Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Condoning brothels is closing eyes

This will be my final blog post. After this, I will definitely stop blogging and tweeting. I have a very big problem with my own sexuality. I am very much against prostitution and pornography. I see both as systems of abuse. The people who work in the sex industry systematically suffer from the most egregious forms of sexual harassment. At the same time I notice that I can't stop watching porn and visiting prostitutes. Lately, I thought I had it under control. It turns out, I haven't. I could keep myself from visiting prostitutes for more than 5 months, and I didn't watch porn for 46 days. A couple of days ago I reached my lowest low by visiting a prostitute and by having unprotected sex with her. My life is a hell. I have done the most horrible thing to a person.

But to return to the subject of my very last blog post I wanted to write. I wanted to write something about the report (Het Zandpad: closing brothels or closing eyes? which is written in Dutch) that Dina Siegel wrote about the closure of the window prostitution boats along het Zandpad in Utrecht (in 2013), because of the abuse and human trafficking that allegedly happened in that area. Dina Siegel believes that the rights of the voluntary prostitutes who work there have been violated, and that the prostitutes are worse off now. Dina Siegel contradicts herself a little bit regarding the size of forced prostitution on het Zandpad. She said in the radio program Argos that there was no forced prostitution on het Zandpad. In her book she is willing to accept that between 4 and 8 women were forced into prostitution on het Zandpad. In an interview she says that she doesn't know how big forced prostitution was on het Zandpad.

This blog is more like a mosaic of all my thoughts about Dina Siegel's claims, and I have added some thoughts about prostitution in general and some things I have learned. This is not really a carefully structured essay. But none of my blog posts are, by the way.

I have written about Dina Siegel elsewhere on my blog, read it here:

And here (you can see some quotes from texts written by Dina Siegel):

I have written about het Zandpad before, here:

and here:

and here:

and here:

I agree with Dina Siegel that the closure happened too hastily. There was no emergency plan. The women were not helped or compensated. Dina Siegel believes that closing the brothels, is like closing your eyes, and that the brothels should have been kept open. I thinks she has a point that the municipality basically closed its eyes, because they didn't help the women. They should have helped the women. But closing the brothels was a good thing. Abuse can never be tolerated.

But Dina Siegel closes her eyes. when she wants to keep the brothels open. This way society can absolve itself from the harm prostitution does to people, the constant sexual harassment prostitutes have to undergo, and the constant struggle for prostitutes to keep clients from doing sexual things they don't want. Yes, this is a lesson I have learned over the years by taking seriously some stunning revelations made by prostitutes who have presented themselves as strong and independent prostitutes. I explain more of it in my second farewell speech:

There are two types of prostitutes, those who acknowledge the harm done to them, and those who don't. Prostitutes is abuse, always, period. This is true for the prostitutes who have made the choice to work in the abusive sex industry themselves, and those who have been coerced into it.

Dina Siegel seems to cherry pick data from the interviews she had with prostitutes. She quotes two prostitutes whom she interviewed who said they liked their work (see page 63). One prostitute said (translated from Dutch into English): "I discovered my sexuality, my power, it is more than money. After the closure I just missed having sex more than anything". Another prostitute said: "Every evening, I felt as if I was standing on stage, men were lying at my feet [they adored her], they are queuing up to be allowed to touch me. This is a very strong feeling, it is power." Dina Siegel doesn't mention prostitutes who absolutely dislike their work. There are many, and I'm sure Dina Siegel has spoken with these women, but she refuses to mention them. Dina Siegel says it is unthinkable for many social workers, police officers, public servants and other 'moral entrepreneurs' that working in prostitution could be viewed as 'fun' or 'attractive'. I have to say, I like to fantasize myself about being a young female prostitution. It turns me on. But I know, in reality, having unwanted sex just to be able to feed your children, cannot be fun. And this is the situation of many prostitutes. I like to believe Dina Siegel's claims. It would be great if forced prostitution is not a big deal, and prostitutes have no problems with their occupation. But I rationally know it is not true.

Although I know that prostitution is always abusive, after all those years of studying the sex industry, I haven't figured out how big the prevalence of forced prostitution truly is. In the past I made the false distinction between forced and voluntary prostitution. Shortly after I started to visit prostitutes many years ago, I was shocked by the stories of forced prostitution, and I wanted to know if there were ways to figure out how to avoid forced prostitutes. Unfortunately the data is very contradictory. There are some eyewitnesses, such as prostitutes, police officers, and social workers, who say that forced prostitution is very prevalent. But when vice inspectors are making routine inspections in red light districts, all the prostitutes say they work voluntarily in prostitution, even in areas where abusive pimps were known to be very active (such as the notorious Saban Baran and his pimp gang on de Wallen in Amsterdam). There are even prostitutes who say that it is impossible to work independently in prostitution, and when pimps notice that you work independently, they won't stop harassing you. I have asked several prostitutes how big the prevalence is of forced prostitution among their colleagues. The answers they give differ so much from each other, that it is impossible to draw conclusions. Read some interviews I had with prostitutes here:

Some pimps have been prosecuted and sentenced, who forced women to work in the Zandpad area, and this includes Saban Baran and some of his gang members. I think you can safely assume forced prostitution did happen in that area. Still Dina Siegel's did make a bold claim in an interview that there was no forced prostitution at all!!! But we can simply put that aside. I cannot really dismiss the claim that forced prostitution is relatively rare there. I have my reasons to assume that it does, because many Eastern European prostitutes work there. And there are many eyewitness reports who say the the vast majority of the Eastern European prostitutes are in the power of pimps, human traffickers and madams. But I also must admit that the vast majority of the Eastern European prostitutes know they will be working in prostitution, but I see this as forced prostitution anyway. Read more about Eastern European prostitutes here:

Above all, there are many eyewitness reports who claim that most Dutch prostitutes in window prostitutes have entered prostitution because some guys forced or manipulated them into it. Read about it here on my blog:

I think het Zandpad is not immune from that. But I have to admit, there is no solid proof. When you ask a prostitute directly if she is forced, she will almost always say she works voluntarily and independently in prostitution. I have spoken with the Christian social workers Frits Rouvoet and Tanja Blok, who know a lot of prostitutes in several red light district, especially de Wallen in Amsterdam. I asked them if prostitutes admit that they are coerced, and I referred to several police raids in the Netherlands in several red light districts during which the police took many prostitutes to the municipality hall, in which all the prostitutes said they worked voluntarily in prostitution. Tanja Blok said, of course not! Of course they are not going to say they are coerced. Frits Rouvoet said to me, if a person rings your doorbell, will you tell him straight in the face that you are a sex addict? They told that it could take years for a prostitute to realize that she actually was coerced, it is difficult to acknowledge it even to themselves.

If you look at research reports then you indeed notice that no prostitute will say she is coerced at the moment she is interviewed. Some will say they were coerced into prostitution in the past, or she notices it among other prostitutes she knows, but she will never admit she is coerced at this moment. This is something peculiar, but it makes it almost impossible to estimate how many forced prostitutes there actually are. It is theoretically possible that all prostitutes are coerced, they only don't admit it. Or some prostitutes lie that they have been forced into prostitution in the past, and that actually non of them were coerced in the first place. It is all theoretically possible. I just don't know. This is very frustrating if you want to be a noble visitor of prostitutes. You don't know what the truth is. Are you harming a person, or aren't you? My current opinion is that you are actually harming a person when you visit a prostitute, because of the unintended revelations by some 'happy hookers' about being constantly sexually harassed.

Now, the basis why Dina Siegel believes there was no or hardly any forced prostitution on het Zandpad, was because she interviewed 30 prostitutes who have worked there, and none of them could name one example of a forced prostitute they actually knew personally and who worked on het Zandpad. Above all, she has interviewed several social workers and police officers, and she says that when they say there is a lot of coercion on het Zandpad, they believe this because of a 'gut feeling', and not because they know for sure. I must say that if I take the example of Frits Rouvoet, I'm willing to believe that is true. He says around 60-70% of the prostitutes are coerced, but when you look at his descriptions on his blog of prostitutes he meets, you don't get this image at all. Granted, their situations are dire and they tell horrible stories of poverty and deprivation, but of only a few you could actually think they are coerced by a third person or third persons. I told that to him, and I asked him why he thought so many prostitutes were coerced, but he referred to his blog to find the answer! I write more about him here on my blog:

I have chatted online with an ex-prostitute once. She was forced to work on de Wallen in Amsterdam, in the Sint Annenkwartier in particular, approximately in 2005, and it lasted approximately half a year. She believed around 75-80% of the prostitutes who worked there were coerced. You can find my conversation with her here:

I asked this young woman how she exactly knew so many of the women were coerced. She answered (translated by me from Dutch into English):
That's a tough one. You know, when I walk on the street I could point to pimps, I can say to you who are the errand boys, I can say from who you can get drugs. It is something what you start to see. Plus, in addition to this, is that when the same boy steps inside as many as 10 times in one day, day in day out, then you know enough. When girls are picked up (it is just as if they can't walk to the car themselves!!!) I recognise it because of these things. Just sit on the pavement of the bulldog a couple of days during the summer, in front of the dollebegeine [Dollebegijnensteeg] then you can exactly look into it [into the alley]. You will see that there is a pattern.
Now, you see, that she cannot truly prove all these women are forced. It is a gut feeling, because she finds it strange that these same weird guys visit and collect the prostitutes so often. Dina Siegel's claim would be that she is just prejudiced. She cannot know so many women are really forced.

To return to the 30 prostitutes who say they know of no forced prostitute on het Zandpad, I am a bit wary when prostitutes say there is no coercion, because first of all, that's exactly what forced prostitutes are known to do, and second of all, in this particular case, many prostitutes were not happy when they were kicked out of their brothels. There are some pending lawsuits to open the brothels again, and it is absolutely in the interest of these particular prostitutes not to reveal anything negative about het Zandpad, and the brothel owners. And many of these prostitutes have worked on het Zandpad for many, many years, also during periods some forced prostitutes have worked, and they must have seen it. Dina Siegel has mainly interviewed prostitutes who were older than 30. Only 4 when 30 or younger. Often forced prostitutes are young women, I have noticed. Forced prostitutes are often in their late teens, early twenties. I made a complete statistical analysis of it, and I have written about it on my blog:

My estimate is that more than 75% of the analyzed forced prostitutes are younger than 24. And it must be said that many prostitutes on het Zandpad are generally somewhat older than for instance the prostitutes on de Wallen. I have noticed by analyzing reviews written by clients that the average age of prostitutes on het Zandpad is around 30 (in the period 2005-2008), and the brothel owners have applied a minimum age limit of 21. Brothel owner Wegra has published a report themselves in 2011, called Het Zandpad - In het juiste perspectief (you can download a presentation here), in which they estimate the average age of the prostitutes who worked in their brothels to be almost 34. Most prostitutes (66%) are Western European according to them, and 30% are Eastern European. The average age of the Western European prostitutes is above 35, and the average age of Eastern European prostitutes is above 27. This suggests that the extent of forced prostitution shouldn't be overestimated on het Zandpad, but it could also just be that many older prostitutes don't reveal themselves as being coerced, while perhaps many actually are. I don't know.

The women could make some bold claims according to Dina Siegel. One Latin American prostitute (see page 70) believed that Eastern European prostitutes perhaps had pimps. But she couldn't name any examples, and she didn't see any pimps. Different ethnic groups of prostitutes had no contacts with each other. They intentionally avoid each other. Prostitutes adhere to negative stereotypes about other ethnic groups of prostitutes. Eastern European prostitutes dislike the Roma prostitutes, who allegedly work without condoms a lot, and who are allegedly dirty. Prostitutes could ironically pick up these negative stereotypes from the media.

There are multiple proprietors of brothels on het Zandpad. Wegra is the largest and owns more than 70% of the boats (other smaller brothel owners are for instance Engrapol and Olifant). Wegra didn't allow women who were accompanied by men. That is what the women also say. But according to one brothel operator (see page 75), during the nineties (1997), business was being done with Albanian and Turkish men who rented the boats from the proprietors. Tough guys roamed around het Zandpad who collected money. Since 1 January 2000, there was a new brothel operator who sent away the tough guys, and who improved matters. The prostitutes are generally satisfied with the brothel owners, and the staff members of the brothel owners, who behave politely and always look you in the face.

The journalist Hendrik Jan Korterink was approached by one guy called Hans, who was active in the 'regulating' sector of het Zandpad. Read it here:

The article is called Dinsdag 5 juli: Doodsexplosie Hoofddorp: ongeluk?; De romantiek van het Zandpad. Hans responds to the claim that it was impossible for a particular Bulgarian forced prostitute to earn 1,4 million euro. Hans described Het Zandpad this way (translated by me from Dutch into English):
I don't know what the Bulgarian [woman] looks like, but those Bulgarian girls who worked on het Zandpad at that time were stunningly beautiful and earned on average between 600 and 1000 guilders per day [between 270 and 450 euro] per 12 hours. They worked in shifts and were monitored the whole time by two men who did nothing other than to drive little circles day and night. They were relieved 6 o'clock in the morning, and then the next shift could start. 
You shouldn't believe that 600 guilders, 50 guilders per fuck are 12 clients, there were clients who stayed the whole night, clients who fell in love, clients with special wishes, too crazy to mention what kind of strange types walked around there. They pay a lot more. I have experienced so much during those two years that I could write a book. What an awful world, the world of prostitution and this is all condoned in the Netherlands.
Hans is not mentioned in Dina Siegel's book.

Dina Siegel and the prostitutes don't mention any of the claims that some staff members of the brothel owners demanded 'key-money', if women wanted to rent rooms. So the women had to pay individual staff members on top of the rent they paid to the brothel owners, a form of extortion. This was one of the reasons the municipality closed the brothels. Dina Siegel doesn't seem to ask the women about it, and the women don't seem to mention it.

That prostitutes have to pay key-money is also confirmed by Sietske Altink (a former Red Thread operative) on her website here:

She refers to complaints about het Zandpad collected by de Rode Draad (Red Thread). The complaints about the key-money were related to incidents in 1997 and 2003. She also tells for instance that in 2001 the Red Thread spoke with social workers who had contact with prostitutes on the Zandpad. According to the social workers, "third persons" arrange things for prostitutes. Employees of the brothel owners also intimidate the prostitutes, and intervene when a client complains (on behalf of the client). Prostitutes sometimes are fired without a reason, while at the same time they don't get the money back which they had paid in advance. Women also complain about the excessive rents, and the fact that they have to pay extra for rooms with air-conditioning. In 2008 prostitutes complain that they are harassed by Bulgarian men. In 1997 women complain that certain taxi drivers work for Wegra, and these taxi drivers interrogate the women about the earnings. In 1997 the women also complain about Moroccans who extort the women.

Dina Siegel doesn't mention the complaints of prostitutes mentioned by Sietske Altink. Caja van Tolie has said on twitter that many of the claims by Sietske Altink are bullshit.

One of the prostitutes who Dina Siegel interviewed was Caja van Tolie, also known as Sabrina. Dina Siegel calls her S10 in her book. Caja van Tolie claims that forced prostitution mainly happened prior to 1998, and that it is rare today. What is interesting is that Caja van Tolie personally knew a forced prostitute on het Zandpad, whose pimp has been convicted. She worked right next to this woman. So, we can again tackle one claim of Dina Siegel that prostitutes on het Zandpad don't know of any forced prostitute. Dina Siegel doesn't mention it in her book, Caja van Tolie told me about it on twitter. But Caja van Tolie says that this prostitute told her she worked voluntarily in prostitution, she wasn't forced. Caja van Tolie also says that this woman falsely accused her husband of forced prostitution. But I find the case of the forced prostitute very convincing. One of the most important reason is that this man pulled off the same trick with two women, who tell the same story of how they were brought from Morocco the the Netherlands to marry him, after which they were forced into prostitution by him. You can read about their cases here on my blog:

and here (in this post I talk about how clients described the woman who worked next to Caja):

I know of an ex-prostitute who worked on het Zandpad (in 2006 and 2007), after several years of working on de Wallen in Amsterdam. She says nearly all prostitutes she knows of were coerced, just like herself. She claims that the few who work independently all were initially forced into prostitution, and they often are older women. She also says that this is also the case on het Zandpad. She said the brothel owners on het Zandpad didn't have warm ties with the pimps like the brothel owners of the Wallen had, but they didn't do much about forced prostitution either. She says that as an outsider it isn't immediately obvious that a prostitute is coerced. She doesn't blame clients for not knowing. You can only know it when you are able to look behind the scenes. She said that forced prostitutes are often silent about their ordeal because they have to be careful what they say, even to other prostitutes. The pimps could take revenge. I asked her if there is some kind of collective oath of secrecy when 30 Zandpad-prostitutes say they personally know of no forced prostitutes. She said yes, because did Saban Baran's women tell the truth when the police made routine visits to check their passports? She doesn't believe that the situation has magically improved, like Caja van Tolie has claimed once. And she believes that the pimps have merely adapted to the new rules. She says, at first the pimps were allowed to collect the keys of the window brothels, but then it wasn't allowed anymore, and the girls had to do it themselves. At first the pimps were allowed to enter the window brothels, but then it wasn't allowed anymore, so they stayed outside, etc..

Her revelations are shocking. On the other hand, she surely doesn't know all prostitutes on de Wallen and het Zandpad, and it is theoretically possible that she moved within a small circle of prostitutes and pimps, giving her the impression that nearly all prostitutes are coerced, while in reality this might not be true. But unfortunately, we will never know. Perhaps she is right. You cannot prove it, but you also cannot disprove it.

I want to add that this woman is not an abolitionist like I am today. It is interesting that she is actually against the closure of brothels, even on het Zandpad of which she says there was so much forced prostitution. She believes it is better if it all happens above ground, according to her. Closing brothels would mean, out of sight out of mind, in her opinion. I find this is a very strange opinion.

Some prostitutes have appeared in the media who also have claimed that nearly all prostitutes are forced on het Zandpad. Unfortunately, I didn't accurately record the sources at that time. Once source was a Moroccan prostitute who was interviewed for a ladies' magazine at the end of the nineties. The other appeared on tv, on the channel Nederland 2, in the television program Max en Katrien, on 12 October 2006. She was named Lotte in the program, and she also was forced to work in prostitution on de Wallen and on het Zandpad. After Catherine Keyl asked how many prostitutes are forced, Lotte said that you could see it. She said that of every 100 prostitutes, 2 are perhaps working voluntarily in prostitution, and all the others are coerced. More here:

Annet Koopsen, who is a laywer and has defended victims of forced prostitution, has said (in Dutch) that victims tell her that all prostitutes have a pimp, and the pimps decides when to work and where the money goes. This is not specifically related to het Zandpad by the way. You could find the original video here but it is gone: (RTV Noord Holland, 20 December 2010, "Exploitant van de Achterdam gaat met pensioen", below you could originally find the video with the name: "10 minuten over de Achterdam", but it's gone)

Some other prostitutes have also said there is lots of coercion. I wrote about it here:

These prostitutes are mentioned in Nulmeting prostitutiebeleid (November 2006, Afdeling Bestuursinformatie Sector Bestuurs- en Concernzaken Gemeente Utrecht. Writers: Jeroen van der Zweth, Geisje Hoetjes, Irene Boersema). Unfortunately this report cannot be found online anymore. But some prostitutes who pressed charges reportedly said up to 95% of the prostitutes are coerced. It is not clear if they specifically mean het Zandpad, but I assume that they do. Dina Siegel mentions the report (on page 40 of her book), but she doesn't refer to the fact that also some prostitutes say there is lots of coercion (apart from some police officers who say most prostitutes are coerced).

In the last blog post I mentioned, I also mention another report: Signalen Mensenhandel Utrecht (May 29th 2008, Afdeling Bestuursinformatie Sector Bestuurs- en Concernzaken Gemeente Utrecht). And it can still be found online, here:

Signalen Mensenhandel Utrecht

I have translated a bit of the report from Dutch into English (I made some mistakes here, but I leave it this way, I want to follow the strangely written Dutch text as closely as possible):

Page 9-10:
Also volunteers of clerical organizations see strikingly many frightened Eastern European girls. Volunteers of different clerical organizations are often active for years already on the Zandpad. They pass by the houseboats and try to get in contact with the women. They also come on the Zandpad during the night.
They encounter strikingly many young girls from Eastern Europe who barely speak the Dutch language. Girls make a frightened impression and are often accompanied by ‘vague’ male types who show controlling behaviour (listening in etc.) and also physically obstruct the volunteers to reach the girls. The population of the houseboats varies quickly, prostitutes indicate that they often travel for their work and are not bound to one workplace. During conversations with the women on three Friday evenings, one of the clerical organizations encounters two Eastern European women where they perceive the situation as very fishy (looking bad, sad, closed). They speak on these evenings approximately 40 women in total, among who many women not from Eastern Europe (many from Santo Domingo).


The HAP [Huiskameraanloop Prostituees = Living room for prostitutes] saw 874 women on the Zandpad in 2007 [note at the bottom of that page: “per day the number of unique visitors is registered. Women who visit the HAP more often than once (for example a couple of days later), are registered once again. The number 874 doesn’t concern the number of unique persons on a yearly basis”]. In the second half of 2007, 47 women came on their own initiative to the HAP to talk about compulsion (among themselves or others) [I translated it as 'compulsion', but you could also say coercion, or force]. While doing outreaching work, the HAP sees per round some dozens of women. Among half of them they place question marks. Within this group they see many Eastern European women. Striking is also a quickly varying population of ‘very young’ [piepjonge] Bulgarian girls, of whom many originate from Alkmaar (they speak of a ‘Bulgarian wave from Alkmaar’). This group makes a frightened impression, show nervous behaviour, are often way too skinny and after articulating the suspicion of maltreatment ‘they clam up’.
Dina Siegel also refers to these passages in her book (on page 40), but she immediately dismisses these signs of coercion in her book. Perhaps the social workers and the police are right that they find it fishy that some clearly frightened, nervous, skinny young Eastern European accompanied by weird guys show up in legal prostitution in the Netherlands? Dina Siegel rejects it. In her opinion, only the cases which are absolutely proven should be accepted. Everything else is just based on 'suspicions, stereotypes and imagination' (see page 42). She is only willing to accept that between 4 and 8 prostitutes were actually coerced on het Zandpad (see page 45), and I have the impression that she really doesn't acknowledge these cases either, because she has totally denied the existence of forced prostitution on het Zandpad in a radio-interview. I find her a bit too critical. It is known that forced prostitutes don't easily speak out about being forced, like for instance vice inspector Henk Werson has noticed in his book De Fatale Fuik. You can read more about him on my blog, here:

But... I have visited 6 prostitutes on het Zandpad myself, all Eastern European women. They seemed self-confident to me, except for one young Hungarian woman who indeed behaved like the social workers describe some prostitutes. I have warned the police about her strange and nervous behaviour. I know of another client who also warned the police, and he said they sent a community police officer to her who had a chat with her. And that's all. This woman still works in prostitution, but this time in the Geleenstraat. From what I understand, her behaviour has improved. I have met 2 very young Romanian prostitutes on het Zandpad who were very intelligent. They were friendly and talkative. I have met a very friendly Albanian prostitute on het Zandpad. Two others (one Romanian and one Bulgarian woman) were a bit grumpy, but they seemed very self-confident anyway. And I have met a very polite businesslike prostitute from the Czech Republic on het Zandpad.

The gang of Saban Baran had multiple women working on het Zandpad. I wrote about it here:

And there are some descriptions of how the gang forced women to work on het Zandpad, on (the events typically took place in the period 2004-2006). Read it here:

It is described how one pimp belonging to the gang of Saban Baran, drives circles in the Zandpad area to keep an eye on multiple women who worked there. The gang is described as playing an important role on de Wallen in Amsterdam, and het Zandpad in Utrecht. One pimp is even described as appearing on het Zandpad to arrange workplaces for women, which suggests he had connections with some of the brothel owners. All this is ignored by Dina Siegel.

Caja van Tolie has said she didn't see pimps on het Zandpad. As I said before, I have visited this area as a client myself several times, at the end of 2011. It was one of my periods during which I believed that forced prostitution is not a big deal, and that all the prostitutes are okay with their work. I have seen some of the videos that she did for RTV UTRECHT (you can easily find these on youtube if you type in the search terms: Sabrina and Zandpad). She says that their is no forced prostitution on the Zandpad, and she never sees pimps. Women come and go by themselves, they are not collected or dropped off by men. Also the people who filmed her said they didn't see anything special.

I notice that in the morning and afternoon, the Zandpad seems tranquil and peaceful. There is nothing strange to be seen. The swans swim under the bridges which connect the prostitution boats to the sidewalk. It looks really beautiful. This is the time of the day during which Caja van Tolie worked. So in that respect, I give her the benefit of the doubt when she says she sees no pimps. I have to say that the very frightened Hungarian woman worked during the afternoon, so she is the exception, but I saw no pimps. I have noticed when there is a change of shifts, the women leave in groups. You see like four women step into the same car, and one woman takes the steering wheel. I once saw a white man in  a car dropping off an older Thai woman. All of this happened during the afternoon.

During the evening, the atmosphere changes. Men can be seen who I associate with the prostitutes. I once saw some muscular Turkish type of man leaning on the fence of one of these bridges. He communicated with one of the prostitutes. She showed him the way into the brothel, as if she wanted to show how everything works inside. I don't think he was a client. They interacted with each other as if they belonged together.

I noticed some young Moroccan men driving circles with their cars around het Zandpad. There are multiple boys in one car. Once I saw a group of three Moroccan young men step out of their car. They walked broad-shouldered with the three of them to one young woman behind the window. She was talking on her smartphone. She opened her window and she gave something to them. They walked away again. I was a bit flabbergasted when I saw this. On de Wallen in Amsterdam, the pimps don't show themselves so openly anymore. They did in the past, but nowadays you really have the watch out if you even bring a sandwich to a prostitute. Men who constantly circle around prostitutes are not tolerated anymore in Amsterdam.

Once I was walking on the sidewalk, and around 10 young Moroccans stepped out of their cars. They nearly knocked me over. They started to harass the prostitutes on het Zandpad, pushing on their windows. I saw one of these guys trying to pull open the window of a young woman. It was locked. He screamed to her: "Je bent gek!!! Wat moet je?! Wat moet je?! Neuken moet je!" (which means approximately: "You are crazy!!! What must you do?! What must you do?! Fucking, is what you must do!". She shyly said, yes, yes. And then she opened the door, and he went in. Unfortunately, I didn't come up with the idea to notify the police. I also didn't think about a way to identify her. I didn't look at the number of the boat. It is a pity, but it took several months before I realized I could have in fact called the police.

It is possible that I totally misinterpreted the situation. Perhaps the men I saw weren't pimps at all. Perhaps they were just kids, even clients, who think they are tough. I asked Caja van Tolie about it on twitter, and she says these boys are not pimps. She said not all clients are nice, and these boys were just rascals. I wouldn't be so sure. I think these boys were pimps. But, alas, I cannot prove it. It is something that I assume. A 'gut feeling'! I cannot know what the exact relationship is between those men and the women. Perhaps it is more benign than I think. But I am afraid it is not.

But even if these boys are just some bunch of hooligans, the situation is still strange that they operate so freely without anyone interfering. It seemed as if they felt unimpeded. I saw no Zandpad security. There are cameras hanging everywhere on het Zandpad. But apparently, nobody makes use of it.

I think that the other prostitutes also regularly see this happen. Perhaps they use the same strategy, like Caja does, just to pass it off as something else: these men are not pimps, just some rascals, some nasty clients, a nuisance. But, I cannot be sure myself. Theoretically it is all possible. Dina Siegel does mention some residents in her book (on page 67) who complain about young Moroccans who drive little circles with their cars all night long along the Zandpad, while playing loud music, who don't pay 50 euro to the prostitutes, but to Texaco. And one prostitute (on page 75) does mention boys who kept driving little circles with their cars, but she doesn't notice forced prostitution. These boys are apparently not seen as pimps.

Another woman (one page 76) said that she saw men driving with cars with women in the passenger seat, and they went to the little office of the brothel owner (Wegra) to rent a brothel room, but she saw that the women were always refused. Another prostitute cannot imagine that there is forced prostitution on het Zandpad because everything is so rigorously supervised. Another prostitute does acknowledge the presence of 3-5 Eastern European pimps, but she finds it no reason to close all the brothels. Another woman says that she has seen pimps at the gas station, very close to het Zandpad. A prostitute (on pages 78-79) has noticed one single case of (what apparently seemed to be) forced prostitution during the four years she has worked on het Zandpad, she said (translated by me from Dutch in to English):
Yes, a very small young girl started working next to me. We called her kaboutertje [little dwarf/goblin]. She was really timid. I also wonder if she really was of age. She worked next to the German [woman]... It was really noisy [thin-walled], so you heard a lot. Kaboutertje was visited by men who beat her up. I reported that the girl received beatings. I talked with the community police officer and told that she received more beatings than food. In the winter, she came with plastic shoes in the snow! I also talked about it with the [police] superintendent. Everybody listens to you and nods, but they do nothing about it.    
Well, if you see the same little car parked across the street and you see such a man entering the room of one person five or six times a day, then it seems very implausible that he is a client... These weren't clients, because in the beginning they were driving around het Zandpad with Hungarian and Bulgarian license plates. This changed later, that they didn't come to the [Zand]pad anymore or that they were driving around in cars with Dutch license plates... We reported it to Wegra once, that girl who received more beatings than food, we obviously could hear it. But we obviously also notified it to the human trafficking [police] unit... you report the license plate numbers, you report everything and they say: "we have it under investigation" and subsequently... nothing. I subsequently left Wegra, I started working for another business, and that girl, they simply removed her there and at a certain moment she just was located right under the bridge also at Wegra, the same girl... And we actually did speak with her, with the community police officer. But this person did nothing.
In my opinion, what this woman says is actually a confirmation that Wegra allowed forced prostitutes to work on het Zandpad. But the police also did nothing. They are also to blame. This could just be one of the secret signs of misconduct by the brothel owners which were collected in the secret report about het Zandpad. Dina Siegel doesn't seem to realize it.

I have wondered years ago if forced prostitution in the Netherlands is declining in scope over the years. I did this in this post on my blog:

As I have said before, nearly all prostitutes say that they work voluntarily in prostitution. This was also noticed by the Dutch sexologist Ine Vanwesenbeeck. But, some say that they have been forced into prostitution in the past. I have noticed as far back as 2007 that the percentage of prostitutes of any given sample who say they have been forced in the past, is slowly dropping. In the book Prostitutes' well-being and risk (1994), Ine Vanwesenbeeck mentions two samples of prostitutes she interviewed who worked across different sectors of the Dutch sex industry. In one sample of 60 (mainly Dutch) women, 43% had been forced into prostitution. In the other sample, of the 127 women, 29% have been forced.

Now, fast forward to the year 2000 to a report also written by Ine Vanwesenbeeck, called Er gaat iets veranderen in de prostitutie (2000, Liesbeth Venicz, Ine Vanwesenbeeck), and of the 105 interviewed women, 24 women (23%) had been forced. And fast forward to 2006, another report was written, this time by other researchers, called Evaluatie opheffing bordeelverbod; de sociale positie van prostituees 2006 (H.S. Dekker, G.H.J. Homburg, W.R. Tap). And of the 354 prostitutes interviewed for this report, 8% indicated they had been forced into prostitution. Fast forward again to 2014, and you have this report Sekswerkers aan het woord - De sociale positie van sekswerkers in Nederland in 2014 (Y. Bleeker, L. Heuts, M. Timmermans, G. Homburg). Now, of 364 interviewed prostitutes, 4% says that they had been forced into prostitution. (The percentage was highest in window prostitution, 8% had been forced).

So the idea is, is forced prostitution in decline? I think you cannot draw this conclusion. You can only say that the percentage of prostitutes who say they have been previously coerced has dropped over the years. It could be that they are less eager to admit it. Above all, in the study Sekswerkers aan het woord - De sociale positie van sekswerkers in Nederland in 2014, almost half of the 364 interviewed women (46%) thinks that most prostitutes have to hand over at least a part of their income to a pimp! That means, in my opinion, you can prove whatever you want. Although all prostitutes say they work voluntarily in prostitution, many do think that most prostitutes actually have pimps. They don't admit they have these pimps themselves, but they say many others have. What to believe? I think Dina Siegel will say these women just believe in media stereotypes, urban legends.

Dina interviewed a policeman in her book (page 41 and page 98, she calls him P3). He says a great many prostitutes on the Zandpad have a pimp. He supports the closure of the brothels 100%, because he observed a lot of abuses. Lots of the information of the police was used in a secret report that the municipality used to close the brothels. He felt a victim of the police's own success. Looking back he said that they lost supervision over the women, and he regrets that. Unfortunately, Dina Siegel doesn't mention anything more about this important source. This man is the absolute proof that her claims cannot be right. It is unfortunate that we cannot gain more insights about this secret report.

The prostitutes who worked on het Zandpad seem to romanticize het Zandpad, but it could be that Dina Siegel carefully selects the quotes which confirm this idea. Nothing else is better than working on het Zandpad. Prostitutes have tried other window prostitution areas, or clubs, or tried working in their own homes. But they don't like the clients of the other areas. Clients on het Zandpad are mainly polite business men and friendly locals. The earnings are higher on het Zandpad. Prostitutes were really sad when the brothels along het Zandpad closed. Some were crying right after the closures. Some ended up in a depression, angry that they lost their regular clients. Some ended up having deep financial problems because they couldn't make enough money anymore. I notice that many simply have no other options other than working in prostitution. The municipality has offered to give them welfare, but the prostitutes are too proud to live off the avails of the government. They rather work in prostitution. Some tried to find other work, but they lack the skills, they don't speak the right languages, or they are afraid to say they have worked in prostitution all those years.

Dina Siegel doesn't examine the idea to compensate prostitutes, or to help prostitutes to find other work. She only looks at the option to keep brothels open, and allow prostitutes to keep on working in prostitution. She points to sources about prostitution centuries ago to prove that prostitution will never disappear, and that closing brothels will make working in prostitution unsafe. I have written about prostitution in ancient times on my blog here:

It turns out many of those legal or tolerated brothels were not so safe at all. The madams kept prostitutes in debt bondage. Not that the circumstances of other workers were so good by the way. Prostitutes didn't have a big wardrobe with clothes like people have now today. Madams abused this situation be confiscating the clothes of prostitutes. Prostitutes wore very expensive dresses which were initially bought by the madams, and the prostitutes had to pay off high debts for these dresses.

At the end, I don't agree with Dina Siegel, she contradicts herself, and she too easily dismisses true signs of forced prostitution, passing it off as prejudice. She seems to hold back information proving her wrong, and she tries to romanticize prostitution, ignoring the people who absolutely dislike this kind of work.

Now farewell, I hope I can deal with my own sexuality in the future and live a happy loving life, and I wish all the people and prostitutes in the world all the luck and love in the world, and I hope everybody will live long, prosperous lives, and there is nothing more important than love, and everybody should love each other and be loved, and this is what I wish for everybody.

Even Cliente X.

- END -

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Farewell part 3,4,5....

Yesterday I have sunk towards the deepest point in my life. I visited a prostitute again.

My strategy to share my struggle with the world clearly didn't work. The bad think is, everything seemed to be going fine for 46 days. Until something snapped in my head. I just couldn't stop watching degrading pornography, and I just couldn't stop watching internet advertisements placed by prostitutes.

I phoned one of these girls. I made an appointment. And I felt the obligation to visit her. Okay, I said to myself, just have a chat with her. I ended up having unprotected sex with the friendly young woman. I have never done this in my life. I fear for the safety of her, and myself.

When I walked home I seriously contemplated committing suicide, just jump in front of a train.

This time I really want to stop blogging and tweeting. It is no use anymore.

I'll try to find professional help. I did tell a psychiatrist about my sexual problems several years ago, but he said porn is merely fantasy. I knew I couldn't talk to him about it.

I'll talk about my sexual problems with my family doctor.

I still have a blog post in the works about the book written by Dina Siegel called: Het Zandpad - Closing brothels or closing eyes?

Contrary to what the title suggests, this book is written in Dutch.

I am now reading this book. I will post my analysis of this book on my blog.

What I find most interesting about her book is that according to Dina Siegel, when prostitutes, policemen and social workers claim there is a lot of coercion in prostitution, oftentimes they can name only a few actual victims, if any at all. So a Latin American prostitute could say: those Eastern European prostitutes have pimps. You ask her if she can name examples? The answer is no, because she doesn't know any Eastern European prostitutes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A client of prostitutes responds to one of my rants

Lately, a client of prostitutes (not Cliente X) has responded to one of my rants, not in the comment section of my blog, but via a private message. It is a response to this blog post on my blog:

He agreed that I would publish his comment. Okay, here is his message, and I have added my own comments in blue (actually cyan):
Hi Kris!

Normally I wouldn't write you, but in your last article, you were not only writing about prostitution, but more vastly about the ideology of classical liberalism (modern libertarianism) which I adhere to. So, I want to clarify some points on that. [... I removed some parts relating to his private life in this area of the text - Donkey/Kris2]

You are right that libertarians defend sex work, i.e. sexworker rights. You are also right that people have the right to not like their work. Though I'd recommend everyone not liking his work to quit it ASAP and choose another one. But in the most cases, you don't like or dislike your job, but you rather like some aspects of it and you dislike some others and you have to decide for yourself if the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. In my eyes, no job is only positive or only negative. In my opinion, all unwanted sex is rape and/or sexual assault/harassment. People should be protected against that. When a person sees no other options to take care of himself/herself and/or his/her loved ones, than to sell sexual services, sexual acts he/she would absolutely refuse in better circumstances, then this person is the victim of rape and/or sexual assault/harassment. Period. I have made this very clear to myself, and I'm not going to rape and sexually harass another person again, ever in my life! I will not visit a prostitute ever again. Furthermore, you assume it is easy for a person to find a new job with equal or better payment. The point is that many prostitutes don't easily find other work with better payment.

"That’s how they defend sexual assault in the workplace."

-Libertarians don't defend sexual assault, they are for laws against sexual assault. In the workplace or otherwise. Applied to everyone, including sexworkers. In New Zealand, a sexworker filed a complaint about her boss and she's won her case before courts. Any sane libertarian will be happy about this. Yes, but this is a case in which she clearly didn't consent to being sexually assaulted. People can be consensually raped and sexually harassed. This happens when a person has very limited options. In the worldview of libertarians, all consent is acceptable by definition. Libertarians don't look at contexts and social rules. Libertarians would find it completely acceptable when I would approach a random woman on the street and politely ask her to give me a blowjob. In the worldview of libertarians she could always say no. No harm done. And I could visit a slum inhabited by very poor people and ask a man if I could beat him up when I pay him some money. He could decide to agree to my demands because he is out of food, and he desperately needs to feed his children. According to libertarians it is perfectly fine when I beat him up when he consents to be beaten up. In my opinion, he is still the victim of violence. This man could notice there is a market for men who want to beat people up and who want to pay money for it, and he could decide that he wants to make a living out of it. This man is still a victim of violence. Likewise, a prostitute is still the victim of rape, even when she consented to being raped.

"Libertarians place consent above human dignity."

-Human dignity means you are treated like you are a human being. A human being is above all an free, autonomous being and a moral agent and  should be treated like one. I can't think of anything more indigneous than threating a human being like his agency or consent wouldn't matter. Yes, but this is exactly the point because libertarians place agency/consent above human dignity. If a person consents, whatever this person consents to is acceptable by definition, according to libertarians. According to libertarians the human dignity of a person is respected as long as this person consents to something.

"a dangerous workplace where this person is badly treated, deserves every abuse, according to libertarians"

-Bullshit. No one deserves abuse. Wherever he or she works. The worker has consented to work in X, not to abuse. Yes, but what if a person consents to abuse because he desperately needs money to feed his children?

"There are even libertarians who defend domestic violence as a legitimate lifestyle!"

-Surely not. I'd be very interested to be shown examples of such scum. Where did you meet such "libertarians" ?` In any case, any sane libertarian is for laws against domestic violence. I referred to Fleurtje van Schaik alias Zondares (at least, I strongly suspect she is Zondares).

"Libertarians believe people should have the right to make mistakes."

-Sure. I agree with that. Everyone makes mistakes in his life, that's just fucking human and you learn from it. So, in the libertarian worldview a person has the right to work in a dangerous brothel/factory, suffer all kinds of assaults, and he/she just made a mistake, and he/she has every right to make this mistake. It is victim blaming. Prostitutes are blamed for the rapes and sexual harassment they suffer. They have the right to make mistakes! At least, according to libertarians.

"Therefore, when a person is tricked into doing something"

-No, we are in favour of laws against fraud. No, according to libertarians people have the right to make mistakes, so a person has the right to be tricked into doing something. Above all, true libertarians want to abolish the state, no social security, no army, no police, no judicial system, no public utilities, no laws against fraud.

"Libertarians want to abolish social security and solidarity."

-Ok. Here, it becomes tricky for you. We don't want the state forcing people to pay for a state insurance or state retirement system. We want people to have the choice between different private insurances or pension systems. So, we are NOT against social security, but for the privatization/liberalization of social security. Because no size fits all. We need a choice of sizes.

As for solidarity, for libertarians, only voluntary solidarity is real solidarity.
So, we want people to help each other themselves, not having the state forcing them to help.
If A helps B voluntarily [removed some private parts here], that's rightly called "solidarity". But if the state takes my tax money and gives it to person X, this is not real solidarity, by no means of the word. Sorry, if that offends you as a socialdemocrat, but this is the libertarian view. But you claim, we are against all those things, just because we don't want the state to provide them. The state is Robin Hood! Steal from the rich, give to the poor. In real life, there are people who are disabled, too old to work, have no family and friends. Without state pensions and allowances for disabled people, there will be a big social class of extremely poor people. Some elderly people and disabled people would simply starve. But there is one positive thing for libertarians! There will be an ample supply of impoverished women who will willingly "consent" to just any sexual request, no matter how degrading.

"They also want to remove the age of consent, and all the laws protecting workers"

-I don't. I agree with age of consent-laws. But I am in favour of Romeo-and-Juliet-legislations to avoid that a let's say 19th year old boy is punished for having sex with a 17th year old girl.  As for worker protection, I would analyze with rules make sense and which ones don't. This is not a matter of "all or nothing". It's a question of the given laws protect the worker's individual rights or not. Libertarians want to destroy the state. No police, no laws, no age of consent laws, no laws to protect workers, no laws to protect prostitutes. That's why you hear the term "rights, not rescue" from prostitution defenders all the time. They don't want to "rescue" people, i.e. they don't want public social security, no social safety net, no money for poor people, no money for unemployed people, no exit programs for prostitutes, and they want to give people the right to be tortured and raped!

"They also want to abolish the prohibition of child labour."

-Child labour is not completely forbidden, even in Europe (just think of the movie industry to give just one example.) Many families wouldn't survive without child labour, if one likes it or not. My idea would be, to regulate it, by imposing maximum hours of work and security regulations as enforcing education rights as well (at least X hours of school for child workers etc.) With the aim of getting rid of child labour with the time due to more welfare for the concerned families. This is not hypocrite, but just acknowledging facts. In the West, child labour didn't disappear because of laws either, but because the welfare made child labour not necessary anymore. Again, libertarians are against the state. No police, no laws, no laws against child labour. You are not a true libertarian. You are more like a small government conservative, or a minarchist.

"The pro-prostitution movement is a hate movement. They say that we should listen to the sex workers, but they themselves only listen to those sex workers who support their own callous libertarian views. Prostitutes who point out abuse by clients and pimps in the sex industry are vilified and slandered."

-Also wrong. I endorse those people filing complaints against their abusers (of course, this only functions in a system where sex work is fully decriminalized).  And once they've done this, the courts judge their case. If they win the case, the abuser has to be harshly punished.  As a client myself, I am absolutely against ANY form of abuse by clients.  Of course, if those people argue for prohibition or abolition, I cannot endorse those views, even if I say, that they have the right to tell us their ideas. Yes, but you use consent to determine if a person is abused. People consent to undergoing very degrading acts out of pure desperation. By the way, I have seen on twitter how prostitution defenders attack prostitutes who revealed abuses within the sex industry. It is like the Japanese proverb: The nail that sticks out shall be hammered down. One prostitute didn't want to have anything to do with what she called the 'pro-prostitution movement', although she wasn't against prostitution herself. In the past she was forced into prostitution by a man. She was vilified in a very awful way by prostitution defenders on the internet. Prostitution defenders are very dogmatic. There is a general denial of any kind of abuse in the sex industry, except when government operatives are the perpetrators (like the police, the tax department, public servants). Within the pro-prostitution movement, forced prostitution is called an 'abolitionist myth'.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

My second monthly report about my struggle never to visit prostitutes and never to watch porn again

Actually I realized this is my third report, but whatever....

I did well last month. I went through a difficult period, during which I almost seemed to lose a good friend. I managed to stay afloat. I didn't have severe cravings to watch porn, and I'm not curious to watch one either. Same goes for visiting prostitutes. I must say that I think about Eleni every day, but I don't want to visit her. (Actually I do, but I don't feel the urge to take a train ride to Amsterdam. There were some ideas in my mind to visit her, pay her, and just talk with her, but I consider this to be very dangerous, because I could suddenly decide on the spot to...... you guess what I'm thinking).

I have to watch out, because right after I wrote my last monthly report I watched porn for a couple of hours, and I see a relationship between these two things. Perhaps that after a moment when I reflect upon myself I start to give up hope. But I won't give up hope this time! Every day without pornography and prostitution is a celebration.

I decided to keep on masturbating regularly, and this is what I do two times a day. I have also decided to give my sexual fantasies a free reign, as long as I don't carry them out. So, although I am against prostitution, I do visit them in my fantasies, and I do imagine I am a prostitute who has sex with her clients. And all my other fantasies evolve around pornography. So unfortunately, I don't actually do it, but my mind is full of it.

But these masturbation moments are very short, they last a few minutes, and the rest of the day I am free of cravings.

I haven't figured out how I can reprogram my sexual feelings. I feel a danger that my fantasies will guide me to visiting prostitutes and watching porn sites again. Being an asexual is not going to work, I have figured that out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Amnesty International just decided that it supports the decriminalization of sexual assault in the workplace

I must stand strong. I won't visit prostitutes, and I never will visit prostitution again for the rest of my life. I won't use Amnesty International as an excuse to visit prostitutes again.

What I did in the past was wrong. There is no excuse for using the poverty or desperation of people to gain sexual access to them. This is sexual assault. This is wrong.

Yesterday, Amnesty International decided that it would support decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution. It is understandable that they want to decriminalize prostitutes. Prostitutes are oppressed on a worldwide scale. It is important that this stops. What Amnesty International did was understandable to a certain extent. And they are against the most egregious violations perpetrated against prostitutes, such as kidnapping persons to force them into prostitution.

But Amnesty International is going further. Much further. You can read it in a policy document. The full name of the document is Decriminalization of Sex Work: Policy Background Document. You can read it here:

I'll quote some of it. Read on page 6:
Along similar lines, men and women who buy sex from consenting adults are also exercising personal autonomy. For some—in particular persons with mobility or sensory disabilities or those with psycho-social disabilities that hamper social interactions—sex workers are persons with whom they feel safe enough to have a physical relationship or to express their sexuality. Some develop a stronger sense of self in their relationships with sex workers, improving their life enjoyment and dignity. At a very basic level, expressions of sexuality and sex are a primary component of the human experience, which is directly linked to individuals’ physical and mental health. The state’s interference with an adult’s strategy to have sex with another consenting adult is, therefore, a deliberate interference with those individuals’ autonomy and health. 
Read on page 8:
The criminalization of voluntary sex between adults, whether for direct monetary gain or otherwise, threatens the rights to health, non-discrimination, equality, privacy, and security of person. In addition, the right to freely chosen gainful work (Article 6, ICESCR) may be jeopardized by the criminalization of sex work. 
International human rights law stipulates that everyone is entitled to safe and healthy working conditions (Article 7(b), ICESCR), including those who are self-employed or who make their living in informal setting such as selling fruit on the side of the road or bartering repair services, or, indeed, through exchanging sex for remuneration. Safe working conditions in such circumstances could include adequate access to clean water in public spaces, public sanitation services, street security, and otherwise. These factors often overlap with obligations to guarantee adequate underlying determinants of health, which are critical to the right to health more generally. 
International human rights law also confers the right to privacy, which has been applied to some extent to sexuality and individuals’ autonomous decisions with regard to their bodies (Article 17(1 (2), ICCPR; Article 16(1)(2), ICRC; Article 22(1), ICRPD; K.L. v. Peru, CCPR/C/85/D/1153/2003 at [6.4] and [6.5]; CESCR, General Recommendation 24).
In other words, Amnesty International sees buying sex as a private matter, which the state shouldn't interfere with. It suggests buying sex is a human right. Also notice that Amnesty International follows the libertarian/neo-liberal definition of what freedom is. This definition assumes that everything that is being consented to, is acceptable. In other words, it is completely acceptable when you offer a very poor person to be tortured in exchange for money. And they apparently see being tortured and sexually molested as work that could be done under safe and healthy conditions. I always thought of Amnesty International as a kind of socialist-humanist organization, not as some die-hard dog-eat-dog free market capitalists. I think they have some kind of fear that they will be seen by progressive people as prudish. They defend themselves by saying that they support the human rights of prostitutes, but they have apparently relinquished one right already: the right not to be tortured.

I know, this is a very difficult issue. Prostitutes are financially dependent on being sexually assaulted and raped. When you take away their clients, their income, it will hurt them directly. Often they have family members, children, who depend on their preciously needed income. But this doesn't mean that being sexually assaulted and raped is acceptable. It is not okay when a rich man drives circles around a prostitute and continuously tries to haggle and drive the ridiculously low price for sex down. But apparently this is acceptable, because she "consented" to it.

I think some serious programs have to be set up to financially support prostitutes, and to help them to find truly safe and healthy work. It will be difficult. It will be expensive. I think it is the duty of society to cover all the expenses of the prostitutes and of the people who depend on them. But I'm pessimistic.

No country in the world has found a complete solution to poverty. Even progressive Sweden still has several hundreds of prostitutes within its borders. They apparently are not very successful at helping them all out. In Sweden the prostitutes themselves are decriminalized, while the people who sexually exploit them (the clients and the pimps) are subject to prosecution. Sweden is a rich country. I wonder if they could do more. They forgot to shoot the ball into the goal.

The most important thing is that prostitutes should be helped, but not by using their misery to sexually assault them. Because that is what it is. Prostitution is total degradation, total humiliation. Clients play all kinds of evil power games with prostitutes, trying to pull condoms off while the prostitute is not looking, scratching them, grabbing prostitutes' intimate parts against their will, thrusting their fingers in orifices without a proper announcement. Prostitutes have to continuously fight to keep clients from doing things they don't want clients to do to them, while still keeping the clients happy. This is acknowledged even by some women who have presented themselves as having made a full and conscious choice to work in prostitution. Read more about it here on my blog:

And here:

Prostitutes are also frequently and violently raped. It is normal. It is so normal that prostitutes don't even recognize rape and sexual intimidation as something problematic anymore. Prostitution is a human rights violation in and of itself, "consensual" or not.

I don't want to be a part of that again. I have used all kinds of excuses to make prostitution acceptable to me. I won't do it again. This time I will prevail. The fact that Amnesty International finds prostitution acceptable now, should make my determination even stronger. I'm not going to use these psychopaths to find an excuse to visit prostitutes again. Technically I am one of those "psycho-socially" disabled persons of whom Amnesty finds it acceptable to visit prostitutes, to "express their sexuality". But I'm not falling into that trap. I'm not going to express my sexuality via the misery of others.

I'm afraid that Amnesty International's point of view regarding prostitution is going to be abused by men to visit prostitutes. What after all is wrong with it? The respectable Amnesty International, the international guardian of human rights, of what's wrong and what is right, supports it now.

What kind of world do we live in?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

My ideas about voluntary prostitution

As some of you might know, I am a person who has visited prostitutes and who watches porn, and who wants to desperately stop with it, but who again and again relapses into his old behavior. I'm trying to figure out why this is so. I can control other behaviors. I am a vegan for years now, and I don't have any problems with not consuming animal products, save for some misunderstandings about the contents of a product. I've had an alcohol problem for years, but I can easily manage not to drink alcohol, except for special occasions (like parties) during which I allow myself to drink some alcohol.

Porn and prostitution is difficult. I have sought an explanation in sexual addiction. I could feel an incredible high when I visit a prostitute or watch porn, and I quite naturally want to repeat that feeling. On the other hand, I have feelings of guilt, because I know what I'm doing is wrong. I could clearly see that some prostitutes absolutely hate it to have sex with me, and I still had sex with them anyway. And it is completely obvious that the various things the porn actors and actresses do in porn films, are absolutely harmful and degrading. And I still watch, while I am so aware of the abuse that happens in the sex industry. I still do it anyway. Sex addiction might be a part of the problem.

But there is an other issue. I am now fully aware that it is my ideas which make me visit prostitutes. I am completely convinced that for instance animal farming is very harmful. It is harmful to the animals, and also harmful to us. Think about the environmental degradation, the overuse of antibiotics, etc... There is no doubt in my mind that consuming animals is bad. And although I am very fond of cheese and grilled stakes, I don't eat it anymore, because I am fully convinced that it is wrong!

The fact of the matter is, despite all the frequent rants against the sex industry on my blog, I secretly believe pornography and prostitution are acceptable. I have read a lot about the sex industry. I know exactly how to use certain data to justify my behavior. There is a lot of pro-prostitution propaganda which seems very convincing. You can for instance read about reports which show that prostitutes don't suffer more stress than than the general population, and that their mental health is similar to people in general. See for instance this piece about it on my blog:

Sometimes police officers raid several brothels to look for forced prostitutes, and all in vain, they find nothing. All the prostitutes they interrogate say they work voluntarily in prostitutes. I know of such raids in the Netherlands when hundreds of prostitutes were interrogated, in two separate raids on the Achterdam in Alkmaar, and the Doubletstraat in The Hague. Similar raids (as a part of the operations Pentameter 1 and 2) have been carried out in Great Britain, with no results.

The evil voice within me says that prostitution is harmless. If no victims of forced prostitution are found during large-scale raids, and if the mental well-being of prostitutes is indistinguishable from people in general, what is wrong with visiting prostitutes?

The most difficult part are the stories which regularly pop up in the media, of women who tell they work in prostitution, and who say that working in the sex industry is no problem for them, and that they even enjoy their work, and that they like to meet a big variety of people with their big variety of sexualities. See for instance what I wrote about the research of Nick Mai (also known as 'Nicola' Mai).

Add to this the fact that many people who are against prostitution repeat the same obvious falsehoods over and over again, for instance that the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 or 14 years, or that most migrant prostitutes are not aware that they are going to work in prostitution, or that the sex industry has grown significantly in places where prostitutes is legalized or decriminalized. It reinforces the idea that there is nothing wrong with prostitution, and those who are against it have to fabricate data to prove their point.

And, it is obviously true that I have met seemingly very friendly and sexually tolerant prostitutes, who seemed to have no problem with their work. That makes it difficult, because with these women it feels as if everything is okay. I remember for instance when I talked with Eleni about shaving off pubic hair, that she asked me to touch her vagina to feel how smoothly shaven it was. It seemed so natural, so friendly. And obviously I keep visiting the nice prostitutes again (like Eleni whom I have visited multiple times), while I avoid visiting the clearly unhappy prostitutes again. I am not a barbarian who feels pleasure having sex with unwilling persons.

I know it cannot be true that prostitution is harmless and it cannot be true that women like working in prostitution. I have seen for myself the desperation in the eyes of some prostitutes when I had sex with them. And I know of some prostitutes who have appeared in the media who have presented themselves as 'happy hookers', but who have admitted in interviews that prostitution is total humiliation to them, or that clients are not nice, or that they have big problems having to struggle with the constant sexual harassment by the clients. Read more about it here:

When I truly want to stop watching porn and visiting prostitutes, I have completely rid myself of any idea in my mind that prostitution could be good. I know prostitution is abuse. The constant rape that porn actresses and porn actors experience in pornography is not good. It is perfectly clear that nearly all prostitutes, porn actors and actresses, and cam girls enter the sex industry because of desperation or even direct coercion. It is not okay to use a person's desperation to gain sexual access to them. It is wrong. It is rape. Every argument against it is a weak distraction, for instance by saying we all have to work to make a living, or that it is not mandatory to like our work, or that all work could be a pain in the ass sometimes. And even the fact that prostitutes seem to be tolerant and okay with their work is a weak distraction. Eleni has told me that she is nice to her clients to increase the probability that they return. This strongly suggests that acting like the nice and tolerant prostitute is a strategy to earn more money. A client still abuses her desperation.

I have to stay in this mood, not stray from the path. And that's why I want to write something about a particularly destructive piece of propaganda written by Charlotte Shane, which I read several months ago. You can read it here:

This article is called The Professional and it seems to have been originally published on 22 November, 2010. This piece she wrote could be an excuse my mind can use to abuse a prostitute or cam-girl again, and this is something I absolutely have to prevent.

Charlotte Shane has worked as a prostitute (call girl) and as a cam-girl. Early in her article she says:
Disclaimer: coercion is wrong, kidnapping is wrong, and hiring someone underage is wrong. There are men (and women) in the world who want to inflict suffering on others, and hiring a sex worker gives them an easy way to do it. 
But I’m tired of seeing men and women buy into the lie that male sexuality is inherently violent and sadistic. My experience as sex worker has taught me the opposite. 
When I first began working in the sex industry, I believed the cultural script about the men who made it profitable. Male sexual desire consisted of seeing thin young women naked and suffering, handled roughly, used callously. I read and trusted every word by Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon. There was so much evidence to support their theories of how male hatred of women was expressed through abusive sex. 
She explains that she started working as a cam-girl during the time when anal sex was all the hype, but luckily you can fake it, she met some very nice people, and:
I began to attract more and more men who wanted conversation, who bought me gifts and sent postcards and told me about their lives. They wanted to see me play with myself; they didn’t want to see me hurt. I became more vocal about what I did and didn’t like—in part because, for the first time, I was figuring out what I did and didn’t like. When someone told me to do something I didn’t want to do, I would refuse. I started countering requests for anal with “I will if you will.” It was possible to engage with them. It was astounding to me how many men would listen and suggest something else if I told them what I was doing hurt. They were free to leave and spend their money elsewhere, but few did. 
It occurred to me that many men had trouble expressing empathy because no one had ever taught them how. Most were clueless, not brutal—although some were both. Lots of these guys had grown up so confused and undereducated about the female anatomy that they hardly even had a sense of what sensations might feel best or what activities were most satisfying. 
The more men I talked to, the more sympathetic I felt. I was approaching the biggest epiphany of my life: men had as much anxiety and shame around sex as women did. We were all in this together, and any ideology that couldn’t admit as much was doomed to fail.
She started to feel more comfortable about men, and she decided to switch to prostitution. She discovered that compared to the clients she had as a cam-girl, the clients she had a a prostitute were "downright vanilla". She says that some clients don't want sex, they just want to talk. She explains:
The longer I’ve worked, the more it seems that the sex is often a front. It’s an entry point that allows men to make their real request (for affection, understanding, and connection) while still satisfying stereotypical ideas of masculinity. What most men want is a great romance or, at the very least, a great friendship. They want to feel like they’re falling in love. They want to feel loved in return. 
The clients who do want to have sex—and of course, there are many—don’t want that sex to be uncomfortable or unpleasant for me. They want to me to take pleasure in the act as well. They want to feel attractive and competent and gentle and attentive. Many of them are all of those things. If they express guilt about paying for sex, I don’t try to talk them into feeling otherwise. When one man said he should stop seeing me because the money he spent on our appointments should be going toward his kids’ college funds, I replied, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, it’s going toward mine.” (I never saw him again.) 
Yes, I’ve met men who didn’t respect my boundaries and who harmed me, inadvertently or purposefully. But such men were few and far between, and I refused to see them again.
I know rationally that what she says cannot be right. I know she is not telling the truth. We have seen this before! Anke Manschot has also noticed that when you dig deeper some of these "happy hookers" seem not to be so very happy. For instance, Margot Alvarez has presented herself as a happy hooker for years, but in one interview she says that there is hardly a healthy client, and that the situation is really bad. In Hoerenboek she says she finds all men assholes ("klootzakken"). Metje Blaak, also a prostitute who has defended prostitution, admitted in her book De Trukendoos that in prostitution you are only busy surviving, and that you don't have the time to think. She gave prospective prostitutes the tip that if you can withstand complete humiliation then working in prostitution is something for you. And she said in an interview that clients are like children, because they want to grab everything, and that she trained her regular clients to become 'nice', suggesting that clients in general are not so nice. Mariska Majoor of the Prostitution Information Centre on de Wallen in Amsterdam said, that when she worked in prostitution she wasn't thinking, and now that she is thinking she can't do this work anymore. Jo Doezema has complained in an interview with Wendy Chapkis (in Live Sex Acts) that when she worked in sex clubs she was in a continuous struggle to prevent clients from doing things she didn't want them to do, while still keeping them happy. She blames herself when she tolerates things she doesn't want clients to do to her, and she thinks "next time better" when a client has touched her breast. Again, read more about it here:

I discovered that my gut feeling was right about Charlotte Shane. Without intention I stumbled upon two articles which turned out to be written by her. One article is called Live Through This and it was published on July 26, 2012. You can read it here:

She reveals in this article something that she didn't mention in The Professional. She has been violently raped several times by clients while working in prostitution. She has a peculiar and very eloquent way of dealing with having been raped. What it boils down to, is that to her, it apparently isn't a big deal. She says for instance that an 11 year old friend of hers didn't seem too upset when she (the old friend) was raped by her 19 year old neighbor. She names the example of Jenny Diski who was raped at the age of 14, and who said: "I didn’t think it was the most terrible thing that had ever happened to me". Charlotte Shane blames the harm of rape not on rapists themselves but on the people who say rape is harmful to a person. She says:
No woman’s suffering (or lack thereof) should be a referendum on the suffering of others. One woman’s lack of trauma need not be construed as a judgment against a woman who struggles to regain her equilibrium after a sexual violation. It is only one of many possible responses, all of which are equally valid because rape is an individual’s experience, not a collective one, in spite of what current “rape culture” rhetoric often assumes. Just as I would like the right to experience my rape as not particularly upsetting, so I recognize the rights of others to experience it as the single most horrible incident in their life. It’s the insistence upon a single story that creates the problem.
Though some feminists regard “rape equals devastation” as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available. Common sense instructs us that it is far more “dangerous” to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault. 
I don't believe Charlotte Shane. I think that the fact she was raped was very traumatic to her. Saying to herself that it is not a big deal is a way of coping with it. It is often said that prostitutes are raped and assaulted so often that they even don't recognize it as something bad anymore. I see Charlotte Shane doing exactly the same thing. Charlotte describes how a client gave her and anal injury:
The second occasion (still during my massage days) a client left me with an anal tear and acute pain that I tried to live with for a year before finally giving in to surgery. People regularly get anal fissures, and many non-raped people have the same surgery I did. It cost about $10,000 and it was the right decision. In the years since, I’ve been able to defecate without crying. My doctor, a petite, elderly Jewish woman, spoke cheerfully of how I’d almost certainly tear again when — no “if” for her — I gave birth. I liked her despite of her pregnancy-centric approach.
What she does here is to trivialize her being anally raped by saying that even many people who are not raped have to have surgery for having anal fissures, and that she probable would tear again if she would give birth. It think again that this is a coping strategy of hers. She needs this to glue together the rift within herself, and make prostitution acceptable. Later on, she explains that she has an appointment with the very same client again who had anally raped her! She says: "I didn’t confront him about the past and he didn’t cross any boundaries. Nothing happened." I think she doesn't realize herself how strange this actually is. And remember that she said in The Professional that she didn't see clients again who treated her badly?

The other article she wrote I was referring to is titled “Getting Away” With Hating It: Consent in the Context of Sex Work and it was published on March 21, 2013. You can read it here:

In this article she again says something that she didn't mention in The Professional. She actually admits that quite a lot of times she actually hates having sex with her clients (she mentions a percentage of 20% of the clients). This is a very eloquently written article in which she argues that unwanted sex is actually not a big deal, as long as it is "consensual". Again, she uses trivialization to cope with the unwanted sex. She says:
Imagine, for instance, a couple struggling with fertility who have dispirited sex in an effort to conceive; this would clearly not be a case of assault. I’ve unenthusiastically consented to sex many times in the past, and my reasons for doing so are myriad: I’ve felt obligated; I knew I would feel closer to my partner afterwards, even if I wasn’t horny in the moment; giving in was easier than having an argument about it; etc.
She admits in the article that she would not insist on having sex if clients pay her full rates for not having sex at all. And although she sometimes has 'hot sex' with clients, she describes that sometimes she resents any sexual pleasure she feels, and that she has "feelings of self-betrayal, horror, and general displeasure that can accompany orgasming with a client", but "I’ve mostly gotten over revulsion towards my own body’s responses, probably because I’m better at controlling those responses now." This reminds me a lot of rape victims who feel awful when they experience orgasms while being raped.

She explains that she is actually negative about clients who want her enthusiastic consent!:
Every now and then, though, it’s one of my duties that I can’t or won’t complete. In fact, the clients who I have the hardest time doing my job with are the ones who make the biggest deal out of having my enthusiastic consent. Maybe they want me to tell them what I want (which should more honestly be described as what they want me to want) or maybe they ask for constant feedback on their cunnilingus skills. Maybe they refer to how they were driving me crazy, when I was really writhing in pain thanks to their untrimmed fingernails, and I have to bite my tongue and let them expound on their delusion. Maybe, as was the case with one guy, he takes me on dates where nothing physical happens because when we finally have sex, he wants to “know” it’s because I “want” him, not because he’s paying me. I don’t expect non sex workers to understand this, but I bet many other sex workers reading this feels down to her bones what a grotesque demand that was. Some clients want a good-natured disposition, pleasant company, and a willingness to indulge them physically. They understand the terms of the transaction, and they’re happy to behave accordingly. Other men are so desperately lonely, so insecure, and so floundering in their lives and in themselves, that they want a piece of your soul. (“What’s your real name? Do you like that, (real name)?”)
Notice clearly that she doesn't dare to say anything to clients when they do something she clearly doesn't want and she writhes in pain and bites her tongue sometimes when this happens to her. Sounds very much like sexual assault to me. And notice that the idea of actual consent within prostitution is an oxymoron? Charlotte Shane herself rejects clients who want her to consent in the first place!

Ruchira Gupta, journalist and anti-trafficking activist, has spoken to several street prostitutes in New Delhi. You can find a short snippet of an interview with her on youtube here:

It was uploaded under the title Paid sex is an act of violence by Demand Abolition on 31 July 2015, with the accompanying text: "Ruchira Gupta, journalist and anti-trafficking activist of more than 25 years, explains how the act of prostitution normalizes sexual violence for everyone involved."

She says:
I have been asking a group of women on the edge of Delhi living in a caste ghetto, where they are suffering from intergenerational prostitution, and women are taken in taxis to the highway and provided at truck stops to different clients. So I asked them, have you ever faced any kind of violence? And they said: "No". So I was really surprised and I said, do you mean nobody beats you? Nobody slaps you? They said: "Yeah, all the time!". So then I said, nobody beats you? "Yeah, even with the rod". I said has everyone been uh hit really badly? "Yeah at least two fractures a month!". And one woman was murdered, her head was cut off. So I said, but that is violence. And they said: "No, but he paid for it". So what the sex industry also does, it normalizes the violence, uh, because it's paid for. Both in the eyes of the men who is buying violent sex, sex with violence, and he thinks it is normal, because he is paying for it. And it normalizes for the bought, because she also understands subconsciously that he is buying violence. And so, you know, it becomes, this is what is embedded in the whole thing.
Agreed, this is the truth about prostitutes who say they don't have any problems with their work. They simply don't recognize the violence and the assaults, because after all, it is paid for, it is consensual. And consent means it is acceptable. But it isn't acceptable! So this means we have to watch out when prostitution defenders say we have to listen to the sex workers, because sex workers tend to deny or trivialize the violence they experience within the sex industry. And what Ruchira Gupta says also exposes how stupid the consent-argument is to defend prostitution. Nobody accepts to be beaten up, raped, to be sexually assaulted, or to suffer unwanted sex. The fact that people consent to it, is out of desperation. Consent doesn't mean voluntary.

I also stumbled upon an article about another happy hooker in Australia. You can read it here:

The article is named I love working at a legal brothel in Australia (written by Sarah Penello, who is not the prostitute herself, but she writes in first person as if she is the prostitute. There is no date of publication). I'll keep it short here. But she presents herself as a voluntary prostitute, who enjoys her works, and who is satisfied by it:
I worked for a legal brothel in Australia and it was the best job I ever had. 
I don’t claim to speak for all sex workers, of course. This was just my personal experience, and it was great. Especially for someone so social, like me. I loved and admired the women I worked with. I took great pride in the pleasure I could give to people. It was a job that I enjoyed, and I was better at it because I enjoyed it.
A very long and eloquent story follows, and then there is the kicker:
As you can see, I had a routine down pretty fucking pat that I didn’t alter all that much booking to booking. Most dudes didn’t know what they wanted, and what was an old standby for me was a fucking mind-blowing experience for them. My routine was essentially formulated to get the guy to cum as quickly possible. I learned that moaning “you smell so fucking good” into somebody’s ear is an extreme turn-on and almost guaranteed to bring a client over the edge. After the client came, we’d chat and sometimes cuddle. The experience was quite enjoyable for me.
The question is, why if it is such an enjoyable and rewarding job, do you want the clients to orgasm as quickly as possible? Isn't this an unintentional admission that having sex with the clients is actually so degrading and invasive that you want to make it stop as quickly as possible?

I want to finish with an article written by an ex-prostitute in 1987. You can read it here:

It is called Women, Lesbians and Prostitution: A Workingclass Dyke Speaks Out Against Buying Women for Sex. It was written by Toby Summer, which is a pseudonym. And it was published in Lesbian Culture Anthology, edited by Julia Penelope and Susan Wolfe, Crossing Press, 1993, and originally published in Lesbian Ethics, 1987.

This article is mainly a criticism of the book Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry, which was published shortly before she wrote her article. In this article she speaks about the Man's lie. I'll cite her directly:
The removing of oneself from one’s body is a strategy for immediate survival; many prostitutes acknowledge this. This numbing—whether done like other torture victims do it or done with drugs and alcohol—is flight from that which is intolerable. Numbing mechanisms become reflex quickly. Reversing the process, later or in other circumstances, is difficult. It is my belief that such numbing in sexual assault situations sets women up for tolerating abuse, especially prostitution and sado-masochism. 
Although I used this strategy as often as not, I also used a more damaging one at the same time. Today, I call this second strategy the Man’s lie, but then I called it pro-sex (2) and my choice. 
The Man’s lie is still passing as truth not only from the Man but also through the lips of women, who—like I did—believe the lie. I mean, when Scarlot Harlot quotes her friend, Priscilla Alexander, as saying, "The right to be a prostitute is as important as the right not to be one. It is the right to set the terms of one’s own sexuality…[my emphasis]" (Sex Work, p. 61), what I hear is that someone thinks that prostitution has something to do with women owning our own bodies—somehow—while at the same time selling the very same bodies to men who hate women, whores (3) and lesbians and who do not make any excuses for their hatred. 
This mind-fuck is very familiar to me; I thought for the longest time that I had invented it. I double-fucked myself for years before coming face-to-face with the truth of how male supremacist sexuality got to me. Not just remembering, but feeling; not just looking at all of it momentarily, but living it; not just opened up, but analyzed from a radical feminist politic for what it is and does. I have not always been a feminist, but I have always wanted to be free and female. 
What I did in my mind did have something to do with freedom when I spoke the Man’s lie silently to myself about prostitution. I felt closer to freedom when I told myself that I chose what happened (even the rapes), that I felt OK about what was done to my body (even against my will), that the sex in the room had something to do with me and my sexuality (even though when she was in the room, too—my lover—the only thing I tried to do was keep him interested in me so he wouldn’t fuck her…some butch role), that the nausea-alienation-bruises-humiliation-STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)-poverty-abortion all were somehow fixable with what amounts to an EST positive attitude. 
Oppressed people develop a sixth sense with which we anticipate the next move of our enemy in order to try to be successfully out of the way or in the most acceptable pose. The EST positive attitude served that purpose, as well as twisting my own mind; that is, the Man’s lie not only took the truth away from me, but it also served the Man by allowing him to point to me and say, "See. She loves it. She chose it. She’s even a lesbian…they all want it. Women are whores by nature." 
This strategic lie attempted to turn my degradation into something else, something more human, something that was not force and coercion. Poverty and oppression against women and lesbians certainly qualify as force and coercion, even if the barrel of the gun is behind the curtain of sex. What was accomplished with this lie was not a changed reality but merely a renaming of reality for something other than what it was. Reality did not change until I changed it, personally, for me; I got a different "job." I wasn’t successful the first or second times. Even after I got out, I took my EST positive attitude with me when I went. What it didn’t explain was why I’d rather work in a hot commercial laundry for $1.00 per hour than fuck another man. The Man’s lie should have been exposed at that point, but it wasn’t. I hid behind the fact that I was a lesbian; that is, I told myself that I just didn’t want to fuck men. There was no understanding that there was something wrong with what happened to me as a woman. That lie stayed coiled like a viper for many years, waiting.
So, what she says is that saying to herself that she chose prostitution, was in fact a survival strategy, to cope with the harm of prostitution.

She also notices two prostitutes in the book Sex Work, who at first present themselves as having chosen this job, but who suddenly change their opinion:
Finally I want to say that—as an ex-prostitute, a workingclass woman, a radical labor organizer—I have to wonder if the women who are using the language of organized labor are seriously trying to make common cause with working people. I wonder about this because of the contempt that is frequently expressed for other women who work at low-paying, low-status jobs everyday, who do it all their lives, who frequently challenge their wages, hours and working conditions (including sexual harassment). For example, in Sex Work, Scarlot Harlot says, "Ex-prostitutes are out of touch with the true glories of the trade. Plus, they were never very good at it. That’s why they’re ex-prostitutes" (p. 123). (However, she also said on the TV show "People Are Talking," KPIX, San Francisco, July 2, 1987, that she didn’t want to be doing this for money but couldn’t make as much money otherwise. She was the only woman on the show who still did prostitution; no one asked her why she didn’t want to do it.) In Sex Work "Aline" says, "I much preferred exhibiting myself, flirting, showing off my body than working at some shit-job cleaning someone else’s toilet for poverty level income" (pp. 131-2). (However, on the next page she finds her "work" intolerable and says it’s "time to clean toilets.") Prostitutes, ex-prostitutes, and "feminists" cannot succeed in making common cause by ridiculing other women who are struggling to get by without fucking men.
She also says:
Prostitutes have been known to express our utter contempt for the johns that use us, but usually only to each other. We do not correct the power imbalance when we do this, although it does feel briefly better to vent the outrage and disgust. This is one way to acknowledge abuse of our bodies while attempting to block the fact that we are second class citizens being used for what women are: sex. The bravado about having power over men because men buy us is simply bullshit. "When those who dominate you get you to take the initiative in your own human destruction, you have lost more than any oppressed people yet has ever gotten back."(8)
She quoted Andrea Dworkin in the last sentence.

Finally, she also has the idea that I have proposed in the past, that sexuality in general is all about dominance, submission, and humiliation. It seems a strange and radical idea. I think it could be true. I notice that when I am in love with a person, I don't have any sexual feelings for her. All the sexuality that attracts me is the humiliating and sadistic sex of pornography. The only little exception is the sex I have with Eleni who I adore very much, but who clearly doesn't enjoy having sex with me. She goes through the motions.

I'll cite Toby Summer:
Dominance and submission is the basic dynamic of sexuality; regard for an equal is not sexy. Hierarchy is sexy. Power is sexy. Vulnerability is sexy. Humiliation is a sexual practice. It is humiliating to be a second-class citizen; that’s why men keep women second class. Men as a class devised male supremacy because men—but not only men—find it exciting to use force and coercion. "The good news is it isn’t biological."(6) This dynamic is best expressed through prostitution; ruling class men buying women to feel their power manifested. Workingclass men, middle-class men, men of all races and ages, disabled men and gay men are also to be counted as johns when I start counting. Name your category and I’ll tell you what he looked like. It is felt in bodies as sexual, this expression of power. (It is a sexual rush to just contemplate it; ever watch some up-scale man thumb through a Vogue magazine? He consumes it like other men do actual pornography. Watch the body language. Whores are good at noticing men’s body language. I watch them, openly. It disturbs them to be watched.)
But to close off this blog post, I find it awful that I have become the person I am today. I could visit prostitutes and don't feel anything at all afterwards. I remember being very angry and upset when I heard about forced prostitution when I started visiting prostitutes in 2004. I stopped very quickly when I became aware not everything was okay in the sex industry. I felt very guilty when after several years, I visited a prostitute again. For several days after this, I was on the brink of crying. This should be a natural feeling. A person who cares about people should feel this way when he (or she) visits a prostitute. I should follow this feeling, my conscience. I let the dark side of me rationalize this feeling of guilt away. There is no excuse for visiting prostitutes, there is no excuse for using somebody's desperation to sexually abuse them. Don't believe the happy hooker stories.