Are clients responsible for human trafficking?
Last time I discussed the new strategy which Renate van der Zee and her anti-prostitution friends have chosen to achieve their goal: to abolish prostitution. And this new strategy revolves around making the clients look bad, in a new attempt to implement the Swedish model in The Netherlands. She even invited anti-prostitution abolitionist Julie Bindel to a symposium in order to promote her new book, and ex-victim Fiona Broadfoot had to be flown in from the UK to voice the victims, because apparently they couldn't find any victims in Holland which agreed with these ideas.
And while last time I discussed more about the statistics, which disprove almost everything Renate van der Zee and her friends are claiming, even though they come from the same research they are using, this time I'd like to focus more on the central question: can clients be partially responsible for human trafficking in the sex industry?

Because according to Renate van der Zee, if 'men keep buying sex', it stays attractive for criminals to exploit sex workers. Obviously she portrays sex workers as sad victims that can't stand up for themselves, even though recently a couple of hundred of sex workers did stand up for themselves and even demonstrated. And even though 414 of them signed a petition while there are only 290 window brothels in Amsterdam. And even though after extensive research from the Ministry of Safety and Justice they could not find one single case of trafficking, and concluded that if trafficking happens, it is more likely to happen in the illegal prostitution rather than the licensed prostitution. But Renate van der Zee avoids that by wondering if there really were prostitutes behind those masks during the protest in Amsterdam. Ridiculous of course, since even the mayor of Amsterdam acknowledged it. But this is all part of Renate van der Zee trying to frame us as the victims, and denying the existence of sex workers that aren't victims, just so she can frame our clients as the bad guys.

But, back to the question. Renate wonders, or actually states, that 'men that buy sex' are responsible for human trafficking, As if there would be no women that buy sex, and as if there would be no male sex workers, and no male victims of trafficking in prostitution But of course that doesn't help her story, so she let's that out of her story.
But the question can actually be answered very simple. No, men that buy sex aren't responsible for human trafficking. The only ones responsible for that are the human traffickers themselves. And let's not forget that human trafficking doesn't just happen in the sex industry, but in many other industries as well, such as agriculture and house keeping etc. And how can men that buy sex, be responsible for all the trafficking of people who work in agriculture, or any industry for that matter?

In short, this is nonsense. First of all, human trafficking doesn't just happen in prostitution, but in many other industries as well, and not only men pay for sex, but women as well. So, even if you would take out all the men that buy sex, human trafficking would still exist. It is typical to see how sexist Renate van der Zee makes her statements, talking only about male clients as the evildoers.
But the real question of course is, do clients have a responsibility? Is a consumer who buys a service or a product responsible for the crimes that happen in that industry? In short, if a client buys a sexual service from a victim of human trafficking, is he responsible for this crime existing? Does a client by buying a service or a product contribute to the crime. even though they are not aware of it? Or is it the fault of the human trafficker, who is the one who forces and/or exploits prostitutes?
For example, we know there are cases of babysitters being imported from other countries, and being enslaved in this country by human traffickers to do babysitting under extreme bad circumstances. Now, is the baby responsible for the crime? After all, it is because of the demands that this baby has, that this crime occurred, or was it because of the human traffickers?

Renate van der Zee wants to blame customers for human trafficking. Unjustified if you ask me, since many trafficking cases also get exposed thanks to these customers, of which some even help the victims to go to the police to press charges. Even the examples shown in Jojanneke her show, those victims were being helped by customers as well. In short, customers are often the solution rather than the problem. And this also corresponds with my personal experiences, as well as many of my other colleagues I've spoken with. Many customers are very concerned about our situation, and are very willing to help us. In fact, about a year ago, almost every client I got was asking about this, and said they could help me. And I'm not the only one getting these questions, many of us get these kind of questions on a daily base, which only proves how concerned and helpful customers are trying to be, even though most of the times this whole issue is driving us nuts. We are tired of being seen as victims in need of saving.

To me it almost sounds as if Renate van der Zee is defending the human traffickers. As if she's saying: "Those poor traffickers can't help it that they're criminals, they're only committing a crime because there are men that want to buy sex." As if criminals have no responsibility for the crime they are committing.
In short, who is responsible for a crime in a certain industry? The criminals? Or do also the customers hold a responsibility? In my eyes it would be the criminals, and the clients perhaps can help report it but they are not responsible for the crimes of others. But Renate van der Zee rather seems to defend the criminals and blame consumers for this. In her eyes it is the behavior of customers which have led to this crime. But is that really true? Does human trafficking exist because clients have a demand for trafficked women to take advantage of, or does human trafficking exist because criminals are attracted to industries which produce a lot of money?

Who is responsible for crimes? The consumer or the criminal? Let's take another example. We all know the working conditions in India in clothing factories are very poor. In fact, in many of the factories which produce our clothing, there are people working who are forced to work there, who are being beaten, have their rights violated, and even young children are working there. In these factories human trafficking and child labor is happening.
Yet, many of us still buy clothing from all these factories. Big brands sell clothing made by child labor and human trafficking. And this is not just the case for most of our clothing, but also for factories that produce cellphones. In fact, most of the computer chips that get produced, all come from companies which are tied in with child labor. In short, we all buy cellphones, computers, laptops and tablets, all produced under criminal activities.

Is the consumer, who buys an Iphone now responsible for these crimes occurring? Or are it the people that want to make big bucks by committing a crime? Is someone buying a Samsung Tablet responsible for child labor? Or are it the people who put children and people to work like this responsible? In short, is the person committing a crime responsible for the crime, or the person who buys a product or service from this person the criminal, not knowing he or she is buying it from a criminal?
Should we arrest everyone walking out of the Apple store, for aiding in child labor? Are they responsible? I'm sure some people who buy from Apple are aware of this? Or is it the people in those factories who let young children work there, the responsible ones?

Renate van der Zee her hatred towards prostitution is going so far, that she rather protects the human traffickers, and blames the customers, than actually blaming the criminals for this. After all, in almost every industry there are crimes occurring. In the clothing industry it's human trafficking and child labor. In the technology industry it's child labor. In the bank industry it's fraud. Are all the customers from those companies responsible for this? Or are it the people who violate laws, in order to make more money?

What attracts traffickers to the prostitution industry are not the men buying sex, but the money they can make. Everywhere where people can make a lot of money, you will find crime, and prostitution is no exception on that. And how is a client of a prostitute supposed to know he's using the services of a victim? After all, Renate van der Zee always claimed victims are very good at hiding it, thus resulting in the fact that the police and researchers can find so few of them. So, if even trained people can't find them, how are regular consumers supposed to know?

But Renate van der Zee would much more like to blame the average consumer of a service, than the actual criminal, thereby protecting the criminal and blaming the consumer for a crime he was not aware of. But this should come as no surprise from someone that has good relations with international prostitution abolisionists like Rachel Moran and Julie Bindel, and someone who actively supports to criminalize clients like the Swedish model does.
Renate van der Zee is simply trying to make clients look bad, by blaming them for criminal activities done by criminals, simply so she can get her beloved Swedish model in place. Renate van der Zee doesn't really care about those victims or the free working prostitutes, she just pretends to care about them, so people will think she has a point. But fact is that she's protecting criminals, by putting the responsibilities of crimes in the hands of consumers who aren't even aware of criminal activities happening.

Dutch version


24 Responses
  1. Cliente X Says:

    Felicia, u keep speaking about "human trafficking" but I still have no idea what u are talking about. Could u explain me, please, what do u mean with that term?


  2. Brian Victor Says:

    Greetings Felicia. I don't know anything about this Renate van der Zee, but the abolitionists I personally know seem very concerned about sex trafficking victims to the point of tears and even going overseas to work for a less than they could make at home. I don't know that it aids the discussion to call motives into question. It would be like me saying, "You don't care about sex trafficking victims. All you care about is being able to make money as a prostitute and pushing your ideology about sex."

    See, it isn't helpful. For the record, I believe you do care about sex trafficking victims, based on what I have seen in your blog. I agree with you that Harm Reduction may in fact be the most effective way of reducing the number of trafficking victims. I hope that you will stick to the merits your argument and avoid ad hominem attacks. In any debate, the thinkers will respect you more for keeping the discussion professional.


  3. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Brian Victor
    Soon my boyfriend will post a video on YouTube in which Renate van der Zee is promoting her book and her ideology. It will be translated into English for the international audience, but it will also state the facts from the reports. You will be able to see that she often lies to paint a picture which is far from reality.

    You have to understand that there are two types of people. People who really care about fighting human trafficking, like for an example an organization like La Strada, and people who make false claims in the debate not to fight human trafficking, but simply to make money (on selling books or funding).


  4. Brian Victor Says:

    I agree that there are some charlatans out there. It is vital that we work with accurate information even when we don't like where it leads us. Look forward to reviewing the YouTube video.


  5. John Flavin Says:

    Felicia, you are right to criticise people like Renate van der Zee and Rachel Moran who pretend to care about sex workers or sex trafficking victims when the truth is it's all a sham for their real aim which is to abolish or seriously reduce prostitution. Their constant lies and hypocrisy needs to be called out by as many people as possible. If they really cared about victims they'd know that male clients are part of the solution not the problem. They try to paint sex buyers as some kind of monsters and rapists. On the contrary, the vast majority of buyers are very concerned about the the wellbeing of the sex worker they visit. Why would any man want to spend time with a sex worker if he had even the slightest inclination that she was not working of her own free will?


  6. Brian Victor Says:

    John Flavin, it is interesting that you assert that sex buyers are not rapists. What do you call someone who has sex with another person against their will? Well intentioned or not, concerned or not, some sex buyers are, by definition, rapists.

    As for male clients being part of the solution, I couldn't agree more. They can be part of the solution by 1) not buying sex and 2) using their money instead to financial assist those people in the sex trade who really need help. That may take the form of exit, prevention, poverty relief, education programs, etc.

    As for being able to recognize if a girl was there against her will, do you think it would always be very obvious? Many trafficked girls come across as being shy or just unhappy. Johns tend to pass this off as them having a bad day. We know this to be true because many trafficked girls have told us how the johns either missed or ignored their signs of distress.

    I hope this is useful information.

    Your concern for these girls is appreciated. I do not doubt it, but I think there are better ways to show than renting their bodies: ways that don't involve the risk of you unknowingly raping a human being.


  7. @Brian Victor
    Incorrect, if clients who use the services of a victim would be rapists like how you claim, than it would be able to prosecute them as such. Strangely however this has never happened. Not such a weird thing, as also the Dutch parliament did an investigation whether or not having a client of a victim would be considered a rapist, and the answer was: no.

    As for male clients being part of the solution, like how you state is nonsense. Trafficking happens in many other industries as well, and we also don't state not to buy anymore clothes for example because victims of trafficking are making those clothes in India.

    Better would be to report things if you have to report them, and otherwise let the police do it. Like the research showed, clients don't know what to look for, and they hardly to never come across any of the signs authorities or rescue organisations tell them to look out for.

    Your statement for how to spot victims is absolute nonsense by the way. First of all because many sex workers, including Felicia Anna state that sex workers indeed can have a day off, so that's no reason to assume she's a victim. Secondly because most trafficked victims report being able to play very well the part of being the happy sex worker, making it nearly impossible to spot them, even for people who have a trained eye for this, let alone untrained consumers.

    By the way, sex workers don't rent their bodies, they provide a service. Their bodies aren't products. Learn the difference between a service and a product for a change.


  8. Brian Victor Says:

    @Mark van der Beer
    "Incorrect, if clients who use the services of a victim would be rapists like how you claim, than it would be able to prosecute them as such."
    Just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean that it shouldn't. I'm curious, who are we (or the Dutch courts) to tell a woman who as been forced to have sex with hundreds or thousands of men that she was not raped?

    Interesting that you mention other industries. Can you tell me one of them where the abuse of the trafficked person is directly inflicted by the client? It is impossible for the client to rape a shoe or a shirt or a waiter or a construction worker.

    "First of all because many sex workers, including Felicia Anna state that sex workers indeed can have a day off, so that's no reason to assume she's a victim."

    Some trafficked people do in fact get days off, though usually not. Your earlier statement about clients not knowing what to look for is in agreement with me: since it is so hard to spot a trafficked girl, why would you want to risk harming one unintentionally? To run the risk strikes me as extremely selfish.

    "By the way, sex workers don't rent their bodies, they provide a service. Their bodies aren't products. Learn the difference between a service and a product for a change."
    You're arguing semantics for which I don't see the relevance. Also, I have heard sex workers themselves put it both ways.


  9. @Brian Victor
    Makes me wonder why none of the victims ever tried to prosecute their clients as rapists? Could that be perhaps because they don't see the clients as the responsible ones, but the trafficker?

    Let's put first things first. Trafficking in prostitution mostly consists out of exploitation. Coercion also happens, but is less common. In short, most of the trafficking victims aren't raped, since they're not coerced by anyone. That doesn't however mean that they agree to be exploited.

    Secondly, you keep trying to blame the customer for the actions of the human trafficker. As if the customer is responsible for a crime he's not committing but someone else is. And this makes me wonder why you are trying to protect these traffickers so much to blame it on clients?

    With a day off, I actually meant an off day, as in a day when things just aren't going the way you want to. A bad day. I didn't actually mean a free day.

    The fact that you don't see the relevance between seeing a sex worker or a victim as a product or as a person offering a service, already tells me that you are not really interested in the person, but rather in something else.
    I think it's hugely important to make it clear to people that sex workers aren't products to be sold or rented, but they are people, that happen to provide a service. The fact that you can't see the relevance of that, just tells us how much you really care about these PERSONS.


  10. Brian Victor Says:

    @Mark van der Meer

    "Makes me wonder why none of the victims ever tried to prosecute their clients as rapists?"
    - are you so sure none have tried where the law allowed it? Are you so sure none would like to?

    "Could that be perhaps because they don't see the clients as the responsible ones, but the trafficker?"
    -granted some see the situation this way. It is well-documented that not all of them hold the clients innocent. Sadly, it much harder to prove that a given client raped a trafficking victim. It is hard enough as it is to prove the culpability of the traffickers.

    "Let's put first things first. Trafficking in prostitution mostly consists out of exploitation. Coercion also happens, but is less common. In short, most of the trafficking victims aren't raped, since they're not coerced by anyone. That doesn't however mean that they agree to be exploited."
    -And how does this make forced prostitution anything other than what it is? It is a still a subset of sex trafficking. It is still rape for someone's profit and pleasure.

    I am curious, what percentage of risk for accidentally raping a girl is too high for you? 1%? 10%? 50% 99%?

    The Dutch law you mentioned is very curious to me. Honest question: by their court's reasoning, is it okay to play Russian Roulette with someone and not be charged with murder when the person holding the gun kills the victim? I honestly can't see the difference between that and running the risk of raping someone who was forced into prostitution. A life is destroyed either way. The only difference is that one still has a pulse.

    "Secondly, you keep trying to blame the customer for the actions of the human trafficker. As if the customer is responsible for a crime he's not committing but someone else is."
    -Did I accuse clients of trafficking sex workers? Please quote to me where I did.

    "And this makes me wonder why you are trying to protect these traffickers so much to blame it on clients?"
    -I find this statement unwarranted and offensive on many levels. You make false assumptions. 1) I do blame traffickers very much for the crimes they commit. Quote to me where I said anything to the contrary! 2) It did not occur to me that traffickers might be reading this post. If any are, I have this to say: run, because very angry people with the law backing them up are coming for you!

    "With a day off, I actually meant an off day, as in a day when things just aren't going the way you want to. A bad day. I didn't actually mean a free day."
    -I honestly do not yet understand what you are trying to say here. My apologies.

    "The fact that you don't see the relevance between seeing a sex worker or a victim as a product or as a person offering a service, already tells me that you are not really interested in the person, but rather in something else. I think it's hugely important to make it clear to people that sex workers aren't products to be sold or rented, but they are people, that happen to provide a service. The fact that you can't see the relevance of that, just tells us how much you really care about these PERSONS.
    -You keep making unwarranted assumptions about me. You are still quibbling over semantics. You are also ignoring the fact that sex workers can be seen as both at the same time depending on context and that some see themselves that way. They are people. They are also treated as products to be bought and sold by in the same fashion that sports teams buy and sell and trade players. You are right that it is far healthier to see them as people. We can agree on this.


  11. @Brian Victor
    As far as I know yes, but be my guest and look for cases if you want: http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/#home/restore/zt=mensenhandel&zi=zt0&ps=ps1

    Beyond that, calling clients of human trafficking rapists, is as you also have concluded, unfair, since a big majority of the victims aren't actually being raped, since they weren't doing it against their will, but were only being exploited.

    And if you want to know what percentage of rape is high enough for me to care about, it's so high, that I'd rather have people given the ability to pay for someone who is willing to have sex with them, than having that person going insane over zero sexual contact and eventually leading to rape.

    Regarding the Russian Roulette thingy, I have no idea where you get that nonsense, perhaps you should read less abolitionist things, and do more research.

    You constant aim to blame costumers as rapists, while it are actually the traffickers responsible for this rape, means you accuse the clients and not the traffickers.
    It's good that you find my comments offensive, since I think exactly the same way about your comments regarding clients. Clients aren't rapists, until they force themselves onto a victim, which does happen in some cases, but not even in most coercion cases. So it's bullshit to blame a client for being a rapist, not even knowing he 'raped' someone.

    I'm not quibbling over semantics, a thing (product) is something very different than a person. The fact you can't see the difference, just proves how much you see sexwork as something bad and unwanted. There is not a sex worker in the world who considers herself to be a product. A sex worker her body can't be rented, renting implies temporary ownership over something, this is not the case with sex work.
    And also sports people aren't bought and sold this way, their talents are hired. Lean the fucking difference dude!

    P.s. This blog is run by my girlfriend, so I'd be very careful if I were you about what you are saying here.


  12. Brian Victor Says:

    @Mark van der Beer

    My apologies for misspelling your name earlier.

    "As far as I know yes, but be my guest and look for cases if you want: http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/#home/restore/zt=mensenhandel&zi=zt0&ps=ps1"
    What is the context for this comment? What am I supposed to be looking for?

    "Beyond that, calling clients of human trafficking rapists, is as you also have concluded, unfair, since a big majority of the victims aren't actually being raped, since they weren't doing it against their will, but were only being exploited.”
    You seem to be struggling to grasp distinctions. I don’t know if this is a language barrier issue or if you just aren’t reading what I say carefully. I said, "Well intentioned or not, concerned or not, *some* sex buyers are, by definition, rapists.” Why? Because some clients have sex with people who have been forced into prostitution (I hate to say “merely" exploited, because exploitation is horrible in its own right). If you had read carefully, you would see that I did not call *all* clients of human trafficking victims rapists. Furthermore, I acknowledge that the majority of sex trafficking victims in Amsterdam do not appear to be forced into prostitution (thank God!). This is all beside the point. The point is that every one of the clients runs the risk of having sex with a person against his/her will. This shows an incredible disregard for vicitms of forced prostitution.
    Tell me, exactly how many people would be in forced prostitution if no one bought their services?

    "And if you want to know what percentage of rape is high enough for me to care about, it's so high, that I'd rather have people given the ability to pay for someone who is willing to have sex with them, than having that person going insane over zero sexual contact and eventually leading to rape.”
    You do realize that you are excusing rape, right? To say it is better to risk raping someone than to intentionally do so is still approving of rape. This is a most disturbing attitude that seems contrary to your earlier claims about caring for the well-being of people. Why is it that you seem to not think it is reasonable to demand that people not rape anyone? Do you not think people should be held accountable for their actions? I’m confused by your position.

    "Regarding the Russian Roulette thingy, I have no idea where you get that nonsense, perhaps you should read less abolitionist things, and do more research.”
    I’ll try explaining again. Russian Roulette is a game of chance where someone gets really, really hurt if you’re wrong. Going to a brothel is very similar. Sex buyers run a very real risk of having sex with someone against his or her will (i.e., hurting someone really really badly). Bizarrely, the Dutch courts, per yourself, have ruled that this is okay. Do they also think it is perfectly excusable to have sex with minors if they don’t show an ID? Here in the U.S. that is a big no no and the person having sex with the minor is not excused.

    You constant aim to blame costumers as rapists, while it are actually the traffickers responsible for this rape, means you accuse the clients and not the traffickers.
    I can’t help but wonder if you are misrepresenting the Dutch judicial system because your comment leads me to believe that the Dutch courts don’t believe it is possible for more than one party to be responsible for a crime. Clients, who should know they run the risk of committing rape, are willfully negligent, at best. The traffickers are even more culpable for knowingly setting up the situation for the rape to take place.


  13. Brian Victor Says:

    "It's good that you find my comments offensive, since I think exactly the same way about your comments regarding clients. Clients aren't rapists, until they force themselves onto a victim, which does happen in some cases, but not even in most coercion cases.
    Here you actually agree that some clients are rapists which makes your next statement incomprehensible.

    ****So it's bullshit to blame a client for being a rapist, not even knowing he 'raped' someone.”****
    Here you are literally saying that we shouldn’t blame someone for committing an act that requires him or her to obtain consent first. Tell me, do you believe people should be held responsible for ensuring that consent is obtained? Would you like to argue “yes, clients should obtain consent beyond a reasonable doubt”? If so, how can a “beyond reasonable doubt" standard possibly be met in the setting of the sex industry where, by its nature, you cannot *know* that a person is consenting?
    By the way, I wouldn’t repeat what you just said to a rape victim who was forced into prostitution if I were you. When someone has their body cavities violated time and again by people who consider the satisfaction of their urges more important than protecting human lives, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get just a little bit upset.

    "I'm not quibbling over semantics, a thing (product) is something very different than a person.”
    I’m not going to argue with you about this. I already agree that it is better to see people as people and not products. I explained why in some contexts they are seen otherwise. You’re beating a dead horse.

    "The fact you can't see the difference”
    Yes I can and you’re willfully distorting my position. That’s most dishonest of you.

    "It just proves how much you see sexwork as something bad and unwanted.
    It is bad and unwanted, but I fail to see how that relates to this obsession you have over a perceived disagreement. I agree with you that sex workers are people.

    "There is not a sex worker in the world who considers herself to be a product.”
    I would certainly hope not if we’re talking about their value as human lives.

    "A sex worker her body can't be rented, renting implies temporary ownership over something, this is not the case with sex work.”
    Mark, I’m just telling you what I’ve heard some sex workers describe what they do as. Take your argument up with them. You’re distracting from the topic at hand.

    "And also sports people aren't bought and sold this way, their talents are hired. Lea[r]n the fucking difference dude!"
    I have. Horse is dead. Leave it be.

    "P.s. This blog is run by my girlfriend, so I'd be very careful if I were you about what you are saying here."
    Your house, your rules. If you wish me to avoid certain topics, I will avoid them. I am curious that you find it perfectly alright to curse at guests. Granted, I am accusing sex buyers as criminally negligent people, but you have pretty much admitted that this is true.


  14. John Flavin Says:

    @ Brian Victor

    Rape occurs when a woman does not consent. It’s perfectly open to the sex worker to refuse any potential client she doesn’t like the look of or who treats her with any kind of disrespect. You’re coming at this from the point of view that all sex workers are victims whereas I’m coming from the experience that the majority of sex workers are working of their own free will. Sex trafficking and consensual prostitution are two completely separate issues. One is a criminal offence whereas the other is not the state’s business (in most European countries) as it concerns what happens in private between two consenting adults. I understand that you’re in the USA where everything to do with all forms of prostitution is illegal. Your country’s solution to every problem is to make it illegal. How did that work out for alcohol with prohibition and how is the war on drugs going?

    What about the times when I visited an escort and merely spent time in the woman’s company and no sexual services (by either party) took place was I, according to you, guilty of rape in these instances? Raping the woman of her time perhaps?

    I know many escorts and they’ve all told me the same thing: that the percentage of sex workers trafficked or coerced in any manner has been hugely exaggerated by anti-prostitution organisations. These organisations then get the public on their side as the public is deceived into believing the issue to be an anti sex trafficking one as opposed to an anti prostitution issue (i.e. sexual relations involving consenting adults).

    Those against prostitution seek to ban sex between consenting adults simply because money happens to change hands. They seek, based on their own opinions and morals, to deny disabled people, shy people, virgins etc the opportunity to experience intimacy with another human being. Just because prostitution might be revolting to them does not give them the right to dictate to everyone else that they have no right to buy or sell sexual services. It’s a case of live and let live. Consensual prostitution is harming nobody but the continual conflation of consensual prostitution with sex trafficking is harming sex workers and sex trafficking victims alike.

    Who then is to be believed in this debate? The sex workers themselves (like Felicia Anna) who know the reality of what happens or the anti prostitution lobby whose aim is to abolish prostitution and obtain as much government and public funding as possible in the process?

    Of course sex trafficking is an horrific crime and offenders deserve to be fully prosecuted, however, it is already illegal and criminalising purchasers is not going to help victims but instead it will decrease the likelihood of the sex buyer going to the police as he will incriminate himself in the process. Consensual prostitution on the other hand is a completely separate issue and criminalising what consenting adults do in private is none of these anti prostitution organisations’ business. What we need is the police going after the SMALL NUMBER of sex traffickers that DO EXIST and leaving the rest of the sex workers and their clients alone. Police time and resources should not be wasted on chasing after adults having consensual sex.



  15. John Flavin Says:

    @Brian Victor

    To label ALL sex workers as coerced victims is an insult to real sex trafficking victims. The anti prostitution lobby need to realise that women are capable of making their own choices and the majority of sex workers have freely chosen to do this work but of course it’s much easier to speak for them and claim they are victims (suffering from false consciousness) even if they’re not aware of it than let them make their own decisions and speak up for themselves as indeed Felicia Anna is doing on this very blog. The fact that you feel the need to reply to every comment here tells me that you must be very worried by what she has to say. Maybe it’s because she speaks the truth and the antis run away from the truth. Countless times, here in Ireland and the UK, their advocates have refused to debate with sex workers on the radio/TV and pulled out of events at the last minute when they heard that a sex worker opposed to their views would be debating them.

    In order to tackle sex trafficking you don’t have to make consensual prostitution illegal. In fact allowing the latter to remain legal would ensure that the stigma experienced by sex workers doesn't increase further and would encourage society to grant them the same human rights and respect afforded to other citizens and by bringing sex work out in the open discourage the criminality of trafficking and coercion and make it easier to detect trafficking. By penalising the buyer you are pushing sex work further underground which only results in attracting criminal elements.


  16. Brian Victor Says:

    @John Flavin

    If your comments about sex workers were directed at me that tells me you have not been closely reading my comments.

    Most sex workers are not trafficked - Agreed
    Most sex workers are capable of making their own choices - Agreed
    Most sex buyers do not want to knowingly rape people - Agreed. The problem is that they are fine with unknowingly raping people.

    Here is the issue put another way:

    Premise 1: Forced prostitution happens (well-documented fact).

    Premise 2: Sex with someone who cannot give consent (because of force or undue coercion) is rape, even if the offending party did not intend harm.

    Premise 3: Sex buyers who know that forced prostitution occurs in the sex industry, yet willingly pay for sex are running a real risk of unknowingly raping someone.

    Premise 4: It is impossible to guarantee that there is no forced prostitution in the sex industry.

    Conclusion: All sex buyers are willfully negligent and any one of them may unknowingly become a rapist. The so-called "good intentions" of sex buyers are of little comfort to many victims of forced prostitution.

    In essence, advocates of normalizing the sex industry are communicating that it is okay to for sex buyers to “accidentally” rape a “small number” of victims each year so that we can have the sex industry. That is, by definition, approval of rape. It ignores personal responsibility and is an extortionist attitude besides that literally communicates, "let us rape a few and more won’t get hurt.” How horrid! The answer to this problem is to stop raping, not to accept a “reduction in harm.” Take personal responsibility and eliminate it!


  17. Cliente X Says:

    Hey, Brian Victor. What about if prostitutes were willingly to have sex with strangers bcause this would not be hard for them but all the tales about trafficking and forced prostitution were bullshit from the REAL PIMPS to hide the real exploitations, that were extortions they were doing to let those women to work in the places they control?

    There are two kinds of ppl who talk about prostitution, The ones who know what happens for real, and the ones who speak about what they hear in the media, read in documents and watch in movies. Which kind are u?

    The ones who are willing to criminalize sex buyers are really trying to silence the few ones that can tell the truth about prostitution. They dont care about freedom of prostitutes, how can we trust the ones that while appear in TV saying that they "free" prostitutes are extorting them in the streets? Hey, Brian Victor, tell me how to avoid prostitutes to become blackmailed by public authorities. Thats the real problem of prostitution. Not ur weird ideas of sex slaves. Prostitutes are forced, right. But not by the johns but by the cops. And not to have sex but to pay 'em.

    And u are covering them. U are helping the pimps.


  18. Pino59 Says:

    @Brian Victor
    Your argument is an example of the principle "even one is too many", a principle that feminists often turn to when asking for laws that drastically limit the freedom and rights of men. There are million of men around the world that, being alone, sad, bored, or just in bad terms with their wives, exchange money for sex. Some women do that, too. And of course there are hundreds of thousand of sex-workers who carry out their activity in perfect free will. This is what you reductively call "the sex industry". Well, in your opinion, all these people should give away their freedom to do as they choose in their private lives, and make a living out of sex, just because there is the chance that somewhere, sometimes, some woman is forced to have sex for money and therefore a client might, although unwillingly, hurt her. A very harsh request. Are there other examples of this situation? I think there are, not identical but similar. We drive at 50 km/h in towns, and it is lawful to do so. Is it perfectly safe? I don't think so. A small kid might run away from his parents and suddenly cross the road. He would be run over and killed: these things do happen. Should we therefore drive at 10 km/h in towns, or stop driving altogether to make sure such tragic events never happen? I don't think so. Yet, we could: driving is not necessary. We could all walk, or ride a bicycle instead, to ensure perfect safety for everybody. There is a fundamental difference though: everybody, men and women, drive. But it's mostly men who pay to have sex. That's why people like you and the feminists think that it's ok to suppress this freedom: it would hurt mostly men. Basically you're saying that the well being of very few women (provided these women do exist: women which are forced into having sex for money and do not even dare to tell the customer: "please help me, I'm being forced") is more important than the freedom and well being of millions of lonely men. In other words, women are class A citizens and each one of them deserves special protection at the expenses of the rights and freedom of million of men. I'm sick and tired of this inequality being enforced. I disagree with your stance and I resent it.



  19. Brian Victor Says:

    @Cliente X
    The truth about prostitution is that some are there of their own free will, some out of desperation and some are forced. It is impossible to be absolutely certain that anyone you pay sex for is not coerced or forced, even if they say they aren’t. Some victims have even gone on TV to claim that they were not being coerced or forced to be sex workers only to confess years later that they were being controlled by a pimp all along (see documentary Tricked).

    Whether or not we decriminalize both the purchase and sale of sex has no bearing on our individual choices. Bottom line: we either protect the innocent with our individual actions or not. If you buy sex, you are not protecting the innocent. You are, in fact, running the risk of raping someone. Pure and simple.

    For those prostitutes who are there out of choice or desperate, they deserve support and protection, but should understand that what they do is not a desirable thing for society. It is exploitative in many cases for the prostitute. It facilitates the destruction of many families since sexual fidelity is a pre-requisite for stable romantic/marital relationships in the vast majority of cases. This is just how the world works.

    Having sex is not a human right: such is a completely made-up idea with no precedent. No one ever died of not having sex. For those who are lonely, we as people should be building relationships with one another. For those who are horny, get a wet rag.

    As for abuses from police, pimps and traffickers: such crimes are inexcusable and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by the law.

    I’ve spoken in depth with sex buyers about what goes on in prostitution, so I’m well versed. I get the arguments of the harm reduction camp. The verdict is still out, in my opinion, as to whether or not the Nordic model works better in the long term vs settling for Harm Reduction.


  20. Brian Victor Says:

    @Pino59
    "Basically you're saying that the well being of very few women (provided these women do exist: women which are forced into having sex for money and do not even dare to tell the customer: "please help me, I'm being forced") is more important than the freedom and well being of millions of lonely men."
    You have literally argued that it is perfectly fine for men to rape women because their pleasure is more important than their lives. Have you ever lived with women who were subjected to violence? Do you comprehend the damage it does their lives, their relationships and their mental health? I have. You are a profoundly selfish person Pino59. You need to check your moral compass.


  21. Brian Victor Says:

    @Pino59 You are arguing that since we risk killing children by driving, we are fine with killing children, even if it is by accident.

    My first thought is that driving is necessary for modern civilization to function (you acknowledged this). Without motor vehicles we create a lot of other problems that put other lives at risk. So that isn't the best example as you implied.

    Sex work is not strictly needed, but then the same could be said for a lot of other industries. Where do we draw the line? How do we decide what is a legitimate risk vs not? What makes an industry legitimate vs illegitimate?

    Well, let’s take a brief look at prostitution. By its nature, the sex industry actively helps ruin relationships and families by facilitating infidelity. By its nature the sex industry helps spread STDs (in fact, only abstinence and strict monogamy don’t spread STDs). By its nature the sex industry preys on the vulnerability of many people: why should poor young girls, for example, have to suck phalluses to be able to survive? If the sex buyers have money to spend on a prostitute, they would do far better to fund a respectable help program for such desperate people. And, of course, by nature the sex industry facilitates the rape of innocent people. This doesn’t sound like a good industry to have around.


  22. Cliente X Says:

    Ok, u are talking me about TV shows and films. Thats enough to see that ur knowledge about prostitution comes from propaganda and not real, direct experience.

    See, Im FRIEND of many of those girls. I have meet personally THOUSANDS of prostitutes in my life. And they have also met thousands by themselves. And NO ONE, EVER, has found a prostitute FORCED to work in prostitution. In ur head u have prejudices, fictions, myths. Ur proofs to believe in sex slaves are the same than the ones u have to believe in Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer. There are images of both but... we all know that they are CHILD TALES.

    I have PERSONALLY met girls who were "liberated". And what they say is that they didnt need such help, in fact it was a trick to harm them.

    If u want to keep speaking about prostitution I suggest u to be better informed, all the things u are talinking about (rapes, STDs, broken relationships and families...) are just bullshit to cover ur personal disagreement with an activity u dont like (bcause u dont know, btw). Prostitutes keep many families working, and health experts recognice that STDs prevalence between sex workers is by far much less than in general population.

    If u want to give away ur money u are free. But u dont have any rigfht to tell others what to do with theirs. U are acting like a pimp (the government).



  23. Hi - I'm an anti-trafficking activist and I ran across this post while doing some research. I appreciate your efforts to shed light and insights from the perspective of a sex worker. However, you make two critically flawed arguments. This will be a long post as it is a very nuanced issue that cannot be distilled down to simple answers:

    1 - Are clients responsible for the rise in sex trafficking? The question is poorly framed. The real question is: How are the economics of supply and demand responsible for the rise in sex trafficking? When we look at it through this lens then, yes, the client is absolutely complicit in sex trafficking in an ancillary way. In fact, our consumer habits are also responsible in an ancillary way of driving labor trafficking, but I won't get into the details of this and stay on point.

    You bring up a very poor analogy of a baby being responsible for trafficked baby sitters. Of course, the baby is not responsible and is outside of the supply and demand argument because of this simple fact: Babies are not consciously choosing their demand behaviors. They are growing individuals who have no idea what is happening in the world around them at an economic level. Their only concern in early stage growth and having basic needs met.

    Now, let's look at those who solicit for sex (men or women). They are grown adults who have learned the way of the world and typically know there are extreme cruelties in the world. They may even be aware of how their behavior drives up demand and therefore puts pressure on supply for sex workers. Yet, they turn a blind eye in order to satisfy sexual needs. And that need is so easily gratified so there is no real incentive to curb demand. This is the real problem with your argument. It does not take into account simple supply and demand economics in places where prostitution is legalized. In fact, in places where it is legal, data points to a rise in sex trafficking in order to meet demand. Of course, this data is hard to substantiate because there is a fundamental issue with data collection in the anti-trafficking field. However, analysis on available data show early indicators of rise in trafficking activity in places of legalized prostitution. This is why Sweden has implemented a hybrid model.

    2 - You bring up the fact that clients are concerned for your well being and I completely believe you. However, in making your assumption that clients are willing to help, you are dismissing the psychology behind most of these people. I'm not refuting that some clients may actually show a genuine concern. However, I also know that a guilty conscience can also manifest concern, but it is most likely disingenuous concern at best. In my work, I often run into people who 'want to help' when I talk about my work. Yet, when confronted with an actual ask for assistance, they look at the scope of what it takes to help and tend to lose the will or interest very quickly. So, perhaps the real question to ask in your situation is this: If you were to take up a client's request for help, how far would they truly be willing to go to assist in removing you from your situation?

    To wrap this up, I truly do appreciate your efforts to call out false activists. Yet, your argument methodologies are also problematic and I ask that you do further research into the entire global ramifications of human trafficking and all of its causes/effects on society.


  24. Felicia Anna Says:

    @thewrenproject
    How nice that people that are not from this country, and who come from a completely different culture and view on sex work always think they know things better. It seems especially to be the case with people from the anti-trafficking industry, who always think they know better, despite the fact that I speak from personal experience.

    You claim that my question is poorly framed, yet I'm only asking the question anti-prostitution people are asking. I can't help their poor framing.

    Secondly, you seem to have the idea that clients don't care. But fact is, that this is not true. I know this both from personal experience, as well as from research which has proven this.
    You however seem to be stuck in your own way of thinking that clients simply don't care, simply because you deal with trafficking victims, which supposedly makes you an 'expert'. Trust me, you're not an expert unless you've done sex work yourself and have experienced what clients are like.


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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.