Human trafficking decreasing in The Netherlands
This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking. At the same time the city of Amsterdam published their annual report on prostitution in Amsterdam, also with some trafficking statistics.

Less human trafficking than last year
The numbers the Dutch Rapporteur reported where from 2015, and they reported 1,321 possible victims of trafficking in The Netherlands. That is 15% less than the year before, when they reported 1,561 possible victims. About 66% of the possible victims come from the sex industry. In 2015 there were 827 possible victims in prostitution, which is 19% less than in 2014, when it where 1,026 possible victims. In short, less people are being reported as possible victims in the prostitution industry, almost 20% less.

The Dutch Rapporteur reports solely 'possible' victims. In short, these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims. Of course the real question is, are they reporting only a part of a much larger group of trafficked victims, or are they reporting too many people incorrect as possible victims as a result of the hype on human trafficking from the past decade.

Interesting is that the largest decrease in possible victims come from the Dutch Royal Marshals (KMar). They reported 46% less possible victims than they year before. This is especially interesting since before they were responsible for reporting a large portion of the possible victims from prostitution under an article that does not require the victims to be coerced or exploited in any way. In fact, simply receiving help to cross the border, without being coerced or exploited in any way, was enough to become a victim of human trafficking. This only applies to people working in the sex industry. It is mainly this portion of 'possible' victims that are being reported less. 

The Dutch National Rapporteur claims the decrease in reported possible victims is no reason to assume there are less victims. This is kind of weird, since what she reports are assumptions, in other words, there's absolutely a reason to assume there are less victims because she reports them. The Dutch Rapporteur blames the Dutch Royal Marshals and police for this, claiming that there is 'less attention' for the problems of human trafficking. I sincerely doubt this, especially since there's no evidence to support this claim, and also because the attention for human trafficking has not diminished at all if you simply look at the media attention for trafficking from both of these sources. 

But the Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking claims this all has to do with the huge stream of people fleeing from war from the Middle East. According to her the problems of smuggling people across the border has taken away the attention from human trafficking. This is very weird, since border control has become much tighter because of these problems, which should result in also more possible human trafficking victims being uncovered, and not less. After all, if you check more people, the chance is also bigger that you'll actually find something. So there's a big flaw in her logic to explain the decrease in her own statistics. 
More likely either the National Rapporteur really believes this herself, which just shows how tunnel visioned she works. Or she knows this is not really the case, but simply claims this in hopes that she'll still get enough attention and funding from the Dutch government. After all, if the problem is smaller, this might affect the budget the government is giving you.

For those who want a percentage of how many prostitutes might be forced or exploited. Since there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000 (some people claim 25.000 or 30.000), it would come down to about 4,1%. This is quite far away from the numbers that often dominate the Dutch media, in which (interestingly) often public prosecutors and politicians claim much higher numbers (70%, 50%, 90%, 95% etc.), even though there's not a shred of evidence or even a slight hint that these percentages hold any realistic value. All these numbers are always based on pure estimations, without any research at all.

Very little victims in prostitution in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam there are an estimated 6,750 sexworkers working, which means they hold about more than a quarter of all the sexworkers working in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is of course famous for it's Red Light District, even though this is only a small portion of the total amount of sexworkers in Amsterdam. There are about 1,000 sexworkers working behind the windows, of which about 600 in Amsterdam's Red Light District of which I am one.

So one might think that a large number of possible victims come from Amsterdam, considering the fact that about more than a quarter of all the sexworkers in The Netherlands work here. So you'll probably surprised to hear that only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam, according to the numbers of the city itself. This would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam.

Now of course, just like with the numbers of the National Rapporteur, these 'possible' victims are just suspicions. In short, just because the police or a city official thinks a girl might be a victim doesn't make it true. Especially considering the fact that prostitutes are often being portrayed in the media as victims, while in reality a lot of them are definitely not (speaking from own experience). So what's interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges. And in 2015 we where talking about 33 victims actually pressing charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013). In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as 'possible' victims.

And for those who think that indeed the Dutch Rapporteur could be correct about there being less attention for human trafficking. Or that perhaps the police and city officials don't do enough to track it down. On window prostitution alone city officials checked windows about 1321 times (they report it by location, which was 436 times on 130 locations, but there are 394 windows, so I had to made a rough calculation). On top of that comes the police who check windows about 545 times, plus an additional 75 times from the GGD (Dutch Governmental Health Care). That brings us in total to 1941 times that 394 windows where checked. And than I haven't even talked about the other checks they do in other prostitution forms. The 18 sex clubs in Amsterdam where checked in total 93 times for example. And on top of that come the 2196 contacts that the Amsterdam Health Center for prostitutes (P&G292), who also report possible victims to the police, had with sexworkers themselves.

Looking at the previous year, the number of checks done by both the police and city officials has remained roughly the same. In 2014 for example there where 1765 checks by police and city officials, so it's even a bit more than last year. In short, the conclusion of the Dutch Rapporteur that there would be less attention for human trafficking does not seem to be supported at all by the numbers from Amsterdam. In fact, there's slightly more attention for this problem. This is especially interesting since Amsterdam is responsible for a large part (more than 25%) of the sex industry in the Netherlands. 

As you can see the numbers of trafficking in Amsterdam are very low, despite the fact that there's a lot of control from the government on it, and despite the fact that Amsterdam is responsible for about 25% of the entire industry in The Netherlands. Numbers and statistics that some politicians, like for example Lodewijk Asscher or Eberhard van der Laan, or even public prosecutors such as Jolanda de Boer or Werner ten Kate, have spoke of before are absolute nonsense. Looking at the facts, you can clearly see who has a hidden agenda. Politicians such as Asscher and Van der Laan just claim such nonsense because they want to close down windows. And unfortunately public prosecutors such as Ten Kate and De Boer are apparently just very much against the idea of legal prostitution. 

This is also the reason why the numbers they call out always differ so much. For example before in Amsterdam they claimed that more than half of the prostitutes where forced, while later they claimed that it is about 400 a day in Amsterdam, quite a big difference. The numbers are not even close to what's being reported, it's more like 100 tops, since only 33 a year actually press charges and suspicions about possible victims could be wrong. They always use completely different numbers, which should already be a reason to be suspicious, because once their previous numbers are being debunked, they need to switch to new ones until those are being debunked as well. For Amsterdam especially their claims are interesting, since the numbers that come from the city itself show a completely different image from what they claim themselves.

And if you don't believe me. Just click on the links I posted in this article, they'll hook you up directly to the statistics published by the Dutch Rapporteur and city of Amsterdam itself.

Dutch version



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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.