Mayor Amsterdam wants to violate privacy rights sexworkers
With a plan to open up 19 new winow brothels in Amsterdam, mayor Eberhard van der Laan tried to pretend to be sex workers their friend. But while still continuing with closing down 94 more windows, this is of course nothing more than a trick of the mayor to try and claim sex workers their voices. Burying sex workers organisations in a pile of paperwork regarding his new window brothel, he hoped sex workers and organisations would be too busy to notice what's going on, and hoped to shut up the criticism. He hoped sex workers and organisation would be too scared to loose those 19 new brothels to criticize him for closing down more windows.

That may work for some, but not for me. After all, he's still avoiding to talk with sex workers working behind the windows in Amsterdam to talk about closing down the windows, while he does invite them to come and talk about his new brothel plan. Of course this only with the intention so he can claim that sex workers where very positive about his plans. Yeah, that's kind of easy if you only talk about the one good part of Project 1012, while avoiding to talk about most of the bad parts of this project which is directly threatening the work and lives of 250 women.

But recently someone tipped me off on some information, proving that mayor Eberhard van der Laan is still not the sex workers friend he pretends to be. In a letter from the mayor of Amsterdam, directed to the Minister of Justice, he requests him to create an legal opening to violate sex workers their privacy rights in order to fight human trafficking.
Now, to get things straight. This is not the first time the government has tried to violate sex workers their privacy rights. The city of Amsterdam itself has tried to get detailed privacy information about sex workers in Amsterdam, by letting the brothel owners do an obligated intake interview. After some struggle from several organisations this was forbidden, since it violated both the Dutch as well as European privacy rights.
But also the government itself attempted to do the same thing, by requesting for a mandatory registration of sex workers. This plan made it through parliament, but in the end was shot down in the senate for violating privacy rights of sex workers. In short, we know already this is not allowed due to privacy rights, both of the European Union and the Dutch law.

But the mayor of Amsterdam doesn't like that. He desperately wants to fight human trafficking, and is willing to violate sex workers their privacy rights to do so. Something that is illegal, both in European as well as by the Dutch law. But the mayor simply doesn't care about that, because he needs human trafficking examples and successes to claim that his project on closing down prostitution windows is a success. He needs to violate privacy rights in order to get more success, and take away more sex workers their workplaces, so he can sell them and make lots of money on it.
Mayor Eberhard van der Laan wants to specifically know detailed privacy information, about every sex worker their physical and mental health, but also their private sex life. This in order to subject all the sex workers in Amsterdam to a interview, to detect if a sex workers is independent enough, and determine if he or she is not a victim of human trafficking.

Yet Van der Laan has done nothing so far to improve sex workers to be more independent. Sex workers still can't get a bank account, as also recently was proven again when the Dutch union for sex workers was denied a bank account at Triodos Bank. Also loans, mortgages and insurances are most of the time impossible to get as a sex worker, even though it's a completely legal job.
Also sex workers still have huge difficulty finding a place to live, as many house owners, landlords and housing agencies refuse sex workers. As well as the fact that there's hardly any information available on how to get (safely) started with sex work in the first place.
This causes sex workers to reach out for help outside of the legal system, since they get refused there. And this makes them easy prey for trafficker who gladly want to help sex workers with this, in order to exploit them and force them to work for them.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan writes in his letter he wants to 'improve' the position of sex workers by violating their privacy rights, in order to fight human trafficking. He wants to make sex workers more 'independent' and self sufficient.
Yet, how does violating someone's privacy rights make someone more independent? How does knowing what illness I have, make it easier for me to get a loan from a bank? How does knowing how my sex life looks like, make it easier for me to find a house? How does knowing that I'm not psychologically insane help me to get more information on how to get started as a sex worker in Holland with all that bureaucratic paperwork?
No, you might be able to spot a few more victims perhaps, but it certainly doesn't help sex workers to be more independent and self sufficient in any way. And that's also not so weird, since Van der Laan is not doing anything on making us more independent and self sufficient. After all, he's closing down 5 times more workplaces for sex workers than he's opening up, so that doesn't exactly make us more independent or self sufficient. In fact, it only makes us more vulnerable.

Now of course Van der Laan hoped nobody would notice this letter, and he could quietly continue while sex workers and organisations were too busy with those 19 new window brothels. But, unfortunately for him, I'm not interested in this new 'city brothel' at all, since I know it's just an attempt to distract us from his real objectives: to close down more windows.
Too bad for you mr. Van der Laan, but you can't trick me or most of the other sex workers. We're not interested in your new city brothel, we like to work with our current brothel owners. Our brothel owners are not the bad people you tell everyone they are, in order to kick them out of their buildings and sell them, so you and a couple of city official friends can get very rich. You continuously underestimate sex workers, and that in the end will cost you more than those people are willing to pay for real estate.

You will not violate the European and Dutch laws when it comes to privacy. Privacy is a human right, and by requesting the Minister of Justice to get detailed information about our physical and mental health, as well as information about our sex life, you are violating human rights. And I will not let you violate the human rights of sex workers in Amsterdam!

Dutch version


1 Response
  1. Frans Says:

    the intention to write this letter was implicitly but clearly announced by Yolanda van Doeveren at the meeting between Project 1012 people and the AB committee, on September 9, 2014. See transcript (Mark has it) where she talks about 'prevention' and 'barrieremodel' - and later when she answers questions; she admits that it is a difficult legal question because of the privacy protection and legal advice has been asked from CBP (College Privacy Protection).


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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.