Overestimating trafficking victims to hide the truth
Shocking numbers from the Dutch Rapporteur Human Trafficking where presented last week. According to the Dutch Rapporteur the number of trafficking victims are even higher than they thought, an estimated 6,250 people according to her. But what most media and people missed was the fact that the number of people that were reported as possible victims are the lowest numbers in years, and the estimations are highly flawed.

Estimations based on flawed numbers
First of all, the estimated number of victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands is 6,250 people according to the Dutch Rapporteur. Those numbers are highly questionable, since they are based on flawed numbers, and basing an estimation based upon flawed numbers is not very reliable. Interestingly enough the Dutch Rapporteur herself claims the estimations are very reliable, but then again, who wouldn't say that if they made the estimations themselves?

Flaws in reporting victims
The estimations are based on reports. Not reports of the number of victims of human trafficking, as people often thing. No, they're based upon the number of people 'they' have suspicions about that they could be victims. In short, they're not all real victims, some could be, many other may not be, it's all purely based on loose speculation. No proof, no evidence or even solid signs are required. No, in fact, even the slightest suspicions are used to beef up the number of 'possible' victims. In short, the number of 'possible' victims are flawed by default, since they're not based on anything other than what some people 'think'.

Proof of flawed reports from the past
I'm not just claiming the reported number of 'possible' victims are flawed, I also have proof that this happened frequently and on large scale in the past. For example, in 2012 the Dutch Rapporteur reported a record number of possible victims. According to the Dutch Rapporteur 'the tip of the ice berg'. In total 1,711 people where reported as 'possible' victims. A large part of that coming from prostitution, in total 1,216 people where reported in prostitution as possible victims.

This year however the Dutch Rapporteur wrote in her report that those numbers where basically incorrect. The numbers of 2012 have now been adjusted to in total 1,256 possible victims, in stead of 1,711. A small mistake of 424 people being 'mistaken' for victims. And funny enough, they're all people from the sex industry. Meaning, the number of possible victims from prostitution in 2012 shouldn't have been 1,216 but rather 792 people.

Reporting innocent sex workers as victims
In the past 5 years they reported in total 1,314 sex workers incorrectly as possible victims of human trafficking. That is in total 19% of all the reported possible victims in the last 5 years, almost a third of all the 'possible' victims in prostitution they reported incorrectly. All of the incorrect reported victims were migrant sex workers, and in the latest report of the Dutch Rapporteur she explains how they were able to make such a huge mistake.

Migration was mistaken for trafficking
Basically what happened is that they were mistaking migration with human trafficking when it regarded sex workers. In fact, the Dutch Rapporteur even wrote a couple of years ago an article, claiming how sex workers that were not being exploited or coerced should still be considered victims of human trafficking if they received help to migrate. The Dutch Rapporteur even called out judges to uphold this, and presented the number of convictions of people who were convicted only for helping migrating sex workers, and the number of people that went free because the judge ruled that helping someone migrating was not human trafficking if there was no form of coercion or exploitation.

High Court ruled migration is not trafficking
It wasn't until the summer of 2016 when all of this changed. The Dutch High Court ruled in a court case that helping a sex worker migrating was officially not human trafficking. Immediately this changed a lot of things, since especially the Dutch Royal Marshals that do border patrol at the airports, where trained to report any sex worker that might have received help, as a possible victim of human trafficking. They had been doing this since around 2012, because the number of possible victims they reported before was almost non-existent. Apparently they found it hard to believe that there were so few sex workers trafficked, and thus they trained the Royal Marshals into spotting and reporting any migrant sex worker as possible victims that might have received any help.

Excuse for lower numbers
As a result of the fact that now they can't count migration as human trafficking anymore when it comes to sex work, the number of possible victims in 2016 were a lot lower than in previous years. In fact, they reverted back to the same size we had before they started reporting migrating sex workers as victims. This is especially noticeable if you look at the number of possible victims only reported working in prostitution. You'll notice how in years before they started doing this, it was never even above 1,000 possible victims, but when they started reporting migrating sex workers, the numbers went up to even around 1,200 victims in prostitution. But since now that has been reverted, they had to come up with an excuse why the numbers got lower, resulting in a flawed estimation based upon vague suspicions, which are far from reliable, as you can read here.

The system is flawed
Basically the whole system of reporting 'vague' suspicions is a flawed system if you want to get a reliable estimation of the size of human trafficking, especially when it comes to prostitution. After all, right now they are 'assuming' that every vague suspicion is correct. And even worse, that they are only reporting a very small portion of the total size of human trafficking, basically based upon no information at all. Because there is literally no indication that the size of human trafficking is as big as the number of possible victims they report, let alone much bigger.

People are biased when it comes to prostitution
The big problem with reporting possible victims, is the fact that people are often biased when it comes to prostitution. Often people by default assume that women are victims of trafficking, thus resulting in incorrectly reporting sex workers as victims based on 'vague' suspicions, rather than actual evidence or any proof. The stigma of sex work as something a women would never want to do, is reinforcing the number of 'possible' victims, thus resulting in an incorrect image about human trafficking in prostitution.

Real statistics even far lower
And no, I'm not just trying to put a bright face on things. I have good reason to suspect the number of possible victims isn't even close to the number of real victims. Because if you look at the total number of cases the Dutch justice system handles, it doesn't even come close to the huge number of possible victims they report. Every year the Dutch justice system handles around 250-300 cases a year. Compare that to the 1,100 possible victims they averagely report every year in the last 10 years, and you can see there's a huge difference that doesn't make sense. And I'm not even talking about the number of actual convictions of human trafficking, which is even far lower, around 120 convictions each year.

Invisible victims nobody can find
Everything is based on the assumption that victims are scared, and would never or rarely ever go to the police, and therefore never or rarely press charges. But if that would be true, and every year we would have around 1,100 victims a year, that's in 10 years around 11,000 victims. Yet the number of cases each year is somewhere around 275 average, meaning this would be around 2,750 victims that got free. If we therefore have to believe the Dutch Rapporteur there are still around 8,000 victims who never went to the police to press charges for over 10 years, and I find that very hard to believe, especially if the number of reported 'possible' victims is going down in stead of up as well as the number of cases. It's like everyone is chasing a ghost, that everyone is convinced of exists, and they keep chasing it, but they can never find. Well, let me tell you, if after 10 years you're still not able to find it, there's a big chance it never existed.

The 'hidden ice berg'
But the big problem is that people find it difficult to accept the truth that women most of the time choose to do prostitution out of free will. People still have trouble accepting the fact the women can have a free choice, and not everything is being controlled by men. And people apparently also find it very difficult to accept that women are okay with sex, and can take control themselves, rather than men. It's so hard for them to accept, that when actual statistics don't match up with their own ideas, they think they're missing something, thus resulting in manipulation of numbers to uncover this 'hidden ice berg' that doesn't exist. And that's exactly what the Dutch Rapporteur is doing. She has no reason to assume there is more human trafficking than the number of people they report as possible victims, but because they simply can't believe that, so they multiply the number until they get a number that matches their own imagination.

Dutch version

New Dutch government criminalizes prostitution further
The Netherlands is forming a new government, and seems to be nearly finished with it's proposals. The last details of their agreement are now being worked out, and one of them regards the new prostitution policy. The new prostitution policy could have gone either way, either in favor of sex workers or against them, since the new coalition exists out of VVD (liberals), D66 (democrats) but also two christian parties, CDA and ChristenUnie. And especially the ChristenUnie is a hardliner against prostitution, although they cleverly disguise it as an anti-human trafficking policy.

Today however it got announced that the new prostitution policy will include a pimp ban, criminalizing any pimp without a license. And yes, I know what you are thinking. Could pimps get licenses in The Netherlands? Well, no. At least, not what most people think are pimps. Because this is exactly where the ChristenUnie has the upper hand, they are much better informed about prostitution, and they're using it against us. While other pro-prostitution parties such as D66 in general are less well informed, and the ChristenUnie is playing that card very well during the negotiations.

Even the newsreports don't even know what the new plan actually is. Some newsreports are reporting that the pimp ban will be re-introduced. Others report that 'illegal pimps' will not just be fined, but even will get jail time. But the question of course becomes, can you also be a legal pimp? Because is there something as a pimping license? Well, no. There's no licence for pimps in The Netherlands, so by definition all pimps are illegal.

Now for those of you that are thinking now: how come The Netherlands never criminalized pimps? Well, if you're thinking about people who force women into prostitution and/or exploit them. They are already criminalized, since this is called human trafficking. So if this is what you're talking about, than a pimp is simply called a human trafficker, and that person is already a criminal by the Dutch law. In short, this new law doesn't fight human trafficking, forced prostitution or exploitation. But it seems to be talking about something else than just a human trafficker.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what the new coalition means with a pimp, since often people have no idea what the definition of a pimp is. But if we have to believe the newsreports, they are talking about 'people who financially profit from prostitutes'. And the new plan is to criminalize people who do this without a license.

So who exactly will be targeted with this new law? Well, the list of people that could be considered 'people who financially profit from prostitutes without a license' is very long. For example, my bookkeeper financially profits from prostitutes, and he doesn't have a prostitution license. Or for example my mother, whom I frequently send money to, to support her.
But the list becomes much longer. For example chauffeurs who drive around escort girls. Or what to think about security guys, who protect prostitutes from harm, they also don't have a prostitution license.

In short, there are a lot of people who profit from prostitutes financially without a license. But that doesn't make them bad people. In fact, many of these people help us. But that just might be exactly the plan of the ChristenUnie, to make our work much more difficult, and slowly reduce prostitution in The Netherlands this way.

But most importantly, it doesn't help fighting human trafficking. After all, just because you criminalize a larger group of people, doesn't make it easier to find evidence in human trafficking cases. The only thing it does, is putting a lot more people in jail for no reason. The other thing is that it just makes the lives of a lot of sex workers more difficult. And the more difficult their lives will become, the more they will be depending on others, and that makes them vulnrable to human trafficking. In short, this law will only increase human trafficking dramatically.

Of course, this will also result in more people being arrested and eventually convicted. And once that happens, the ChristenUnie will have statistics showing that the number of convicted people profiting from prostitutes have increased a lot, claiming they're approach works, and more people ending up in jail who are actually innocent. In short, this law is extremely dangerous, and makes me wonder how far they will go with labeling people 'profiting from prostitution'. I mean, will they soon also arrest the clerks at the bank, because the bank is profiting from me as a prostitute, and they don't have a license for this? So would that mean that banks will start to refuse me out of fear of being seen as an 'illegal pimp'.

And things can go very crazy. For example, even the supermarket profits from me being a prostitute. So are they going to arrest people from the supermarket as well? And does that mean they will refuse me as well if they would find out I am a prostitute? In short, do I need to start hiding the fact that I am a prostitute more, out of fear that the people that profit from me won't let me buy stuff from them anymore, or use their services? And doesn't this make us much more vulnrable? Especially if there will be a prostitution register, like how the new coalition is proposing right now, to register all the prostitutes.

Because after all. If nobody wants to do business with us anymore, because they would be considered criminals. The only people that still would want to do business with us, are the real criminals, because they will know we are vulnrable, so they can exploit us much easier. In short, isn't this just a short cut to handing over the entire industry to criminals?

The weirdest thing is the fact that they used the fact that illegal prostitution is growing as an argument. After all, the reason why illegal prostitution is growing in The Netherlands, is because of the fact that cities such as Amsterdam, has closed down so many window brothels for example. In short, this is a result of their own policies, not because so many prostitutes love to work illegal. Sex workers want to work legal, but cities make that impossible by reducing workplaces for prostitutes with over 40%.

In short, if they really want to reduce illegal prostitution, they shouldn't be targeting people profiting from prostitutes, but they should give us back the workplaces we have lost due to gentrification projects such as Project 1012 in Amsterdam, and the closure of the windows on boats in Utrecht.

Dutch version

NY Times twisting truth about Red Light District Amsterdam
A couple of days ago the NY Times posted an article and a video about the Red Light District of Amsterdam and the prostitution policy in The Netherlands. The video and the article gives an incorrect image about the Red Light District, as it also used only a very small portion of my one and a half hour interview with them, of which they only used the parts of me explaining how human trafficking works in reality.

Initially I was approached by them to do an interview, reluctantly I agreed, since this was the NY Times and they claimed they wanted to "show a different side". That turned out to be a lie, since they cut out all the positive things I've said during that one and a half hour, and the only thing they left in was about human trafficking. That is definitely not "showing a different side", in fact that's showing exactly the same thing that I oppose to. The interview was supposed to be about My Red Light, but none of the things I've said during that interview about My Red Light was ever used.

So let's start with the beginning of what's wrong with this, and that's a lot. The video states that after the legalization of prostitution in 2000, the Red Light District of Amsterdam was overrun by human trafficking. That's simply not true. First of all because the legalization of prostitution already took place in 1809 and not in 2000 as is stated in the video. I repeatedly stressed this fact, but somehow it got left out.

Secondly the Red Light District was NEVER overrun by human trafficking. This is simply not true. Yes, human trafficking does occur like in any other industry, but these are incidents. The explanation that is given by me in the video therefore also only applies to those situations where people have become victims of trafficking. Which certainly applies to my comment about helping victims of trafficking, and how these women should get help to enter the industry before they become a victim, because if you're starting to help these workers after they've started working, it's already too late, and they've already become victims. But I cannot stress this enough, that this only applies to those that need help with this and have nobody else to turn to, and therefore become a victim, which is only a small portion of the workers. The majority are not victims!

The video continues with my protest against the closure of prostitution windows in the Red Light District, saying I helped organized it. No, I didn't help organize it, I was the organizer. It was my idea, lots of people, including other sex workers weren't supportive of this idea and didn't think it could be done. I proved them wrong by organizing the largest demonstration of sex workers in the Netherlands ever!

The video also incorrectly states the response to that demonstration was My Red Light, and the article writes about how the protests led to 'regular meetings between the city and protesters'. This is bullshit. First of all, My Red Light was already announced in February of 2015 under the working title Project Own Window on nation wide TV. The demonstration came after this in April of 2015. So the project was never a response to a demonstration that had yet to take place. And I also was never invited after this demonstration by anyone to come and talk about anything. In fact, the mayor promised us a letter he never wrote. So none of this is true.

One of the interesting things someone from My Red Light says in the video, is that because of My Red Light sex workers don't have to hide anymore what profession they're doing. But this is simply not true. My Red Light hasn't de-stigmatized prostitution in The Netherlands, and the women that currently work there still hide it, because of the stigma on sex work. In fact, all the media outings of My Red Light thusfar, has only increased the stigma on sex work, by claiming that they're the only 'pimp free' brothel, furhter stigmatizing all the other sex workers as victims. And this was also what most of my interview was about, about how My Red Light has only further stigmatized sex workers as victims.

One of the people featuring in this video is also Jolanda de Boer, former public prosecutor on human trafficking in Amsterdam. She's a prostitution abolitionist who's already made a lot of false claims about prostitution in the Red Light District. She claims not every women is forced, but 'a lot of women are'. She fails to mention however what she calls 'a lot', because of course than she would have to admit that she handles only around 30 cases of human trafficking in prostitution in Amsterdam a year. And to give you guys some notion of scale, the Red Light District is only about 10% of the entire prostitution industry in Amsterdam, which is estimated to be around 4000 sex workers. And in the past 5 years(!), they have reported suspicions of human trafficking on an additional 7 sex workers in window prostitution in Amsterdam!!!!

The voice-over then incorrectly states that I would agree that 'some sex workers are connected to pimps, but that for many of them it's a necessary evil'. That's simply not true. I said some sex workers need help to get started in this work, and that's how some of them end up in the hands of pimps, but that many sex workers don't have a pimp. Most girls simply start working here without becoming a victim. Also because helping a sex worker is not a crime, as long as people don't exploit or coerce them. Just because you help a sex worker to get started, doesn't mean you're a pimp. And with pimp in this article I of course mean human trafficker, because the interviewer apparently doesn't know there's a difference between a pimp and a human trafficker.

Jolanda de Boer gets a say about why supposedly the sex workers initially involved with My Red Light where turned down. She mentions all sorts of serious crimes, such as money laundering, terrorism, drug dealing, fraud on a huge scale etc., none of which apply to the sex workers that where initially promised a position in My Red Light. So she makes it sound like there was a good reason to turn these people down, by mentioning all these serious crimes, but these sex workers didn't do any of those serious crimes.

Interestingly enough, the same background check they did on the sex workers that where turned down for My Red Light, also applies to existing brothel operators, and yet Jolanda de Boer and the city still claim these brothel operators are criminals or used to be criminals, even though they always passed the test to secure their license. And the only one time one brothel operator didn't at first passed the test, he sued the city for this, because he was falsely being accused of crimes he never committed and finally got his license renewed because the city lost the court case. In short, the explanation Jolanda de Boer just have in this video opposes the claims the city and Jolanda de Boer have made in the past about dirty money being involved in the Red Light District and how the Red Light District had 'criminal elements', and thus why it should have been gentrified.

Of course Jolanda de Boer, being the abolitionist, loves to question 'how many sex workers there would be in the Red Light District if there wouldn't be any pimps'. Well, the answer to that is quite simple Jolanda, just as many as there are right now. Because even though some are victims of trafficking, and occasionally it happens that one of these victims did not have the intention to start doing this job, fact is that more than 99% of the girls consciously chose to do this job, and there are plenty of other girls waiting to take over the window of others that do not want to work here.

The article further talks, like the video, about how Project 1012 would be focused on removing the criminal elements. I had an extensive talk about the fact that there where hardly any criminal elements in the Red Light District, which is also the reason why none of the brothel owners ever got their licenses revoked due to any criminal activities. Project 1012 has literally not removed any criminal elements at all, since they where hardly there to begin with. We have to thank for that, the strict screening Jolanda de Boer talks about in the video.

Furthermore the article also incorrectly states the fund behind My Red Light bought the buildings from the city, and thus all the ties between the brothel and the city are now cut. This is simply not true. In fact, my fiancé even send the journalist from the NY Times the official documents proving the city is still the owner of the property of My Red Light, and is official the owner of these brothels, and not the fund like how it's claimed in this article. So the the ties between the city and My Red Light was never cut!

Furthermore the article continues about the beautiful design of My Red Light. I also gave my opinion about this extensively during my interview. None of that was used however. Because the fact is, that the design is the biggest flaw of My Red Light. Window prostitution works because you draw the attention of people passing by with red lights in your room. My Red Light however has made all their rooms black with black tiles, resulting in the fact that all the rooms are extremely dark, and thus does not attract the attention of people passing by. It is the reason many sex workers tried My Red Light for a couple of days, before leaving those workplaces again. They simply don't make money there, because the rooms are too dark, and people can hardly see them.

I am extremely disappointed in this interview. The promises of what they said the interview would be about where never used. Of all the good things I said, all the criticism on Project 1012 and My Red Light, none of it was used. The only thing they used of my interview was my explanation about how human trafficking works in reality, in relation to how My Red Light doesn't solve this issue in any way, as opposed to how they claim.

This proves to me one more time that journalists are liars. I dare the NY Times to publish the full interview I did with them, uncut, so people can hear the real criticism and realities of the Red Light District, rather than this fake news article.

Original Tours making fun of trafficking victims and prostitutes
Ever wanted to have a fun time with friends? Well, how about visiting the Red Light District Escape Room, where you have to escape from a window brothel before your 'pimp' returns, isn't that a fun idea?! Yes, this is now possible in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. A great way to profit over the existence of prostitutes in the area, as well as profiting over victims of human trafficking, plus as as a  bonus you get to increase the stigma of sex workers as victims!

This is something that Original Tours & Activities Nederland B.V. is now offering in the Red Light District. A fun experience, where you get locked up in a fake window brothel, and you have to 'escape' by following the clues in the room within 60 minutes, before your 'pimp' comes back. According to the website the hilarious rating is 8/10, with a difficulty degree of 4 stars and an escape ratio of 63%. The costs? Only €14,50 per person, or €12,50 with 13 people or more. Or you can book the room with 7 people or less for €100,-.

Apparently Original Tours things it's hilarious, I think it's the most disrespectful thing you can do to make money on. Original Tours signed on the 3rd of April of this year a convenant with other tour guides and the city. The goal of this convenant, among other things, was to respect sex workers who are working in the Red Light District. It's one of the reasons why some of the rules include not taking pictures of prostitutes behind the windows, not to stop in front of the window brothels or in narrow alleys where there are windows.

But Original Tours doesn't seem to care about the sex workers. They only seem to be interested to make profit over them, and even further stigmatize them as victims with this 'fun activity'. But worst of all, think about how those victims of trafficking must feel that now people can have 'fun' experiencing what they experienced, and that people are even making money over this. In fact, they seem to think it's hilarious to have to escape from a pimp with a rating of 8 out of 10. I wished the people behind this company would experience it for real to see how much fun it is to be a victim!

This is the most disgusting way of profiting from sex workers I've ever seen. Not only are they making fun of trafficking victims, and stigmatizing the sex workers that aren't. They make it sound like having a pimp and escaping one is an 'exciting' thing to do. This company is absolutely disgusting for offering something like this. It shows they have absolutely zero respect for us as sex workers, and I sincerely hope the politicians in this city are going to do something about this. This company should be banned from the Red Light District forever!

Scrap these people from the list of companies that signed the convenant, ban them as a company to organize any activities having to do with the Red Light District or prostitution or human trafficking. Whether you care about sex workers right's, or about the victims of human trafficking. Whether you support prostitution or not, this should not be allowed!

Please share this post and raise awareness over the disgusting way these people are making money over our backs, and raise more awareness over sex workers right's.

First tour company co-founded by a prostitute
I have some exciting news to share! After a long time of thinking about this, I've finally decided to be a part of a tour company that offers guided tours through the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Which means that from now on you can actually book a tour and get to meet me!

I came up with this idea already more than a year ago. Every day I see tour guides showing the Red Light District of Amsterdam and talking about us, like they know a thing about us. Often talking complete bullshit, it has become a hassle for many girls. Even more so because some of these groups are quite large (even up to 80 people!) and they more and more often stand in the wrong places (in front of the windows for example), and don't respect the rules of the neighborhood. And it wouldn't be so bad if it would bring in some customers for us, but reality is that they don't. They show the neighborhood, they point us out, talk about us, but leave with the group and you never see those people back anymore.

So basically it comes down to the fact that they're making money from our existence, while we don't get a single cent from it. After all, if we wouldn't be there, there wouldn't be a Red Light District, and they wouldn't be able to ask people money for a tour through the Red Light District. So they're profiting from us, without sharing that profit with any of us.

So I thought, why not do it myself? But because there are so many tour guides already in the area, I needed something unique, something no other tour guide is offering. So I talked the idea over with someone else a while ago who also does tours, and he suggested that I should be a part of the tour to talk about my experiences during the tour. After all, there is no tour out there that features a real prostitute. And to make things even more exclusive, we talked with my brothel operator if we could show a window brothel on the inside during our tour, which he was happy to do.

And now, after a lot of hard work on the website, we're finally open for business.  It's the first tour company co-founded by an active window prostitute. We offer daily tours through the Red Light District with several options. Our standard Red Light District Tour is offered with our tour guide. If you want a meet and greet with myself, and hear about my experiences working behind the windows and ask me questions, you can book the Meet A Prostitute Tour. You can also pay a visit with a tour guide to a real window brothel, and take a look behind the scenes inside our workplaces. And for those that want everything together, we offer the ability to meet me inside one of the window brothels, where you can take a look inside a window brothel, and I'll explain how everything works, and I'll talk about my experiences.

I'm really excited about this new business, because it gives everyone the opportunity to talk with a real working prostitute from the Red Light District, and even to take a look inside a real window brothel. So no more bullshit stories, no more false information, but the real story behind the Red Light District from a real prostitute who actually works there!

Tours can be booked on our website, which you can find at RedLightDistrictAmsterdamTours.com

Dutch version

The bullshit of My Red Light
I promised myself that I would never pay anymore attention to My Red Light. But today again there's a media storm about My Red Light, which bugged me so much that I simply have to write about it, in order to set a lot of things straight.

Let's start with the first and most important thing. My Red Light was supposed to be a brothel run by sex workers. Well, that failed. It's as simple as that. There's an entire board of so called 'experts' in a 'Council of Supervision' who have the real power and control over this brothel. These people include people from aid organisations such as the SOA Aids Fund, HVO Querido, a former public prosecutor, a bar/restaurant owner and people like this. But no sex workers apparently because we're not smart enough to do this, right? We're not educated enough, right? Because everybody always try to offer us some form of education, like we're dumb or uneducated or something. Little do they know that many sex workers working in the Red Light District finished their college, have a degree or even finished university!

Sex workers that participated in this project since the very beginning where turned down jobs to run the brothel, because they didn't get through the 'screening'. In other words, they wouldn't be 'good enough' to run the brothel. In stead of picking a sex worker with experience behind the windows at least to be the manager, they actually picked one of the other brothel operators as the manager in My Red Light. I'm confused. I thought these where the people that treated us so bad that we needed to start our own brothel, and now you hire them as manager?

The claims about My Red Light being a brothel where women don't need a pimp and wouldn't be depending on brothel operators are a lie. First of all, women in the Red Light District don't need a pimp, that's why we have the police. It's also implying that other brothels are full of girls with pimps, and they wouldn't be, but also that is complete bullshit. They have just as much chance to have girls working there with a pimp as any other brothel.

The argument that because of My Red Light sex workers wouldn't be depending on a brothel operator anymore is an argument that even a 3 year old can see through. My Red Light IS a brothel operator. So yes, we're still as depending brothel operators now with My Red Light as before, nothing has changed! They're just pretending to be better, which also makes me kind of wonder why they need to do that, if they really are better. Trouble finding girls to rent your rooms, people? Is that perhaps the reason you need to attract so much attention? And is this perhaps the reason why none of the girls I know want to work there?

The working conditions would be better? That's also bullshit. The working conditions are the same, since they do exactly the same thing as other brothel operators. There is absolutely nothing new about this. They're just another new brothel, that's it. The rental conditions are mostly either the same or much worse than with other brothels.

For example:
I want to rent a room. At My Red Light this will cost me 160 euro. But two of the biggest brothel operators offer me a room for 150 or 155. So they're more expensive. Heck, there are even brothel operators that rent out rooms for 130! So that's not certainly not an improvement, they're the avarage price. So no improvement there.

Second example:
I want to rent a room for the whole week, but want one day free. At other brothels they give me one day free and I don't have to pay, some even offer 2 days free. At My Red Light this is the same.

Third example:
I want to go on holiday for a month. At My Red Light I can't, because they only allow you 3 weeks of vacation max. But with my current brothel I could even go for 2 months maybe and it wouldn't be a problem. So that's much worse.

Fourth example:
I want to quit my job, because I really don't want to do this anymore. At my current brothel operator I can just leave, just like that. But at My Red Light you have to cancel your room one week in advance! In short, they're actually forcing you to work one more week! I thought this project was aimed to be against forcing women to work, not actively doing it!

Fifth example:
I get sick and need to stay in bed for a couple of days. With my current brothel operator I don't have to pay for my room. But at My Red Light I have to pay the first two days that I'm sick. How is this better?!

So the rental conditions aren't much better, but slightly worse at best. They're even forcing you to work when you want to quit, by having to cancel one week in advance, a rule that no other brothel operator has!!!

And of course also they will offer you again courses to do something else, an exit program basically. As if there aren't enough exit programs and organisations offering prostitutes to find another job. People, seriously! Is that the only thing you can think about? She's a prostitute so we have to rescue her? Because the rental conditions certainly aren't any better than other brothels and neither are your prices or the way you treated the sex workers involved in this project.

And then let's talk about the decoration of My Red Light. An 'architect' designed it, as if it was a NASA space program. Come on people, it's a window brothel, it's not that fucking difficult! But guess what?! They managed to even fuck up that! They made rooms black! From all the colors they could've picked, they chose black as a color for a profession during the night! And the only way they could've compensated for their black rooms, was by pumping in a shit load of light to gain some attraction. But the lights are hardly noticeable!!! In a black room!

Or what's even worse. The alley which they have, there are no red lights on the outside. Just a big lantern with white light. So people will just pass that alley thinking there's nothing there, because there's no red light in that alley. Especially because there hasn't been anything in this alley for years. Heck, there used to be big red TL lights on the sides of the building in this alley. Why didn't they just leave them there? Why did they take them out? Or at least replaced them, with red led lights or something? But no red lights on the outside? Just one giant white lantern? Maybe you guys should've called this project My White Light. It's the only really noticeable light that you have anyway.

And I also don't get it. You use the same huge lanterns on the other buildings. But the red lights you've put in them give much less light. And the led strips with red light on the inside are also hardly noticable. What are you guys scared to put red lights in your brothel or something?

Seriously everything about this project is fucked up. The working conditions are worse. They're pushing down other brothel operators as criminals, but you hire them to work for you as managers. You pretend to be a better brothel than others, while your rental conditions are either the same or worse? And I'm getting really fucking tired about the fact that you keep pushing other brothels, and with that other sex workers, down to promote yourselves. If you're really as good as you claim, you wouldn't need that. But apparently it's the only way you guys know how to work. Because a good business doesn't need promotion, it's business promotes itself.

Dutch version

Mariska Majoor knighted for her contribution to sex workers rights
Today was a special day for sex workers rights in The Netherlands. Mariska Majoor, founder of the Prostitution Information Center (PIC) and PROUD, the Dutch union for sex workers, got knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau. She received her knighthood for her contribution to sex workers rights in The Netherlands which she has done for more than 20 years. Mariska dedicated the honorable award to all sex workers.

She received the royal decoration from the mayor of Amsterdam himself. The knighthood is not just a well deserved recognition for all the work Mariska has done in the past decades for sex workers in The Netherlands. The award is hopefully also another step into the direction of sex workers becoming more accepted by society.

Mariska has been one of the few people who really understood me. Both having worked in prostitution behind the windows, we had a connection like few other people would understand. Mariska has been on of my biggest supporters for the last couple of years in writing this blog and for organizing the demonstration against the closure of windows in the Red Light District. Last year she sadly had to quit her activities at the Prostitution Information Center and PROUD because of health reasons. But her fight for sex workers rights have not been in vain, as it's now also been recognized by this award.

Seeing Mariska leave the PIC and PROUD left me feeling lost. One of my biggest supporters was gone, and I'm so happy that now she's being rewarded for her fight for more rights for sex workers. I wish Mariska all the best and I am so proud of her and of what she's achieved, and I hope this reward and her hard work inspires more sex workers to stand up for their rights. She truly deserved this award, a recognition of all her hard for sex workers in the Red Light District, The Netherlands and world wide.

Fake news about home prostitution
Legal brothels closed down by the Dutch government
Yesterday the Dutch newspaper NRC came with a sensational article about home prostitution. The headline of the article was (again) disputing whether or not prostitutes work voluntarily. The article showed very much how the police works, but mostly how they think. Searching online for sex advertisements to make a fake booking with a prostitute, to 'check' if the prostitute is working voluntarily. And if they can't find anything, they just take away your passport apparently, as is written in the article, because FUCK YOU!

But besides the fact that it just show more how the police thinks, rather than what's wrong with prostitution, since in the article they don't find any victims at all, although the police constantly doubt everything. The most interesting things are the statistics mentioned in the article itself.
Part of those statistics come from the police themselves. For example they claim that 95% of the Eastern European women don't press charges. But than again, in the past 5 years there were only 45 suspected victims of trafficking in home prostitution from the European continent excluding The Netherlands itself. In short, this does not just include Eastern European prostitutes. So it's not so weird that 95% don't want to press charges if there are so few women suspected to be victims in the first place.

Another interesting statistic they mention is that according to the police in 60% of the cases they find 'wrongs'. But than again, this doesn't say anything about human trafficking, because the wrongs they speak of include not paying your taxes and children who are present in the home while the prostitute is working. But last time I checked there's no law against having your children at home while you work, also not in prostitution. So why do they call these 'wrongs', if there's nothing wrong with it? Or is it perhaps just another way to cranck up their number to 60% to make sensational claims?

But the most interesting thing about this article is the statistics used from the National Rapporteur Human Trafficking in The Netherlands. According to the article between 2011 and 2015 there would be 4100 suspected victims of human trafficking working in home prostitution. According to the article about 25% of all home prostitution. Really? That's interesting! I didn't know we knew how many prostitutes where working from their own home. Last time I checked we had no idea at all, not even the slightest. But based on this article we should assume there would be 16.400 prostitutes working from their own home? Really?

The statistics in the article are made up. Checking the numbers of the National Rapporteur it turns out there where 582 suspected victims of human trafficking in home prostitution from 2011 till 2015, and not 4100. That's a big fucking difference. In fact, it's 7 times a big as the actual number! So in that case it would be 3,5% of all the home working prostitutes, not 25%, assuming 16.400 prostitutes would be working in 5 years time in home prostitution.

It's sad to see that people will just make up numbers to make sensational claims about prostitution. And it begs the question why they would do this. But than again the article itself gives us some indication as to why this might be the case. After all, the last piece of the article is about the legislation for prostitution, which is now in the senate awaiting approval. The new legislation would allow prostitutes working from home without a license, basically allowing them to work like any other person that is self-employed. But the police fears this idea, that prostitutes can work without a license, and calls it a 'disaster'.

Ironically the police point out the fact that home prostitution without a license makes them loose sight of the prostitutes. That's true, and that's also what we warned the government for, for years already! But let's not forget why so many prostitutes these days work from their own home illegal, without a license. That's the because many cities closed down brothels all over the country, in total 46% of all the legal brothels, like for example also in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. So how are you supposed to work legal, if they close half of the places where it is legal down? That was legal, but they wanted to kick us out.

Now that they got about 50% of the prostitutes to loose their legal workplaces, prostitutes start working without a license from their own homes, because they still need a place to work. So who's fault is it really that they are loosing sight on prostitutes? The government's their own fault, because they closed 46% of the legal places down, yet make it impossible to work legal. For example, In The Hague you can't work at all from your own home. So how are these women supposed to work legal if you're not allowing them to? Maybe they should not close down so many brothels, and make it easier for prostitutes to get a license, than we wouldn't have this problem in the first place!

The Blue Light District
There's this myth that there's a Blue Light District in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. This apparently ended up one time in a travel guide once in the US, and ever since then people have been telling the fable of this 'Blue Light District' being located somewhere in Amsterdam's Red Light District. This blue light district is supposedly an area featuring only transgender sex workers, which could be identified by blue light (aka blacklight) in their windows instead of a red light.
The information from this travel guide apparently found its way to many of the tour guides that these days that walk around in the Red Light District, because many misinformed tour guides mention this. But fact is there is NO Blue Light District in Amsterdam.

So here are the facts. There's no Blue Light District, there are a couple of streets here and there where sometimes (but not always), transgender sex workers work. But since they're scattered around the Red Light District, you can't really speak of a 'Blue Light District'. Also the fact that it's called the Blue Light District is misleading. It comes from the idea that transgender sex workers would use blue lights to identify themselves as transgender sex workers, in contrast to the red lights that would be used by female sex workers. But fact is that this isn't true a all. All sex workers, both female and transgender, both blue and red lights. So the idea that a transgender sex worker can be recognized by a blue light is simply wrong, since every sex worker has blue light.

The use of blue light, or actually a blacklight as it is really called, is necessary to give some contrast to the otherwise completely red look you would get if you'd only use red lights. Otherwise everyone would look like a freaking tomato.

The misinformation that is out there, mostly coming these days from tour guides is huge. Many tour guides have no idea what they're talking about. They have no real knowledge about the area, no good information, and only based their story on what they heard from others, without verifying if it's true or not. So don't let yourself be fooled by many of these tour guides giving out wrong information, often it's only partially true or not true at all. Especially many of the big tour operators seem ignorant and uninformed. But even worse, they don't seem to care. It are also these big tour operators that lead around very big tour groups around, sometimes even up to 80(!) people, groups which are way too big for the small area that is the Red Light District with its narrow streets and alleys.

But the misinformation about this so called Blue Light District also has had a very negative side effects for the girls working behind the windows. Because potential clients have been misinformed about the use of blue lights in the area, clients often walk around for hours, searching for sex workers without a blue light, because they have been taught that a blue light means it's a transgender and not a female sex worker. This eventually leads to clients either giving up on their search for a 'female sex worker', because they can't find any, because they think every sex worker with a blue light is actually a transgender. Or they walk around for hours, and become confused as to who is transgender and who is not, making them scared to come in, because they don't know who is female and who is transgender.

Especially for the female sex workers that work in the Bloedstraat, that is often called out to be the 'Blue Light District, this is difficult. The confusion about this street comes from the fact that during the day this are is almost predominantly transgender sex workers. However, during the night behind a portion of those windows are just regular female sex workers, leaving clients confused who is female and who is not. The misinformation from the tour guides therefore often has as a consequence that many clients looking for female sex workers avoid this street, making it very difficult for the female sex workers in this street to make some good money.

Basically there are a few places where transgender sex workers can be found, and not one specific area or only in this area. The Bloedstraat during the day is pretty much all transgender, but during the night it's a mix between female and transgender sex workers. But the Barndesteeg is both during the night and the day also mostly transgender sex workers. But even a popular street such as the Stoofsteeg has some transgender sex workers, even though most people don't even know this. But also on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal during the day and night you can find transgender sex workers, although the majority are female.

With all this misinformation about who is female and who is transgender, sex workers often loose clients for no good reason other than being poorly informed. There is actually not one area with only transgender sex workers. There are streets where they sometimes are in the majority, but there's no area specifically that can be dubbed a Blue Light District. Nor is it true that only transgender sex workers use blue lights, or that you can recognize them by the use of blue lights. All sex workers use blue lights, so don't keep walking around for a sex worker without a blue light, because you'll never find it.

Dutch version