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

More anonymous reports of trafficking
Besides the questionable numbers of 'possible' victims that got presented last week, they also presented last week the numbers of anonymous reports of  'possible' trafficking. The difference between these two reports, is that the number of 'possible' victims is a combination of all the slight hunches people and organisations have regarding 'possible' victims in trafficking, and the anonymous 'possible' reports are just people who want to report 'possible' abuses in prostitution.

To start of with, between June 2014 and April 2015 they got 297 anonymous reports of possible trafficking. According to the anonymous tip line a huge success, at least 34% more reports than last year, almost as if more trafficking victims is something we should celebrate. But the question remains of course, are anonymous reports are also reliable. After all, just because someone thinks they see something suspicious doesn't make it so. So is there really more trafficking leading to more being reported, or are people just more paranoid? So let's delve a little deeper into the numbers.

The first thing that sticks out is the number of reports about illegal prostitution (prostitution without a permit). At least 207 reports were about illegal prostitution (70%), meaning only 90 reports were about legal prostitution (30%). In short, by far most reports were about illegal prostitution. This furthermore strengthens the conclusion of the recent report of the Ministry of Justice and Safety, that if any abuses occur, they are more likely to happen in the illegal prostitution rather than in the licenses prostitution. But just because prostitution happens without a license, doesn't mean there's also trafficking occurring. To illustrate they wrote:

 'People see an illegal brothel in a living area of above a cafe. They notice for example that every few months a couple of new women come to work there. They are brought and picked up from work, never go outside or sleep at their workplace.'

Okay, but just because something is happening in a place where they don't have a permit for it, doesn't mean these women are coerced or exploited. And just because new women come to work there, also doesn't prove a damn thing. And how can they never go outside, if someone comes to pick them up and brings them to work? And since when is sleeping at your workplace illegal? How many other people live and work at the same place, are they victims as well?
I'm not saying these couldn't be victims, but I'm starting to doubt whether these 207 reports about illegal prostitution were added because it was illegal prostitution (without a permit), or because someone actually had something to report about possible abuses taking place there. In short, are these reports about illegal prostitution itself, or the abuses?

The report also states they got 137 'concrete' signs of anonymous tippers. But what 'concrete' means never gets explained. It begs the question what 'concrete' signs means, and than what they consider to be no concrete signs. Does this simply mean they only got 137 reports that actually had information regarding possible trafficking, and the other 160 reports were just a bunch of people who had some hunches but not really anything that they could connect to trafficking? In short, does 'concrete' signs mean that the other reports were just a bunch of nonsense reports based on paranoid suspicion, or do they have another reason why they call these 137 reports 'concrete' signs?

They also talk about minors in prostitution, which is by definition trafficking, even if the minor is doing it willingly and is not being exploited. According to the report 22 'possible' minors were reported. Interesting is the use of the word 'possible', which suggests they also don't know if the victim truly was a minor or not. In other words, these 22 reports are just people reporting girls that look young, but just because she looks young doesn't make her a minor. Looks can be deceiving. Especially girls from Eastern Europe, like myself, often get looked upon as 'young'. I still get on a daily base the question if I'm old enough to do this job. Heck, I'm already 29 years old and I'm still getting this question! And I'm not the only one, many girls I know get that question. Fun fact here, most prostitutes in the Red Light District are actually closer to 30 than 18. In fact, there hardly are any girls younger than 25 in the busiest area of the Red Light District.

And what were the results? Well, at least 22 people got arrested, that doesn't prove they're also guilty, but still. That's about 7% of all the reports, exactly like last year (see link here). So even though 34% more reports were made, still only 7% leads to an arrest. In fact, last year they arrested 28 people.
So a lot of people reporting stuff, but in the end only 7% of them lead to an actual arrest. And 22 arrests aren't exactly world shocking considering the fact that there are an estimated 20.000 prostitutes working legal in this country. This is about 0,1% of all the legal working prostitutes in Holland, not exactly the numbers they so often claim. And looking at the number of legal prostitutes in Holland, since only 90 anonymous reports were about legal prostitution, that's about 0,5% of all the legal prostitutes in this country. 

Once again they prove the statistics don't match up to their claims. The National Rapporteur speaks of 1026 'possible' victims in the prostitution industry, while the number of court cases has remained the same approx. 280 cases a year already since 2007. There are 297 reports of 'possible' trafficking, but only 7% lead to an actual arrest just like last year, and by far the largest part comes from illegal prostitution. And since reports can be anonymous, it is not to say if the report is also reliable. I know for a fact for example, that the police often use the anonymous tip line when they have suspicions but not enough to start a case, because their suspicions are too vague. They'll call the anonymous tip line to report it anonymously, so it will get added to the case, and than they have a case to build things on. So in a lot of cases it's just the police trying to force a case when they have very little to go on.

The minister of Justice and Safety spoke this week about an increase in human trafficking, but reality is that there is no increase in actual trafficking. Just more people think they're reporting trafficking, but fact is that the number of cases a year has been the same for years already. People have just become more paranoid because this witch hunt on trafficking, based on a hype created by the city of Amsterdam and some abolitionists together with anti-trafficking organisations looking to profit from it. Reporting things that possibly could be happening doesn't prove it actually is happening. So an increase in there reports mean nothing. Facts however do prove something, and fact is that the number of court cases has been the same already since 2007, no increase at all!

Dutch version
Reporting 1561 'possible' victims of trafficking
The National Rapporteur Human Trafficking in The Netherlands has just released their new statistics on 'possible' human trafficking. Last year (2014) 1561 'possible' victims were reported. These are not just victims of trafficking in prostitution, but in all industries together. The number of 'possible' trafficking victims in the sex industry are however a large majority. A total of 1026 'possible' victims (66%) came from the sex industry, leaving 535 (33%) of the victims coming from other industries.

Of course the issue is the focus on trafficking in prostitution. Since almost every sex worker in Holland at one time or another gets investigated, whether or not he or she is a victim or not. Yet, other industries have much less focus on this. In short, the chances that a victim of trafficking is found in the prostitution industry is much higher, since that's what the focus is on. Yet the focus on other industries is much less, thus resulting in less reported 'possible' victims from those industries.

The 'possible' victims that get reported by the National Rapporteur are not all real victims. The reports are based on people on which suspicions arise that they could be victims. This is also the reason the National Rapporteur calls them 'possible' victims, because they're not sure if the people in these reports are actually victims, or not at all. In short, the reports are based on suspicions and not on facts. Also the definition used by organisations is questionable. For example the Dutch Royal Marshals (KMar) use also the definition of a sex worker who voluntarily and without being exploited, crosses the border with help to become a sex worker in another country, as a human trafficking victim (this would be law 273f 1,3). Not a victims of exploitation of coercion at all, but simply someone who received help with migration in a legal way.

But according to the report 1561 'possible' victims were reported. That's more than one year ago when 1437 'possible' victims were reported, but less than in 2012 when 1711 were reported. Looking back at the report of the National Rapporteur in 2000 it is quite a change, back than only 341 'possible' victims were reported. So where does this increase come from? Are there simply more victims to report, as abolitionist suggest, or could there be another reason why more 'possible' victims get reported? Or are simply more people incorrectly getting reported, based on incorrect suspicions?

What could give us an answer in this situation, are the actual court cases. After all, if really more 'possible' victims would really be actual victims, it should also result in more court cases. But when looking at these numbers you will see that little has changed. Yes, the number of court cases has gone up since 2000, from 144 court cases in 2000 to 278 court cases in 2014, but the increase in court cases (98%) isn't even close to the increase in reported 'possible' victims (358%) by the National Rapporteur.

Back in 2000 the number of court cases made up 42% of all the 341 reported 'possible victims. Right now the number of court cases only make up 17% of all the 1561 reported 'possible' victims. While back in 2000 the difference between reported 'possible' victims and court cases were only 134, right now that difference has gone up to 1220 more reported 'possible' victims versus actual court cases!

The figure above shows nicely how much the number of court cases has gone up versus the number of reported 'possible' victims since 2000. So while there is an increase, though slightly, in amount of actual court cases, the increase in reported 'possible' victims has been enormous. Especially since the year 2007 the number of reported 'possible' victims has increased enormously, and has taken on such steep rise compared to the actual court cases, that it seems like something is wrong. These two things suggest that a lot of more people are incorrectly getting reported as 'possible' victims, since the increase in amount of court cases isn't even remotely close to the amount of reported 'possible' victims. In short, people get reported as 'possible' victims, but they are not actually victims.

And this also got confirmed in the previous report of the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking, in which a number of these incorrectly reported 'possible' victims were written down. I'll give two examples here of women that got counted in the previous report of the National Rapporteur as 'possible' victims, to illustrate this:

"In the course of the controls of the so-called “risk flights” out of Bulgaria, the ‘sluisteam’ (part of the border control) of the KMar [Koninklijke Marechaussee: Royal Dutch Marechaussee, or Marshals] spoke with a Bulgarian woman. This woman has been checked multiple times by the KMar when she arrived in the Netherlands, and she indicated that this was tedious. She claims to (“still”) not have anything to do with prostitution. This time she says that she is coming to the Netherlands for 3 days to visit a number of friends.  From further observation by the KMar officers to identify a possible person picking her up it seems that the woman went to the information desk of the Dutch Railway (Nederlandse Spoorwegen or NS), then made contact with someone via a public telephone, and made contact with someone again with her mobile phone. She subsequently left the airport by train. The KMar registered the woman with CoMensha." (p. 78)

And another example here:
"In the course of the controls of the so-called “risk flights” out of Bulgaria, the ‘sluisteam’ (part of the border control) of the KMar at Schiphol spoke with a highly educated Bulgarian woman. The woman admitted during a conversation with the KMar officers that she has lived in Amsterdam since sometime in 2010 and since about then has worked as a prostitute in the Netherlands, for which she registered herself with the Chamber of Commerce. She couldn’t give her monthly earnings from prostitution, but she does report that the earnings are not much and that she has kept a written record of the precise details. She can give her expenses, which concern 1,250 euros for the rent of her house, 90 euros for the rent of a window during the day and 100 euros for the rent of a window at night. After the conversation with the woman, the KMar officers observed whether the woman would be picked up. However, this seemed not to be the case: the woman simply left the airport by taxi. She was reported for registration with CoMensha." (p.79-80):

The National Rapporteur therefore also specifies the reports made by the KMar (Dutch Royal Marshals) separate from the other reports. In the below figure you can see in red the number of reported 'possible' victims by all organisations, and in blue the number of reported 'possible' victims that only got reported by the KMar itself. Especially since 2012 the number of people being reported by the KMar alone has increased enormously. In 2012 the KMar reported immediatly 500 more victims than any other organisation did.Truly victims, or people being falsely reported as 'possible' victims?

This does explain the increase in number of 'possible' victims being reported between 2011 and 2012, which went up with a staggering 40% from the year before. But how come the number of reported 'possible' victims since 2007 has went up that much more versus the actual court cases? Well, one explanation may be the person who is the National Rapporteur. Back in 2000 Dien Korvinus was the National Rapporteur. Since 2007 however Corine Dettmeijer has become the National Rapporteur, and ever since than the numbers have gone up with 845 more people being reported as 'possible' victims in 8 years time. That, while her predecessor, Dien Korvinus, only had an increase of 238 reported 'possible' victims over a period of 7 years.

More interesting is the fact that since Corine Dettmeijer has started, the number of court cases have been pretty stable. When she started back in 2007, the number of court cases were 281, and last year the number of court cases were 278. Indeed, that's 3 less court cases than when she started. So in terms of court cases there has been no increase or decrease to speak of. While the number of reported possible victims went up from 716 in 2007 (already a raise of 137 from her predecessor the year before) to 1561 last year. That's an increase of 845 'possible' victims, while the court cases didn't go up at all!

When looking at the period of Korvinus however, the number of reports did go up with 238, but so did the number of court cases with 59. Indeed, the reports went up with more than the actual court cases, also percentage wise, but not to an incredible extend. While on the other hand, since Dettmeijer has been in office the number of court cases has dropped with 1%, while the number of reports has gone up with at least 118%.

So why do Dettmeijer her numbers of reports differ so much from the actual court cases? Is Dettmeijer to blame, or is something else at work here, that causes a huge increase in what people think they see and report, and the actual facts as presented in court. One explanation could be the fact that since Dettmeijer has started, the focus on trafficking in prostitution has risen to an insane amount. Around that same time the case of Saban B. caught the media's attention. And ever since than prostitution in The Netherlands has been under a magnifying glass. Each possible hint at something that may even look only slightly like human trafficking, is immediately being seen as proof of trafficking. While in reality the number of court cases has remained the same since 2007, people are just more suspicious of prostitution, resulting in a lot more people being reported as possible victims.

Dettmeijer is only the messenger. She doesn't create the numbers, she only reports about them. After all, she is the National Rapporteur. The organisations however that make up all these reports, seem to have become paranoid, and report almost everything as a sign of trafficking, resulting in a lot more reports, without it actually being real trafficking victims. Things like having a bruise is immediatly suspicious for organisations, to which sex workers get reported as 'possible' victims, while in reality that may not be the case at all. We are humans just like any other human being, and just like others we can get bruises from a lot of things, not just because we would supposedly be victims.

The case of Saban B., which got exploited by the city of Amsterdam as an excuse to close down window brothels, has led to a witch hunt. A witch hunt on trafficking victims, which in reality hasn't increased since 2007, but people think is happening a lot more since that time. This whitch hunt has created a 'human trafficking' hype, which abolisionists like Renaten van der Zee, Gert-Jan Segers, Dick Pels, Jojanneke van den Berge and Elma Verheij gladly use for their war on sex work. Human trafficking organisations have used this hype to increase their donations and subsidizing, using these incorrect suspicions.  Meanwhile the real victims of trafficking have become a victim of this witch hunt. Because more and more sex workers that aren't victims at all get reported as victims, police and other authorities waste a lot of their time on them, while that time would be better spend on the real victims of trafficking.

Dutch version

Closing brothels is closing eyes
'Closing brothels is closing eyes', that's the new report of academic scientists from the University of Utrecht about the closure of 165 window brothels in Utrecht. About two years ago the city government in Utrecht decided to close down all the window brothels in Utrecht, based on suspicions of human trafficking and abuses. Immediately the sex workers protested against the closures, not believing the accusations and feeling punished for something they didn't do. The mayor in Utrecht promised the windows to be re-opened as soon as possible, and the sex workers had the ability to start their own corporation to apply for the brothels.

Two years later, nothing has changed. Several corporations were founded, the Macha's and Freya, both never got a permit to run the brothels, because the city of Utrecht kept changing the rules of applying for a permit. In a recent court case the judge decided that the city government can no longer just refuse Freya a permit, and has to go in negotiations with them about it. This only strengthens the sex workers their believes that the city government of Utrecht had a hidden agenda, not really being interested in fighting crime in prostitution, but rather in real estate (sound familiar?), and that the refusal of permits was just a way to keep prostitution away. That, because the area in where most of these windows were situated, just happens to be the same place real estate companies want to built some new real estate buildings. And of course with prostitutes working only a couple of feet away from these brand new apartments, they needed to get rid of prostitution so the price of this real estate goes up. After all, nobody wants to life next to a prostitute.

Today scientists from the University of Utrecht presented their research on the closure of brothels in Utrecht. And their conclusion? The closure of windows have not improved the situation of sex workers, but made it much worse. The city government of Utrecht, which always claimed to keep track of where the women are now, have no idea what happened to the women or where they are now. In fact, the city government has hardly been interested in the well being of these sex workers at all, which is strange considering the reason for closing their workplaces. After all, didn't they close their workplaces down for their well being?

The report is devastating for the city government of Utrecht. And the report speaks about a 'human trafficking hype' that's being created purely based on 'gut feelings'. The supposed human trafficking was never found, and the supposed report of the city government of Utrecht which would prove so is 'confidential'. The sex workers interviewed for the research believe the reason the confidential report is 'confidential', is because there is no proof. It's again just people 'thinking' and 'feeling' stuff, but never based upon any actual proof. Yet again sex workers have become the victims of the stigma on sex workers as victims.

The parallels between what happened in Utrecht, with the closure of window brothels there, and Amsterdam, are remarkable. In my opinion not that strange. It looks like Amsterdam has become a proven model to get rid of prostitution in a successful way for other purposes, and Utrecht simply copied that to get rid of prostitution in their city. And just like in Amsterdam, also in Utrecht the motivations were never human trafficking and abuses, these were merely popular hypes used to justify their goals: profiting from real estate.

People who criticize this report, claim that the number of 30 sex workers that were interviewed for this report are not representable for a group of 300 women. Yet, exit polls used for predictions in politics, which are most of the times fairly accurate, are being held among about 3000 people, based on a population of 16 million people in Holland. That's only 0,02% of the total amount, while in this research about 10% of the total amount were being questioned. In short, the percentage of questioned sex workers for this report is much higher than those with exit polls, so why wouldn't they be representable? And above all, there is no other research done among more sex workers on this subject to proof otherwise.

The idea that 10% of the total amount of sex workers wouldn't be representable gets backed up by a claim made by authorities, like the city government of Utrecht, who claimed that there were 'many things wrong' in window prostitution in Utrecht, which according to them led to 600 signs of human trafficking and abuses. According to the city government of Utrecht, the situation was so bad, and there were so many things wrong, that the only responsible thing to do, was to close the entire area down. Yet, looking at a grand scale research done among 579 sex workers in Utrecht in 2012, concluded that they could only find with 13% of the women signs of trafficking. Not exactly the grand scale of 600 signs of human trafficking, unless each 'possible victim' was reported at least 12 times each.

The sex workers themselves however also don't recognize the image of human trafficking on large scale. In fact, most sex workers have not noticed anything, and the only sources they heard regarding human trafficking came from authorities themselves, and not their colleagues or themselves.
An interesting conclusion to this report seems to be the conclusion that if you as a person can't accept sex work as real work, it becomes much harder to believe that people are willing to voluntarily do this job, resulting in the assumption that most women would be forced into this job. Almost like a self fulfilling prophecy, something which is largely a myth becomes a reality because they believe this myth is true. A recognizable image I often see with police officers, who always assume you're a victim, simply because they can't imagine it themselves doing this job voluntarily, thus you must be a victim. Their inability to accept the idea of sex work as work, causes them to project their own ideas of victims on us.

The report about Utrecht shows us something we already know. Closing down windows doesn't help victims or sex workers, in fact, it makes their situation much worse. Many of the sex workers are now in a much more vulnerable position. Their situation has both in mental and physical aspect worsened, as well as their financial situation. Many are unemployed because of the closures, others work illegal, where there's little to no protection, and the chance of becoming victim is much higher, as also concluded by the ministry of Safety and Justice recently.
Many have started working illegal from hotels or their own homes, increasing illegal prostitution, which has already been growing in recent years in Holland. At the same time legal prostitution in Holland has decreased with 40%. In Amsterdam alone window prostitution has been decreased already with 33%, but according to the mayor of Amsterdam this has not resulted in an increase in illegal prostitution, even though there's no research at all available about what happened to the women who lost their legal workplaces, or who those women are that work illegal.

The report from Utrecht is very clear about things. The women have been punished for something nobody has any proof of. Human trafficking still hasn't been proven, and the only report which supposedly would proof, is a secret. More than 300 women have become a victim of these closures, which were meant to fight human trafficking and abuses, and improve these women their situation. While in reality their situation has only worsened, none of them ever noticed anything about human trafficking or abuses, and the proof is still missing. Most women are either unemployed or working illegal, since there are no more legal workplaces available. In short, the closures of window brothels has not improved the situation, but only worsened the situation for these women. And the women have become the victim of policies made by politicians.

You could almost copy the report for the situation in Amsterdam. The only difference between Amsterdam and Utrecht, is that in Amsterdam the time table is much longer, and they haven't closed down everything thing yet, they're just closing down in phases. The results however are much the same. The position of sex workers is not being improved, and not a single victim is being helped by closing down the window brothels. Closing down brothels is just closing your eyes.
The truth is out now in Utrecht, and I hope for their sake that those responsible for the closure of the window brothels will be punished, since they acted against the interest of sex workers, and not in their favor, unlike how they pretended. I hope one day the same thing will happen in Amsterdam, and those responsible will be taken down as well. But most of all I hope all windows to be re-opened that were closed on false suspicions to which the sex workers became victims of being seen as a victim.

Dutch version