Fake news from Daily Mail about Amsterdam's Red Light District
On the 10th of February the Daily Mail posted an article written by Sanchez Manning about 'the truth of the women in the window'. The article is however strikingly filled with complete lies and fake news beyond what I've seen before. Even simple things that are pretty well known are lied about, even though for the cause of the article it could've been better to tell the reality rather than some of the lies.

The article is clearly aiming to paint an extremely negative picture about prostitution and Amsterdam's Red Light District. But the article is so full of mistakes its hard to take serious at times. The article poses a fake interview with a former prostitute and victim of trafficking, but the stuff that she tells in the article are so obviously fake, it just displays their huge lack of information to write a good fake story.

So, where to begin? I could of course begin with something mentioned in the headline. One of the headlines reads: "Women working in Amsterdam's Red Light District can earn up to 350 pounds a day". If you make as a prostitute in the Red Light District of Amsterdam an earning up to 350 pounds on a 'busy day', you're clearly doing something wrong. It wouldn't even be considered a normal day, let alone a good day, like how it's claimed in the article. A good day a couple of years ago was around 1500-2000 euro, but I even knew girls that made up to 5000 euro on a busy day. Right now 1000 euro or above is considered a good day. But the 350 euro is even considered on a quiet day kind of average.

Then of course we have to come to their claims about human trafficking, Eastern European girls and pimps, and that 'many' are beaten, raped and knifed into it. What a load of bullshit. I'm not going to explain again why these claims are such bullshit, especially since the article also doesn't provide us with any statistics, so I'll let that be. But it's largely bullshit. If you care to read more about that, just read the other articles on this blog.

Then we come to the fake story of Angelica, who supposedly would've spend 5 years here in the Red Light District. The fake tale goes that when Angelica came to Amsterdam and saw the girls in the windows, she cried, because the girls looked horrible. This was the moment I just started laughing out loud. The girls looked horrible? Are you kidding me? Any tourist who visits the Red Light District can see this is complete bullshit. Most tourists are even surprised at how gorgeous most of the girls over here are, since they're not expecting this, I guess based on the experiences and ideas they have in their own country. This is just laughably fake.

The story of Angelica also mentions how her passport was taken away, which would've hold her effectively a prisoner. Well, that might work in London, not in Amsterdam, since you're always required to have your passport with you, otherwise you can't even rent a window. And even in the hypothetical case that she would be able to rent a window without a passport, once the police comes to check her up, which they do frequently (1900 checks on 300 windows alone a year), she can pack her bags and go home, and would immediately have gained the interest of the police to start an investigation. You simply cannot work here without a passport, it's not possible. And let's not even mention the fact that if this indeed would've happened a couple of years ago besides a passport, she would've also needed a permit to work here, since Romanian people where not yet accepted by the Netherlands to work here as part of the European Union. In short, this story is fake as hell.

Then we come to one of the biggest flaws in this article, which really gave away the story was fake. The price she charged. She claims the clients where charged 35 pounds, which comes down to about 40 euro, even though the price has always been 50 euro. Even most tourists know this. It just shows how the writer who came up with this fake story lacks good information about the Red Light District to construct a believable fake story. If a girl charges 40 or 35 euro, she wouldn't last a week before she got kicked out by the brothel owner, because the other girls would start to complain about it.

Then the fictional character of Angelica says she was cut on the face with a knife by her captors when she tried to refuse a client's demand to have unprotected sex. First of all the captor would have to be a huge idiot to cut her face, since it would damage his 'property' and devalue her worth in the market, but secondly it's also obvious not just to customers, but more importantly: the police. A cut in the face sticks out like a sore thumb, and would definitely get noticed by the police who walk by every 5 minutes, let alone that they wouldn't keep a sharp eye on her, since this is like the most obvious sign of human trafficking you can get. If this really happened, this girl couldn't have worked longer than a day there, since immediately she would've gotten the attention from the police.

According to this Angelica, English customers would be the worst. Laughable, since I don't know one single girl who doesn't like English customers. It's actually completely the opposite of what the article claims. English guys are probably the most respectful customers, and even when they get drunk (which happens a lot), they're still very respectful, let alone that they would hurt people. This section of the story is so clearly aimed at scarring off English guys to visit prostitutes. If this article would've been published in the French media, they would've changed them to French guys being the worst.

Then another thing which was sticking out in this story like a sore thumb. According to the story Angelica slept in her brothel in case a punter (customer) wanted sex early in the morning. I laughed my ass off when I read this, since it's so ridiculous. That's impossible, since brothel owners rent out the windows twice a day, so a different girl would be working there in the day time. So you can't actually sleep here. It's so freaking hilarious to read how poorly this writer did their research, if they did any at all.

Considering the story, the 350 pounds a day that this girl could make also doesn't add up to the whole trafficking story. Girls that are trafficked are pushed to work hard and make a lot of money, they would make much more than 350 pounds a day. It's just laughable to read such a fake victim story. Honestly I don't understand why they didn't just interview a real victim, or copied a real victim's story. In stead the writer opted to make up their own fake story, which is so full of inaccuracies and impossible things, you can just see the writer did little to no research at all to create this fake story.

The article also speaks about a protest in The Hague, where 'thousands of protesters' are expected to march to demand the country's brothels to be outlawed again. Again a pure lie. There is no upcoming protest in The Hague to protest against the legalized brothels in 2000. There was a small little protest in The Hague against prostitution in one street there, mainly local residents. Here's a picture of the protest, which as you can see, is not 'thousands of protesters':
The whole story is pretty much a completely fabricated lie, added with some quotes from mostly anti-prostitution activists, such as Renate van der Zee. In these times of fake news, I cannot possibly understand why the writer didn't put more effort in coming up with a more realistic fake story, and how this ever got passed the editor.

I urge you all to report this article from the Daily Mail as fake news. Because that is precisely what it is. Write the editor of the Daily Mail, comment on their article, Tweet about it on Twitter, post it on Facebook. It's about time the fake news about prostitution comes to an end, and the people responsible pay for it.

UPDATE 13/02/2018 18:35
I was just contacted by one of the people interviewed for this article for the Daily Mail. Apparently the journalist, Sanchez Manning, lied about the newspaper they where working for. Manning also lied about the intention of the article, which was supposedly going to be about the tourism in the Red Light District and not about some story exposing the 'myth' of the happy hooker. So apparently the lies in the article aren't the only lies this journalist told people.
The lies of politicians about the Red Light District
About 4 years ago I started this blog to fight all the misinformation and lies spread around in the media by politicians and opinion makers about prostitution, human trafficking and the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Working there myself behind the windows, and seeing all these people talking such incredible bullshit on TV, in newspaper or in other media, just makes me feel sick in my stomach. Especially because the most often claim being heard is that 'those Eastern European women are the victims', because they can't believe someone from East Europe would come all the way here just to do this work as a job, and not be a victim.

In the past 4 years I tried explaining people the truth. I've been working here now for 8 years, and the stories about the Red Light District being some kind of hub for human trafficking are just pure bullshit. Yes, human trafficking can happen, and sometimes does happen. But anyone claiming there are 'hundreds of women' victims here, or being raped, or that's it's more than 50% or all these statistics are just lying their asses of for their own hidden agenda.

Yesterday was another good example. There was a political debate on TV and also an article was published today with the leader of the Dutch christian political party CDA, Sybrand Buma, where he claimed that more than half the women are forced behind the windows. He even claimed that "if you'd ask those women, they'd say they choose this voluntarily, but it isn't the case". In short, he tries to silence our voice, and speaks for us, proclaiming that no matter what we say, people cannot trust our word. And this is coming from a politician, can you believe it? This also begs the question how someone could ever find out that someone is forced if you can never trust a sex worker on what they say? Wouldn't what work both ways?

He continued his argument by stating that 60% of the women come from East Europe, and stated that "they didn't come here with with a train ticket, but are often lured into this under false pretenses, picked out of the gutter in Budapest." Like I said, the claim is often about girls like us from East Europe, which is weird if you think about it, because we have more reason to do this job, considering our counties economic position, than women from The Netherlands for example, so this reasoning makes no sense. And it's also funny to see how poorly informed Buma is, considering the fact that he mentions Budapest as an example. There aren't so many Hungarian girls working in the Red Light District, let alone from Budapest. But whatever.

This is a perfectly good example of a lie. Buma is lying because as a christian he opposes the idea of prostitution, and would rather have it forbidden. His concerns aren't really about human trafficking and forced prostitution, he just abuses terms such as modern slavery for his own political agenda. Yes, I know, what a shocker, a politician telling a lie for a political agenda, who would've thought that, right?

Now of course it's no surprise that a politician with a christian background lies about something to achieve something from being banned which conflicts with his own christian morals. Christians have been doing the exact same things on topics such as homosexuality and abortion. Christians in the US for example claimed for years (and perhaps even today), that homosexuality is a decease. Or that homosexuality is the cause of AIDS. They say these kind of things, because everyone is against deceases and AIDS, so by using it as an argument, they hope to convince people into supporting their cause.

The reason Buma doesn't make such claims about homosexuality, is because it's much too accepted in the Dutch society. It would rather damage his political career, and cost him voters than gaining any. But prostitution is still a debate that's not been decided yet, plus the fact that unlike gay people, sex workers hardly speak out for themselves because they want to protect their privacy. And even if we would speak out, his argument is that we would be lying anyway, so nothing we say could be trusted. So it's kind of like shooting sitting ducks, it's very easy to do, and because there are no hard facts and little publicly known about the reality of prostitution, it's easy to get away with it.

Good thing though that a while ago the Dutch Rapporteur on Human Trafficking published this rapport on the relation between human trafficking and prostitution. In this rapport it also specifies how many suspicions there where from for example the police, city officials and any officials that are part of fighting human trafficking or have any dealings with this. And guess what? They specified how may suspicions of human trafficking they had by region and per prostitution form. So, now we can look up how many possible victims there really are according to the people that report this to the government.

In the rapport "Prostitution and Human Trafficking" on page 177, it is specified that in Amsterdam over a 5 year period from 2011 until 2015, there where 2 possible victims in window prostitution. Not hundreds, not thousands like some video from Stop The Traffik claims, not even dozens. No, just 2. In 5 years! That means one victim every 2,5 year. Not 400 women a day, like the previous mayor claimed, not hundreds of woman a day, not even hundreds of women a month or even a year.

Now I know that people will start claiming that the police doesn't see everything. But then again they don't have to see anything to report it, all they need is a gut feeling, no evidence is required and even than we only come down to 2 possible victims. And trust me, they check things out. Official statistics from the city of Amsterdam show that they do around 1900 checks a year on window prostitution alone in Amsterdam. To put that in perspective, we have 290 windows in the Red Light District.

So 2 possible victims, that's not 50%, heck, that's not even 10%. We have here on a daily base around 400 sex workers working here, so this is more like 0,10%. Not even one percent, but a tenth of that. And yes, around 60% of us are from East Europe. But just because we come from there, doesn't mean we didn't choose to do this job ourselves. It's a pure lie claiming that most of us where brought here under false pretenses. In fact, I've never met a single girl in the Red Light District who didn't know what she was coming here for. Even victims, and I know some victims, even they knew what they came to do here, and they had no objections to it.

Because in the end, even for most victims, the problem isn't the job. Very few girls do this job involuntarily, despite the fact that human trafficking sometimes happens. Not as much as people often claim, as you can see, but it does happen sometimes. But abolishing prostitution isn't the solution to human trafficking. After all, if it was, then how come they never propose abolishing other professions where human trafficking exist, if it's such a good solution?

No, Sybrand Buma is a liar, just like Gert-Jan Segers, Lodewijk Asscher and many, many other politicians and opinion makers often claiming to 'want to do something against human trafficking'. It's not about human trafficking, they don't care about fighting that, it's a scam. They're just using it for their own political agenda. Just look through my blog, there's about 4 years worth of articles with sources. And it's not about denying human trafficking, I don't deny that human trafficking exists. In fact, I wrote plenty of artciles about how human trafficking works in reality, and even how human trafficking in prostitution could really be reduced. But also articles about the reality of working behind the windows in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, which is vastly different from how Buma claims it is. And I should know it, because I work there, and not him or any of the other politicians claiming bullshit about us.
Amsterdam forces 100 sex workers to work illegal
Prostitutes in the narrowest alley in 1968, currently scheduled for closure.
The city council of Amsterdam recently approved the plan of the expropriation of 12 more prostitution windows in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, and managed to force another brothel owner to change 23 windows into something else. As a direct result, soon about 100 sex workers in the Red Light District of Amsterdam will loose their workplace as a result of these closures, forcing them to work illegal since they do not offer any replacement workplaces or (financial) compensation of any kind for these sex workers.

The plans are all part of Project 1012, the long running 10 year project aimed to gentrify the Red Light District of Amsterdam into a more profitable area, mainly aimed at tourism, as many former window brothels and coffeeshops that have closed down got turned into touristic shops aimed mainly at selling food to tourists. Doing some research into 128 buildings handled by Project 1012 shows that about 60% of the buildings, (mainly former brothels and coffeeshops) got turned into touristic shops mainly aimed at selling food (waffel, Nutella, ice cream, etc), with the remaining buildings mostly aimed at artsy concept stores that really have no place in this area.

The results of this project thus far have been disastrous. Illegal prostitution is growing as a direct result of the closure of brothels nation wide, a good 46% of the legal brothels since the legalization have closed down. Residents of the Red Light District have complained about the busyness in the area, mainly caused by being overloaded by tourists, and have criticized the many touristy food shops that have popped up as a direct result of Project 1012 (although most residents don't realize this is the result of Project 1012). The complaints have even become so big, that a couple of months ago the city council decided to put an immediate ban on new touristic shops, and have declared war on tourism.

Extreme busyness on the main canal of the Red Light District
But in stead of pulling on the emergency break, and concluding that the gentrification project of the Red Light District has not just been a failure, but even disjointed the entire city center, the city council apparently decided to continue even further with this project, by closing down another 37 windows in the Red Light District.

All the windows due to close down are located in the narrow alleys of the Red Light District, once a busy place where many customers would walk around, but now a quiet area that has mostly died as a result of the many window brothels that already have been closed down in this area. The shops replacing the former brothels in this small area have been rather unsuccessful, since they aren't quite located at a very good spot in these narrow alleys.  As a result of that, most of the people walking around in the Red Light District have moved to the main canal, where often it get's so busy it's become extreme, with many residents complaining about the busyness as a result.

Very quiet in the narrow alleys of the Red Light District where many windows have closed.
So it's logical residents of the Red Light District are complaining about the busyness and the tourists, since that's the result of reducing the size of the Red Light District with 40% and concentrating everything on the main canal. Also for sex workers the results are disastrous, not just because many lost a legal place to work, and where therefore forced into illegal prostitution to survive. But also for the remaining sex workers that saw their business going down since the increasing tourism hasn't brought in more customers, but just more people coming to take a look, turning them into more of a touristic attraction than even before.

The city has a huge problem handling the huge increase of tourism, a result of their own tactical plan to 'clean up the Red Light District' with Project 1012, and promote Amsterdam across the borders as 'the place to be'. Their aim was to turn Amsterdam into the Barcelona of the north of Europe, where they would attract tourists with a bigger budget to visit their musea and experience cultural things, but has backfired into being over flooded with tourists, of whom almost all want to see the Red Light District on a shoestring budget.

What I cannot understand is how the city council can still agree with the plans to continue the closure of 37 more windows in the Red Light District, increasing the pressure on the remaining main canal of the Red Light District, plus forcing sex workers to go into illegal prostitution. Because yes, closing down these 37 windows will mean the remaining people walking around in the Red Light District in this area will move to the main canal, meaning more people on the main canal, where it's already extremely busy.

And what to do with those brothels once they're closed down? They can't turn them into more touristy shops like they did before, their own new policy forbids that. So are they to remain empty just like many of the other window brothels that nobody wants because of the limited space available and the fact that the location of these buildings (in the narrowest alleys of Amsterdam) aren't really good for most businesses?

But worst of all. What about the sex workers? The brothel owners are still trying to fight off this decision, not for themselves, but for the women that work there. One of the brothel owners also wanted to address this during the city council meeting, but the city council voted on it without there being any discussion about it. They just did it without thinking of the consequences for these women that work here. Even the other brothel owners, who are not being threatened with closure, are worried about these closures, because the simply can't supply for 100 sex workers a workplace, thus resulting in many sex workers being forced to go work illegal.

How the fuck can you do that? How can you make a decision that is wrong from every angle? Wrong for the sex workers, wrong for the pressure felt by the residents of the area, wrong for the increasing pressure on the smaller remaining area. For what, and why? Who benefits from this? Absolutely nobody! Yet it's gonna cost millions to buy out the brothel owners, and change it into another shop, if somebody is interested to begin with. Because if nobody's interested in it, it will just remain an empty building, like many others, and it will just have costs tax payers millions of euro's for a stupid ass decision that nobody profits from.

Dutch version

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.

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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.