecting the prostitutes from aggressive clients and real pimps who want to force these girls into working for them with violence.

Since Holland offers prostitutes safe workplaces behind the window, with police protection, and an alarm button in case of emergencies, there's much less need for protection like how these people in Spain do it. But what the girls who want to work in Holland do need, is help with setting up their life and company here (window prostitutes all are self-employed business owners). I already explained it a bit in this blogpost here, that without help you can't get started in Holland as a foreign prostitute. There are simply too many rules, papers and financial things to take care of, to do it on your own, and on top of that the girls also need a financial boost to set everything up. That's why in most cases prostitutes get help from friends who already do this job, but in about 8-10% of the cases guys like in this video come in to the story to help the girls who don't have connections here. The prostitutes who get help from men like this are what I call 'free trafficked prostitutes', they're not forced and not exploited, but still considered to be victims of human trafficking like I've explained before in this blogpost here.
The guys that do this in Holland do for a large part the same things this man did in Spain, with the exception that they don't search for girls like the man in the video explains and he doesn't offer you protection, since the police already offers it.

The free trafficked prostitutes in Holland take a very similar deal like how the man from this video offers it. He asks for a percentage of the income or a fixed number, in exchange for helping them get set up in Holland as a prostitute. But just like this video shows, the men (and women) doing this, don't force the girls into prostitution or exploit them. All they do is offer a service to help you where you want to be.
As I've explained before, also helping a prostitute cross a border, knowing she will work there as a prostitute, and even though the prostitute agrees on this(!), this is still considered to be human trafficking according to the law. In my opinion this is absurd, since these people don't do anything wrong, on the contrary, they actually help us with something the government doesn't help us with!
So my question is, why is this illegal by law? Does the government not support people who want to go into prostitution by their own choice? Apparently yes, otherwise they would've only made it illegal if a girl didn't agree on it. But since it's also illegal when a girl agrees herself on becoming a prostitute, the government shows they are against people entering prostitution. Why is the government against people helping other people achieving their goals? And more interesting, why is it only illegal to help people into prostitution, and not any other job in the world?

But perhaps the most important part and message of this video is about the police. The police in this video have forced the girls to testify that this man forced them into prostitution, even though they weren't forced. Under the pressure of heavy interrogation, and being threatened to be sent to jail themselves if they didn't sign it, the prostitutes finally testified against the man that helped them out. It's a sad thing to hear, especially if you realize that this isn't just happening in other countries, but here in Holland as well.
I've experienced myself how the police works, when I became involved in a police research about three Bulgarian men, who where also suspects of human trafficking, just like this man was. And just like this man, those three Bulgarian men weren't forcing the women, in fact, two of them where even married to the girls and one already had two children with her before they came to Holland!

A few years ago I was still under the impression that the police in Holland where here to help you, and help prostitutes when they where in trouble. I had good contact with some of the police men walking around in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Some of them I even considered to be my friends, as they regularly came over to me to have a talk with me.
After a problem with my previous landlord, I went to the police, thinking they could help me. Unfortunately they couldn't help me out with my case, but they did ask me if I wanted to go the next day with some other police officers who where doing an investigation on the landowner, and they also had two or three questions about some Bulgarian boys I knew vaguely.
Under the impression I was going to talk with the police officers the next day, about my landlord, I went with them to the police station. But after only 4 questions the interview turned into a different direction. Documents where presented on the table of the three Bulgarian boys. And than the questions started coming. I've spend almost two hours there in the police station explaining them I didn't know anything, and that in my eyes these three men hadn't done anything wrong. But the police wasn't interested in hearing that. I got to see more documents, one including one of my best friends from work, and even one of myself, all stating they where victims of human trafficking. I couldn't believe it, that they even thought I was forced. And my best friend, she wasn't forced for sure, since I'd lived with her for almost a year, and her boyfriend had even repeatedly expressed to her that he wanted her to quit the job.

But the worst thing about the police interview was, that it turned out that it wasn't just an interview, and they weren't interested in my landlord. They where making me testify, and when they finished typing the testimony, they forced me to sign the testimony under pressure. They said to me that if I wouldn't sign the testimony, that they could have me picked up, and taken to court, to testify in court in front of the guys. I didn't know at the time that this wasn't true, and they where just pressuring me, and taking advantage of my lack of knowledge about the Dutch justice system. My boyfriend afterwards told me they couldn't do it, and than I realized how they tricked me into testifying.
For a while I was worried about this, since my name would come up in a court case against the three Bulgarian boys, and they might get the impression I had screwed them over with my testimony. I was scared they might be so angry with me for sending them to jail with my testimony, that I was worried for almost a year that perhaps one of the guys would one day beat me up. Fortunately nothing happened, but perhaps next time another girl gets to testify, she won't be so lucky.
Funny thing is, since that time, the policemen I had such good contact with now ignore me. Every time they come in the street where I work, they turn their head so that they don't have to look at me. I think they know very well that they tricked me into it. And the worst thing is that since this happened, I'm apparently not important to them anymore, they act like I don't exist.

I know many other girls who've had similar stories. All of them have bad experiences with the police, who trick them into doing things, testifying against people, even testifying against their own boyfriends or husbands sometimes. A good example of this can also be found on the website of Frans Snel, the window owner of the Red Light District on the Achterdam in Alkmaar here. Also in that case, about two Hungarian girls, they where forced to testify against someone for human trafficking and forced prostitution even though the man hadn't done these things. It's almost an exact copy of the video here above.
This is also the reason why many prostitutes don't like the police. Not because they're scared of their pimp when they talk with the police, but because they only get you into trouble because of the police, and they certainly don't help you.

A few weeks ago I came home from Romania. As soon as I came to customs I saw they had their eyes on me. And indeed, it didn't take long before two men from customs came over to me to ask if I would please follow them. We went into another room where they check the bags of passengers for drugs smuggling etc. In a room filled with people, they started to ask me questions about my job, my life, if I was forced, my boyfriend, where I lived etc. etc. Not only did they make me feel like I was some sort of criminal (even though I hadn't even done anything), but they did this publicly where many people could hear what I was saying.
A few weeks before a good friend of mine (also a Romanian prostitute working here in Amsterdam), also got picked out by customs for questioning. And also her they asked questions about why she came to Holland, what she did for work, who her boyfriend was, if her boyfriend was forcing her to work, if she knew her address here in Holland. All of this again in the midst of a room filled with people who are getting their bags checked. Next to her was standing a girl from her city, who she knew, but who didn't know what job she was doing here. But apparently the customs don't care so much for privacy.

The hunt for finding the few forced prostitutes that are out there is getting worse and worse, and the people who work as a prostitute by choice become victims of this. Prostitutes are getting stigmatized on a daily base. These days I'm even scared to take my mother to Holland, because I'm scared customs might pick me out again for questioning about my job in front of my mother, who doesn't know I do this job. I can't get a simple bank account from many banks here in Holland (with the exception of ING), because apparently prostitution is not an accepted job for them, even though in Holland the job is legal and you actually also need a bank account for your own company.
Getting a loan from a bank is out of the question. And also getting a mortgage is not an option, as I've found out after trying to get one from 15 different banks and mortgage companies in Holland. Getting a place to live is problematic, because people have such a bad view on prostitution.
How rescue organisations depict human trafficking
The hunt for forced prostitutes and human trafficking is taking epic proportions, damaging everyone and everything in their path, helped by the hunger of the media for exciting and shocking stories, and rescue organisations who are more interested in their funding than actually helping victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution.
Stories about prostitutes getting forced, beaten and exploited are rare to find. Videos and movies, but also stories in books and newspapers, about terrible things in prostitution simply don't happen that much. In stead prostitutes who chose this job for themselves become victims of the witch hunt the media, rescue organisations, the police and politicians are leading. People who are helping prostitutes are being accused of forcing girls into prostitution, even though they never did that, and this video is a very good example of that.
The last few months I've seen dozens of news articles about so called 'forced prostitutes' in the media, in where girls themselves claim that they weren't forced, yet the court decides otherwise.

Not all the stories you hear in the media are true. In most of the cases people are being sent to jail for helping prostitutes, yet those people are being accused of forcing prostitutes. Prostitutes who want to tell the truth are being shut up by the police and prosecutors, because they're only interested in hearing one story, which is that all prostitutes are forced.

Dutch version
So you think they will dance?
For a while now there's this video circulating on the web, it's a video shot in the Red Light District of Amsterdam with a message at the end to capture the people's attention. The video is called Girls going wild in the red light district and can be found here:

The video is an awareness video created for Stop The Traffik to get more attention for human trafficking happening in the prostitution industry. The video shows some text which is the following:
'Every year, thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here.'
This video is also being shown in the Red Light Secrets prostitution museum in the Amsterdam Red Light District, aiming at informing people about the life behind the windows (read more about the museum here).

In my opinion this video is absolutely disgusting, giving people the idea that most of the women in the Amsterdam Red Light District are being forced to work here, brought here under the pretenses of having a nice career as a dancer or a waitress or whatever. This video makes it not only look like most prostitutes working in the Red Light District are being forced, but on top of that, that the girls working here are also so dumb and naive that they would fall for such a dumb lie.

What's really interesting about this video, is that the statement at the end of the video, only two sentences, are both filled with so much lies, that I have to cut them into pieces to explain it. So let's start with the first sentence:
'Every year, thousands of women are being promised a dance career in Western Europe.'
Now I'm sure that thousands of women indeed are being promised a dancing career, either in Europe or in other parts of the world, but mostly these women also end up being a dancer. The thousands, the people who made this video of course are talking about, are the thousands of women who end up forced in prostitution. In fact, they even state that they end up 'here'. Which means that every year thousands of women end up in the Red Light District of Amsterdam forced behind a window, according to this video.
That's an interesting thing, since Amsterdam only has about 400 windows (source here). According to the myth most forced prostitution stories use, the prostitutes who are being forced have to work long days, 12-18 hours a day, meaning that they work both day and night shifts. So, that leaves no room for double shifts, in other words, only one woman can occupy one window a day, and not two women. This means there is only place in the Amsterdam Red Light District for 400 women, if all prostitutes would be forced.
But since that doesn't even come close to the thousands they're speaking of in this video, we'll have to look for another option. The other option of course, is that the forced women are only working one shift per day (which doesn't match the other stories of forced prostitution out there), either a day or a night shift, but even if we do that, than we still only get to 800 women (400 in the day, 400 in the night), and still not the 'thousands' they are claiming. And that's even if all prostitutes in Amsterdam would be forced!
What this comes down to, is the simple fact that thousands of forced prostitutes in the Amsterdam Red Light District is simply impossible, because there aren't enough windows for that. In fact, in the total of Amsterdam, including all legal prostitutes and every type of prostitution, there only work 900 prostitutes a day! And that's including escort, clubs, home and window prostitution all together!

But that's even if we assume that all prostitutes are being forced. And we all know, not all prostitutes are being forced. So this is already where the video goes wrong in the first place. Now let's assume, that they meant to say, that not all of these women end up here, but some do. Of course it might have been wise to add that in the video, to explain to the people that not every prostitute in the Red Light District in Amsterdam is being forced, but I'm pretty sure the makers of this video aren't so worried about that. They'd rather stigmatize all prostitutes, than not getting the attention (read funding) for their organisation that they need.
But now let's assume that they meant to say that 'many' of them end up here. Even if many of them would end up here, that would mean that this would come back in the court cases about forced prostitutes from Amsterdam. But interestingly, most of the time I read about a court case involving a prostitute from Amsterdam, the girl who was the victim, knew she was going to work here as a prostitute, and even more interesting, she agreed with it!
And even more interesting, is the fact that there is not one single court case about a prostitute in Amsterdam, who was told she was going to get a dance career, or even a career as a waitress in West-Europe. In fact, most of the court cases about human trafficking, involves women who knew they where going to be prostitutes in Amsterdam and had also agreed on this, but eventually got tricked into paying more for their deal than they had talked about, and eventually ended up being exploited. And only a hand full of court cases of prostitutes from the Amsterdam Red Light District have actually had a prostitute actually being forced into it, but in none of the cases where they tricked into it by a story of getting a dance career here.
And there's a big difference, between being exploited as a prostitute, or being forced into prostitution. Since being forced into prostitution, means that someone is forcing you to prostitute yourself, while you don't want to be a prostitute. While being exploited nearly means that you are being pressured to pay someone (forced to pay someone) for a deal you made about becoming a prostitute yourself, which you did agee one. An exploited prostitute in 99% of the cases, is a girl who choose this job for herself.

And as I've already shown you people in this blogpost here already, only about 8-10% at the maximum are possibly forced in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, according to scientific research. This would come down to about 50 to 90 girls in total in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, and not even close to the thousands this video claims.
Interesting note though, apparently Stop The Traffik has various different versions of the same videoclips online. One version here states 'Sadly too many of them end up here', which is again an adjustment made on an earlier statement that 'they end up here' (meaning all). Though of course the question is what is too many? Since even one person being victim of human trafficking would be considered 'too many'.
It seems like this video was made with a TV show in the back of their minds, namely Matroesjka's. Matroesjka's was a Belgium mini-series about a group of Eastern European women, who where told they could be dancers and would go on a tour in Europe, and ended up in a brothel/stripclub in Antwerpen.
The TV mini-series was hailed in both Belgium and Holland (along with probably many other countries it was broadcasted), as a huge achievement in the warning for human trafficking in the sexindustry in both Holland and Belgium. Now, besides the fact that most of the things that happen in the TV show, couldn't happen in reality (simple things, like pasports being taken, a brothel not closed down after a raid with serios clues for human trafficking, girls crying on the stage without any clients reporting it etc. etc. etc.), what frequently happens in the TV show, is that women see a chance to escape, and they run for their lives.
Interestingly though, this never happens in the Amsterdam Red Light District, even though the possible 'pimp' is kept much further away from the girl (since there's police control on that), and it gives the girl much more chances to run away. If this would be for real, the streets in Amsterdam would be filled with women running through the streets, screaming for help.
The only time I've seen prostitutes running and screaming on the streets, is when some asshole steals something from the prostitute, and she runs after him. So if she can do that, she could certainly run away from her pimp. After all, the police station is only a few blocks away.

But this video isn't the only video out there, making false statements about human trafficking and forced prostitution happening in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. There are many video's out there, reaching millions of people (the Stop The Traffik video alone already has 11 million views), and basically giving people false information, and thereby negatively influencing their opinion about our profession, but more importantly, negatively influencing their opinions about ourselves.
There are just too many video's out there for me to handle each and every one of them, but there is one other video that I would like to discuss here, which is the following video:

And again, just like with the Stop The Traffik video, also here the video contains only text and is designed to inform people about the dangers of human trafficking. And again the video is filled with false statements, and some facts that are either mixed up, or misunderstood. The text is the following:

Prostitution in Amsterdam's Red Light District is legal and regulated.
Though some girls work here by choice, many are trafficked from Central and Eastern European countries. Prices starts at just fifty Euro for thirty minutes. Over 1000 women sell sex in windows. They are open 24 hours a day.
Prostitutes even have a union (De Rode Draad), but most won't become a member for various reasons. Amsterdam prostitutes pay an avarage of 85 Euros for a small room during the day shift and 115 for the night shift. Ownership of the windows is divided between many small landlords.
In 2009 a window prostitute was killed during her night shift, and the murderer was never caught.
Amsterdam legalized prostitution to eliminate crime, but instead legalization made human trafficking rampant. The Amsterdam City Council has noticed the side effects of prostitution and have reduced the number of brothels in the past few years.

The first part is good, indeed prostitution in Amsterdam (along with the rest of Holland, by the way) is legal and regulated. This is also the reason many women have come to Amsterdam (and Holland), because they can do this job here legal and safe, while in other countries it's illegal and therefore very unsafe. In fact, it's because it is legal here, that most of the prostitutes in this country aren't forced. The legalization of prostitution has caused a run on this country of women who choose to do this job. It rather attracts women who chose this job, than it attracts human traffickers, since it's much more controlled, and therefore much more difficult to force a girl into prostitution. After all, it's much easier to force someone to do something, when nobody can see it, and there's no control, like in countries where it's illegal. In short: why would a human trafficker risk being caught here, while he can do it much safer in a country without so much control of the police and the government.

Than the video claims that 'some' girls work here by choice, but that 'many' of them are trafficked. Of course it's up to the viewer to define what's 'some' and what's 'many', since some people might say 10 girls are 'many', while others might say more than half is 'many'. In short, what is many? And what is some?
But I think it's safe to assume that if only 'some' do it by choice, and 'many' are trafficked, as this video claims, that we can assume that more than half are trafficked according to this video, and only a small part of perhaps 20 or 30% of the prostitutes do it by their own choice.
Of course I don't need to explain to you again, as I've already stated here above, that only a maximum of 10% of the girls are forced. This would rather mean that 'some' girls are forced, and 'many' work here by their own choice, which is completely the opposite of what the video claims.
Funny detail is the fact that all the girls in the video (since I know all the girls who appeared in the video personally), are working here by their own choice, and are not forced. But I don't think the maker of this video bothered to ask that.

The part about the prices are correct (although adding the 'just' makes it sounds like it's cheap, which was obviously the intention of the filmmaker), but the time sadly is wrong. Clients get 20 minutes for 50 Euro's, of which 5 minutes are included extra to change the clothes for the customer. Over 1000 women sell sex is true. But the Red Light District is not open 24 hours a day. Perhaps people might get the impression it's open 24 hours, but the windows do close down in the morning for several hours, during which the rooms get cleaned.

Than there's an interesting mention of De Rode Draad (The Red Wire). De Rode Draad however is not a union, and never was a union, they where a foundation aimed at improving the position of prostitutes. De Rode Draad however closed down already in 2009, as a result of not receiving anymore funding from the government. This could explain of course why 'most won't become a member', since it's kinda difficult to become a member of something that doesn't exist anymore.

The parts about the average prices for the windows in the day shifts are about correct, although the night shifts are 150 Euro average, and not 115 Euro as this video claims. And the part about the window owners is also about correct, although some window owners so have large numbers of windows.
But than all of the sudden this video goes into a murder that was committed in 2009 on a prostitute. Of course the idea is to suggest that the legalization and regulation of the prostitution in Holland has only made the safety worse for prostitutes than it was before. But when you look at the number of prostitutes that where murdered since the regulation in the year 2000, you can only find 2 women where murdered.
While if we look at the same length of period (14 years), before the regulation of prostitution, you'll find that 3 prostitutes had been murdered. So in the end there's not much of a difference between the number of murders before and after the regulation, in fact you could even say the safety has improved since that time, since one murder less was committed after the regulation in the same length of time as before the regulation.

Than the video correctly states that Amsterdam (or actually Holland) has legalized prostitution in order to prevent crime from happening. But than states all of the sudden that human trafficking has become rampant since that time. This is interesting, since first of all, we all know by know the numbers of human trafficking in most researches are hugely exaggerated. And secondly, the most interesting thing is, that human trafficking globally has seen become a rampant problem, so it's not just Amsterdam, this is happening all over the world. And since most countries besides Holland have not regulated prostitution, you could even say the cause of the rampant human trafficking increase is the fault of other countries not following Hollands example to control and protect the prostitutes in order to fight human trafficking by legalizing and regulating it.
And as we've learned from the numbers of murders happening in the Amsterdam Red Light District, which have gone down since the regulation, the safety has even become better, rather than worse how this video claims.

Than the video continues with the claim that the Amsterdam City Council has noticed the side effects of this. But funny enough the video does not state, that the City Council of Amsterdam has lost every single court case against these so called side effects, known as prostitution. In fact the City Council indeed did reduce the numbers of windows, but not by fighting crime, or closing down criminal organisations, but rather by buying out the owners, since they lost every court case from these owners.
Interstingly the City Council of Amsterdam has even stated ever since they lost those court cases against the owners of the prostitution windows, that the number of forced prostitutes is unknown, and could be anywhere between 10 and 90%. In other words, the City Council has bluffed and failed. The City Council lost every single case against these so called 'criminal businesses', bases upon the very simple fact that those businesses where never criminal to begin with.

This video was made by Renee Cole, a Lady Gaga impersonator, who apparently doesn't have Lady Gaga's open mind about sexuality. What bugs me the most about this video is the fact that she hasn't blurred out, or made any of the prostitutes in this video unrecognizable, which already shows to me the lack of respect this woman has for the prostitutes and their families and friends. I know all the girls in this video, and I can tell you that these girls did not approve to be in this video, and weren't aware of the fact that they where being filmed. This video is therefore a violation of their privacy and their portret rights according to the Dutch law, which makes it illegal.
Apparently besides the lack of respect Renee Cole shows for these prostitutes, by showing them fully recognizable in the video, and thereby violating their privacy and portret rights, she apparently also didn't consider the fact the possible problems these girls could get in because of her action. These girls have families in their home countries, who don't know they are doing this job. In fact, for some of them, it's considered a disgrace, and they could even get in serious problems because of this with their families.

I know Renee Cole isn't the only one out there who's filming or taking pictures of prostitutes. Many people in the Red Light District take pictures or videos of us, fully recognizable. Even though every tour guide will tell you it's not allowed to take any pictures of the prostitutes, and even though many windows have a sticker on it with a sign that says it's not allowed to make pictures, still people keep doing it.
And it's not so much the fact that we're camera shy or something, or that we want people to pay for it or something like that. It has to do with the fact that many prostitutes, including myself, have family and friends at home who don't know we do this job. Since this job, unfortunately, still isn't socially accepted (partially because of video's like this and stories about forced prostitution and crime), many prostitutes could get in trouble with their family or friends if they would find out. It's got nothing to do with the fact that we're not proud of our job, but rather with the fact that other people have problem with the job that we try to do proudly.
One of my best friends has already gotten in a lot of trouble with her family, because one stupid guy made a picture of her, which ended up on the internet. Because of that she had to stop the job, and hasn't spoken with her family in almost two years now, even though part of the reason she did this job, was to send home part of the money for her family. And this goes for a lot of cases. Many girls send money home to their parents, who don't know where the money really comes from. We try to help our parents, our family, and we are prepared to go very far for this. So when some stupid guy or girls fucks this up for us, because he wants to make one stupid picture or video, he has to realize he's not only fucking up our lives, but our families lives as well. And let me ask you one thing. How far are you willing to go for your family? What would you do to help you family out? It's not that our families are dying from hunger, but when you have enough money for yourself, and your family is struggling financially, who wouldn't want to help their parents or their family out if they had the money for it?
The people taking pictures of us, and filming us, have no idea the damage they can do to someone's lives. And it's not because we choose this job that's to blame, but rather the stigmatization that prostitution gets, through videos like this, that are to blame for this.

In my opinion the organisations that fight human trafficking would be more successful if they started to work with the prostitutes in stead of against prostitutes.
People who makes videos like Stop The Traffik and Renee Cole in my opinion don't improve anything for the situations of prostitutes, forced or free. In fact, the only thing these videos do, is stigmatize the industry, which makes it impossible to become socially accepted. That doesn't help the prostitutes who chose this job, because they will always be seen as possible victims. And it doesn't help the victims either, because people will always see them as 'that prostitute'. Prostitution doesn't need more rules, or more awareness for human trafficking. It needs to become socially accepted by our society as a job, rather than a slavery product.

Dutch version