Triodos bank refuses sexwork organisation bank account
"Follow your heart. Use your head" (unless when you care about equal rights and freedom)
Triodos bank, a bank that says to invest in organisations, companies and projects that contribute to a better society has refused sexwork organisation PROUD a bank account. According to their statement, they don't accept organisations which deal with pornography. A strange thing, since in their own criteria found online, it very clearly states that they don't accept (section Non-durable products and services):

"Pornography: All organisations, businesses and activities that focus on the sale of pornographic products and/or exploitation of related meeting places and shops."

But since PROUD doesn't sell or exploit pornography itself, but nearly stands up for the rights of the people working in this industry, this isn't the case for PROUD. Above all, the criteria state that they do support (section Culture and well being):

"Projects and initiatives that help people in society to develop themselves to be free citizens."

Which is exactly what PROUD is about, helping people in society (in this case sex workers) to develop themselves to be free citizens (free from human trafficking, discrimination and stigmatization). Even funnier is the fact that with the refusal of Triodos, they have actively contributed to deny people to develop themselves as free citizens, by denying sex workers a bank account for their rights organisation.

Furthermore Triodos states that they 'strive for financing projects that makes these qualities not subject to financial or commercial targets'. In short, exactly what PROUD is doing. Triodos also writes in their criteria how their bank differentiates from other banks. Namely by:

"Contributing to the renewal in society, so people can develop themselves more freely, have equal rights and take responsibility for the consequences of their economic trading for other people and the earth in general."

My question would be: How is PROUD not renewing society? By standing up for the rights of sex workers, so they can develop themselves more freely (as is also the goal as stated in their own criteria) and can get equal rights (which is exactly the point of PROUD).

After some fuzz on social media, the bank came with an explanation for their actions. They wrote in a reaction that for their bank everyone is equal, which is also part of the bank their constitution, which are inspired by the French revolution. But if everyone is equal, than why can't a sex workers organisation open up a bank account?
After all, they don't produce or sell pornography, they call out for the rights of sex workers to be free, to be treated as equals, to develop themselves more freely. In what way does this conflict with their own criteria? And if everyone is equal, than why not sex workers? And if they would be inspired by the French revolution (freedom, equality and brotherhood), on which point exactly is PROUD, an organisation that stands up for freedom and equal rights for sex workers, not following that idea?

Funny enough, this is of course not the first time this has happened. Sex workers get these kind of things on a daily base. Not just with opening bank accounts, but also with loans, mortgages, insurances etc. etc. And it is because financial organisations refuse sex workers, that they have to resort to other means. And this is what makes them vulnerable to human trafficking, because they're easy prey for traffickers to take advantage of, when they cannot be financially independent.

In most cases of human trafficking, it revolves around a sex worker who accepted the job, but subsequently has to pay off a debt. That debt comes from the fact that they accepted a deal with the trafficker, because legal financial services deny sex workers their services. This forces sex workers into accepting deals from traffickers, which subsequently leads to exploitation, and in some cases even leads to forced prostitution.

Denying sex workers or organisations that stand up for their rights, financial services, you are actively pushing them towards human traffickers, that gladly take advantage of their vulnerable position, to exploit and force them to work for them.
With their actions, Triodos has only proved one thing. That they don't support people standing up for their own rights, the rights to be free, human rights, equality. How can one be free, if you deny them the right to be free? How can one be equal, if you deny one group, but do accept other groups? How can one develop themselves freely, if the organisation that is trying to achieve this, is being denied?
Triodos is just one example, there are many other financial companies that do exactly the same. It are companies like these that force women into exploitation and forced prostitution, is that called freedom, equality and a better society?

Dutch version
2 Responses
  1. Cliente X Says:

    Anyone related with a prostitute is a pariah.

  2. Horrible. By it's actions Triodos only contributes to the stigma sexworkers face. Ironic what Triodos "claims" and what it actually "does".

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