The author is a radical feminist. I do not fully agree with her, but what is interesting; she mentions a window-prostitute in The Hague who says most of her colleagues have been coerced into sexwork.
Prostitution policy bankrupt
It is very difficult to interview prostitutes about their occupation. A nineteen-year-old woman from the Geleenstraat [window prostitution] in The Hague wants to speak: She finds prostitution a normal occupation, but she doesn't flaunt with it. She earns between a hundred and two-hundred euros a day, of which she pays eighty-five euros rent for her window. She works voluntarily, but she estimates that more than half of her colleagues are forced into prostitution. The girl in the window on her opposite is forced to hand over all her money to a ‘loverboy’ [pimp] once she has had a client. For African prostitutes this issue is different: many women from Nigeria for example work under the curse of a voodoo-priest. They have promised never to reveal the name of their trafficker. The one who breaks that promise, will go mad or die. The threats of the wizard are enforced by voodoo-rituals.
The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, mr.[~LL.M.] Anna Korvinus, estimates the number of victims of human trafficking in the year 2000 the be 3500 persons. Compared with the total number of prostitutes (approximately 25.000), this means that at least one out of seven prostitutes in the Netherlands is a sexslave. The numbers suggested by the scientific bureau of the ministry of Justice are much higher. According to the WODC[‘wetenschappelijk onderzoeks- en documentatie centrum’=’scientific research and documentation centre’] approximately half of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are of foreign descent, mostly from outside the EU. It appeared upon inquiry that none of these women have a working permit. It is assumable that the illegal prostitutes depend a lot on their pimp: they cannot determine their own working hours and have no control over their money. Often they live and sleep in the brothels. In our civilized and liberal country there are at least 3500, and perhaps even 12.500 sexslaves.
The prevailing opinion on this question is that getting paid for sex is the pinnacle of emancipation for women. The free and liberated prostitute has a social security number, an accountant, pays taxes and enjoys it to sexually satisfy men. The selling of sexual services is not humiliating according to the influential organisations for prostitutes. The Red Thread even finds the word “hoer”[whore] a “geuzennaam”[a word that was first a term of abuse but now is a honourable name].
Even the mr.[~LL.M.] A. de Graaf foundation [dissolved early 2005], the centre of expertise on the area of prostitution and the advisor of the ministry of Justice, judges prostitution positively. The goal of the foundation is to ‘stimulate the acceptance of prostitution’. Andrew de Graaf (1867-1945), after which the foundation was named, wanted to root out the exploitation of women with every means possible.
At first the foundation targeted the abuses in the sexindustry, but since the seventies the social acceptance of prostitution becomes the objective. The current De Graaf foundation stands miles apart from the original organisation that stood up fiercely against the trade in women and children. Around the year 1900 human trafficking was seen as a big problem in view of the numbers that have exploded in the meantime, but the most important advisory body of the Duth government shrugs its shoulders. Sexslavery is an anomaly in the eyes of the Red Thread and the mr.[~LL.M.] A. de Graaf foundation.
Those who look at the facts, can come to only one conclusion: the Dutch prostitution policy must be altered. The thousands of involuntary prostitutes must be better protected against abuses. The blind spot for this problem can only disappear when we abandon the dogma of voluntariness. Prostitutes on the contrary are often not ‘free and independent’, even when policymakers and whore-hoppers want to see it otherwise. The other side of the coin of the Dutch liberal prostitution policy is sexslavery. It is time to realise that.
Drs. [M.A] Hester Jansen is a historian, member of the ‘Derde Kamer’, a forum for discussion about international cooperation.
www.dederdekamer.org, en has a communication office in The Hague, email@example.com Source: Het Financieel Dagblad, woensdag March 24, 2004 / page 9
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