Jojanneke's 70% forced prostitutes is a lie
Numerous times she's claimed it already. According to Jojanneke van den Berge 70% of the girls working behind the windows are forced. These are numbers from the Public Prosecutors (Openbaar Ministerie) she claims. When asked for a source about this, she refers to her documentary. But of course a documentary isn't a report, a documentary is simply something that might mention a report, but it doesn't show it. So the question remains what her source is. The fact that after repeated asking for it, she only keeps referring to her documentary tells us two things.
She doesn't have a source of is scared to show it, because it probably won't support what she's claiming. And secondly, she wants to get famous, which is why she keeps referring people to watch her documentary, in stead of coming up with some real facts and not false claims.

But after a long search with my boyfriend, we were able to uncover the statistics she based this claim upon. And shocking fact is, the only two things true about what she claims, is the fact that is mentions a number of 70% and that it's originated from the Public Prosecution Office. And those are about the only two things that are true about her claims, because if you take a closer look at what it says, you'll find out it's something completely different from what Jojanneke van den Berge claims.

To begin with I'll refer to the origins of this statistic, which can be found here on the website of the Nationaal Rapporteur in Holland. The article is about new statistics about human trafficking and they are based upon the statistics of the Public Prosuction Office (OM) and CoMensha, the organisation which counts all the 'possible' victims.

"In 2012 en 2013 kwam de rechter in ruim 70% van de zaken tot een veroordeling voor mensenhandel."

Translation:
"In 2012 and 2013 over 70% of the human trafficking cases in court came to a conviction."

That is what it literally says on the website of the Nationaal Rapporteur. These are also the only statistics to can be found which mention 70% that originate from the Public Prosectution Office. There are simply no other documents to be found that mention 70% in combination with forced prostitution or human trafficking that originate from the Public Prosectution Office, or any other source for that matter. So either Jojanneke has found some secret, hidden document that nobody knows about, except her and the Public Prosectution Office, but I highly doubt that. Or these are the statistics she's referring to, which explains why she's so reluctant to give away the source, since that would undermine everything that she's claiming.

So why is Jojanneke wrong with her claims? Well, first of all, she repeatedly claims the 70% are only about window prostitution and nothing else. This is false! These numbers are about all human trafficking, and not solely those from window prostitution. This already gives her one reason not to give us the real source, since she knows it doesn't hold up. But this isn't the most shocking false claims she's making.

Secondly, she claims that 70% are forced. which is again false, since forced prostitution is only one type of human trafficking. Like I've explained extensively in this post here, not all human trafficking is forced prostitution. Human trafficking consists out of basically two types: forced prostitution and exploitation. These are two different things not to be confused with each other, even though for the law they fall under the same category.
Besides, most cases in court regarding human trafficking are about exploitation and not forced prostitution at all. So to claim all of those 70% are about forced prostitution is simply false. Some part could be about forced prostitution, but the numbers never specify exactly what part of these numbers are about forced prostitution versus which part are about exploitation. Therefor it's impossible to claim these are only forced women. Especially considering the fact that most cases attorneys handle are about exploitation and not forced prostitution at all, this furthermore supports the fact that a large majority of this 70% are exploitation victims and not victims of forced prostitution, like how Jojanneke claims.

But most important is the fact that this 70% is only based upon the cases that see court. In short, this is not based upon the total number of prostitutes working in Holland, or those working behind windows. This is based ONLY upon all the court cases in Holland, and not those who never go to court. Obviously the number of trafficking victims that go to court are much higher than those who do not, since there must be reason why they go to court in the first place.
Basically this 70% is not a percentage about how many girls are forced into prostitution, but it's a conviction rate. This conviction rate shows in how many of the court cases someone get's convicted versus how many are not getting convicted. This says nothing about how many girls are forced behind the windows, but only about how many people that go to court for human trafficking cases get convicted in the end.

To give you an example, let's say there are 1200 cases of sexual assualt in Holland (rape, but also lighter forms of sexual assaults, like sexual harassment for example), and from those 1200 cases 900 are found guilty and therefore convicted. That would mean that 75% of the cases lead to a conviction. Just like how 70% of the court cases about human trafficking lead to a conviction. This however doesn't automatically mean that 75% of the women in Holland get raped, which is how Jojanneke presents things. In short, not 70% behind the windows are forced, but 70% in court are found guilty. This is something completely different from what Jojanneke claims.

This means that 70% says nothing about how many women are forced behind the windows. And how could they? The Public Prosectution Office has never been in Amsterdam's Red Light District to take a look or to do research, since that's not their job. The job of the Public Prosectution Office is to deal with court cases, not to do research on how many girls are forced in the field, that's the job of CoMensha, the police and the KMar (marshals). And that's also exactly what they did because the only thing they did, was count the total number of trafficking cases, and calculate how much of those court cases end up in a conviction.
So these numbers are conviction rates, not statistics about how many girls are forced. And these numbers are certainly not solely based upon just window prostitution, even though Jojanneke claims that is the case. Also she claims this is about how many girls are forced, while that's not the case at all, since these are numbers on trafficking and not just forced prostitution alone.

Fact is that Jojanneke her claim: '70% of the girls working behind the windows are forced', is absolutely false on so many different levels. The number doesn't speak about how many girls behind the windows, but how many court cases. The number doesn't speak about how many are forced, but how many are trafficked. And the number doesn't give any indication as to how many women are forced in Holland, but how many court cases lead to a conviction.

Shocking though, is the fact that numerous media publish this information without checking the facts. Feminist magazine Opzij published this false information without checking it in an article here, as well as countless other media did. But even newspaper De Telegraaf published this information without checking the facts in an article here.
It is remarkable how media copy Jojanneke her words, and without checking these facts, and presenting them to the public. Especially considering the fact that recently newspaper Trouw fired one of it's journalists, Perdiep Ramesar, for using untraceable sources. Also his articles mostly were about human trafficking and prostitution (what a surprise, right?). And of course this is not the first person who got caught lying about prostitution, since we already have people like Patricia Perquin and Maria Mosterd who were exposed to be frauds.

How much longer do we have to wait for the media, for journalists, for editors, to wake up? How much longer do we have to wait before they start checking their facts before publishing them? Especially since there have already been so many people who have been lying about prostitution. Shouldn't their ring a bell, whenever someone comes with these kind of 'horrifying' stories about forced prostitution by now?

So media, wake up! Check your facts! Don't believe whatever stories people tell, check the facts for yourselves before publishing it! You've had plenty of examples by now, to prove that people are lying about prostitution in a negative way. So whenever someone comes with some story about how bad things are about prostitution, you first check the facts and the sources!
And of course the EO isn't going to check the facts of Jojanneke. Why should they? She's claiming things which play right into the cards of more conservative Christians, which is to spread negative stories about prostitution, in hopes to make it illegal. This is exactly what they want, and this is also the reason they hired Jojanneke van den Berge, since she was already against prostitution to begin with, just like the EO itself.

How much longer will people believe the bullshit about prostitution? How much longer will people keep blind to all the lies that are spread? How many more writers, journalists and reports have to get fired because of fraud and untraceable sources, before people begin to realize these stories are just fabricated to criminalize prostitution, in stead of helping victims of trafficking.
For how long are you going to stay blind to this? Are you going to sit around, read this post, and move on with your life? Or are you going to stand up against this injustice, and share this article, so that everyone can read the lies people spread about my job and my workplace? Stand up and fight! Fight against the corruption, the corruption in the media who are protecting liars out of moral and political motives. Fight against the corruption in the politics, who are not interested in you, but in themselves and their own morals. You didn't really think they're making human trafficking laws to make things better for us, did you?

Share this article, and let Jojanneke answer for the lies she's been spreading. Let her prove where here statistics come from, if she has any. Because as far as the facts go, there is no number of 70% the Public Prosectution Office mentions that are about forced prostitution, besides how many court cases lead to a conviction. So, Jojanneke, if you have any proof, bring it to the table! If not, you're just another liar like Perdiep Ramesar, Maria Mosterd and Patricia Perquin, gaining fame over false stories about my job and my workplace.

Dutch version
More bullshit about prostitution in Holland
I see it happen so many times, report after report comes out about human trafficking. By now the numbers reach from 90% to 5% and almost everything in between. The numbers show us basically one thing, that we don't know a damn thing about how the size is of human trafficking.
Yet, the anti-prostitution people keep claiming there's lots of it happening, even though they've never met one, otherwise of course it would be breaking news that a reporter or politician found a forced prostitute by him or herself. But since this never happens, all those people claiming these things, only claim these things based upon reports that state what they want to hear, and ignore other reports that state the opposite.
Truth is, we don't know. Nobody knows. Even the people claiming they know, they don't know. I wrote a while ago my personal estimations, but truth is, I also don't know. So, if some outsider claims to know it better, that just proves how ignorant they are, since even we, the sex workers themselves don't know it, and we're in the middle of it all!

But every once in a while there's some prostitution hating person who's found a platform to twist the truth about this, and make all sorts of false claims. Now for example Jojanneke van den Berge, a 'reporter' (if we can call it that), has found her place with the anti-prostitution TV-channel of the EO, to 'report' about how forced we all are in a 4 part documentary.
Sure, sure, Jojanneke, we can't even tell it from each other if we're forced after years, sometimes even decades of working here. But you, an outsider, has figured it all out in a matter of months what other journalists, politicians and decades worth of scientific researchers couldn't figure out. Of course this has nothing to do with the fact that you called prostitution 'idiotic' in one of your earlier interviews, and of course this also has nothing to do with the fact that the EO is a strict Christian channel who's known for it's frequent negative reporting on prostitution, because it against their Christian values.

Enlarging the negative, while keeping the positive small
Honestly, if people buy this shit, they're too far gone to safe. So I say let those people believe what they want, people who can't see past this bullshit aren't even worth talking to.
That doesn't take away however the fact that she does come up with some things that are interesting. For example she mentioned that she had numbers from the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) about forced prostitution. First of all, the Public Prosecution Service doesn't have any statistics on how many forced prostitutes there are, all they do is count the number of court cases they have. Since they only deal with court cases (that's their job after all), they can never make any estimations, since they only deal with the victims, or 'possible' victims and never any non-victims. In other words, since they would never come across a sex worker who has no problems at all, they can never make any good estimations about how many girls aren't forced versus how many are.
For example, the only way you can make an estimation about how much percentage of green dots there are, is if you also have other dots to compare them to. But since Public Prosecution Service only deals with victims, they never come across any material to compare them to.

Funny thing though about how the Public Prosecution Service counts their statistics about trafficking cases (not about how many girls are forced, but other statistics about how many court cases etc.) is this. If the Public Prosecution Service has 10 human trafficking cases a year (meaning 10 suspects), but only 1 is actually guilty, the Public Prosecution Service will still count those other 9 as trafficking cases as well, meaning that they will still report them as if these are also legit cases. How do I know this? Well, fortunately I've talked with some good lawyers who were able to explain this to me. They are also very aware of how the Public Prosecution Service manipulates their statistics to crank up the numbers.
The idea behind counting this way, is that perhaps those people that did not get convicted could still be guilty, but they just couldn't prove it. Obviously this is a completely ridiculous way of counting things, since that would mean that any person who is being falsely accused of something is guilty no matter what. In short, completely bullshit, but since few people know about it, and it's the Public Prosecution Service, few people know this and have the guts to spill it out.

So where do these so called 'statistics' from Jojanneke come from, if not from the Public Prosecution Service? Well, there aren't that many places it could come from, since there's only one organisation in Holland that deals with statistics about human trafficking, and that's the Nationaal Rapporteur.
As I've talked about before, Marijke Vonk already wrote an excellent essay about how the Nationaal Rapporteur comes to these numbers. Counting innocent tourists and visitors to Amsterdam from so called 'source countries' (a.k.a. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary), as 'possible victims' for no reason. Really? Yes, really, you can read the entire thing on Marijke her excellent blog here with examples to prove it.
On top of that comes the fact that these statistics are statistics on 'possible victims', meaning we're not sure if they're victims or not. They could be victims, perhaps, but we're not sure. And we're definetly not so sure anymore about it, after reading Marijke her research on this subject, which just shows that the definition of 'possible' is stretched out into the extreme, so far that you can't even call them 'possible' victims anymore. In fact, even I am being reported as a 'possible' victim for no reason, simply because I'm travelling from or to a source country, in this case Romania.
In short, these statistics say nothing about the number of real victims out there. These numbers are trying to give people an indication of how many girls COULD possible be a victim. They are not exact numbers about victims, since those numbers don't exist. Anyone using these numbers to prove how many girls are forced are just making themselves more ridiculous, since these numbers are near indications and not exact numbers, and not the best ones either.

But I'm not so much interested about the fact who they count as 'possible victims' or not, even though some of them are completely ridiculous. What is far worse, is the fact that Jojanneke presents these numbers as numbers of forced prostitution, which they are NOT.
How do I know? Well, for the very simple reason that there is no organisation in Holland that counts numbers of forced prostitutes. All numbers about prostitution regarding forced prostitution are called human trafficking. And human trafficking is much larger than just forced prostitution.
Like I've talked about in my previous post here, human trafficking is not just forced prostitution, but exploitation as well. And since exploitation cases have nothing to about being forced into prostitution, calling human trafficking numbers forced prostitution would be a false way of presenting facts. After all, most cases about human trafficking are about exploitation, and NOT forced prostitution. And more importantly, a victim of exploitation DID choose for prostitution voluntarily, they just were exploited doing so.
In most cases the victims of exploitation also continue their work during the court case, or continue their work in prostitution after the case is over. Being exploited doesn't mean these women don't like prostitution, or didn't want to work in prostitution, it only means someone is taking away their money and they don't agree with that and take those people to court. Not nice indeed, but this says nothing about the women their choices to work in prostitution.

Unfortunately this is not very well known among people, and sometimes not even among lawyers specializing in human trafficking. I've come across lawyers who didn't even know that exploitation is also human trafficking, and we had to explain to them that also exploitation is human trafficking, which I guess proves how little people know about it.
Most people think that human trafficking and forced prostitution are the same thing, which is definitely not the case. Forced prostitution is nearly one type of human trafficking, a much larger description of different types of crimes often associated with prostitution, but not solely happening in prostitution as they happen in other industries as well.

Interestingly enough, most human trafficking cases that see court are about exploitation and not about forced prostitution, as also several lawyers have confirmed. And that's also kind of logical, since forced prostitution simply doesn't happen as much over here, though still more than we all would like.
Fact is that in reality forced prostitution happens very rarely. In all my time working in Amsterdam's Red Light District I've never came across one single girl that is being forced. Only recently I've came across ONE girl, in my now nearly 5 years time, that used to be forced years ago. But guess what? She went back into prostitution after all, even though nobody forced her this time, simply to make good money. This proves that prostitution is not bad, and that even sometimes victims that were forced into this work, would have no problem to do this work if they weren't being forced into it.

I guess the most common cases of human trafficking would be 50/50 cases. Those are exploitation cases about girls who take the 50/50 deal. Those cases are about girls in need of assistance with their migration. But since the Dutch government so cleverly blocked any way of receiving any legal assistance with their migration, due to some law it seems, they have to turn to people willing to help them in an illegal way. Obviously few people risk to burn their hands on that, and this is the opening this government provides for the traffickers to come into play.
These people offer help to these girls with their migration, in exchange for 50% of their income during their stay. Essentially they're doing exactly they same thing as an unemployment agency does for other jobs, except that it's illegal. Why is it illegal again if unemployment agencies can do for other jobs? Well, simple, because it's about sex! The fact that it's also about work doesn't matter, people are still scared shit about sex, because apparently it's a huge taboo for many people. That's why!
Now, since these girls don't have any other options (why? because the fucking government blocked it, that's why!), the girls are basically forced to accept their help. And because they are more or less forced to accept these people their help, and they're making a lot of money on it, it's basically called exploitation, which falls under the human trafficking law.

So, there you have it people. Our own government is the one blocking the only other option girls have from avoiding human traffickers, with a law that ironically enough is meant to prevent human trafficking. But as usual, this is the way things work in prostitution. Politicians making laws to prevent human trafficking, that eventually only increase human trafficking in stead of reducing it, only because the politicians have trouble to embrace prostitution because some religious nuts and radical feminists have issues with it.
So if you're looking for the ones responsible for all those 'poor, sad girls' who have become victims of human trafficking, you only need to look at those people that throw up a blockade for prostitution to be accepted, so we can make laws that actually prevent human trafficking rather than creating it.
If for example the ChristenUnie and the SGP wouldn't make such a big deal about the government supporting people to step into prostitution, we could change those laws that force girls into the hands of traffickers, and we would be able to create laws that supports women to enter prostitution in a safe and legal way, taking away the need for the services these traffickers provide.

And about Jojanneke? I really don't care about her. I've asked around but no other girl has talked to her. She claims she's talked with a lot of prostitutes, yet nobody that I know from Holland's most famous prostitution area has either seen or heard of her. So whatever she's came up with, it isn't going to be a very realistic presentation about Amsterdam's Red Light District, even though we all know that's what 90% of this thing will be about.
But as usual, people rather avoid us than finding out the ugly truth. They'd rather live in a world in where they can believe that no girl would ever 'sell their body' for sex, rather than accepting the truth that sex isn't all that special, it's the person you do it with that makes it special. Accepting sex work as work doesn't change a damn thing about sex, just like selling food doesn't change a damn thing about the food itself. It's just sex people, get over it!
I'm not asking you to sell it, but don't tell me what I can or cannot do with my own body! Denying me the right to decide what I can do with my own body is taking away my rights to decide about myself, limiting women's choices because it deals with 'sex' and nothing else. This just proves still how women are even until today still being limited in their choices by other people, like for example feminist Renate van der Zee, who advocates heavily against prostitution.
Some feminist you are, Renate! Advocating against the right to decide about myself. You're only talking shit about my job, in hopes that my job will become illegal, meaning you're advocating against my choice of doing with my own body what I want to! What did you say feminism was about again? About improving women's rights?!

Jojanneke her documentary about prostitution will be nothing more than a promo for the ChristenUnie, since the EO is basically a ChristenUnie TV channel. Promoting that sex work is bad, girls only do this because they are forced, and the ones that do do this job voluntarily are just crazy bitches that are exceptions. That's much easier to accept than to accept the fact that sex doesn't have to be special, because that would seriously damage a lot of people their idea about what sex means to them, only because they think this is what sex means.
Sex is just sex, it's nothing special. It's like walking, kissing or farting. It's nothing special until you do it with someone that's special with you, and that's what makes sex special. Not the sex itself, but the person you do it with! And since my clients aren't special to me, since they're nearly my clients, sex with clients is never special. The only sex that I have that is special is with my boyfriend. It's completely different sex from the sex I have with my clients, and no client could ever get me or them the experience I have with my boyfriend. That's what makes it special!

Dutch version
Different definitions in prostitution
In prostitution there are many definitions being used for the same or different things at times. It’s confusing, and that’s probably also exactly the idea by the people that use this, since that way they can claim anything depending on which definition you use. One of those definitions for example is human trafficking, often people just refer to it as forced prostitution, which isn’t correct, since human trafficking encompasses much more than just forced prostitution. Human trafficking also encompasses exploitation, which doesn’t have anything to do with being forced into prostitution. Yet people often use trafficking numbers when they talk about forced prostitution, to prove how ‘bad’ the situation is. So let’s get some things straight to avoid confusion.

A pimp
What people think:
A pimp is someone who exploits or forces a prostitute. A pimp is a bad person and a criminal. 

Reality:
A pimp is anyone who profits from a prostitute. This could be someone forcing or exploiting a prostitute, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. There are good pimps and bad pimps. Examples of good pimps are window owners, escort agencies, even drivers and security guards are called pimps in the prostitution business.

What’s going wrong?
Basically when people often refer to a pimp, they actually mean to say a trafficker. But because people are unaware of the difference between a pimp and a trafficker, they use these two terms interchangeably. I also often refer to traffickers as pimps, basically everyone in the Red Light District does, since nobody calls their window owner a pimp, it just sounds so rude because of the negative vibe hanging around the term, since people always use it to describe a trafficker with it. Also the police themselves use the word pimp when they’re referring to a trafficker, which causes the outside world to believe that the pimps are all traffickers, which in reality is not the case at all.
A pimp is a neutral term, there are bad pimps (traffickers) and good pimps (people offering services to prostitutes that are legal). But since the word has such a negative vibe surrounding it, and people often confuse it with a trafficker, there are very few people who still use the word pimp as the neutral term, and in fact are talking about traffickers.
This also causes some problems in some discussions. You’ll often see people clashing about pimps, and whether they’re good or not, because they’re using different definitions of the word pimp. You’ll see one person using the neutral term of pimp clashing with someone who’s actually talking about a trafficker. The use of different definitions is often exploited by anti-prostitution people to cause more confusion around the word, in order to make prostitution look more bad than it in reality is.

A human trafficker
What people think:
A human trafficker is someone who traffics victims from one country to another country, forcing them into prostitution against their will as sexslaves.

Reality:
A human trafficker is anyone that forces someone into prostitution against their will OR exploits a prostitute. Human trafficking is by definition a crime.

What’s going wrong?
People think about the word ‘trafficking’ or ‘mensenhandel’ in Dutch, and they get the image of a girl being trafficked to another country, or sold like a slave (the Dutch word ‘handel’ literally means trading). The image is further enhanced by movies and TV-series like for example Matroesjka’s or the movie Sex Trafficking, which depicts a form of human trafficking, in which girls are basically being abducted by criminals to be sold and forced to work into prostitution. This image is what’s stuck in the people’s mind when they talk about trafficking, and they don’t think about the fact that they are just describing one specific form of trafficking.
Trafficking encompasses any form of forcing someone into work, not just prostitution but any type of work. Therefore trafficking is also not just related to prostitution, but to many other industries as well, for example also agriculture, or house holding. Trafficking also encompasses any form of exploitation, again regardless of the industry type. Anyone who is being exploited in any industry is a victim of human trafficking. There are many different forms of exploitation, from heavy exploitation using violence, to people who exploit other people using manipulation or simply taking advantage of their vulnerable situation.
Basically every time someone is talking about pimps as bad people, they’re not really talking about pimps, but they’re actually just talking about traffickers. Indeed a trafficker is also a pimp, but not all pimps are traffickers and therefore not all pimps are bad people.
You’ll also often see me refer to traffickers as pimps, for the very simple reason that this is how most people understand it. Most people think a pimp is a trafficker, and I’m simply trying to connect to a broad audience using the words they’re most familiar with. On top of that, in the Red Light District all the girls themselves also refer to traffickers as pimps, since everyone thinks it’s rude to call their office a pimp. Often also sex workers themselves don’t know the difference, further creating more confusion about the definition. This confusion is again what anti-prostitution people use to give a false image about the problems in the prostitution industry.

A loverboy
What people think:
A (often Moroccan or otherwise immigrant) man who manipulates and forces a young (often teenage) girl into prostitution in order to exploit her.

Reality:
A loverboy is a technique some traffickers use. Instead of forcing a girl with violence into prostitution or forcing her with violence to exploit her, the loverboy technique revolves around manipulation and scamming. They will make the victim believe they are in love, and using that the loverboy will manipulate her into exploiting the girl.

What’s going wrong?
Most people think loverboys are targeting young naïve Dutch girls, but that’s not true at all. Those type of loverboys are usually more the type of boys that aren’t pushing girls into professional prostitution but rather illegal and unorganized forms of prostitution, and will often make those Dutch girls pretend to be part-time almost hobby prostitutes in illegal prostitution, which is not to mention that it's any easier or less violating to those girls. 
The real loverboys are often Albanian guys, and they won’t manipulate a girl into prostitution, but they’ll rather try to seek out girls that are already doing this job in order to profit from their income as their ‘boyfriend’. Basically their technique is to seek out the more naïve sex workers, and make them believe they’re falling in love, in order to exploit them. They will try to convince the girls, by telling what a wonderful future they will have if they will safe up some money, and he will manipulate her into giving her money to him. Loverboys don’t use much violence, and will rarely ask directly to the girl for money, they will rather try to plant the idea in the girl’s mind to give her money to him, using manipulation.
The loverboy is actually nothing more than a male version of a golddigger. Yet, since we’re dealing with prostitution, new definitions had to be created to brand prostitution in a more negative way. But really, a loverboy is exactly the same as golddigger, but instead of a stunning blonde trying to rip of an old guy for his inheritance, the male version is a smooth talking guy seeking out women that make a lot of money in an industry that is very poorly protected by the government.
All loverboys are traffickers, but not every trafficker is a loverboy. And indeed all loverboys are pimps as well, but again, not all pimps are loverboys by far. A loverboy is nothing more than one specific type or form of trafficking. Basically a loverboy is nothing more than a profiteer, profiting of the income of someone else. 

Forced prostitution
What people think:
A girl getting forced brutally into prostitution by a pimp, also known as human trafficking

Reality:
Forced prostitution is just one specific form of human trafficking. Not all human trafficking is forced prostitution.

What’s going wrong?
This is probably the most used confusion used by anti-prostitution people. Almost 90% of the times you’ll see people calling human trafficking forced prostitution, using examples of forced prostitution, while referring to numbers and statistics of human trafficking.
Problem of course is, that forced prostitution is just one type of human trafficking, and not the biggest one as well. Most forms of human trafficking are about exploitation, and not forced prostitution. But using the statistics of human trafficking, people will often try to paint a false image about prostitution referring to this as ‘forced prostitution’, giving the most extreme examples of forced prostitution, while using statistics about human trafficking.

Human trafficking
What people think:
Trafficking a girl from one country into another country to force her into prostitution as a sexslave to exploit her.

Reality:
Any form of forced labor or exploitation in any industry.

What’s going wrong?
People often think when they´re talking about human trafficking, only about prostitution. But human trafficking doesn´t just happen in prostitution, but in many other industries as well. Think for example about forced labor in India, or exploited women working in clothing factories in Third World countries, producing your H&M or Forever21 clothes.
Human trafficking is more than a prostitution problem, yet often you’ll see people shouting there are millions of victims of trafficking and referring to prostitution, as if that’s the only industry this is happening in. What people also don’t realize is that often victims of human trafficking in for example Cambodia or India are often ex-sex workers. They have been abducted from their workplace by NGO’s to ‘save them from prostitution’ under the name of ‘fighting human trafficking’. Vice recently made a documentary about these sex workers who were abducted from their workplace by NGO’s.
The sex workers are given one choice after they are 'saved' or rather abducted from their workplace, which is either to go to jail for prostitution or work in a factory (talking about forced labor). Of course the choice is a no brainer, so the girls choose to work in a factory in favor of going to jail, only to try and escape at a later point to go back to their workplace in prostitution.
Another problem with the term human trafficking on an international level, is the fact that different countries use different definitions of trafficking. This causes voluntarily working sex workers in some countries to be counted as victims, while in other countries these sex workers are not seen as victims, causing an incorrect image about both countries their real trafficking problems.
Another problem is that for example Sweden often treats victims as ‘illegal immigrants’, which is the reason why Sweden has such low statistics on trafficking, not because there really are such few victims, but rather because Sweden is trying to hide this from the rest of the world in their defense of their ‘Swedish model’.
Therefore comparing trafficking statistics from different countries is also useless. Different countries use different definitions for the same things, cause a false image.

As you can see there are many definitions being used to describe different things, and often the wrong definitions are used. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, for example because of lack of knowledge. Other times it does happen intentionally, and it’s a way of making prostitution look bad in the eyes of the audience, in an attempt to further criminalize prostitution.
As I’ve already wrote, I also often use the wrong definitions, but I do that intentionally. Not to confuse people, but because I’m trying to connect with a broad audience that is not always aware of the different definitions. So you’ll often see me use the word pimp, while I in fact meant trafficker, but I simply do that because that’s how people will recognize and understand it better. It’s all just a way of communicating with my audience, and I’m pretty sure that everyone understands exactly who I’m talking about. But it’s nice I guess to clarify things for those people that are not aware of all these definitions, and their different meanings.

Dutch version
Why prostitutes don't press charges
Often when it comes to human trafficking related to prostitution, the reason people give why so few girls go to the police is because they are scared of the pimps. That’s however not entirely true. Surely there are cases in where the traffickers have such a strong grip over the victim, that the victim is scared, these are however mostly cases with forced prostitution.

But the largest majority of human trafficking related cases aren't about forced prostitution. Forced prostitution is not nearly as big as a problem as many people think. All those high numbers about trafficking come from one single thing, girls who are being exploited. These are girls that aren't forced into prostitution against their will, as so many people often think. These are girls that are willing to do this job, to make money in hopes of a better life. Not because their life was so incredibly terrible, but simply because they want more than they have right now.

Often people call it forced by economic circumstances, and apply this reasoning to a lot to girls from Eastern Europe, girls from Romania like myself, Bulgaria, Hungary. People that use this argument always try and make it sound like these girls didn't have any other option. But let’s face it, there are many options, and rather than seeing prostitution as a ‘problem’, try to see prostitution as an incredibly quick solution to poverty. But really, most girls from Eastern Europe aren't forced by economic circumstances. Most girls could live their lives perfectly well back in their home country without a problem. The problem however is, they want something more, they don’t want to live a regular life, they want to life the classy lifestyle, they want more, more money. And simply the quickest way to get there is with prostitution. There is no other job in the world with such low requirements that makes so much money, and that’s what attracts many girls from Eastern Europe to do this job.

Problem is however, like I've talked about before here, that the living standard between Eastern Europe and West Europe is quite big. In Eastern Europe they can make a fine living with their salary, but compared to Western European standards their salary is nothing. So when girls do decide to come to West Europe to work in prostitution, that presents a problem. A money problem, but also a language problem and an immigration problem.
How do you get from a poor country to a rich country if you don’t have enough money? How do arrange a place to live if you don’t speak the language? Especially considering the fact that many house owners are reluctant to rent out a house to a prostitute, even though it’s a legal profession. And how do you arrange all the paperwork without an intimate knowledge of the Dutch bureaucratic system?

In regular immigration cases these things are often arranged by the company they are being hired by. They provide a place to live, help with the paperwork, give an advance in the salary. But since for example window prostitutes are self employed, they don’t have a company to arrange these things for them. And this is where the human traffickers come into play. Most girls don’t see them as traffickers though, and why should they? These traffickers are basically unemployment agencies that help girls by giving them a small loan so they have enough money to start up everything, they help them arrange their travel, their housing, even their paperwork. And in exchange they ask for a fee. Sometimes it’s a fixed number, sometimes it’s just the expenses with a small fee for their services, and sometimes it’s a 50/50 deal.

The 50/50 deal is probably the most common one. The deal is actually very simple. They arrange everything for you, while you pay during your entire stay 50 percent of your income for their services. Some people call it criminal, by law it’s human trafficking. Yet, funny enough, many people have the exact same deal in other jobs, and it’s completely legal. Then those people are called an unemployment agency, Holland has many of them, with Randstad Uitzendbureau as one of the biggest examples. Often these unemployment companies will find a workplace for you, some unemployment companies even help with immigration, and about 50% of your salary ends up in the pockets of these companies. My boyfriend as experience with this, as I think many young people have these days. For years he’s worked for an unemployment agency. The company where he works pays the double of his salary. Why does he only get half of his salary? Because the other half goes to the unemployment agency. Now isn't this exactly the same deal as the 50/50 deal those girls take?

So there’s a reason why girls don’t see the need to go to the police. Why would they go to the police, to press charges against people that helped them? What did the government or the police do to help them? What help they did ever get from them? Nothing!
So why would they cause problems to the only people that are willing to help them? Especially if there aren't any other options? The government in no way helps girls, but these people do. Yes, they take 50 percent of your income, but since the government isn't providing any other options, what choice do they have? Besides, unemployment companies do exactly the same thing, so why would this be illegal? Simply because it deals with prostitution?

But even if there are problems, the police isn't very helpful. Recently I've come across a girl who was having some problems and asked for my help. She had been working here for a couple of months already, when a guy came one day to her window and demanded she paid him. At first thinking it was a joke, she dismissed him. But he kept coming back, and he started to threaten her. He threatened to slit her throat if she didn't pay him. So she called the police. Smart move, right?
She waited until the police arrived, as the guy waited at her window. Once the police got there, they went inside her room to talk with her about what happened. And guess what happened next?
The police took away the girl, dismissed the guy, and took the girl to a shelter and locked her up for 3 days! Is this how we fight human trafficking and pimps these days? By locking up the victims? And worst of all, they let the guy get away without doing anything about it!

After three days she was released from the shelter, and wanted to go back to work. That was however easier said than done. My office had to refuse her. She was now officially branded a victim of trafficking, and therefor my office couldn't allow her to rent a window from them, otherwise they'd be renting out windows to victims, for which they could loose their permit.
Without a place to work and therefor no income, the girl needed help. So the office called me to ask if I could help. Together with me we sought help for her through various of my contacts. Eventually one of my contacts was able to put some political pressure on the matter, to which my office received a letter that they could allow her to rent her a room without the risk of them loosing their permit.

So let's review the whole situation. A girl is in trouble. A pimp is demanding money. Who should be punished here and who should be helped? You'd say the girl, right? Yet, all that happened was that the girl got into trouble, because of the police, and the pimp himself got away free.
The girl told me afterwards she doubted a lot before calling the police. 'For sure she would get in trouble', she told me. And unfortunately she was right. This is exactly one of those reasons why girls don't want to involve the police, because they don't do anything, all they do is cause you problems in stead of the pimp!

Naturally the girl couldn't let things rest. Why should she, right? She wasn't the criminal, she was the victim, yet they locked her up and not him! So she went to the police to press charges against the pimp. Good thing, right?
Well, think again. Once at the police station the police officer told her, that if she would press charges against this guy, she had to stop this job. In other words, she can't press charges if she keeps working, Apparently there's some rule which states that if you want to press charges against a trafficker in a case that happened less than 3 months ago, you can't do this job anymore. In short, it's either waiting until 3 months have passed before you can press charges, the pimp might have run off and the leads go cold, or you have to stop this job if you really want to go after him.
It's needless to say that few people would press charges against someone if they would loose their jobs over it. Of course the police offers you all kinds of help if you quit the job. They'll offer you a place to stay (I presume a shelter), but than again, she doesn't want to go to a shelter, she just got released from there.  And let's be honest, how many people would willingly trade in their home for a shelter because they want to press charges against someone else? Would you leave your house, simply to put a criminal behind bars? Especially if the shelter locks you up like you're the criminal. 
But paying your 1500 euro apartment without this job, even if you get money from the government, isn't going to be enough. Above all, quitting the job would mean she couldn't save up money she was set on saving up, thus postponing her plans. So naturally she declined it, meaning she can't press charges against him at this moment. 

And now people still wonder why girls don't press charges? What kind of a world do we live in, in where victims are being locked up and criminals are being let go? In where victims can't press charges unless they quit their job? In where police doesn't want to help you catch the bad guys?
It's such a weird thing, especially if you consider the hunt on pimps and traffickers, and the great lengths politicians go for to help the police fight harder against it. I mean, take for example this new plan to criminalize clients of victims. I've talked with the parliament members. They ensured me that this new law only applies to very suspicious circumstances, thus automatically (according to them) not applying to any legal places, like for example Amsterdam's Red Light District, since they are legal and therfor not suspicious circumstances. According to them this law only applies to very shady circumstances, and since you can expect that a girl working in Amsterdam's Red Light District is safe, they don't consider it to be shady circumstances, according to the policymakers.
I still want to see it in reality, because it wouldn't be the first time that a law has more disadvantages than advantages. 

But now let's take for example a case like that. A client goes to a girl under very shady circumstances. He knows she's a victim, and he goes to the police to report it. However, the police can't do anything, unless the girl herself presses charges. We all know she doesn't trust the police (read the story above for one of the many reasons). But let's say she does trust the police, and does want to press charges. The police will than actually tell her she can't work anymore for 3 months if she presses charges, making her reluctant to press charges, thus resulting in nothing happening.
In short, does that new law help to fight human trafficking? No! Does it save girls? No! Does it do anything at all? Well, not so much. In fact, even the policy makers confessed their new law applies to only a very few cases a year. Yet the impact of this law is so big, and scares away so many clients, that the end effect for both sex workers and victims are only negative. In no case does this law actually help victims or fighting trafficking. The only thing it does, is scaring away a lot of clients, damaging our industry and our income heavily. And for who, for what? For a handful of clients a year? If we can prove it at all! Because even for those handful cases a year, the policy makers have already confessed that it will be very difficult to prove things.

So what does this new law do? Basically nothing. The few cases a year for which this law is being created are so few in number, and so difficult to prove in court, that it hardly has any effect. The law above all doesn't fight trafficking. But more importantly, this law won't help if other laws prevent girls from pressing charges against their pimps.
Why don't they scrap this law, which hardly has any effect, and only scares away a large group of clients, and why don't they focus more on helping the real victims, in stead of getting more girls into trouble? Why don't they do something about the police holding back victims to press charges? Why don't they do something about girls being locked up, in stead of pimps?
I know why. Because locking up pimps doesn't decrease prostitution, but criminalizing clients does. They don't really care about victims, they only care about less prostitution. If they would really care about those victims, they wouldn't be going after the clients, but after the pimps. The clients are not the pimps, the pimps are. Arrest them, and not clients or girls!

Dutch version
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
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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.