New plan to scare clients away from prostitutes
Just a few days after they announced a plan to help prostitutes exit their job (read here), today they announced a plan that basically is supposed to the push us to want help to exit our job. Today three members of parliament, Gert-Jan Segers, Nine Kooiman and Marith Rebel, launched an initiative law that criminalizes clients of forced prostitutes 'who knowingly take advantage' of one. I have here the official documents, including the official proposed law, which states:

"Artikel 273g
Hij die seksuele handelingen verricht met een ander, terwijl hij weet of redelijkerwijs moet vermoeden dat die ander zich onder de in artikel 273f, eerste lid, sub 1 ̊, bedoelde omstandigheden beschikbaar stelt tot het verrichten van seksuele handelingen met een derde tegen betaling, wordt gestraft met een gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste vier jaren of geldboete van de vierde categorie."

Translated to English:
"Article 273g
He who performs sexual acts with another person, knowing or could reasonably suspect that the other person has been made available under the circumstances mentioned in article 273f 1 sub 1 to perform sexual acts with someone else, will be sentenced to jail for at least four years or has to pay a fine of the fourth category."

When word got out that this law initiative was in the making I already wrote a blogpost about this (read here). That led to an article with an interview with me in the newspaper Het Parool (read here), and the request of one of the initiative takers from parliament on this law to talk with me about this.
After having talked with this member at my workplace, I was convinced that this article would only apply to illegal prostitution. I didn't need to worry that this law would apply to me or my clients, those were the comforting words to which I was put at ease.

But today, reading the full description and initiative law, I was shocked. Nowhere it is mentioned that this law would only apply to the non-licensed sector. The new initiative law refers to another law that currently already exists, article 273f 1 sub 1. That article however refers to organ trafficking (another form of human trafficking), which I don't think was their intention.
The article number it should point to is article 273f 1 sub 3, which regards to human trafficking in prostitution, and not just specifically forced prostitution or just specifically the unlicensed sector. The article literally states:

"273f 1.3
Degene die een ander aanwerft, medeneemt of ontvoert met het oogmerk die ander in een ander land ertoe te brengen zich beschikbaar te stellen tot het verrichten van seksuele handelingen met of voor een derde tegen betaling;"

Translated to English
"273f 1.3.
The person who recruits, takes along or abducts another person with the intention to make that person available in another country to carry out sexual acts with another person in exchange for payment;"

In short, this new law will affect all those who encounter a victim of human trafficking, and not just a prostitute which is forced, but also a prostitute that is being exploited (though willingly choose to do this job), and even those prostitutes which had help with migration to come here and become a sex worker.
Because in the article 273f 1.3 it literally states that "the person who takes along another person", meaning there is no form of pressure, but simply taking someone with you, knowing that person is going to work in prostitution, is already enough to be seen by the law as a human trafficker, and makes the prostitute herself a victim.

I've already talked many times about this part of the law, that basically assumes that any person assisting in the migration of a sex worker, is automatically a bad guy. While in reality it is almost impossible to migrate to another country without the help of others.
It is also a strange thing in the first place that no other legal job in Holland has such restrictions except for prostitution, basically making it impossible for anyone to help us in a legal way with our migration, while the government itself also doesn't offer any alternatives for prostitutes for help.

But none of the above mentioned articles mention anything about it being restricted just to the licensed or unlicensed sector, meaning this law does apply to all forms prostitution. And that is not what the member of parliament had promised me.

Beyond the fact that this law is not what was promised to me, it hits another point that I discussed with the member of parliament. I expressed my concerns that my clients, and many of the other clients of other prostitutes as well, would become scared to visit prostitutes with such a law.
I would only agree with this law, if it was absolutely proven that the client in question, absolutely 100% knew the prostitute he was visiting was being forced. But unfortunately that's not the case at all here. Because in the initiative law it does not just state that her person 'knowing' this would be convicted for crimes, but also 'could reasonably suspect', which leaves a huge opening for interpretation.
Who is to say what another person knew or did not know something? Reasonably suspecting leaves it up to the judge to say if that person 'could've suspected' a girl was a victim, regardless of the fact if the client actually did know or not. Sure, the politicians keep hushing us this would only apply to really clear cases, but that's not what this article states. This article leaves things open for interpretation of the judge, and that's where the clients go scared, because that leaves their fate in the hands of a judge, rather then based on facts.

On TV in front of the NOS news Gert-Jan Segers explains (at 3.03 minutes) that he doesn't want a situation in where a prostitute is being forced, and that forced prostitution should be fought. But he doesn't want as many as possible clients to end up in jail, he claims, or have to pay huge fines, because that doesn't help much, according to him. But what does help, according to him, is if they report things, so we can take down pimps and human traffickers.
Yet this makes one wonder why this law isn't targeting pimps, in stead of clients, if that is his real goal. The idea that clients would report things they otherwise would not if there's a price on their head is incredibly dumb. This is a scare tactic, to scare clients to report things or else...

And if Gert-Jan Segers really doesn't want clients in jail, then why is he making a law that it's very goal it is to get clients in jail? Has nobody taught these people that rewarding always works better then punishing? It's the most basic rule of life. You can keep trying to forbid people things, but that hardly ever works. Yet, if you reward people for good behavior (in this case reporting victims), this would be much more successful. In my opinion the positive always outweighs the negative every single time.

But honestly, what will the results be if this law will be accepted? Will less prostitutes now be forced into prostitution? Euh... well, no! Because this law, yet again, fights the backdoor of the problem in stead of the front door. This law applies to women who've already become a victim of trafficking, meaning they already are victims. It doesn't make any less victims in any way, it will just scare clients more to visit prostitutes in fear of accidentally running into a forced prostitute and being sued after because he 'could have reasonably suspected it'.

In the attached explanation with the proposed law, it states that one could reasonably suspect a prostitute is being forced if one shows signs of forced prostitution. The signs mentioned in the explanation involve: bruises (because only forced prostitutes get those), welts (because only forced prostitutes get those as well), or because the prostitute is scared (because only forced prostitutes gets scared sometimes by their customers), disgust (because only forced prostitutes feel that with some clients) or sadness (because only forced prostitutes can be sad). I've already explained these ridiculous 'signs of forced prostitution' once before in a blogpost here in detail already, so I won't go much further into this. But bottom line is, that these signs say nothing about whether a prostitute is being forced or not, and could apply to any prostitute.
This will result in situations where prostitutes who have a bruise will not get any clients anymore, because clients are scared to come in, because this prostitute might be forced. In fact, I often have one of these 'signs' on a daily base, sometimes even combined, which would have an enormous impact on my income, since scared clients will stay away from me.

What the result will be is that many prostitutes will be reported to the authorities as 'possible victims'. At the end of the year, this list of 'possible victims' however ends up in the hands of the Nationaal Rapporteur, who counts these numbers, adds them all together (regardless of the fact if they might count the same girl double or not, or even triple or more times), and then presents her numbers in a new report. Those reports often reduces 'possible victims' into 'victims' throughout their reports, which politicians then use again to prove that 'human trafficking is growing, and we need to solve this problem', which makes the whole circus start all over again with new repressing measures being taken (also read Marijke Vonk her blog about how the Nationaal Rapporteur counts these victims)
In short, this law will only increase the numbers of possible victims, because if people don't do that they could be facing serious charges if the girl does turn out to be a victim. But does this mean the numbers are correct? NO! Because that's exactly the problem with the Nationaal Rapporteur, she prefers quantity over quality. She doesn't look at the quality of the reports that she gets, and how probable it is that a 'possible victim' is a real victim, she seems to be more interested in reaching higher numbers regardless of whether the numbers are a realistic view of reality. Quantity over quality.

The only thing this law will achieve, is more clients getting scared to visit prostitutes out of fear of prosecution. More people reporting regardless of how likely it really is that someone's a victim, just to avoid prosecution. Reports about possible victims will remain 'questionable', since every hint of doubt regardless of the probabilities of one actually being a victim will be reported. Not any less victims will be made, since the girls first have to become victims before someone can report them. Not more pimps will get caught, because this law doesn't target them. And finally, but not unimportant, it damages my fucking business, because more people will be scared to go inside, because I bump my fucking leg every fucking day to the fucking bed causing bruises, even though I'm not a forced prostitute!

If you want to fight human trafficking, then fight the pimps, not the clients! The cause of human trafficking are the traffickers. Clients didn't ask for forced prostitutes, they simply want A prostitute. A prostitute that is being forced, and is disgusted by the very thought of having sex with a clients, isn't exactly a turn on for clients. Therefor the idea that clients are the demand of human trafficking is bullshit. They want prostitutes that do their job because they want to, not one that does it because someone else makes her do it, that's a huge turn off!
And how are clients supposed to know a girl is being forced, if even the police can't see it? Why is this government taking the responsibilities of the police towards the clients, while it's the police their fucking job to look for this! If you can't catch all the pimps, that's the police their fault, not the clients who's job it isn't to play police detective! And in what universe is punishing people if they don't do something called encouraging them? If you want to encourage a soccer team, do you think they encourage them through threatening them with torture if they don't win? Do you think that would help?! I don't think so!
So don't put the responsibilities of the police on the lap of the client that never asked for this. They have no interest in keeping forced prostitution alive (after all, it also stigmatizes them), and neither does it turn them on. Grow some fucking brains people!

Dutch version


New prostitution exit program
So this week the Minister of Justice, Ivo Opstelten, presented a new national exit program for prostitutes. For this new plan a budget of 3 million euro annually has been made available, for the next 4 years. The program offer prostitutes that want to quit their work, help with setting up their life, something some prostitutes struggle with, due to the huge stigmatization regarding prostitution.

Although I think it's good the government is doing something to help prostitutes, in this case helping prostitutes to exit, I'd rather see this money getting spend on fighting the real problem here. Because of course the real problem isn't that prostitutes have so much difficulty picking up their life after prostitution because it's such a different life, but rather because of the stigma that prostitution has to deal with.
Prostitution is still not socially accepted. This comes from people stigmatizing prostitutes as victims, or as 'dirty women'. This causes the fact that many people have trouble accepting the fact that you are (or was) a prostitute. This causes problems with housing (as I've written about here), opening bank accounts, getting loans, mortgages, but also being able to simple be treated as a human being rather then a 'poor victim' or a 'disgusting bitch'.

The funniest thing is, one of the people that create and keeps this stigma in place, is politician Gert-Jan Segers from the ChristenUnie. He does this with articles in the newspapers, like this, and this, claiming the vast majority of the prostitutes would be forced, even calling the area where I work a 'meat carousel', claiming that prostitution has nothing to do with respect for women or equality for men and women. Indeed, mostly bullshit, but certainly stigmatizing.
Now here's the funny thing. The new program that is supposed to help prostitutes quitting their job, because the stigma is causing problems (words of Ivo Opstelten himself), was an initiative of Gert-Jan Segers himself in collaboration with his even more extreme Christian friends from the political party SGP. So perhaps if Gert-Jan Segers would give people the right example, and stop stigmatizing us so much, we wouldn't need stuff like this. The hypocrisy!

But what I regret about this new program, is the fact that it only aims to help prostitutes who quit their job. Almost as if you're rewarding only those that choose to stop what they're doing, like it's something 'wrong' to keep working in the prostitution. It's sending out the message: 'the only good prostitute is an ex-prostitute', as Marjan Wijers put it.
Why didn't they invest these 3 million euro a year in the underlying problem, the real problem, the stigma? If they would choose to invest in fighting the stigma, not only would that help prostitutes with their problems after the quit their job, but they would also help all the prostitutes that choose to continue to work in prostitution. So why did they only choose to help prostitutes who want to exit the industry, not resolving the cause of these problems (the stigma), and refuse to help prostitutes that have no intentions to quit this job?

Now, the program isn't new, it's basically a continuation of similar programs that were already being introduced back in 2011 in various parts of the country. The only difference now, is that the program is national, and not anymore divided over different areas in the country. And between the period of 2011 and 2013 around 1750 prostitutes (annually about 875 women) used this program, of which only about 1000  (annually about 500 women) eventually also exited the industry. This means that only about 57% of all the prostitutes actually also exited the industry, and apparently 43% (750 women) decided that even after help, they were better off in the prostitution industry itself.
I guess it's a testimony to the fact that given a chance, still a large part of the prostitutes would pick prostitution over any other job. Because, even though these prostitutes called upon a program that would help them exit the industry, 57% actually also quit, while 43% didn't. So much for 90% being forced I guess.

I'm not exactly sure why so many prostitutes that at first decided to quit, ended up getting back into prostitution again, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the government forcing them. Though I can think of some reasons why about 750 women in 2 years time (375 women annually), decided to continue in prostitution rather then leading another life. That's because prostitution is addicting. This may sound weird, but when I mean prostitution is addicting, I'm not so much talking about the job itself, but rather the salary that comes along with it.

I myself have seen this already a couple of times. Girls deciding after years of working in prostitution to quit. They pack their bags, go home, and a couple of months later they're back again. Not because they miss the job itself so much, but simply because they love money. Cutting back on your expenses, not being able to shop until you drop, spend money like it's nothing, is a very difficult after you're used to having so much money. It's basically like an addiction, a money addiction. And fact is, girls can make a lot of money in this job, which is what makes this profession so attractive. So you see, you don't need to force girls into this job, there are plenty of women who would choose to do this job, because of the money.

I also doubt therefor a little bit that many prostitutes will use this new program. After all, many prostitutes in Holland come from other countries, and have no intention of settling here after they quit this job. They come here to do this job, because they can do it anonymously here, because nobody knows them over here, and because it's safer over here because it's legal as opposed to many other countries where it's either not regulated or sometimes even illegal.
It is a well known fact that a large part of the prostitutes in Holland come from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Those girls will not stay in Holland after they quit this job, they will simply go home, where nobody knows that they did this job. And because nobody knows this in their home country, they don't suffer from the stigma. So this problem isn't a problem for a large part of the girls working in prostitution.

The very small group of foreign prostitutes that do decide to stick around in Holland, also won't run into this problem so much. This for the very simply reason that many just won't tell it, so nobody will know. You have to remember that, especially window prostitutes, are highly independent in their work. They are their own boss, nobody tells them what to do, when to start, when they can go home, when they can go to the bathroom, or when they can take a brake. They are their own boss.
And fact is, that many prostitutes would have a problem to go back to a situation in where they have a boss telling them what to do. After so many years of being your own boss, it's hard to swallow orders from someone else. So what you see, and this goes for both prostitutes remaining in Holland after they quit, as well as prostitutes going back to their home country, is that most ex-prostitutes don't start looking for a job in which they have to work for a boss. Many of them choose to start up their own businesses (they did after all spend years saving up money for that), some may have saved up enough money to never have to work again, and some others end up in a traditional household, where they stay home and the man works. In short, not many ex-prostitutes will choose to work for someone else that will judge them for their past.

This perhaps also explains a bit why so many women dropped out of the program. Perhaps many felt they didn't want to jump through hoops again for a boss that already judges them on their past. Perhaps many decided that a regular job doesn't offer the freedom and salary they are used to.
But apparently there are also women that do get helped with this program. I think many of them are Dutch prostitutes, since they are more likely to stay in Holland and start looking for a regular job after their career in the sex industry. I think it's good that this program helps them on their way, and I really hope the program works.

But I would've rather seen that the minister himself recognized the real problem, the stigma, and started doing something about that, in stead of just trying to help out one group. Getting rid of the stigma on sex work would help all prostitutes, not just those who want to quit. But I guess that's not the intention the policy makers, like Gert-Jan Segers, had in mind. After all, supporting all prostitutes by targeting the stigma rather then the consequences of the stigma just for prostitutes who want to exit the job, sends out the message that prostitution is okay. And Gert-Jan Segers doesn't want to send out the message that prostitution is okay, after all, according to his own words, 'prostitution is not normal'.

I'm therefor also not so surprised that Ivo Opstelten agreed on this program, rather then actually doing something about the stigma itself. After all, Ivo Opstelten is somewhat of a conservative politician. It was him that introduced the weed-pass, so that only Dutch people could buy soft drugs in coffeeshops in the south of the country. And even though this whole plan of the 'weed-pass' was a complete failure, since many criminals saw their chance to sell their drugs on the streets to tourists in hopes of buying some legal soft drugs over here, causing huge problems in those areas with increasing crime on the streets, it is Ivo Opstelten that keeps hanging on to this idea. That, despite the fact the many other mayors in Holland have objected to this idea, since they also see the danger of increasing street crime through drug dealers on the street.

It's no secret that Ivo Opstelten is no fan of the Dutch 'tolerant' policy towards drugs, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't much of a fan of the Dutch tolerant policy towards prostitution either. After all, it was during his period as mayor of Rotterdam, that they closed down the only legal workplace for prostitutes in Rotterdam on the Keileweg. It was his plan as Minister of Justice not too long ago, to let prostitutes publicly register, revealing our identity to the public.

No, I don't think these are unintentional 'mistakes'. I think Ivo Opstelten is trying to do whatever he can within the law, to reduce prostitution, and this program to help prostitutes exit the industry, is just another example of that. After all, how come that all of Ivo Opstelten his plans regarding prostitution, always revolve around getting as many women out of this industry as possible, and making the lives of prostitutes themselves as difficult as possible? It's almost as if he wished all prostitutes would exit the industry, and he's even prepared to pay us for it, in fact, about 3 million euro's a year to be exact.

Dutch version
Profiting from victims of trafficking: Frits Rouvoet
Frits Rouvoet is the name of a man claiming to be saving 'forced prostitutes' from Amsterdam's Red Light District. He just happens to be the brother of former party leader for the ChristenUnie André Rouvoet (which just so happens to be the political party that opposes legal prostitution), and just so happens to be religious himself as well. The man can frequently be found in the media, supporting the stories organisations like Free A Girl tell, or supporting his political friends like Gert-Jan Segers from the ChristenUnie, who all claim the same things.
The man that once used to believe that Lucifer would take over the world on 06-06-06, and warned people about this through an organisation that he worked for called 06-06-06, has a history of being a gambling addict himself.

Now this simple religious man has dedicated his life to 'saving women from forced prostitution', and works for two organisations, Blood'NFire (so he can get in contact with prostitutes in the prostitution areas in Amsterdam) and BrightFame (that helps ex-prostitutes to find a job), and both organisations depend on donations, to rescue these women. Also Frits Rouvoet claims not to be making any money with his work, just like many other people that make false claims about prostitution, even though that makes one wonder how he does make a living? After all, Frits Rouvoet doesn't seem to have another job, so how can he survive without any income, while at the same time doing so much work for these two organisations?

Besides the fact that it remains unknown how this simple man makes a living, since he totally doesn't make money with his job of saving women, it's also unknown which women he saves. Because, even though Frits Rouvoet regularly walks in Amsterdam's Red Light District, unlike many other people that claim most prostitutes are forced, Frits does actually attempt to talk to real prostitutes.
After checking with some other girls, it turns out though that most prostitutes see Frits Rouvoet as 'this idiot that always brings flowers', and often try to get rid of him by pretending to be on the phone.
But what's really strange is that Frits Rouvoet regularly claims to have 'saved' a woman from Amsterdam's Red Light District, and has been doing so for years, while I still see the same girls at work every day. So, how come he claims to have taken away women, if the same women are still working behind the same windows for years already? Which women has he taken away, and how come nobody has noticed the women that have gone missing, because he has 'saved' them?

But more interesting is the fact that Frits Rouvoet claims to be 'rescuing' these women from their pimps, while never taking them to the police to make a statement. It's almost as if Frits is only interested in getting as many women out of prostitution, but has no interested in the bad guys getting caught. Why doesn't Frits Rouvoet do the responsible thing, and takes a woman who is a victim to the police, so they can catch the pimp, and take one more bad guy off the streets? Why is he letting the bad guys get away with this, if he thinks this is such a bad thing? It's almost as if Frits Rouvoet doesn't care that new women might become a victim to these pimps, to which he of course would have to show up as the 'hero' and rescue these women from a 'terrible fate'.

No, if what Frits Rouvoet claims would be true, half the Red Light District would've been empty by now, because of all the women he would've 'saved'. Also if his claims are true about these women being victims, he's actually supporting the crime, by not giving this information to the police or letting the victim testify against the perpetrators.
It also makes one wonder as to how exactly Frits Rouvoet is able to undermine these 'oh so violent pimps'. After all, aren't these pimps the same big, tattooed, pumped up guys, that beat these girls into a pulp in order to gain control over them, so they will work for them as a prostitute? Then how come pimps simply let Frits Rouvoet take away 'their girls' without a fight, threatening their entire operation and loosing yet another girl and therefor another investment? Does Frits Rouvoet possess some kind of supernatural (perhaps God-given) powers, that protects him from these violent pimps?

Honestly though, I don't really think Frits Rouvoet does this. I don't think he rescues real victims, since that would involve the police and other authorities, which is something he never does. In fact, I think he exaggerates his work quite much, in order to receive more funding. He's not really helping victims to escape. He may be nearly helping women who want to quit this job (not because they are forced, but simply because they've had enough of the job and want to quit).

What I've understood from other sources, is that Frits Rouvoet nearly talks to some prostitutes, slowly talking in to them, into quitting their job. Kind of brainwashing them, which I guess is a technique he's mastered during his period at 06-06-06, making people believe Lucifer would soon be taking over the world. Slowly talking into prostitutes, talking about how this job could've never been there dream job, etc. He slowly is trying to form a bond with these girls, until they're brainwashed enough for him to help them quit this job. Once they've made that decision, he helps them quit and helps them set up their life after leaving the prostitution industry.
Thinking about it, Frits Rouvoet actually does exactly the same thing pimps do, but just in reverse. Because where a pimp tries to get a girl into prostitution for his own profits, Frits Rouvoet tries to get them out of prostitution for his profit (each new 'saved' girl is a 'success' in need of a reward by donation), using manipulation and bonding to do the trick. Frits Rouvoet, the pimp of ex-prostitutes ladies and gentlemen!

Of course the real reason why Frits doesn't tell these things to the audience, is because Frits himself is deeply religious. Like his brother, André Rouvoet, and other ChristenUnie members, they oppose prostitution, and will use any lies to make people think prostitution is a bad thing. Giving prostitution a bad name by any means, will give people the idea that legalizing prostitution was a bad idea, something religious people have always claimed simply because it's against their moral code. Yet funny enough, many of my customers are religious, so I guess that's as far as that moral code goes.

No, Frits Rouvoet is just another religious nut, trying to give prostitution a bad name by making false claims. He uses his real life contact with prostitutes in the Amsterdam Red Light District to get intimate knowledge of the prostitution industry, and what drives women into doing this job. Of course he can't always state what all the women are saying to him, since that would give people the idea that prostitution actually empowers women, which isn't exactly the message he wants to send out, so he'll carefully listen to the words of a prostitute, and take sentences out of context to make them sound very sad and depressing, giving people the idea that 'these girls aren't happy where they are'.
Manipulating his audience on Twitter and on his blog, by carefully making selections of sentences spoken out by prostitutes, to take them out of their context and create a fake reality in where prostitutes seem depressed and unhappy with their life, and adding in his own fake stories about how many girls are forced, in order to get more people to donate money to his organisation (which essentially goes to him). In short, another person twisting the truth, telling lies about prostitution, so he can profit from these things himself. He's not really rescuing victims, he's pimping them into another life and is receiving donations for this, that's all.

One thing is for sure though, Frits is not actually involved with victims. If that would be the case, he would need to involve the police, which Frits never does. His stories online are only there to 'support' his word against others, in hopes people will donate money to this 'good cause', which of course in reality is not as good as he claims it to be. In short, just another profiteer of victims of trafficking, making money off the backs of these victims, while not really 'saving' any victims in reality.

Dutch version


Profiting from victims of trafficking: Free A Girl
About a year ago organisation Free A Girl, in collaboration with organisation Loesje, hung posters on some prostitution windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District. The posters that were hung on the windows were prostitutes in Amsterdam are working, had texts like 'Red Light District: Does the tour also bring us past the pimp?', 'Prostitute - whoever got that as a result from a career test', 'Was that a wink or a cry for help' and 'The Red Light District - not everything you see in the window is for sale'.
In an article in the newspaper Metro, director of Free A Girl Evelien Hölksen, explained the reason for hanging posters on the windows of prostitutes in Amsterdam (read here).

Free A Girl, an organisation founded by Roelof van Laar and Evelien Hölksen claims to be 'rescuing' children from forced prostitution in mainly countries like India, Nepal, Thailand and other third world countries. What an organisation that focuses on children has to do with Amsterdam's Red Light District is beyond me. There are no children working behind the windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District, and I personally know the women on who's windows these posters were hung, since I worked on that very same spot for years before I moved to a new place.

The women working behind these windows are in the age range between 24 and 31 years old, not exactly 'children' anymore, nor to be qualified as 'young girls' anymore, which is the target group of Free A Girl. These women are adults, and above all have all chosen to do this work voluntarily! The women in question are all Romanian and Bulgarian women, some of whom are good friends of mine with who I regularly drink a coffee, some aren't really my friends, but nonetheless I think isn't fair that Free A Girl feels it's necessary to harass these women with a poster that would suggest they are being forced.

Free A Girl themselves claim that "60 to 70 percent of the women aren't behind the window by their own choice". Beyond the fact that this is complete bullshit, they're not even basing themselves on any actual research. There is no research about Amsterdam's Red Light District or prostitution in The Netherlands in general, that comes up with any of these mentioned numbers. Which is funny, because there are other researches out there, that would support their claim that many of us would be forced. So why they use completely made up numbers, while there are perfectly usable statistics out there that could support their claims (however false these statistics may be), is completely beyond me.
At least if you're lying about something, make sure you base it on something, and not just wave with completely made up statistics!

Also the claim that many people wouldn't know that 'there's 'so much wrong with prostitution in The Netherlands' as a reason to raise awareness to this, is complete bullshit.
Truth is that most people in Holland think most of the prostitutes are forced, so what exactly do you need to make them aware of? They already think that most prostitutes are forced. So what exactly is this campaign telling them that they aren't aware of yet?
The claim that many people think because it's legal that nothing bad is happening here, is complete bullshit. Ask any regular person about prostitution in Holland, and ask him or her how many prostitutes they think are being forced. I can tell you already that most of them will say, that more than half of us are forced. This is a direct result of the marketing campaign these kind of organisations have been running. And this is exactly the stigma we are trying to fight.

It's an old trick the rescue industry has been playing since day one. Always claim that a lot of people don't know it, it's very bad, and that there's so few people talking about it, just to make it look like people are ignoring the facts or are unaware of it. Yet, strangely enough when you type in prostitution on Google, most of what you'll get are stories and made up facts about forced prostitution and human trafficking.
In fact, you'll almost find no positive stories out there, which is strange, since a large majority of the prostitutes have a positive story about prostitution. So then how come we only hear the negative sides about prostitution, while that's the smallest group of prostitutes?
The answer is of course very simple. Positive news is no news, while bad news is always good for a story in the media. Nobody wants to hear what's going good, or that the problem really isn't as big as they say it is. What people are interested to hear is bad news, sensation.

And this is exactly what Free A Girl does. Free A Girl is an organisation which tries to profit from the hype around human trafficking. Using sad stories of real victims, all of which come from third world countries, to raise money to profit from it. From their annual funding income of 1,37 million euro's, only 46% get used to 'rescue' children from forced prostitution, as a client on hookers.nl was able to discover here. Most of the money the organisation receives however, ends up in the pockets of the organisation themselves, which had only 3 employees in 2012, of which two were directors, Roelof van Laar and Evelien Hölksen. The other employee is an unknown administrative worker.
Roelof van Laar resigned some time ago from Free A Girl to become parliament member for the PVDA (how surprising), but back in 2012 he did receive a salary of € 69.280 for his 28-hour part-time job (that's € 98.971,43 on a full time job!) for example. That's a salary close to the prime-minister's salary!
These people are making a lot of money over the backs of victims of trafficking, giving people that donate the idea they're doing something good, while in reality just making the people behind this organisation rich. In my opinion this is almost just as bad as human trafficking itself, profiting over the backs of real victims. Disgusting!

Apparently Free A Girl got scared after this was uncovered on hookers.nl, and apparently decided to cover up their year report and how much money was spend on things for the next year, as the website of Utrecht Krijgt Spijt uncovered. The website Utrecht Krijgt Spijt, which was started due to the closing of Utrecht's Red Light District area the Zandpad, was able to uncover the fact that more money was raised then the year before (from 1,37 million to 1,52 million), while on the other hand less money was being spend on the actual funding on fighting human trafficking (from € 723.627 to € 702.990). Many things are however unmentioned in their year report, which are in violation of the ANBI demands, the Dutch government it's own regulations for NGO's.

But more important, is the fact that Free A Girl isn't really 'freeing girls'. They have no contact with women in Amsterdam's Red Light District, and all their statements are based purely on their own assumptions and ideas about prostitution in Amsterdam. They often claim that 'a lot of minors are working in prostitution in Holland', while even research funded by the Dutch government themselves concludes (source here page 86) that "there seems to be hardly any prostitution by minors in the licensed sector and there are no indications of a great presence of minors within the non-licensed sector either."
And it's also questionable that they're 'saving girls from prostitution', as Marijke Vonk recently uncovered a while ago in her article here. She describes how prostitutes are often 'rescued' and then locked away in government buildings. Forced to be in a shelter, these women aren't allowed to leave, yet again and again they try to escape and return to their old workplaces. More interestingly is also the fact that often the 'girls' that are rescued, aren't minors, but are often adult women.

The sad thing however, is the fact that many Dutch celebrities are unaware of this. They have no idea that Free A Girl is supporting organisations that simply abduct adult women and imprison them in shelters from which they try to escape to go back to work. They have no idea that there are no minors in Amsterdam's Red Light District, as opposed to how Free A Girl claims, and that the amount of minors working in prostitution in Holland is practically non-existing. They have no idea that most of the money they donate to this organisation isn't getting used to 'save girls', but gets mostly used to raise more money with, to get a big fat paycheck.
Free A Girl doesn't free girls, they abduct prostitutes from their workplace to lock them up in shelters against their will. They don't rescue women from Amsterdam's Red Light District, as they're never here, unless when they want to promote their own propaganda. They use made up facts to lie to people, in order to gain more donations from people, and they've gained the trust of Dutch celebrities in order for you to donate to them.

Dutch celebrities such as Froukje de Both, Arjan Erkel, Glennis Grace, Vivian Reijs, Wesley Sneijder, Yolanthe Sneijder Cabau, John Ewbank, Jim Bakkum and Bettina Holwerda-Bakkum are being deceived. It was Froukje de Both that hung a poster on my old workplace, ignorant about the fact that the women working there are far from 'being forced' or 'children'. Froukje, you're not helping us, in fact, you're supporting an organisation that increases the stigma against sex workers as 'victims', while most of us aren't victims, and there are virtually no minors working in Holland in the prostitution industry. Wake up, and realize that you're being used as marketing material, not against forced prostitution of children (something which I think everyone agrees on that is barbaric), but a crusade against prostitution.
So please, don't donate anymore money to this organisation of lies. This organisation is against prostitution itself, and uses human trafficking as an excuse for it's crusade. They use your money to make the lives of sex workers more difficult, are definitely not helping us, and we're definitely not supporting them!

If you wish to support an organisation against human trafficking, then support La Strada International. These people do a good job, and are fighting the real human trafficking problem, rather then fighting prostitution itself. Go to their website here, and take a look at how real human trafficking works, and get informed about it correctly. And go here to make a donation to them.
I'm not against fighting human trafficking, forced prostitution or minors in prostitution, not at all! But what I hate, are organisations using false claims to get you to donate money, with which they make our lives more difficult in stead of better. Stop Free A Girl with their crusade against prostitution, and support real organisations with real interests in fighting human trafficking.

Dutch version
Why the media should check their facts
I'm getting so tired of all those articles that are so filled with complete bullshit about Amsterdam's Red Light District. So often they state completely false facts, and they're being written by people who already have a negative idea about prostitution before they started writing about it.
It's interesting to see how often those articles are British. Apparently British people love to talk very negative about prostitution and especially Amsterdam's Red Light District, I guess this is also one of the main reasons why so many British people always come to Amsterdam's Red Light District to party. After all, nothing's more sexier then a taboo.

This article is another one of those examples, written by Lily Rae, a 'writer and musician', because obviously writers and musicians have an intimate understanding of Amsterdam's Red Light District, prostitution and human trafficking. But beyond that Lily Rae isn't exactly an expert on this subject, her article shows that Lily Rae already had a negative view on prostitution and Amsterdam's Red Light District before ever getting in touch with it. Her description of how uncomfortable she felt, and how women are being displayed as pieces of meat, shows this woman has difficulties to understand the world of prostitution, and has already condemned prostitution on itself before ever getting informed about it.
But besides the prejudice of the writer, there's something else wrong with this article. The article is filled with absolutely false facts. Some things just aren't true at all, some things are a bit different from how she describes it (as a result of not informing herself about the actual facts), and some things are just pure assumptions.

Interestingly enough her title is one of the few things that she is correct about. "Why Amsterdam's prostitution laws laws are still failing to protect or empower women". The reasons she used to support this conclusion however are so filled with misinformation, that stating this based upon her arguments, is very far from the truth.

The first mistake the article makes is already in the very first line of the article:

"Amsterdam may be heralded as a hub for liberalism and social progression following its legalisation of prostitution in 1988 and consumption of marijuana."

Prostitution hasn't already been a crime since 1809 in The Netherlands, but prostitution wasn't (locally) regulated until the 1st of October of 2000. Wherever Lily came up with that it was legislated in 1988 I don't know, but fact is that this is NOT TRUE.

The second line of her article isn't much better:

"However, after a significant number of brothels have been closed due to suspected criminal activity in the best known Red Light district of De Wallen in Amsterdam, alongside the nature of displaying women in windows like pieces of meat, it shows that the system has not worked."

Did brothels really close down due to suspected criminal activities? Well, I bet the city government would sell the story that way, since they did attempt to get the brothels closed on suspicions of criminal activities. However, the city government lost that court case big time, and the brothel owner in question (Charles Geerts), was cleared of all charges.
It wasn't until this defeat, that the city government started plan B, which wasn't closing down windows due to suspicions of criminal activities, but simply buying out the brothel owner with lots of money. And so it happened, that Charles Geerts his brothels weren't closed down due to suspicions of criminal activities, but simply because he accepted the city government their offer of 25 million euro's to buy the buildings.
So, no, the brothels weren't closed due to suspected criminal activities, they were closed because the city government payed a shit load of (tax payers) their money for it.
This part of the article is by the way also the first time we see a glimpse of the writer's personal opinion on how she views prostitution in Amsterdam, when she writes 'displaying women in windows like pieces of meat'. Apparently she views prostitutes in windows as pieces of meat, yet she feels so sorry for us? Honestly?

The next headline isn't much better either:

"The Normalisation of Exploitation"

Again a big no. At no point in time in history did the government in Holland ever decide to 'normalise' the exploitation of prostitutes. In fact, it is because of exploitation, that many politicians had worries about legislating it back in 2000, and is still to this day one of the reasons why prostitution is so heavily legislated with as a negative side-effect that it obstructs prostitutes in their freedom. But NEVER did the government 'normalize exploitation'.
This part also shows the writer's intention to condemn the legalization of prostitution as the 'normalisation of exploitation'. With one line she's actually saying that legalizing and normalizing prostitution is equal to normalizing exploitation, which is of course not true. But it does show the writer's view on the subject, and how she 'feels' that legalizing prostitution is similar to making exploitation a regular thing, like it's normal. This just proves the author feels prostitution is the same thing as exploitation, with other words, all prostitutes are exploited, which is definitely not the case at all.

The article continues with her first trip to Amsterdam at the 'ripe' age of 23, and all the places she's visited. But then the article begins to turn to one particular Dutch thing, the FEBO, a Dutch fast-food chain with fastfood behind a glass window, in where you have to insert coins to take out the fastfood. A simple concept with great succes in Holland, as many Dutch people often grab a bite from the FEBO. Lily desribes it as:

"you've got a burger without the need for awkward human interaction"

Of course the idea behind the added line 'without the need for awkward human interaction', is a set-up to make the thing that comes next sound cold and almost inhuman, since there's 'awkward human interaction'. It makes one doubt about what kind of 'awkward' human interaction Lily has when she visits a fast food restaurant. Is Lily such an awkward person that her simple interaction with a person working at a fast food restaurant already become 'awkward human interaction'. I don't know about her, but this makes it sound more like she finds human interaction 'awkward', and would rather avoid it.

But the thing she wants to draw attention to of course follows in the next sentence:

"Funnily enough, the way women lined the windows in De Wallen resembled that of a Febo snack - quick, easy, and on display for those who need a quick fix."

As we could've guessed by now, Lily has tried to compare her 'akward' interaction with the people working at a fast-food restaurant to that of a prostitute, and displays more negative emotions towards this. She basically describes prostitutes behind the windows as 'quick, easy, and on display for those who need a quick fix', as if we're some quick and easy sluts that will fuck with everyone.

She continues this in the headline for the next part of her article, with says:

"Women as Fast Food 'Treat'"

She continues the article by stating yet again falsely that the purchase of sex has been legal since 1988, and then describes her own experience of walking through the Red Light District:

"Walking through the Red Light District is supposedly a fun, unique experience – countless people had reassured me that I "had to visit it", but I found the narrow, cobbled streets of De Wallen to be passively hostile, especially to women."

This is another example of the author's narrow mind. Apparently she experiences the Red Light District as 'hostile' and especially to women, though she fails to explain why. Again this tells us more about her then it actually says something about the Red Light District itself. It doesn't say the Red Light District is hostile, it simply says she feels it's 'hostile' going there. I always wonder why people go there if they're uncomfortable about it. I mean, they know they're not gonna see any clowns or other circus acts, so why are people always so surprised to find prostitutes behind the window in an area that's world famous for it's prostitutes behind the window? 
It's like you have trouble with people who gamble, and think it's a waste of time and money, yet you still go to Las Vegas and act surprised and disgusted that there are casino's over there where people gamble with their money. What the fuck did you expect?!

The next part of her article continues with her own personal 'feelings' towards prostitution:

"I couldn't help but keep my head down and rush through, trying to avoid the gaze of the girls – many of whom looked younger than me – displayed in the glass windows like cuts of meat. Like the sweaty Febo snacks, couped up in their display cabinets.

In fact, the whole Red Light experience made me uncomfortable and sad.

These women – or rather, their bodies – were being reduced to nothing more than a tourist attraction. The fact that a girl in this city is presented in much the same way as a burger in a fast-food joint is somewhat disturbing to me."

Again the author displays more of her personal disgust with prostitution, which shows her lack of respect for the women doing this work (like me). I hear these kind of things so often, when people talk about the Red Light District and they say we're 'like pieces of meat on display'.
Of course their intention is to give people the idea that other people (mainly men) perceive us as nothing more then 'pieces of meat', degrading us from a woman to nothing more then just some piece of meat. But fact is that this is not the opinion of 'other people' walking in the Red Light District, but it's the opinion of the person stating this. They see us as 'pieces of meat on display', since that's how they perceive us in their opinion towards others, and by doing so show a complete lack of respect for us.
She also mentions that the 'many of the girls 'looked younger than me'. A passive statement of course, since this first of all says nothing about the actual age, but again, just more about how she experiences and sees things. But fact is that all women are at least 18 years of age, and since last year the city government has raised the minimum age even to 21. The city government's own prostitution inspectors also check this regularly, as they regularly come to check the girls for their legal documents and registration papers. But besides them, also the police regularly comes to check for this, and besides all the checking from the city government and the police, no brothel owner will rent out a window to a girl that's younger then 18 (or now 21) out of fear of loosing his permit and closing all of his windows down for business. To guarantee himself no girl slips past him, the brothel owners demands you show him your registration papers and ID and/or passport every day before he will even hand you the key to your workplace.
Beyond that all the girls working in the Red Light District have to register themselves first at the Chambers of Commerce as a self-employed business owner, for which you also have to be at least 18. And in the past decade no minors have ever been found, not by the police not the city government, despite their regular checks. In short, there's no way in hell you'll ever going to find a minor behind the windows in Amsterdam, simply because you'll never even get a room from the brothel owner.
The fact that the author perceives 'many' of the women behind the windows as 'younger then her' is of course only implying there are minors here. After all, she was 23 at the time, a 'ripe' age as she calls it herself, so the fact that many women were younger then her wouldn't even mean it would be a crime at all. 
But truth is, most women working here are already way older then 18. Most women working here are somewhere between 23 and 50 years old, and that's really a huge majority. I still to this day get people who ask me if I'm old enough to do this job (I'm almost 28 now). Last week I had another guy that asked me if he could see my passport, because he couldn't believe I was older then 18. 
We can't help it we look young and fresh, that's just how most Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian women look like. In our eyes women from West-Europe and the U.S. look already like they're 30 when they're still only 16. What can I say, we've got good genes, I'm not going to apologize for that! Perhaps this says more about how 'old' the author already looked like when she was 23.

Then the author continues about the Amsterdam city council:

"Amsterdam City Council goes to great lengths to try and ensure the safety of the women working.

Police patrol the city; each room is equipped with a panic button; the women undergo regularly mandatory health checks and are encouraged to register their profession, to pay taxes."

This part almost made me laugh. The thought that the city council would actually be interested in our safety. If that would've been really the case, they wouldn't have closed down so many windows without helping out the women that lost their workplace. Fact is, like I wrote here, that the city council didn't give a shit about us. 
Fact is, that the city government was never really interested in 'ensuring our safety'. That's just an excuse they used to close down windows and reduce the Red Light District, in hopes of reducing trouble-making, drunk, noisy and (sometimes even) violent tourists (which funny enough mostly are Dutch people I can tell you), and replacing them with family-friendly tourists with deep pockets of 'high class', that like art and love visiting museums. You can see the results of this if you look at the 109 closed windows thus far, and still 100 windows scheduled to go, the many attempts the city council made to turn the Red Light District into a 'high class' area with their failed 'Red Light Fashion' project, and other attempts to allow artists such a painters and sculptors in those windows, in hopes it would be a success. Their most recent move has been to aggressively promote the 'Rijksmuseum' as their 'top attraction', completely ignoring the fact that the Red Light District is and always will be the number one attraction in Amsterdam. 

The author also writes about the fact that police patrol the city, which has nothing to do with having legalized prostitution. After all, which city doesn't have police patrolling the city? But what I think she means to say, is that the police are protecting the prostitutes, which is an example of why legalized prostitution is much safer and not worse. 

She also mentions the fact that each room is equipped with a panic button. Indeed, each room has one, which makes a damn lot of noise. Fun fact about that I also read recently. Apparently Dennis Boutkan from the PVDA is now claiming it was his idea to implement sound alarms. In this article here, the PVDA makes it sound like all the brothels use a silent alarm at the moment, but because of the 'new plan' from Dennis Boutkan, we're now being blessed with a sound alarm which is much more effective.
Fact is however that all the brothels have been  using sound alarms already for years, and it was the city council their recent plan to switch those to silent alarms, because of noise complaints from the neighborhood. I met a while back with Dennis Boutkan and talked with him about this (among other things), and apparently he has come to the conclusion that a silent alarm doesn't do the trick. You see, the alarm works because it makes a damn lot of noise, and the clients get scared when they hear it. It's actually this fear and shock that they get, that prevents dangerous situations from escalating, as the clients run off scared. 
So this whole 'new idea' the PVDA has now proudly introduced isn't new at all, it's the same damn thing we've been using for years already, but the PVDA just wants to get the credits for reverting their own plans of obligating the window owners to install a silent alarm. Basically all they've done is pulled out their own dumb plan and let us continue doing our things the way we were already doing it. But okay Dennis, at least you listened to me, I have to give you credit for that.

She also mentions that health checks are mandatory, but this is not the case. Although many prostitutes do get a regular, and free health check, it's not obligated, This is one of those common myths I've read already many times, but truth is that it's not mandatory, something that Lily could've found out if she actually did some fact checking, and not copied all the bullshit from websites that state myths and false facts.
And we're not encouraged to register ourselves, in fact, we're obligated to register ourselves. Like I wrote here above, to get a window you need to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce. If you're not registered, the window owners won't even look at you any further, let alone rent you a room. All prostitutes working in the Red Light District are registered!

The article continues with the statement:

"The logic behind the legalisation of prostitution seems to be that by bringing the underworld into the light, the criminal aspect would surely dissolve.

Well, that wasn't exactly the logic behind the legalization. The real idea behind the legalization was that prostitution will always continue, whether you legalize it or not. The problem however if you don't legalize it, is that you can't control it nor help any possible victims, since prostitution goes underground. But if you legalize it, you have at least some control, and then the prostitutes won't have to hide from the police out of fear of being arrested, and would therefor improve the safety of both prostitutes that do this work by choice (because they have a better and safer work environment), and those that are victims of trafficking (which you can offer help because they won't be working in the underground scene).
But indeed it's also true that legalization does shine a light on the criminal aspect, and this has also worked. After all, the reason why Holland has more registered human trafficking cases, is because of the very simple reason that we can now actually see them, and therefore register them. Not making it legal wouldn't have made more or less victims, they just would've stayed hidden, not showing up on the radar, and therefore not registered. Just because you don't register it, doesn't mean it's not happening. The fact that Holland is able to register human trafficking now, also means we can do something about it to save the victims and put the traffickers in jail. But if you can't find them, you can't save any girls or put any bad guys in jail. It's as simple as that.

She continues:

"In theory, women would be less likely to suffer abuse at the hands of pimps, less likely to be involved in human trafficking, and more likely to earn a decent wage.

And yet, the system hasn't worked – it's made things worse."

Yes, indeed, how surprising that a woman that feels disgusted with prostitution, claims that 'the system hasn't worked'. But I wonder what real facts the has to support this claim.

The first thing she claims is:

"A prostitute in Amsterdam, a notoriously expensive city, will pay up to one hundred euro a night for the rent of a window."

Indeed Amsterdam can be an expensive place, but would that have been any different if prostitution was not legalized? I don't think so. In fact, since prostitution has such a big stigma, prices of houses around areas of prostitution are usually lower, because nobody wants to live next to a prostitute. And because nobody wants to live next to a prostitute, the houses close by are usually not very wanted, causing the prices to go down. So you could even argue that without legalizing it, Amsterdam may have been even more expensive without it's window prostitution.
But I don't recall Amsterdam being more expensive then any other Western capital city, and this still doesn't say anything about the prices of the window rent. The price that she mentions 'up to one hundred euro a night' is another example of how poorly misinformed the author is about Amsterdam's Red Light District. Prices are closer to 150 euro then 100 euro for a night, and above all, it wasn't the legalization that caused these prices to be so high.

She continues with more bullshit:

"She also has to pay a pimp, and pay taxes if she registers – though only 5% of prostitutes have actually registered for tax, perhaps for fear of the social stigma that comes with publicly announcing yourself as a prostitute."

Apparently the author is assuming we need a pimp. Well my dear Lily, I'm sorry to break your bubble here, but most girls don't have a pimp, simply because we don't need it. After all, there are basically two things a pimp can offer. The first one is to get you clients, but since we're all grouped together in an area that is famous for it's prostitution, we don't need any pimps to get clients. All the negotiations with the client happen directly with us, not through a pimp. If you would've looked up, and not starred so much with your head down at those cobble stones, you might have actually also seen this. But because you choose not to look, you also weren't able to check if the image you have about Amsterdam's Red Light District corresponds with the realities.
The second reason a girl would need a pimp for is for protection. But let this be one of the reasons why they legalized prostitution in the first place. In countries where prostitution is illegal, often a girl will have a pimp that protects the girl in exchange for a part of her income. But in Amsterdam we already have protection from the police, since it's a legal profession, and we don't have the need for any protection from pimps. After all, you said it yourself, we have a freakin' alarm button!

She also claims we pay tax 'if she registers', as if it's an option to register yourself or not. In her article she links to this article, which makes the same claim. Also there they claim that only 5 percent are registered for tax. I have no idea where these people get this bullshit, but that's absolutely not true. In fact, you can't even work without being registered, you won't even get a window from the brothel owner without showing your registration papers every single day that you rent the room (and yes, I seriously mean every single fucking day).
So it's not a choice to register yourself. All window prostitutes have to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce, without it they won't even get a window, and being registered at the Chambers of Commerce automatically means you have to pay tax. So that only 5 percent would be registered is complete and utter bullshit and completely false, and this also get's regularly checked by police, prostitution inspectors, the Dutch IRS and the brothel owner itself.

Then she says something interesting about the social stigma of prostitution. An interesting thing, since she's actually the one who helps to create exactly that stigma that she's talking about. Fortunately the government allows prostitutes to register themselves under different definitions besides the definition of just prostitute. A while ago the government tried to change that, to get more insight in to who is a prostitute or not, but since that violated our privacy, and could even endanger us (the Chambers of Commerce register is open to the public) for example by stalkers, they scrapped this idea, and allowed prostitutes to be registered under different definitions.
In short, prostitutes aren't scared to register themselves for tax, since they can register themselves under different definitions, and don't have to 'publicly announce' that they work as a prostitute. Another example of simply being poorly informed.

She continues with another example which shows her ignorance about the subject, when she writes:

"Just in order to take some home for herself she'll have to have sex with ten to fifteen people per day."

I don't know if this woman simply is misinformed about the prices we charge, or didn't finish her school. But if she claims that the price of a window rent is 100 euro, and the standard price we charge is 50, then we would only need 3 clients to make 50 euro for ourselves. Based on her own 'facts', 10 clients a day would come down to 500 euro (50 euro X 10 clients), and according to her the window rent would be 100 euro, so that would leave us with 400 euro a day! Based on 15 clients a day, this would even come down to 650 euro profit for us a day! If these were the amount of clients I had a day, I'd be very happy. Honestly though, I'm happy if I get 10 clients a day on a regular day.
Another assumption she makes, one that people often make, is that we have to have sex with clients. First of all, saying it like this makes it sound like it's something bad. 'We have to have sex'. But let's be honest, if you have a problem to have sex with other people, then prostitution clearly isn't your type of job. The ones that do, don't have a problem with having sex with other people for money. So stating it like this, is like stating that the toilet lady has to clean the toilet 20 times a day. Yeah, obviously, that's the whole point of the job, isn't it?!
But more importantly, it isn't even true. Like I've explained already many times, we don't have sex with all of our customers. In fact, we have sex with less then half our customers, because most are too drunk or too stoned or too nervous to even get a hard one. Also, the prostitutes don't 'have to have sex', it's their business, they decide if they have sex with customers or not, and they decide which customers they let it or not. I've written extensively on this subject before, as you can read here.
The author also links to an article that is supposed to be the 'proof' of these claims. But when you read the article, it simply becomes laughable. It claims for instance that "approximately 9000 people had been trafficked into the sex industry in Amsterdam", which is really funny, because that's even more then the total estimated prostitutes in the sex industry in Amsterdam itself, which ranges from 4000 to 7000 prostitutes. In short, the number of trafficked victims for prostitution in Amsterdam would be bigger then the total amount of prostitutes themselves. I could go on more about this article, but I think this is already enough to show you that this bullshit is a complete lie.

The article continues by stating:

"The vocal union for the sex workers, De Rode Draad, went bankrupt and closed down in 2009. In addition to this, 13 sex workers have been murdered in De Wallen since 1990."

I did an actual headcount of the number of prostitutes that have been murdered in the Amsterdam Red Light District since 1990, and the facts come down to only 5, and not 12 like the author states here. Apparently the author is still under the assumption that prostitution was legalized already in 1988, thus beginning to count the number of murder from 1990 to prove her point that the situation has gotten worse, and safety has gotten worse.
Fun fact is, that legalization of course didn't start until 2000, and that since that period the numbers of prostitutes that have been murdered in this country (the author focuses only on Amsterdam, but it's not just Amsterdam where prostitution is legal, but the entire country) has decreased with 35%, as you can read in my article about prostitution murders in Holland here.
So again a case of being misinformed.

The article continues with more misinformed information:

"After twenty years of legalised prostitution, the council ended up cutting down the Red Light district's brothels from 482 to 243 after bouts of criminal activity."

Of course 20 years should have been 8 years. Because of course in reality prostitution didn't get legalized until 2000 rather then 1988, and the city council decided already 8 years later to cut down the number of brothels back in 2008.
Besides that also the numbers of windows are wrong, there are in total 283 and not 243 windows in the Red Light District, and more importantly, there never where 482 windows in the Red Light District, this was the total amount of windows in Amsterdam as a whole and not just the Red Light District itself. Besides the famous Red Light District known as De Wallen, Amsterdam has two other areas with window prostitution, De Pijp (Ruysdealkade) with about 45 windows and the Singel area with about 66 windows.
And indeed the city council did claim to close down windows due to criminal activities, but in reality (and this is also publicly known), the city council lost that accusation in court because they had no proof of this, and afterwards simply bought out the owner, like I already explained here above.

The article continues with another statement that never gets proven anywhere:

"Why Legalising Prostitution is Rotten to the Core

De Wallen, for all its beautiful architecture and friendly people, is rotten to the core, much like the concept of legalized prostitution."

And then continues by blaming the government from profiting off the 'sex trade' itself:

As these bored-looking girls stand behind their red-lit glass doors, looking out as much as we look in, we are supposed to feel better in the knowledge that this profession is sanctioned by the government, which in turn means that the government itself will profit off the sex trade.

Of course her added 'we are supposed to feel better in the knowledge that this profession is sanctioned by the government', is again an example of how the author tries to suggest negative things, without actually stating it. The only thing she does get right here, is the fact that the government itself profits from prostitution itself, which is also why we always call the government itself our biggest pimp.

She then continues with the most famous bullshit of all:

"However, this doesn't automatically mean that these women have a choice in their work. I'm told there are many women who do enjoy prostitution; I've yet to hear of one, though, and bear in mind that the average age of a woman entering the sex trade is fourteen."

Unlike most articles, this article doesn't dare itself to calling out numbers or percentages of numbers of women being forced into prostitution. In stead it chooses to simply suggest things, by adding in "I'm told there are many women who do enjoy prostitution; I've yet to hear of one, though(...)". Again more 'telling', 'thinking' and assuming things, without any actual facts.
The fact that she hasn't heard of one prostitute who enjoys prostitution isn't such a surprising thing, if you're only looking online for stories about forced prostitutes, that's what you'll find. Truth is, you can find plenty of prostitutes talking about how they enjoy prostitution. However, I'm not one of them. I don't 'enjoy' prostitution. And why should I? Is it necessary for prostitutes to enjoy their job in order not to have a problem with it? How many people 'enjoy' their work really? 
The point if you enjoy your work or not is irrelevant, the point of it being a choice of your own however is much more important. And fact is that many women, even many victims of human trafficking itself, choose for prostitution by themselves. It's a common misunderstanding that victims of human trafficking didn't choose to do prostitution. That's primarily only the case with forced prostitutes, but fact is that most human trafficking cases are about exploitation and not so much forced prostitution. 
But this is an old trick, first claiming that you doubt someone's choice for prostitution, to subsequently link it to 'enjoying' the profession. How many of you had a free choice to do the job you're doing now, versus how many of you 'enjoy' your profession? Fact is that almost nobody 'enjoys' his or her profession, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a free choice they made for themselves.

The second part of this piece is another bullshit statistic, claiming that the average age for entering the sex trade is 14. The article links to an article of NOMAS, a 'national organisation for men against sexism' and tags 'pro-feminists' as one of their target groups. The sources for these statements however all come down to researches being done in the U.S., and not in Holland, but more importantly this was a studied that surveyed only minors. So obviously a survey about minors is going to show you a very young age, since it's about MINORS! Someone else wrote an entire article about this, which you can find here.
Truth however is, yet again, like I stated above, that there's simply no way a minor could work behind the windows in Amsterdam. And from personal experience I can tell that the average age for entering prostitution, regarding women in the Red Light District, is closer to 23 then to 13. So again completely false information.

Then the article continues with another statement that's been bugging me lately:

"The problem is that the legalising of prostitutes creates a higher demand for these women. That's where human trafficking comes in, and Amsterdam – along with much of Eastern Europe – is one of the most heavily trafficked places in the world, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)."

Does legalizing something create a higher demand? Let's examine that claim for a moment. If prostitution would be illegal, would there be less men wanting to visit a prostitute? No, since they still do it, but it just happens unprotected, thus unsafe. Do more men visit prostitutes because it's legal? Well, maybe, there are no statistics about this as far as I know, so this perhaps could be true, but stating it without any proof is just assuming it.
But let's look at it the other way around. Does legalizing prostitution create a bigger stream of women willing to do sex work? Yes, because that's exactly what's going on here. Fact is that in most parts of the world prostitution is illegal, though there are plenty of women willing to do sex work as a job, to simply make a lot of money, or just purely as a survival option.
Fact is that because Holland made prostitution legal as the first country in the world, this has had an attraction to women wanting to enter prostitution, or already working in prostitution in their own country where prostitution was illegal, and therefore also unsafe. By legalizing prostitution, Holland created a beacon of hope and safety for these women, thus creating the effect that many women moved to Holland, because here they could perform this job in a safe way, unlike their home country.
Besides that, I've also explained before, that because Holland legalized prostitution, it was also able to monitor better human trafficking, since it now surfaced from the underworld. Because it surfaced, Holland was able to register better, and therefor more, human trafficking, giving them the possibilities to help more women, in stead of neglecting them and ignoring the very fact that victims exists, simply by making it illegal.
In short, bigger numbers of trafficking, simply imply that Holland has got a better idea of the realities of human trafficking, unlike countries that have trouble to register it, because it's all happening underground.

And then the next part of the article brings us to the infamous Saban B.:

"In 2008, six men were convicted of the "largest case of human trafficking ever brought to trial in the Netherlands."

According to the investigation: "some of the victims were compelled to have breast enlargement surgery, and one defendant was convicted of forcing at least one woman to have an abortion.

"Women were beaten and forced to sit in icy water to avoid bruising. They also were tattooed.""

This is the case of Saban B., the notorious pimp which caused a shock reaction through Holland, and eventually was the reason why the city government started with their project 1012, to close down windows in the Red Light District. Now besides the fact that Saban B. began already back in the end of the 1990's, before prostitution was legalized, and was already repeatedly reported to the police by both brothel owners and prostitutes pressing charges, it was the police who did nothing for almost 10(!) years, until eventually they dusted off the files and began to look into the case, leading to his arrest.
But here's my question. Was it despite of Holland legalizing prostitution that they caught Saban B. and his gang of brutal pimps? Or was it due to Holland legalizing prostitution that they were able to catch him? After all, if prostitution would have been illegal, none of the victims or the brothel owners would ever have gone to the police with their stories, leading to his arrest. But it was due to the fact that prostitution was legal, that prostitutes and brothel owners weren't afraid to go to the police to report this man, leading to his arrest, even though this still took way too long
This is the very essence of why legalized prostitution is better. Because prostitution is legal, Holland is able to get a better insight in the world of prostitution, thus gaining more information about who the victims and the pimps are, in order to do something about it. While in countries where prostitution is still illegal, the very reason why they don't have such high numbers of trafficking and arrest of pimps, is because of the very simple reason that prostitutes and brothel owners are scared to go to the police, since they're doing something that's illegal and things will never get registered.
Make it legal, and indeed you'll get higher numbers of trafficking, and indeed you'll get more pimps arrested, but isn't that the whole point to get more pimps arrested? Would you rather have lower statistics, because you can't catch the bad guys, or higher statistics leading to more arrests and making the world a safer place?

Then the article continues with another report:

"In 2009, two men were jailed for forcing around 140 girls between the ages of 16 and 23 into prostitution in Europe – and by controlling them using voodoo."

Question is however: did this have anything to do with Amsterdam's Red Light District, or legalizing prostitution in Holland itself? Because if you look at the facts presented in court, as you can read in an article here, what really happened was this. Two Nigerian men brought 140 Nigerian girls into Holland as asylum seekers. Afterwards however the girls disappeared from the asylums, and popped up as forced prostitutes in Italy, Spain and France, though not Holland. 
This means the men simple used Holland as an entrance to Europe, a doorway, but they apparently felt Holland wasn't the right place to force these women into prostitution (something to do with too much control and police perhaps, due to legalizing it), and in fact brought them to other countries, of which all didn't legalize prostitution, like Italy, Spain and France, because of the low chances of getting caught there.
In short, this case just proves that the legalization works, and that these two traffickers actively avoided Holland as a place for prostitution, in favor of countries that hadn't legalized prostitution in order to avoid tricky inspections by police and other authorities. 
These girls where by the way mostly minors, so even if they wanted to, they could've never get these girls to work here, which could also be another reason why they choose to let the girls work in other countries.

And then the article continues with a bullshit video I already dedicated a lot of time to:

"A now famous campaign from Stop the Traffik showed several window girls breaking into a dance routine; following the routine a huge screen displayed the message "Every year, thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here.""

Yes, the infamous Stop The Traffik campaign, which according to Esta Steyn, director of Stop The Traffik Holland, wasn't their campaign, but they were nearly asked by the makers of the campaign if they could use their organisation their name (can you believe it?).
Just because a video says so, doesn't make it true, and fact is that the few women that Esta Steyn has talked to working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, were not forced. In fact, she hasn't spoken to one single girl from the Amsterdam Red Light District which had been a victim of human trafficking. Which makes one wonder, how can you claim things if you've never actually even met one?
Another fun fact is that indeed the video states 'sadly the end up here', but funny enough those 'thousands' of women they're talking about don't even have enough room, since, like I wrote down here before, Amsterdam only has about 400 windows, and the Red Light District itself has only 283 windows. So how do 'thousands' of women fit into only 283 windows?
I could write much more about this, but I've already done that before in this post here, so I'll let you people re-read that one again.

Then the article continues with more bullshit:

"Amsterdam's human trafficking problem is out of control, and try as they might to maintain a facade of safety for sex-workers, the fact remains: it is one of the most dangerous professions in the world and there is no guarantee of safety."

Of course this is complete nonsense. In fact, Amsterdam is the safest place on earth for prostitutes, due to the fact that it's legal, thus protected both in it's legal status and by government authorities, and beyond that has a cameras at every corner of the Red Light District. In fact, the Red light District has more camera's and police surveillance then the royal palace on the Dam in Amsterdam, and is one of the best protected areas in Holland.
Stating that this profession is one of the most dangerous professions is the world is again a display of ignorance. Prostitution is indeed not a job without any risks, but is comparable with let's say for instance a bar tender at a local pub. Besides the fact that the author is overestimating the dangers of this profession, she's ignoring the fact that there are far more dangerous jobs out there, and that danger is no reason to make a profession illegal, can be argued with the fact that the most dangerous jobs are often jobs the government themselves offer, such as soldiers in the army, police officers, etc.

But then the article all of the sudden becomes a rampage of purely false facts:

"Amsterdam's attempt to legalise prostitution, 'the oldest profession in the world', has failed, resulting in the acceptance of selling under-age, trafficked women as a tourist attraction."

Like you can read here above, the attempts haven't failed, it is due to the legalization that pimps are actively avoiding Holland as a place for forced prostitution in favor of countries that have not legalized it yet. It's also due to the legalization that Holland was able to arrest pimps and thereby reducing human trafficking, and the safety for sex workers themselves are far superior to those who work in countries where it's illegal.
The statements that legalizing prostitution has resulted in "the acceptance of selling under-age (...) women as a tourist attraction" is purely false, and is purely based on her own assumptions. Facts however shows that no minors were found behind the windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District, as also the city government can tell you, the police and all other authorities that deal with minors, prostitution or human trafficking will all be able to spit out for you.
Beyond that Amsterdam hasn't accepted the trafficking of women as a touristic attraction. In fact, quite the opposite, hence the closing down of prostitution windows, and hence the fact that Amsterdam does no promotion whatsoever regarding it's Red Light District, but heavily promotes the Rijksmuseum as 'the main touristic attraction' in Amsterdam, even though in reality it's still the Red Light District.

The article states further that:

"Traffickers are making a mint off slavery, thanks to this 'liberal' concept."

But in fact it seems more like they're avoiding this country in favor of countries who haven't legalized prostitution yet.

The article states that:

"Before we can even begin to consider the successful legalising of sex work, we must find a way to end the exploitation rampant in the sex trade – for a start, those who pay to have sex with human beings are rapists and should be prosecuted as such. Having sex with someone just so you can pay your rent is not consent."

This article is just accusing clients of prostitutes as rapist, assuming every prostitute is a victim and is forced. Of course this is another one of those dumb assumptions the author made, influenced by a negative emotion regarding sexwork and misinformed by articles that are produced by people that have a personal issue with prostitution itself.
The plan of prosecuting buyers of sex as rapists is exactly what they have done in Sweden, and is called the Swedish model, of which I explained here already why this is an extremely bad idea for both voluntarily working prostitutes as well as victims in need of saving.

And then the article finish on a typical radical feministic note:

"Despite its honourable intentions, Amsterdam's legalisation of prostitution is not liberal or empowering - it perpetuates the notion that women are the oldest form of currency."

Fact is that the only way to empower people, is to give people rights. And just like how Holland was the first country in the world to give gay people rights, that's also what they have done for prostitutes. You don't empower someone by making them illegal, this has never worked and will never work. Making something illegal, as history has taught us, has only led to criminals getting their hands on things, as for example the prohibition of alcohol has shown us in the 1930's in the US. 
Taking crime out of an industry begins with legalization, that doesn't mean that immediately the industry will be clean, that will take some time. Eventually though, like with the alcohol industry, prostitution when legalized will be a clean industry if you give it some time. Unfortunately Amsterdam itself was getting impatient with that, and decided to reduce it again, reducing the windows, claiming that would help against human trafficking. In reality however they haven't stopped the problems, they've just shoved all the junk under the carpet, hoping nobody would notice it. If you can't see it, it doesn't exist, right?
The idea that women are currency is a typical radical feministic way of thinking. The only ones that see it that way are the pimps and the feminists themselves. Fact is that everyone can make money with their body in one way or another. We do it by offering our body for services, a masseuse does it by offering her hands for services, a psychologist does it by offering his brain for services. If you see us as currency, that says more about your way of thinking and how you see us than that it actually says something about us. After all, Lily, aren't you the one selling her vocals for money? Doesn't that make you currency as well?

As you can see, the article is so filled with bullshit, false statistics, misinformation, assumptions and a basic ignorance about the subject, that it becomes almost laughable, were it not that some people take this serious. The article has already been shared on Yahoo, which really worries me, but what worries me most is that something called the International Business Times allows a woman/journalist/opinion maker to write something that is so filled with false facts. Don't you guys check your articles before you post them or something? And what the fuck does a financial news website has to do with prostitution? Check your damn facts before posting dumb shit like this. This article featured 12(!) factual mistakes in an article that uses about 1200 words, that's one mistake for every 100 words, which could've simply been avoided by checking your facts.
And, oh yeah, also check the copyrights of pictures before you post them, because your article is using pictures without the permission of the copyright holder, for which you may also get in trouble.

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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.