Triodos Bank refuses PROUD but accepts brothel
So today the mayor of Amsterdam announced they found an interested party to invest in the 'city brothel'. The 19 windows the city of Amsterdam has offered for 'self exploitation' of sex workers, called Project Own Window, allowing sex workers to set up their own corporation to run their own brothel, has gotten one step closer. The idea is that this corporation of sex workers will rent the buildings from this interested party to rent out window brothels to sex workers. According to mayor Van der Laan it's a 'big party' that's interested in owning the buildings to rent out to the possible corporation of sex workers.

Project Own Window in reality however, is nothing more than a distraction from the mayor's true goal: Project 1012, to close down 94 more windows in the Red Light District. In past years 117 windows have been closed down already as part of this project, and still 94 more windows are scheduled to close down. But criticism on this project has been growing ever since the start of this project, which was sold to the general public as a 'crime fighting project', claiming to fight human trafficking and forced prostitution, while in reality just kicking sex workers out on the streets without compensation or alternatives for their only legal and safe workplaces.

To stop the criticism on this project, which in reality is nothing more than a gentrification project involving real estate deals, they started Project Own Window, to distract the public from the remaining 94 windows they still want to close down. Sex workers however have no taken the bait, and went in huge numbers (more than 200 sex workers) onto the streets to demonstrate against Project 1012 to hand the mayor a petition signed by 414 sex workers, while the interest in Project Own Window from sex workers was very small (no more than 20 sex workers showed up in two meetings). And this is because sex workers know that 19 new windows cannot be used as leverage for the 117 windows that have already been closed down, or the 94 windows they mayor still wants to close down.
The mayor claimed after the protest to close down less windows, claiming the 'war is over'. What he however does not understand is the fact that we don't want lesser windows to close down, after all, he already took away the workplace of 250 sex workers, we want him to quit completely and we demand the windows back that were taking from us. It was only a couple of weeks later that the mayor closed down 18 more windows outside of the scheduled 94 windows, causing another protest from sex workers, proving how much his words were worth: nothing.

But the real interesting news today was the fact that the Triodos Bank, which earlier refused PROUD a bank account, is open to accept this future corporation of sex workers if they would like to open up a bank account with them. PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers, consist out of a group of (ex)sex workers fighting for the rights of all sex workers in Holland. PROUD earlier got refused a bank account at Triodos Bank, because PROUD supports all sex workers, including those working in the porn industry. Triodos however claimed that they don't support the porn industry, because according to them 'many people are being exploited and abused in the porn industry'.

Funny thing is of course, that the point of having a union, is to fight exploitation and abuse, as is exactly what one of the things is what PROUD wants to do and stands for. After all, PROUD wants to improve the situation of all sex workers in Holland, and nobody's position is being improved with exploitation and abuse, so obviously PROUD is also against this. So why refuse a customer who has the same goals?
And also looking at Triodos bank their own criteria for accepting or refusing a customer, raises some serious questions to their refusal of PROUD as a client. After all, in their own criteria they write they don't accept organisations, people and businesses that produce or exploit pornography. But PROUD does neither. In fact, PROUD wants to improve the position of these people, thus fighting exploitation and abuse. But it even becomes funnier when you read that Triodos wants to 'support projects and initiatives that help people in society to develop themselves to be free citizens', as their own statement reads. Something you might say is exactly the point of having a union like PROUD,. And even funnier things became when people found out that Triodos Bank themselves invest in companies that produce and exploit porn.

But now all of the sudden a future corporation of sex workers is allowed to open up a bank account, while a union that fights for these people their rights is not. The Triodos bank defends this decision by claiming that a brothel is not porn related, which is of course true, but than why do they invest themselves in a company that produces porn. And wasn't the whole point of refusing PROUD a bank account, because Triodos does not want to be related to an industry in which a lot of people are being exploited and abused, as they stated? Than how come they can accept the prostitution industry, but not the porn industry? Are they claiming now that the prostitution industry is exploitation and abuse free, while the porn industry is not?
The Triodos bank responds to this with the answer that Triodos bank has no problem with people exploiting their own body, like prostitutes opening up their own bank account. But wait a second?! Isn't that exactly what PROUD is, sex workers themselves exploiting their own body who want to open up a bank account? Than what's the difference?

So how come that one group of prostitutes get refused a bank account, while another doesn't? Just because PROUD stands up for a larger group of sex workers, including people working in the porn industry? An industry Triodos themselves also invest in? And where the fuck does this nonsense argument come from that a lot of people would be exploited in the porn industry? We know this happens in the prostitution industry, although people are still arguing about the size of it. But since when is exploitation and abuse occurring on such a large scale in the porn industry, that it's reason to refuse people from this industry? And if that would be so, than why do they themselves invest in it?
And it's also weird. Triodos refuses bank accounts to people from the porn industry, because of alleged exploitation and abuse in that industry. But an industry which is constantly being accused of having a lot to do with exploitation and abuse is all of the sudden not a problem?
And why? Because this corporation is only about people exploiting their own body? Then what the hell is PROUD? Are they claiming that people in PROUD aren't only exploiting their own body? Are they claiming PROUD is exploiting other people? PROUD consists out of only sex workers and ex-sex workers, no other people are allowed to be member!

No, what's really going on of course is something else. PROUD was never refused a bank account because they are related to the porn industry. Triodos refused PROUD because they didn't want to be affiliated with the sex industry at all. But since they only wrote in their acceptance criteria about the porn industry, an not the prostitution industry, this was the only thing Triodos could pin the refusal of PROUD upon. And thus Triodos came up with a bullshit story, that they refused PROUD because they were related to the porn industry, and that according to them many people would be exploited in the porn industry. A very weak story of course, since everybody knows this is bullshit, but it was the only legit reason they could pin it on.

What they however never expected, was that it would become such a big thing in the media, and so many of their customers would be so upset about refusing PROUD. They burned their fingers on this, and are now trying to safe their face. And of course the insurance of a big politician, like the mayor of Amsterdam, has convinced them this will safe their face. Which again also proves the mayor can change the minds of banks if he wants to, which makes me wonder why still so many banks are refusing sex workers, except when the mayor needs something to succeed on his own account.
After all, the mayor has been claiming for years already to be working on the acceptance of sex workers at banks and improving the position of sex workers. Nothing however has changed in all those years, and many sex workers are still being refused at many banks. But now all of the sudden, when the mayor needs something to succeed for himself, he can arrange a bank to accept sex workers, that only months before still refused them. How come he didn't do this before also with other banks, if he has been claiming for years already to work on sex workers being accepted at banks?

Two things have become very clear on this matter. Triodos refused PROUD as customer, because they didn't want to be affiliated with the sex industry, and pinned it on a weak excuse of porn and exploitation, of which everyone knows this is bullshit. And so they are now trying to safe their face.
And the mayor of Amsterdam could have changed the minds of banks a long time ago, like he's been promising for years, but only does it when it is convenient for him, showing he really doesn't give a shit about sex workers, but only on his own projects to succeed.
We all know this Project Own Window is nothing but an diversion from the closure of more windows. We know the mayor doesn't really give a shit about sex workers. After all, he's been kicking out sex workers on the street since 2008, he's asked the Minister of Justice and Safety to violate our privacy rights knowing this is illegal, he still wants to continue with closing down more windows, and in fact even has closed down more windows than he promised, and now he all of the sudden can arrange a bank account for sex workers, while he has been claiming to be working on this for years already.

Dutch version


1 Response
  1. Kevin Finch Says:

    In addition it seems logical to say that if the Mayor and City Government can purchase this property as a sham of sorts they can also buy back all the windows they bought and sold as a part of Project 1012.


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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.