Only 15 sex workers show interest in Project Own Window
One of the ex-brothels now offered to sex workers to run for themselves
Today there was big news about window prostitution in Amsterdam. Project Own Window, which offers which offers sex workers a chance to form their own corporation and run their own brothel is getting a green light from the city government. According to the articles published in the media, there's enough support from sex workers to continue with this project.

Back in February of this year, the city of Amsterdam announced they wanted to investigate the possibility of sex workers running their own brothel. They had 18 windows at their disposal for sex workers who wanted to form their own corporation. And thus the city began investigating if sex workers would be interested in running a brothel for themselves.

To the media this project was being sold as 'a way for prostitutes to work without pimps', implying that we would be working with pimps at this moment. It was a way for the city to justify why they wanted to close down brothels on one hand, but on the other hand now all of the sudden they wanted to open new brothels. The media, non-critical as they are, ate up the story, and sold it to the public as a 'pimp free' workplace for prostitutes.

Of course this is nonsense. Most sex workers who work in window brothels right now don't have a pimp. They only want to imply that, to make the other brothel owners look bad, because they still intend to close them down. Otherwise it would be impossible to defend their policy of closing down windows, while at the same time opening new windows.

Because in reality, there's just as much chance of pimps being involved with the women working in these Project Own Window brothels, as when they would be working for a conventional brothel operator. Who runs the brothel is irrelevant to being a victim. The brothel owners aren't the pimps, and neither do they work together with them. So there's just as much chance of victims working in this new brothel, run by sex workers, as there's a chance of victims working in brothels run by the current brothel operators.

But today the city announced that there's enough support from the sex workers to continue with this project. An interesting conclusion, because in the investigation report, they claim they need at least 45 to 50 sex workers to be interested (page 9), in order for this project to succeed. So the question becomes, did they find 45 to 50 sex workers that are interested in participating in this project? Well, no!

In the report you can read that in March there was a meeting organized for sex workers to inform them about this project (page 6). 24 Sex workers showed up, including myself, from the approximately 600 sex workers working in the Red Light District. So immediately you could say that not many sex workers were interested in this project if only 4% shows up. Not a strange thing, since most sex workers are content with their current workplace, situation and brothel operator. In short, there's no desire to change things.
One of the other things that made sex workers not to be interested in this project, was the fact that they simply don't want that responsibility. It's the whole reason why sex workers are so content with their brothel operator. They do all the paper work, and we only have to work and once in a while pay taxes over our income. Most of us aren't interested in taking up more paperwork, rules and regulations in order to work.

Some sex workers however were interested in this project. How many? Well, as we can read in the report, 15 sex workers showed an interest during talks that happened back in April and May (page 6). Not exactly 45 to 50 sex workers, like how many would be required to make this project successful.
And so in June, the mayor expressed that he hadn't found enough sex workers to make this project work.
So, what has changed? Well, nothing. No more new sex workers were found that showed an interest. Meaning, it's still the same 15 sex workers that showed an interest. Not even close to the 45 to 50 sex workers that they required according to their own criteria. Yet the media state that there's enough support from the sex workers to continue with this project.

Perhaps this is also the reason why now all of the sudden there aren't 18, but 15 windows available for this project. After all, back in February they said 18 windows were available. But now all of the sudden there are 3 windows less. And funny enough, there are exactly as many windows, as there are sex workers who showed an interest in this. I wouldn't be surprised if those other 3 windows dropped out, due to the fact that they simply couldn't find any more sex workers willing to participate in this project. But, sure, keep selling it to the public as if there's a lot of support from the sex workers to participate in this project.

The report says that perhaps sex workers don't show an interest yet, because they are still waiting to see how things will turn out (page 7). For example, what the rental would be. But I think the deal is much simpler. Just not that many sex workers are interested in running their own brothel. We just want to work how we do right now. Have a brothel operator take care of all the paperwork, legal work etc., so all we have to worry about is paying our taxes in time. We don't want any more work, or having to spend more time on our jobs than we already do.

We never asked to run a brothel ourselves. This is, yet again, one of those projects politicians come up with, because 'they think' we want this. But they never listen to us. We didn't ask to run our own brothel. We just asked that you stop closing down windows, and give us back the windows that are still vacant. That's what we asked for when we went to demonstrate against Project 1012. We didn't ask if we could please start our own brothel so we could be pimp free! Most of us are pimp free, and we don't need this brothel to prove that!

Dutch version

Exit programs
A while back the Dutch minister of Justice implemented another 3 million euro anally into exit programs for prostitutes. The idea is of course to help prostitutes who want to exit the program. Question is of course, do prostitutes really want to exit? And if so, do they need help, and what kind of help would be required? Or is an exit program just another way to discourage prostitution?

Let's start off with some facts. Between 2011 and 2013 in total 1750 prostitutes have been a part of the program. This comes down to about 583 prostitutes each year. This is only a very small portion compared to all the prostitutes working in Holland (an estimated 20.000), so it doesn't really look like they're really interested in using these programs in the first place.
Why does only such a small portion of the prostitutes want to use this program? Well, perhaps they don't want to quit. Or maybe some do want to quit, but they don't need anyone's help to do so. Or maybe many don't believe these programs are very helpful.

The current exit programs have a success rate of about 57%, meaning 57% of the prostitutes actually quit their job using these programs if they enter it. This leaves 43% of the prostitutes leaving the programs before they ever exit the industry. This also means that only about 332 prostitutes each year actually quit using these programs.
One might begin to wonder why such a relatively large group of more than 40% chooses to keep working this industry and quits these programs, as opposed to actually continuing the project and getting another job.

What they also didn't count in were how many went back into the job after exiting. Because I know from girls I personally know, that re-entering this job after having quit happens more than most people might think. And the main reason is that other jobs simply don't pay that well like this job does. For example, I knew a girl that used one of these exit programs and ended up working in a restaurant. After about a year working in this restaurant she decided to go back into prostitution. Her reason? It simply paid much better than working in a restaurant.

Girls that start doing this job, most of the times do it for one very simple reason: money. There is no other job on this earth which requires so little skills, schooling and knowledge or experience, yet pays so much. Most girls simply figure they do this job for a couple of years, and after they quit, go back home, and maybe set up a company of their own with the money they made here, buy a house and a car, and live the good life. And that's the goal most girls have for themselves, and they will not quit this job until they reach that goal.

What happens in reality is, that things don't always go the way you want, and it takes up more time than you thought to get all the money together you need for your dreams. A lot of girls for example think they will make a lot of money always. But it doesn't work that way. You don't always make good money, there are good periods and bad periods. So you can't always save up how much you want to. Sometimes even you need to use the money you saved up before, to be able to pay for things when things aren't going well.

Another thing that happens in reality, is that you become addicted to shopping. Especially girls from countries like Romania, Bulgaria en Hungary, who never had the money to buy expensive bags, shoes and clothes. Having all this money, and not spending it on some nice expensive things, is quite a challenge. The idea is that if you're doing this job anyway, you might as well try to look nice now that you have the money for it, what else is the point?
And thus many girls spend thousands of euro's on shoes, clothes, sunglasses, bags and what not, simply because they can afford it now. This quickly turns into an addiction, meaning they stopped saving up money, and most of their money goes to expensive stuff they don't really need.

I know many girls that have the latest fashion from Louis Vuitton and Burberry and all the expensive brands you can imagine almost each day. They spend thousands of euro's a month to look good, but they've been working here for more than a decade already. I'm pretty sure their idea when they came here to do this job, was not to keep doing this job for more than 10 years, but at least being able to wear the most latest fashion. Yet that is what has happened to them. The money corrupts them, and postpones their goals, as it almost did with me.

And this is one of the main reasons why exit programs don't work. Because the exit program doesn't give them what they want, which is a lot of money. It is the reason many that do enter eventually quit before they finish the program. And it's the reason many that did exit the industry, come back into the industry again, simply because with this job they can make much more money, and pays for their expensive lifestyle. So unless an exit program can offer you a job with a salary close to that of a prostitute, it will never become a success.

The best way to have prostitutes exit their industry, is if you help them reach their goal. So, don't help them quit this job, but rather help them saving up the money they want. Giving them another job might help for some girls, but not for most. Since in the end, unless they reach their goal, they will always come back to this job.

Dutch version

Communication between brothel owners and sex workers
Today the media reported that brothel owners have to be able to communicate with sex workers to ensure their safety. It was a decision made by the European Court of Justice, that the sex workers renting rooms from the brothel owners have to speak either Dutch or English.

Personally I don't know any girls that don't speak at least English. So for me, and all the girls I know, this isn't much of a big deal. I do know however there is a group of South-American women working around the Old Church, and those brothel operators speak perfectly good Spanish. I also know the brothel operator who started this court case against the city government, Jan Harmsen, spoke with most of the girls working there in German, since also many Eastern European women speak German in stead of English.

The media however presented it as if the brothel owner was completely unable to talk with the girls at all, which I highly doubt, since it would be impossible to do an intake interview, which is mandatory. But also how do you explain to girls how they can rent a room, how much they have to pay, what the rules are etc. if you can't communicate with them. So the only logical explanation is that he was able to talk with them, just not in English or Dutch but in German, meaning they left that part out to frame the brothel owner as 'the bad guy'. My guess is also that it's not the media themselves which wrote this article, but that it comes from the office of the mayor, who intentionally wants to frame brothel owners as bad people, in order to close down windows.

Basically this decision from the court comes down to restricting the languages only to Dutch or English, not allowing Spanish or German anymore, which before were still allowed. In short it comes down to down sizing brothel owners their market, making it more difficult for them to rent out windows, since now they are only allowed to rent them out to people who speak either Dutch or English, and not also German and Spanish like before.
Also I feel a bit like sex workers yet again are being made into an exception, since other industries with a high chance of trafficking are not obliged to speak only Dutch or English, but can allow anyone to work in their business.

In my own opinion I do think sex workers should be able to speak English at least. After all, many of our clients come from all over the world, so not being able to speak any English at all would make your work in the Red Light District nearby impossible. But It would also prevent a lot of fights between the customer and sex workers, due to a communication problem. I also think that perhaps the accusations of the girls not being able to talk any English are exaggerated, for sure they know some English, but I think they mainly communicated with their brothel owner in German.
But like I said, I also don't know any women that don't speak any English at all. But with some brothel owners it is already a rule that you need to speak English mandatory.

All in all, the articles in the media surrounding this court case seem to be very one sided, and incorrect. But I'm not surprised, since it was a court case against the city government, who are still trying to close down windows. And with the decision today of the mayor to run for a second term as mayor, I doubt he will keep true to his word to close down less windows. After all, he also promised us to write us a letter, which we still haven't received.

Dutch version
Prostitution card for free entrepreneurship
A few days ago Maria Ruigrok from the VVD in Amsterdam came up with an interesting idea. A prostitution pass for prostitutes. The idea behind it is so you don't have to do an intake interview with each brothel owner every time you move to a new one, but that this can be done in one place. In short, it saves you having to do a new intake each time with a new brothel owner. In stead of separately with each brothel owner, you just do the intake in one place, and you'll get a card that proves you've done such an intake already.

According to Maria Ruigrok this is to make the prostitute less depending on the brothel owners. But this is kinda where she goes wrong. She assumes, like so many other people, that the brothel owners would be the problem for us. Fact is that for most girls this is not the case. In fact, 84% of the prostitutes is very positive about the brothel owners, as a recent research showed in the Red Light District. The most heard complaint about brothel owners are the rules, but than again, the brothel owners don't make all those new rules, that's the city government. So it's really more of a complaint about the city government, most girls however simply don't know it was the city government and not the brothel owner that came up with these new rules.

But I also fail to see how it would make us less depending on the brothel owners. Maria Ruigrok seems to have the idea we can't switch from brothels for some kind of reason, but that's not true at all. In fact, many girls switch from brothel owner to brothel owner. That's not because they want to switch each time, but because the city government has closed down so many windows, there's no place in the night for all the girls, so the girls keep having to move from one brothel owner on one day, to the next brothel owner the next day.

So this 'prostitution pass' won't give us more freedom of choice in choosing which brothel we want to work in. That isn't a problem right now, so there's no problem to 'fix' there. The problem there is however, is the fact that many girls have to move, because there aren't enough places due to the closures. That's the problem we asked a solution for at the demonstration on the 9th of April. And to be able to choose between brothel owners, there first of all has to be choice, which is something the city government has been heavily reducing in recent years.

But what worries me most is who gets the information from these intake interviews. At this moment our brothel owners get this information, and we trust them with it. After all, we see our brothel owner each day, and like I said, most have a good relationship with them. We trust our information more with them, than with a government which is adamant on closing down our workplaces.
And this is where the problem may be. If the only benefit of having this prostitution pass, is that you don't have to do so many intake interviews, not many girls will do it. Why? Most girls simply don't care. They've already done so many intake interviews, they're used to it, and they're not scared of their privacy towards the brothel owners. What they are scared about however, is this information ending up with the city government, which we don't trust because they've been closing down our workplaces for years. And I think most girls will be scared this information will be used to close down brothels, which is something we don't want, so most won't do it.

Another notion Maria Ruigrok stated, was that it would show we would do this job voluntarily. It's a strange thing. No other business owner in the world has to prove he or she is doing the job voluntarily, so why should I? Just because a lot of people are lying about how many girls are being forced into this job? Most recent statistic I got from a reliable source, was that the total amount of victims of human trafficking from the Red Light District last year was 7 girls. In a place where there are about 600-700 women working! That's fucking 1%! So why do I constantly have to prove I'm not forced, if only 1% is possibly a victim?! Just because a bunch of religious fanatics and radical feminists claim these things in their disgust towards prostitution?! And besides, it is already proven I'm doing this voluntarily, since the same intake interview is already being done by the brothel owners, so I don't see what this pass would change about it.

The only benefit for us, is that we don't have to do a new intake with each separate brothel owner. But if that's the benefit, 80% of the girls won't do it, since they don't have a problem with their brothel owners doing these intakes. Which, according to the logic of Maria Ruigrok, would subsequently imply we would be forced, because we don't get this prostitution pass 'proving' we're doing this voluntarily. I don't know, but this is already being proven twice a year, when my brothel owner has to do an intake interview with me. I don't see how another person asking these questions would change me being voluntarily working or not?

But there are also some good things about this idea. It's not all bad, it's got both good and bad things. The good thing about this system, is that it would relieve the brothel owner of their responsibility of checking who's forced and who's not. At this moment they are the ones doing it, and the risk is great, because if they don't do it correctly, they loose their permit. Relieving this responsibility from them, would take away a reason for the city government to try and close them down based on intake interviews, which is good for them. After all, most brothel owners don't want this responsibility, as it risks their entire business on one intake interview, and they don't feel they're capable of recognizing human trafficking. After all, they're people renting out business places, they're not trained psychologists or detectives.

This is a good thing, since the city government in recent years has constantly tried to find reasons to close down brothels. The intake was their ultimate weapon. If the brothel owner would give a room to a girl who was forced, because she passed the intake interview, the brothel owner would be held accountable because he did the intake, and could loose his permit. By taking this away from the brothel owners, you're basically taking away an excuse to close them down, which is something I'm happy about.

What I don't understand however, is how this would make me more independent? After all, I can already choose where I can work, this pass doesn't change a thing about that, except that I don't have to do another intake interview. But since we've already all took those intake interviews so many times already, this isn't very much of an issue with the girls. Also the privacy towards brothel owners is a little bit of a dumb argument. After all, they already know who we are, since they have to check our papers each time. And we trust out brothel owners more than the city government. So how does it make me more independent? Where's the benefit for me? Girls certainly won't feel more comfortable doing this intake interview with a city government they don't trust at all, while they can do it with their brothel owners which they're very positive about.

But Maria Ruigrok wants to do a pilot with this. I think it could be interesting to see how it works, and see if we can create any benefits for ourselves, rather than brothel owners. But what I don't understand is that she wants to test this out with the 'city brothel'. The city brothel is another plan of the city government to let sex workers run their own brothel. In short, the sex workers become their own brothel operators. But if the sex workers are their own brothel operators, why would they need this prostitution pass? After all, they are the brothel owners, so the one that does the intake interview at the brothel is, well... themselves! So why would they do an intake interview somewhere else, with a city government they don't trust?

If I can give any advice to Maria Ruigrok, it would be not to pilot this in the city brothel, but in a regular brothel. After all, the city brothel itself is already a test case, so they've got enough stuff to figure out already. Adding another test case on top of this may be too much. And above all, what might work in that brothel, might not work for the other brothels which are run by brothel owners, and not sex workers. And wasn't the whole idea of this prostitution pass to relief the brothel owner of it's responsibilities, and giving the sex worker more privacy from the brothel owners?

If you want to pilot such a thing, don't pick one brothel, but just do a pilot and let's see how many girls do it, from whatever brothel they come. If few girls show up, perhaps this will say something about trust the girls have in governments in this country. And perhaps it will also say something about the lack of benefits this prostitution pass offers. One or more or less intake interview? Who cares! And besides, how can I have more freedom of choice where to work, when the city government has reduced the choice with 33%, and still is planning to close down more? What choice is there, if most of my choices are being taken away by the city government itself?

Maria Ruigrok believes this pass would also perhaps give us more chance of getting a business bank account, or a mortgage or a disability insurance. First of all I think it's ridiculous we would need a pass to achieve something like this, simply because the financial industry discriminates us. Why do we have to do something extra because they are discriminating us? But more importantly, the reason they refuse us is because we are sex workers. A pass that proves you are a sex worker doesn't exactly change that, in fact, it confirms it, so I don't see how this would help. Also I don't really think banks would change their minds about sex work, simply because we have a 'prostitution pass'. They don't want us, because we are from the sex industry, an industry most businesses want to stay far away from being associated with, especially banks who rely a lot on trust. After all, let's not forget that it was the National Bank who fired one of their employees because she was working as a part time sex worker.

This pass will not work unless more benefits are created for the sex workers. The argument that it makes sex workers less depending on brothels owners is not a good one. After all, we still can't work without brothel owners, so we still rely on them. Also the argument that we won't have to give away any privacy information isn't a very strong argument. After all, they already have this information from all of our previous intakes. And why should we give this private information to people from a government we don't trust, while right now it's in the hands of brothel owners we do trust and already have this information. So what's the benefit for us? And besides, why would I need to prove I'm a self employer business owner, this is already proven by the fact that I'm already registered at the KvK, which by the way also do some sort of intake interviews these days, as I've found out yesterday.

Dutch public prosecutor lies about trafficking statistics
Today there was a radio show about prostitution in the Dutch National Radio. One of the key people in this conversation was Warner ten Kate, the public prosecutor human trafficking in Holland. Interesting thing about Ten Kate is the fact that he spoke during the TV show of Jojanneke, and claimed there was a research that showed that 70% of the prostitutes were forced in Holland.

I've already given it a lot of attention with previous posts. And this eventually resulted in a public debate about these statistics. Laurens Buijs from the University of Amsterdam wrote an article about this whole discussion in the newspaper NRC. In a response to that article Warner ten Kate himself wrote an article one week later in the NRC, shoving his own words of 70% in the shoes of Jojanneke, claiming it were her 'statements'. Apparently Warner ten Kate didn't feel too confident about his own statistics, and decided to blame the whole thing on Jojanneke.

An interesting thing, since it were clearly the words of Warner ten Kate himself, and not those of Jojanneke. Jojanneke simply used his claim a lot in the media after she did the interview with him, because it supported her own conclusions. But Warner ten Kate already claimed a similar statistic in another interview for a research by the University of Groningen. The research was being done to find out if criminalizing clients of a forced prostitutes would work. Warner claimed in an interview included in this report that 70% of the prostitutes in Holland would be forced. He claimed this was based on the Sneep case and the Koolvis case (page 102).

Today in the radio interview however he dropped the Koolvis as source, and now claimed only the Sneep case was the source (25:25). Not so weird to drop the Koolvis case as a source. After all, the Koolvis case was a case about prostitutes being forced in other countries, not in Holland. Holland nearly functioned as a gateway to Europe for the traffickers, but the women never worked here. So it would also be kind of amazing if this case could tell us anything about how many women are forced in Holland, if this case wasn't even about that.

But this time during the interview on the Radio Warner ten Kate was specifically asked about the 70% and where it comes from, and if he would still repeat it today. He claimed the 70% comes from a research done by the Erasmus University during the Sneep case. Funny thing is however. The Erasmus University never did any such research. None whatsoever! In fact, the Sneep case report itself (now dubbed Schone Schijn) doesn't even mention the Erasmus University in any of it's 141 pages. Even more interesting, the Sneep case also doesn't say 70% is forced, but claims it's 50 to 85% (page 76), and 8 pages later all of the sudden changes that to 50 to 90% without any reason.

How someone that lies this clearly can still be in function as a public prosecutor, is a miracle to me. A public prosecutor should be without any blame, someone you can trust, not someone of whom you can factually proof he's lying on several occasions. How come this man can still be in his current function, if it is factually proven he's a liar? How the hell is this possible? How come this man's function is not a point of discussion.

But more interestingly perhaps is Warner his own claim to 'stop talking about numbers'. That's really kind of funny. This whole debate started because he as a public prosecutor and the police keep mentioning numbers which are pure bullshit. But when people point this out, all of the sudden they say the discussion shouldn't be about the numbers? Then why the fuck did you mention them? We didn't mention any numbers, we just try to show people you are lying about the numbers, and we try to do this with actual research which constantly proves them wrong. But than all of the sudden they chicken out and we can't talk about numbers anymore? Why? Because those numbers aren't in your favor? Because those numbers would prove you are a liar?

But most of all what I don't understand, is why Warner is making up his own statistics, while there are perfectly usable (yet unreliable) statistics out there to make the same claims? Why didn't he just pick the 50 to 90% from the Sneep report? Why does he think he can get away with making up his own numbers? And why make up your own numbers, which are easier to prove wrong, than to debate about existing number and prove those existing numbers aren't correct. Is it because he's scared he'll be proven wrong by people with knowledge? Does he think that if he makes up a number that doesn't exist, nobody will find out because nobody can find the source?

We never wanted a debate about numbers. It was people like Warner ten Kate, Gert-Jan Segers, Renate van der Zee, Jojanneke van den Berge and sorts that started this whole debate years ago. First with the 50 to 90%, until apparently it lost it's reliability because it got proven to be unreliable as hell. And now this magical 70% which is made up by Warner ten Kate, and shows up in no research at all. Did you really think we wouldn't find out Warner, if you just made up your own numbers? Did you really think we would be this dumb?

I don't want to have a debate about numbers. We're talking about people, and those people aren't numbers, and shouldn't be treated as such. It's really a shame the anti-prostitution lobby constantly has to resort to incorrect statistics as arguments for their lies. Victims of trafficking aren't helped by these nonsense discussions about statistics. But by constantly bringing them up, you force us to debunk those numbers, starting a whole discussion about numbers while it should about the victims.

Why oh why did you have to lie Warner? I simply don't get it! You just should have used existing numbers, not make them up and think we wouldn't find out. But what I really don't understand, is how this person can still be a public prosecutor, if his lies are so clear as daylight, and his position regarding sex work is so obviously opposing it. Your lies are busted mr. Ten Kate. My question is how long are you going to be able to keep that job now that your lies are exposed?

Dutch version
Hollywood: mind your own business not sex work!
Recently some Hollywood stars signed a petition against Amnesty International on it's proposed sex work policy. The Hollywood stars call out Amnesty not to decriminalize sex work. They've been influenced by people from the anti-prostitution lobby, fed false information, to oppose Amnesty International their intentions to decriminalize sex work.

Why Hollywood stars think they can interfere with my profession is beyond me. They are neither experts, nor does it have anything to do with their profession. You also don't see me petitioning against things regarding their job. So what the hell makes them think they can petition against mine?
I also don't understand why people care so much about what some Hollywood people think. They aren't experts, academics or have any knowledge about this subject. Just because they're famous people, doesn't mean they have any knowledge about what they're talking about. Amnesty on the other hand... they're only the world's leading experts on human rights.

But this petition does show one thing however. The strength of the anti-prostitution lobby. It shows how scary much power these people have, to influence Hollywood stars. I'm sure the Hollywood stars signed this petition with their best intentions, but fact is that they're ignorant about sex work.
But the fact that they were tricked into signing this petition, with obviously false information, shows the power of those who oppose prostitution. The constant attack of this group of people, existing out of radicalists, conservatists and of course Christians, has caused prostitution to become synonym with trafficking, which is an absolutely false idea, but an idea they want people to believe simply because they oppose prostitution on moral grounds.

The proposed policy from Amnesty which is being attacked was an early draft from two years ago already. The goal of Amnesty is to get sex workers more rights, whether they are victims of trafficking or not. It calls out to decriminalize sex workers, johns and pimps. Now, to some of you the idea of decriminalizing a pimp may sound bad, because you associate a pimp with trafficking, but that's not entirely true. A pimp is someone a sex worker works for, in other words an employer. It enables sex workers to work for employers, such as escort agencies for example.

This doesn't mean Amnesty is in favor of trafficking, far from it. After all, they still consider trafficking to be one of the biggest crimes in humanity. But there's a big difference between an employer, or pimp as they call it in the sex industry, and a human trafficking. Because like with any job, an employer can exploit it's people, making that person a trafficker, but not all employers are by default traffickers. And the same thing is true about pimps. It's the whole reason pimps are legal in Holland, but trafficking is not. And it's the reason the suggested pimp-ban by christian parliament member Gert-Jan Segers got shot down (partially thanks to my blog as it seems).

Decriminalizing sex work, would mean that sex workers won't have to be scared to be arrested, if for example they want to go to the police to report abuse. I would surely assume Hollywood stars wouldn't be against this. It would also mean that clients won't have to be scared to be arrested for consensual sex with another person in exchange for money, meaning sex workers won't have to look up shady places where authorities such as the police are absent, in order to find their clients. This would enable clients to report any possible abuses for example, without having to fear being arrested because they're clients. We know for a fact that many victims of trafficking were saved by their clients, like Svetlina for example. 

Decriminalizing sex work, means you simply empower sex workers, by not turning their profession into a criminal activity. Things such as exploitation of sex workers, or coercion are still considered to be criminal activities. It means you give sex workers rights, both those that choose to do this job willingly, like me, as well as victims of trafficking. And I cannot imagine Hollywood stars opposing the idea of giving victims more rights, or the idea of giving people who want to do this job willingly more rights. 

I want to be able to do my job in a safe manner. Criminalizing it, would mean I cannot execute my job safe anymore, but I would have to deviate to more shady places, where authorities have little access or control, leaving me more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Decriminalizing my profession, means I can do my job legal and safe, and the police can control it and catch those exploiting or abusing sex workers, because it doesn't have to happen out of sight for authorities.

I therefore fully support Amnesty International their proposal to decriminalize sex work. The notion that buying sex is not a right, is irrelevant. Buying sex isn't a human right, just like buying a movie isn't a human right. That doesn't however mean we should banish movies or sex work, but nearly empower the workers that work in these industries, to protect them from abuse and exploitation. 

Amnesty will debate on the proposal next week the 7th of August in Dublin, so if you want sex workers to have more rights. If you want sex workers to be protected from abuse, violence and exploitation, and have the ability to work under safe conditions with access to the justice system, health care and rescue. If you want sex workers to have the choice to do with their lives what they want to do, and not what someone else wants them to do (whether that be a Meryl Streep or a pimp), than please sign this petition, and let Amnesty know that they don't have to fear the anti-prostitution lobby, and ignorant Hollywood stars who don't know what they're talking about.

Sign the petition here: Support Amnesty International's proposed policy calling for the decriminalization of sex work

Dutch version

Shocking: Numbers of human trafficking in Amsterdam
"Every day 400 women are commercially raped in Amsterdam", those were the words of mayor Eberhard van der Laan of Amsterdam, when defending Project 1012, which aims to close down 40% of all the windows in Amsterdam's famous Red Light District. The number he uses is based on the total amount of sex workers in Amsterdam, and not just those working in the Red Light District. In total there are about 4000 sex workers in Amsterdam, of which about 600 work in the Red Light District, so only a small portion of 15%. He used a research done among 94 sex workers about 5 years ago, in where 9 women stated they were forced (resulting in 10%), to claim that 400 women would be forced in prostitution in Amsterdam. In short, he's defending a project regarding 600 people, by using a shady calculation method from a total of 4000 people, to crank up the number of victims to an amount which would justify Project 1012.

But what the mayor doesn't tell you, are the official statistics that get presented each year. Because the official statistics are that last year there were 38 presumed victims in all of Amsterdam from the sex industry, and not 400 like how the mayor claims. These statistics don't just come from some small research done among less than a hundred sex workers, like the research the mayor used to make his false claims, but these numbers come from all official authorities and organisations who deal with human trafficking. These numbers are collected each year by CoMensha, the official organisation in Holland who collects all data about human trafficking, and who brings out a report each year.

Authorities which report to CoMensha are official authorities, such as the police, the public prosecutors, as well as various anti-trafficking organisations and victim shelters. All of this data is collected, and ends up in a final report of CoMensha each year. And to make things easier to report, no actual proof is required, in fact, only a hunch or a hint is enough to report these 'presumed' victims by authorities and organisations. This makes it easier for CoMensha to get a complete view over not just all the victims of whom have admitted they were victims, but also to get a view on those of whom there are only suspicions. In short, these statistics are both actual victims, as well as even the slightest suspicions.

The 38 presumed victims make up just an extremely small portion of all the sex workers in Amsterdam. In fact, 38 victims would make up less than 1% of all the sex workers in Amsterdam, even though every one would be one too many. Also the year before, in 2013, the number of presumed victims did not even come close to the 400 the mayor claims. In 2013 there were 48 presumed victims in all of Amsterdam in the sex industry.

Now one might wonder if these statistics are reliable, but than again, why wouldn't the be? They come from sources such as the police, the public prosecution office, anti-trafficking organisations and shelters. All organisations and authorities which in the past have claimed much higher percentages based on thin air. For example the police claimed it was 50 to 90%, but this was only based on the personal opinions of 6 police officers, and not on any actual research or individual cases. And if their claim would be true, how come they can't even find more than 50 sex workers of whom they have suspicions, if they really believe it's more than 50%.

Even if all of the victims of trafficking would come only from the Red Light District, it still wouldn't be much higher than 6% in 2013 and 8% in 2014. But that's assuming all 38 from last year would have come from the Red Light District alone, and none other from any other form or place where prostitution is present in Amsterdam. That's highly unlikely since for example 2 of these 38 presumed victims were male, which don't work in the Red Light District. And 4 girls were under the age of 18, of which the police has repeatedly stated in Amsterdam that minors don't work in the Red Light District at all. I even understood from some well informed sources that last year only 6 or 7 victims would have worked in the Red Light District.

One could claim that perhaps the police doesn't see everything, but also that is highly doubtful. In fact, in 2013 window prostitutes alone were checked by authorities2535 times. That, while there are only 400 windows in Amsterdam, meaning each window gets checked at least 6 times a year, an average of every two months. These 6 times a year is also the minimum required amount of times authorities are required by the mayor to check window prostitution. And yet, despite all these check ups by the police and city officials, they couldn't find more than 50 sex workers in Amsterdam in two years time, of whom they could even have the slightest suspicion that they were victims of trafficking.

This is of course quite a different picture from what the mayor paints of prostitution, and the Red Light District in particular. And this is because the mayor is trying to sell the closure of window brothels, and the entire Project 1012, as a crime fighting project, while in reality it is nothing more than a real estate project of which the sex workers have become the victim. After all, if people and journalists would find out Project 1012 is nothing more than a real estate project, to make city officials rich, while kicking out vulnerable women onto the streets without a job, this could cause some resistance against the entire project. After all, the mayor is claiming to be saving prostitutes, not endangering them more, like how he really is doing. But the mayor needs to justify his real estate project, and thus he comes with false claims of forced prostitution, using false numbers to mislead the general public and the media.

When me and 200 of my colleagues went to demonstrate against the closures of more window brothels, and demanded windows to be reopened, the mayor said to us that we should trust him and that less windows would be closed. Yet the first act he did after the demonstration, was closing down 18 unscheduled window brothels, outside of the brothels that were scheduled to close down. That's not exactly closing down less windows, but more than were originally planned. Meanwhile the mayor continued to look for an investor in his project to buy up window brothels, since the city council has cut off more funding from the city itself, and finally found Syntrus Achmea prepared to invest in the project.

But Syntrus Achmea would only invest in Project 1012, if they were allowed another real estate project elsewhere in the city. Or was it the other way around? Did the mayor refuse Syntrus Achmea a real estate project they wanted to do, unless they also invested in Project 1012? In short, the mayor blackmailed Syntrus Achmea into financing Project 1012, in exchange for the project Syntrus Achmea was really interested in, which was not Project 1012. But since the mayor is desperately seeking investors for this disastrous project, he had not much of a choice if he wanted Project 1012 to succeed.

Forcing an investor to invest in Project 1012 like this is against all laws by the way. It's illegal. But the city government lacks the balls to attack the mayor on this. They are too careful not trying to loose their own face, while the mayor is aggressively trying to get Project 1012 ready before his period as a mayor ends next year. And the mayor is aggressively selling his project using false statistics, leaving out the official statistics which are that last year there were 38 possible victims, and not 400!

Dutch version

Forced prostitute still 'happy' with her job in prostitution
Remember Svetlina from Jojanneke her TV show 'Jojanneke in de Prostitutie'? The girl that was forced and pimped into prostitution against her will? Remember how terrible she felt doing this job, calling it 'degrading and humiliating' and seeing this job as 'selling her body'. The picture we got of Svetlina was a sad story, forced against her will into a job she didn't want to do, and even seemingly seemed to hate. The picture we got of this sad Bulgarian girl was clear, a girl who never would have wanted to do prostitution, was forced by a brutal pimp into this profession. It begged the question whether or not prostitution was a choice or not. Fortunately Jojanneke stated that Svetlina 'used to work' behing the windows. Thank God that girl was out of her terrible situation, and not having to do this 'terrible' job anymore, right?

Well, guess again. Because the same girl, Svetlina, is still working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, and already featured in two other documentaries before in the same period, and each time her stories seems to be a bit different. During the TV show of Jojanneke she was completely forced against her will to do a job she hated. But back in 2012 she went on Dutch TV for BNN, to claim she was forced into this job from 2008, but not anymore, because now she was 'one of the few' girls doing this job without a pimp.

And while the TV show of Jojanneke was being shot in the period of 2013 and 2014, Svetlina featured in another documentary called Right Light Conversations, in which she states she could do another job, but simply doesn't want to. In fact, her choice of career doesn't get the approval of her mother, but she doesn't care, she's doing the things which make her happy. She's totally willingly consciously doing this job, despite the clear disapproval of her family. Quit a different perspective from what we got from the TV show of Jojanneke.

All of the sudden this woman, who seemingly seemed to hate prostitution during the TV show of Jojanneke, calling it degrading and humiliating, and seeing it as 'selling her body', is apparently still doing the same job even after she was forced. And she does not seem to want to quit this job, despite the disapproval of her mother, and despite the fact that she has other choices, but she simply doesn't want to do something different.
It could be part of the 'creative' editing method Jojanneke used to frame sex workers as victims, and clients as evildoers who are ignorant and not caring. But looking at the different stories Svetlina tells in her different appearances, it's not to say only Jojanneke is to blame.

In 2012, during her BNN performance, Svetlina claimed she came here 4 years ago with her pimp, meaning back in 2008. While a year later, in 2013, she claims in a documentary that two or three years ago (2010-2011), she lived in the streets of Bulgaria for a year. So, how can the same person be at two different places at the same time? At one time she came her already back in 2008, and in the other story she came here between 2010 and 2011, after having lived in the streets of Bulgaria for about a year. But more interestingly, how can one claim in one TV show her work was degrading and humiliating, calling it 'selling her body', while in another documentary it shows she's still working, calling herself 'lucky', not willing to change her job, and being happy with her career choice? She also calls her customers nice and funny, sometimes even missing her customers if she doesn't see them for a while.

How do these things add up to the stories we heard from her in the TV show of Jojanneke? In the TV show of Jojanneke she was a sad victim of abuse, who was forced into prostitution against her will, seemingly hating the job. While in the other documentary all of the sudden she wouldn't want to change her job, loving her job, and totally being happy with working behind the windows?
I don't know if this is just creative editing of Jojanneke, but also the story of this girl simply doesn't add up. Her timeline doesn't add up at times, and her statements at times seem to contradict each other.

I don't know if this girl really was forced or not, as her statements at times contradict each other, as well as her sentiments about the job itself. But if she was forced into prostitution, it just proves one thing. She's still working! So apparently, even though she was forced into this job, know that she has the choice, she still chooses to do prostitution. So after all the bad things that supposedly happened to her, she still prefers to do this job, over any other job, even though she can choose to do something different at any moment.

It's an image I recognize from a Bulgarian friend of mine. It's the only girl I've ever met that was forced. She used to be forced into this job, but after a while fought herself free, and went to the police to press charges against her pimp. She spend a year in a shelter, and got a job working in a restaurant. And guess what? After a year of working in a restaurant, she wanted to go back into prostitution again! So even though she had the choice, just like Svetlina, she still choose prostitution over another job. And we're still talking about whether or not women are willing to do this job, if even ex-victims are still willing to do this job?

To me it just proves one thing. Prostitution is a choice, unless you are forced into it. But just because you are forced into this job, doesn't mean you don't want to do this job. It just means you don't want to be exploited and forced. The forcing and the exploitation stands separate from the job itself. We would have the same situation for someone that was forced into being an au-pair. People who are forced into that job, also don't like to be forced, to be taken advantage of, to be exploited. That however doesn't mean they hate being an au-pair. And the same thing is true about forced prostitution. Just because a prostitute was forced, doesn't mean she wasn't willing to do this job. In fact, Svetlina and my Bulgarian friend prove they are willing to do this job if they have the choice.

I'm tired of this whole discussion about whether or not prostitution is a choice. Just because there are victims that were forced into this job, doesn't mean they wouldn't want to do it. Svetlina and my Bulgarian friend are the living proof of this ,just like many others. Prostitution is a choice, but that doesn't mean you have to accept being forced by someone else or being exploited by someone. We want to work free, for ourselves, and not for someone else. That is something that applies to all sex workers, forced or not, exploited or not.

Update 22/07/2015: From a Tweet of one of my followers yesterday I got some more information about Svetlina her story. Apparently Svetlina already featured in the magazine S-Werk, a Dutch magazine published by the former union for sex workers De Rode Draad. She even featured in that magazine as cover girl.

In the interview in S-Werk it becomes clear that Svetlina was already working in prostitution before she got into contact with her pimp. So much for being forced into a job she didn't want to do. Apparently she was an art student back in Bulgaria, and after a fight with her mother, she left the house. After first working at a bar, she ended up working in prostitution in Bulgaria. There she met a guy that told her she could do this job in Holland without being exploited. She agreed and in 2008 went with him to Holland to work behind the windows here. Unfortunately he started to exploit her, but quickly after a month she got rid of her pimp, with the help of a client. Ever since than Svetlina has been working in the Red Light District, without a pimp, by choice.

It just shows once again how Jojanneke framed sex workers only to look like victims, but disregarded the fact that even ex-victims still like to work in prostitution, and the fact that they do this completely by their own choice. But more importantly, it proves that the choice to work in prostitution in the first place, was Svetlina her own choice. Nobody forced her into a job she didn't want to do, she was already doing this job before she ever met her pimp. She is a victim of exploitation, not a victim of coercion. Jojanneke nearly focused on the one month she was a victim of exploitation, and didn't report anything about the other 5+ years she has been working there by choice.

Dutch version

Prostitution law proposal uses false statistics
A couple of weeks ago a law initiative was submitted to parliament, to criminalize clients that knowingly and willingly take advantage of prostitutes which are victims of trafficking. That may sound nice and noble at first, but there is much wrong with this law proposal. The initiative law bases itself for example on false statistics about the size of trafficking in prostitution, doesn't mention the fact that it is designed for only a handful of suspects a year, leaves too much room for interpretation and the results will be minimal while the negative side effects are huge.

The law proposal revolves around clients that knew, or 'could have known' that a prostitute they visited was a victim of human trafficking. The idea behind this is that it must be terrible to be forced into prostitution, but it must even be worse that clients that know about this don't do anything about it. And to display how 'large' the problems of human trafficking are, they use a police report from 2012 in the text of the law proposal. In the law proposal it states:

"For example in the Crime Analysis Sexual Exploitation 2012 of the police it states that 55% of the prostitutes are victims of sexual exploitation."

However, when you look at this police report, you will see that this 55% has been calculated using a doubtful calculation method. For example, they used the number of reported 'possible' victims of CoMensha from 2010, the same numbers on which the reports of the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking are based. And since we're talking here about 'possible' victims, these are not victims for sure, but sex workers with whom there are (minimal) suspicions that perhaps they could be victims. In other words, it's not sure at all that all these suspicions are correct.

In one of my previous posts I've already shown you some examples of how doubtful some of these suspicions are. For example tourists who come to Amsterdam to spend time with friends are being reported as 'possible' victims, while they're not even working in prostitution, but also prostitutes themselves are being reported who show no signs of trafficking whatsoever. And those are the reports that CoMensha sends each year to the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking to write a report about it.

Even though, still the number of 'possible' victims reported by CoMensha aren't even close to 55% of the prostitutes in Holland. After all, they reported 797 'possible' victims in 2010 in prostitution, while there are an estimated 20.000 prostitutes in Holland. Not even close to 55%, but closer to 4%. And this is the point where the police report all of the sudden starts to do something weird, calculating and manipulating the numbers, almost as if they want to get the numbers as high as possible.

For example, the police report uses the assumption that the police and other authorities and organisations would only see 7,3% of all hidden crimes. This assumption leads to the fact that they multiplied the 797 suspicions by 7,3% to calculate the 100%, resulting in a massive 10.917 victims. That these are first of all only suspicions, is being completely ignored in this report, but also the calculation method is highly doubtful. Even the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking wrote extensively about the doubtful statistics from this report in one of her own reports (from page 9).

According to the National Rapporteur there are several reasons why these numbers are not reliable, which she mentions one by one with an extensive explanation. But to give you an example of one of her reasons. If you would use the same calculation method the police report used for the year before and after, than the number of victims in only 3 years time would have more than doubled, from 6.080 in 2009 to a massive 13.080 in 2011. And even that is for the National Rapporteur highly unrealistic.
Besides that they also completely pass the notion that if there's more attention for something, like for example human trafficking in prostitution, this also results in a better view over the complete problem. So actually with that what the National Rapporteur is trying to say, is that the assumption of the police report, that police and authorities would only see 7,3% of all the trafficking issues in prostitution would be way too low, since if there's more focus on this issue, thus also results in a better overview.

And this begs the question why they used such exaggerating numbers to support their proposed law. Isn't there enough to base this law upon? After all, we're still talking about a sizable amount of victims a year, even if there aren't tens of thousands like how the police report wants to suggest.
And this is where we might have hid a crucial point. Because I talked with one of the initiative takers of this law, to whom I also spoke out about my criticism for this proposal. And from that conversation I learned that in reality we are only talking about a few cases a year this law would be useful for. At this moment these people get away with it because it's not punishable, but politicians don't want this small group to get away. So this is a custom made law, not designed for a large group of clients, but a few loners they are spending a lot of time on to catch.

But is all this trouble worth it? After all, the results will be minimal if there are only a few cases a year. Still a large group of customers gets very nervous about this law, since they simply can't know the women they visit are victims or not. After all, it's not that easy to tell, unlike how some Christians and feminists want us to believe. It's a hidden crime, the same reason the police and authorities would only see 7,3%, like the police report said itself.

But this is why the law proposal not only criminalizes people of whom it can be proven they knew about it, but also clients that 'should have known it'. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation on what is meant by 'should have known'. And this could lead to situations in which people suspect a client knowingly visited a forced prostitute, while in reality he didn't know about this. But because the suspicions are enough to put someone behind bars, since they 'should have known it', this leaves a lot of room on how to interpret this. Even The Council for the Judiciary calls this description too vague because it leaves too much room for interpretation.

So clients become scared that they will be incorrectly put away as someone who took advantage of a situation, while in reality this was not the case. And in these kind of situations, it doesn't help if people can be thrown in jail only based on the notion that 'they should have known'. In short, it doesn't have to be proven they knew it, if appearances are against you, you're fucked. This could lead to horrifying situations which we saw earlier this year in Holland, where clients were hunted down and eventually committed suicide because of this, even before they went to trail. They apparently did not see another way out, an example of people being judged guilty before the trial was even started. While in this country someone is still innocent until proven guilty.

In the beginning of the year they hunted down clients of a minor prostitute who offered her services in a hotel in Valkenburg. That this girl did this maybe on her own initiative, and wasn't forced at all like how her first testimony states, was kept quiet by the Public Prosecutor. It was only after the parents of the girl got involved that the girl suddenly changed her testimony to being exploited and forced. The Public Prosecutor however later changed the charges from being forced and exploited by a loverboy, to just making a minor work in prostitution. It was also not such an important thing for the Public Prosecutor, since anyone is by definition punishable if they let a minor work in prostitution (against their will or not), or if they visit one (whether they knew about it or not).

Also the fact that even the hotel staff thought the girl looked very mature for her age (they thought she was at least 18 or 19 years old), was kept quiet by the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor did show they had no sympathies for clients and hunted them down, almost as a prelude to this law proposal. 'Many wives will be surprised by the police at their door', a spokesperson of the Public Prosecutor said. The Public Prosecutor made it no secret they were after the clients, whether they knew about it that the girl was a minor or not, and would not keep it hidden for their families and friends.

Eventually this even led to two men committing suicide. The motives of the suicides itself may never surface, but it is clear that this was the result of they highly aggressive way in which the Public Prosecutor hunted down clients. I even got the impression that they were merely using this case as an example for this law proposal. But after two clients committed their suicide they Public Prosecutor got very quiet. This shows the highly aggressive and unwanted way how the Public Prosecutor treats suspects, and would treat clients in the future with this law proposal.

I therefore have no faith in the Public Prosecutor and their abilities nor desires to handle the future suspects of this law proposal carefully and with integrity, and I therefore also fully understand the fear many clients have if this proposal should pass in parliament. Destroying families, even leading up to suicides can never be the intention of a law which only focuses on a handful of cases a year. Yet, according to the initiative takers of this law proposal, this law would be a good way to pressure clients to report abuses if they come across any. Because obviously, who doesn't want to report things if this can have huge consequences for your private situation, and can even lead to people committing suicide?

I am in favor of taking down clients that knowingly and willingly take advantage of a forced prostitute. However, not every victim of trafficking is forced, and not every victim is doing her job against her will. But this law completely passes that notion. Above all, this law leans too much on doubtful statistics, it leaves too much room for interpretation, will have very little results because it only affects a small group of people a year and above all has extremely possible negative side effects of families being destroyed and possible suicides.

This law therefore looks more like a discouragement policy from politicians towards clients not to visit anymore prostitutes, to avoid the chance that they might be seen as a suspect by the Public Prosecutor, in stead of actually focusing on fighting human trafficking. After all, we are only talking about a handful of cases a year, and not a single trafficking case gets prevented by this. After all, for this law to work human trafficking has already happened, and due to the difficulties of providing proof in such cases it is doubtful it will have much result. The negative side effects however are large, especially for clients, but also for the sex industry itself, which according to the initiative takers isn't a goal on itself.

Dutch version
Profeting from trafficking: Not For Sale
I've heard already a while back about this organisation, Not For Sale, an organisation which sells soup to women working in the Red Light District. Apparently it's an anti-trafficking organisation, but they don't tell us that. Their coats write  OME on the back, apparently because they also realized that writing 'Not For Sale' on it would blow away their cover of being another rescue organisation. Because they also know sex workers won't open up their door for another organisation claiming they want to 'save you' from prostitution.

But today there was an article on NOS about this organisation, because apparently they opened up a new shop in the middle of the Red Light District, in one of the former window brothels. The opening was done by (who else), mayor Van der Laan, the man responsible for closing many of our brothels, and constantly suggesting we are victims of trafficking. And of course such an initiative fits perfectly into his plan. He can pretend to save victims, yet again stigmatize us as victims, and at the same time fill one of the old brothels with another useless shop.

The owner of the shop is Toos Heemskerk, former worker at the christian organisation Scharlaken Koord, which aims to help victims of trafficking in prostitution. And besides that she is also part of the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP). And she explains in the article:

"We want to be a shop in this place with a different sound. There are many business owners here which profit from the sex industry. Our profit flows back to the women. We give women their dignity back."

But first of all, by selling us soup, you ARE profiting from us! And profits flowing back to us? What the fuck?! Where is my share of your profit? I haven't seen a single coin, even though I ordered a couple of times soup from you guys! Soup which by the way tastes like shit, which is also the reason more and more girls don't order from you anymore! We'd rather order food from the shoarma shop around the corner. And giving back our dignity?! What the fuck?!

I've already told some girls a while ago not to buy soup from this organisation anymore. But many women don't know what this organisation is really doing. They are profiting from us, to claim that we are victims, and claiming we have no dignity simply because we do this job. The funny thing is, this organisation is called 'Not For Sale', but what do they do? Exactly, selling stuff!

Not For Sale claims not to be profiting from the sex industry, but they definitely are! In fact, they are the worst kind of profiteers. They are profiting from us, by claiming false things about us. With us, against us. I have to say, it's a smart concept. Basically they're letting people pay them, to fight against them. So basically we're funding our own downfall.

I hold no grudge against anti-trafficking organisations itself, in fact, I think they are very important and can do a good job. Take for example an organisation like LaStrada, but these kind of organisations aren't in my opinion real anti-trafficking organisations. They pretend to be anti-trafficking, but in reality they are just trying to profit from us, while at the same time stigmatizing us publicly as victims.

One thing is for sure though, I'm never going to buy their soup again, Not For Sale is selling us soup, claiming their profit flows back to us (which it doesn't), so we can get our 'dignity' back (as if we wouldn't have any). And the worst part is, they yet again present us as victims, even though there aren't that many victims here. In 2013 for example CoMensha reported only 48 'possible' victims of trafficking in prostitution in all of Amsterdam, those include all (minor) suspicions from all authorities in Holland.

Dutch version

Julie Bindel smoked too much pot in Amsterdam
Radical feminist Julie Bindel went to Amsterdam, and apparently got stoned and started to hallucinate about what is going in prostitution. In an article she wrote in May this year, it's hard to believe that anyone would take this woman serious. Her claims are so over the top, that you're beginning to wonder if she's actually serious, or she's trying to ridicule radical feminists against prostitution. It's almost as if she's trying to apply for a job as a comedian at Comedy Central.

It's not the first time Bindel wrote stuff about Amsterdam which made no sense at all, about which I also wrote a blogpost. But this time she's pushing the envelope of disbelieve even further with her anti-prostitution article to such an extend, that you're wondering if she's trying to make a parody about herself or not.

In the article Bindel writes such absolute nonsense like: "Jobs in brothels are advertised in job centres...". What?! Hahahahaha! Seriously, you think people are going to believe this? And things like: "Not many Dutch women want to work in prostitution, despite the government promoting it as a viable career choice." The Dutch government promoting prostitution as a viable career choice?! In what universe?!

The funniest one of all was this one: "Local authorities in Holland are not allowed to refuse to licence brothels on “moral or ethical grounds” – to do so would make them liable to prosecution."
Hahahahahah! If that would be true, Amsterdam couldn't have closed any of the brothels they did.
According to Julie Bindel there are also by definition 'no pimps in Holland'. Really? Than how come that some many people are writing about it in Dutch media, and how come that pimps are being arrested if this definition doesn't exist?

Bindel also claims that each time she visits Amsterdam, she sees the streets are teaming with pimps ans traffickers. I wonder how, because it's not like they're wearing a button that says they're a pimp or a trafficker. So how the hell does she know they are pimps or traffickers? And if she truly thinks she saw pimps or traffickers, than why didn't she run to the police to report it, so these people could get arrested? Or is that perhaps because she's lying as fuck about it?

Bindel writes yet again about De Rode Draad, the Dutch sex workers union. According to her only 100 of Holland's 25.000 prostitutes are a member. That's really kind of weird, since the organisation went bankrupt back in 2012 already, and it was unknown how many members De Rode Draad had. But Bindel just likes to make stuff up as she goes, stuff like a union representing pimps and customers. No such union exists, which is perhaps also the reason why she doesn't mention the name of this organisation. But Bindel doesn't care, she lie about anything to get prostitution abolished.

And junkies injecting themselves in public a common sight? Anyone who's ever been to Amsterdam knows this is an absolute lie. But people who haven't visited Amsterdam don't know that, which is the target audience of Bindel. Ignorance is bless I guess, in her case. Some of the other stuff about pedophilia and euthanasia are just way too much over the top to take serious. Bindel uses extreme examples of controversy, like a pedophile political party that some people once started, which was already dissolved back in 2010.

As I've understood, Bindel apparently also writes for the newspaper The Guardian. How such an abomination is allowed to write for such a big newspaper is beyond me. In fact, how anyone could take Bindel serious is beyond me. Her lies are easy verifiable, by just taking one step in Amsterdam, en seeing that junkies injecting heroine into themselves with a needle are not a common side. Or even such a simple thing as calling any Dutch newspaper, to ask if some of the organisations which Bindel claims that exists, really exist.

I'm used to abolitionists lying about things, but Bindel takes it so such an extent that it suspends disbelief so much, it almost becomes a parody on itself. My only explanation could be that she got stoned in Amsterdam while writing this article. I'm not even sure if I should take this person serious, but apparently Dutch politicians and feminists such as Gert-Jan Segers, Renate van der Zee, Elma Drayer and Karina Schaapman do. Not such a weird thing, they're all part of the same anti-prostitution movement in Europe. Now let's just hope other people see that you shouldn't take these people serious, as they'll make up and lie about anything to get prostitution abolished.

Dutch version
Believing Gert-Jan Segers and Dick Pels about prostitution is false
A pathetic attempt from christian evangelic politician Gert-Jan Segers in collaboration with his anti-prostitution friend Dick Pels to claim in an article in the newspaper, that believing in 'happy hookers' is false. Such a poor attempt, that even using the most basic statistics their entire article in NRC can be demolished to something that even a 3 year old won't take serious anymore.

The call out of Segers and Pels is to close down windows, and the limit exploitation and pimping. Because, according to them, 70% of the prostitutes are forced. Yeah, we heard that one before. Did you find the source already, Segers & Pels, because the Public Prosecutor that stated this still can't find it himself! That is because there is no source that states that, it's just a wild claim Werner ten Kate made to support his own conclusions. So let me know when you finally found the source, okay? (p.s. you can always e-mail me)

Segers and Pels report that the Public Prosecutor said that there are at least 8 Hungarian crime gangs active in the Red Light District. Well, if that's so, than why don't they fucking do something about it?! Or are they gonna do the same thing as what they did with Saban B., which was nothing, until almost 10 years had passed, and then blame the whole thing in a report on others to avoid taking responsibility for this?

Segers & Pels use the numbers of the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking that there's so much wrong with prostitution, especially in Amsterdam's Red Light District. They mention the number of 1000 'possible' victims from the National Rapporteur on 25.000 estimated prostitutes. I don't know if Segers & Pels ever went to school, but even if all those 1000 'possible' victims would really be all victims, that's still only 4%. Not exactly the huge majority they claim to speak of!

And when you look at the numbers from the National Rapporteur in regards to Amsterdam, where the Red Light District is located, you still don't get the idea that most women are victims. Why? Because if you look at where these reported 'possible' victims come from, which is from CoMensha the organisation where the National Rapporteur gets her numbers from, in 2013 there were only 48 'possible' victims of trafficking in prostitution in Amsterdam. And from the statistics known until 30 September 2014, Amsterdam only counted 26 'possible' victims. So what is the truth know behind the Red Light District?

Even according to CoMensha in their report from 2013, it was commented that the 48 'possible' victims from Amsterdam was remarkable small for a region with such a large portion of prostitution compared to the rest of the country. The lowest estimate of prostitutes in Amsterdam are 4000 prostitutes, so even if all 48 reported victims from 2013 were all real victims, that's still only about 1%. In fact, from the 980 reported 'possible' victims in 2013, that's only 5% of the country's total number of 'possible' victims from prostitution. And from the total amount of reported victims from prostitution until September (833), the 26 'possible' victims from Amsterdam only are 3% of all 'possible' victims in prostitution.  So what were you saying again?

The mentioned report in their article, of Project Emergo 2011 (also known as Project 1012), is being used to claim that even prostitutes agree that there are no good pimps. But looking at the mentioned page 84 from that report, that's not a claim made by prostitutes, but by so called 'experts'. On that same page however it is also reported that between 2006 and 2009 in all of Amsterdam there were only 48 cases of human trafficking registered.

Wait, what? Only 48 cases? Not exactly the 50, 70 or 90% people like Asscher, Segers and Pels so often claim. By the way guys, when are you gonna make up which numbers you are finally going to settle on? If you guys keep switching so much in numbers, in the end people will dismiss your arguments as 'unbelievable' if you use such different numbers each time. So pick a number and stick to it! Or are you perhaps scared that we will debunk your fake ass statistics, and is that the reason you need to keep switching from number to number, in hopes that nobody will find out?

Another interesting fact that Pels and Segers are scared to mention, is the fact that since 2007 the number of court cases on human trafficking have remained almost the same. Each year there are only about 280 cases (with ups and downs), which also include cases outside of prostitution. In 2007 for example there were 281 cases, in 2014 there were 278 cases. So while others claim there's an increase, especially from the Public Prosecutor's side, how come they only have 280 cases a year for years already? Where is the increase you are always talking about?

Gert-Jan Segers and Dick Pels are typical abolitionists. They constantly think they can keep twisting facts for their own interests, and nobody will find out. Well, it must suck for you that I ain't the dumb 'elite' hooker you take me for. An 'elite' by the way, that is being backed up by a group of over 200 protesting prostitutes from the Red Light District alone, and with over 400 signatures against the closures you propose Gert-Jan and Dick. Doesn't exactly sound to me like the majority of the prostitutes agree with your ideas.

Your attempt to constantly try to turn back time, and undo what has already happened is pathetic. Your refusal to accept the fact that prostitution is a job, and that it has a legal status in Holland, just shows your true colors. You fucking don't care about victims, you just hate prostitution, and you are willing to sacrifice victims to get things your way, and criminalize prostitution, only for yourselves. You are such pathetic egoistic people, to only think about yourselves and not about the victims you claim to be standing up for!

You may claim that Dina Siegel, who researched 30 prostitutes after the closure of windows in Utrecht, cannot speak for all prostitutes from Utrecht. But at least she talked with 30 prostitutes from over there, which is a hell of a lot more than you both talked to! And since there's no other report that spoke with more women from Utrecht to conclude otherwise, we'll just have to do with her report.

Prostitution is legal. Get over it!

Dutch version