Monday, October 10, 2005

Slave trade on de Wallen

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also read:A top attraction build on oppression
The prostitution cycle
Strong victims

Sorry guys, but I've made a beautiful translation from Dutch into English of an article by Ruth Hopkins about human trafficking on de Wallen. Well, it’s seems that miss Hopkins doesn’t really appreciate this. I’m working on a description of the article without violating copyrights.

This is the Dutch source of the article:
click here

And you might use this translation-tool to create a mock translation of this link:
http://world.altavista.com/

Hmmmm, maybe that "fair use"-policy thing of mine is not such a bad thing after all!!!! I simply leave out the less important stuff!! But, the only thing I hope when you read the extracts that if you ever believed that because prostitution is legal in the Netherlands that everything should be okay, well..... it's not. What you'll read now are excerpts of this article.

By the way, the two anonymous policemen are Mos Florie and Nico Sukel, see the article "Clara Meijer-Wichmann Penning 2006 voor twee Amsterdamse politieagenten: de brigadiers Mos Florie en Nico Sukel" on the website of the liga voor de rechten van de mens.

Slave trade on de Wallen
NRC Handelsblad of October 1, 2005, page 14

The Amsterdam police are powerless against loverboysBY RUTH HOPKINS

The lifting of the ban on brothels should have pulled prostitution out of the criminal domain. But human trafficking is booming on de Wallen of Amsterdam. Vice inspectors of the police station on the Beursstraat are complaining that nothing is happening to stop this. The police, bound by performance-contracts, are only allowed to ‘rout’ human traffickers.

‘We can’t cope anymore with the daily confrontation with women who are factually being raped.’
The names of criminals, window-landlords and prostitutes are fictitious in this article because of safety reasons. Also the cited cops don’t want their real names in this paper, because they have been threatened (to be killed) by the criminals who are involved in human trafficking.

‘We are in the middle of modern slavery!’ Ron, vice inspector of de Wallen of Amsterdam raises his hands in the air and than drops them again. He has worked for years in the prostitution-centre of Amsterdam. You would expect that since the legalisation of prostitution this notorious area would have been safeguarded against exploitation and violence. But on the police station on the Beursstraat, just adjacent to de Wallen-area, Ron and his colleague Hans are telling what they encounter everyday: girls who are covered with bruises, or who have boy-names tattooed on their breasts and pimps who violently defend their territories. They believe the police is doing far too little to end forced prostitution and all it’s excesses.

(...)

Puma and Lion
(...)

Hans taps on a window. The woman behind the window is laughing to him. Barbera is Dutch and has long brown hair. Before he is inside the window-brothel the woman is starting to chatter. ‘Come in, I was waiting for you. He has been here, he has demolished my cabinet.’ Barbera is pointing to a small cabinet adjacent to the washbasin. The little door (on the cabinet) is crooked. She has large friendly eyes. Hans takes his notebook. ‘Who are you talking about’, he asks her. ‘I have already reported the crime, didn’t you know? My Moroccan ex-boyfriend dropped by a couple of weeks ago. Once he was my loverboy. He wanted money. He forced open the door of my cabinet searching for my wallet. I tried to stop him. He grabbed me by the throat and tried to strangle me. They know of this at the police station on the Beursstraat, I have reported the crime and they have taken pictures.’ She looks at Hans while she is talking and how he is writing down her words. [the girl says:]‘Working here is becoming more and more dangerous. Those pimps, they are hanging around all evening and during the night. Their nicknames are Puma and Lion. During my shifts I can hear screams throughout the walls. But the women won’t admit it very quickly, they are too scared.’ Hans notes down all she is saying and checks her passport. ‘Can you check what has happened with my report?”, shouts Barbera when he leaves.

‘What can I answer to that?’ Hans enters the Behtlehemsteeg again. At the exit a couple of guys are hanging around with golden rings and chain. They are looking at him for a short while when Hans walks by.

On the police station at the Beursstraat it’s a coming and going of police officers. Hans sits down behind a computer and types in Barbera’s name. She indeed reported a crime of maltreatment on September 16 2004. The officer on duty took pictures of her wounds. ‘The report has been passed through to the Youth and Vice department. But the chance they do something with it is nil.’, sighs Hans. What will happen to Barbera and her report. ‘Nothing.’

6-hour-casesVice inspectors don’t have the authorization to start an investigation. Only specifically trained officers for that task are allowed to gather reports of these women. The police station on the Beursstraat is only allowed to handle 6-hour-cases and vice-cases are usually too labour-intensive. The ‘officer on the streets’ should observe and report human trafficking, usually to the detectives of the Youth and Vice-team.

‘I see them a lot: young girls who work under bad circumstances’, Hans is saying. ‘There was a girl working here, her name was Lisa. She looked very bad, pale and skinny. I started to have a chat with her. She said she was fine, nothing wrong. I asked her girlfriends. She was taking pills and threw up blood, they told. I tried to connect with her. She told me she wanted to stop prostituting herself, she was fed up with it. I said to her: you know were the police station is, you can always step by.”

But Lisa never came. A while later she was brought to the hospital in a coma. 5 days later she was dead. Two weeks before her nineteenth birthday. Hans’ face darkens. ‘When these things happen I want to find another job. This is going nowhere, we can’t do anything. Youth and Vice is not picking up on these cases.’

(...)

‘Everywhere in the Netherlands reports are collecting dust, sometimes here too’, says Ron at his desk on the second floor of the police station on the Beursstraat. He slaps with his hands on a pile of paper. ‘Look, they go straight into in the drawer.’

(...)

LisaHans is convinced that Lisa was a victim of loverboys and that they were responsible for her death. Her pimp was named Lion named after the Lion tattooed in his neck. But there were more guys circling around her. One of them was a seventeen-year-old well-known Dutch rapper.
Hans gathered statements from the girlfriends who worked together with Lisa, her window-landlady and he visited her mother in Amersfoort. ‘I advised her mother to report the crime in Amersfoort and at the Youth and Vice-police in Amsterdam, because of compulsion and exploitation done by loverboys and also because of murder,’ Hans tried to convince his boss to start an investigation. But nobody wanted to.’

(...)

‘Lisa was a difficult adolescent’, says her mother. ‘She was on the vmbo [high-school] and played truant, was blowing dope, drank and smoked. When a boy liked her, she went straight immediately.’ At home things got out of hand. When Lisa was seventeen, she was raped by her cousin who turned her out on the streets of Utrecht. Despite Lisa being a crown-witness in this case she did not leave prostitution.

Following the advise of Hans Lisa’s mother informed the police of Amersfoort. They saw no cause for an investigation. She also drew a blank at the Youth and Vice-police in Amsterdam. ‘They said Lisa died of a natural cause of death. End of story.’

(...)

For the police, the judiciary and for aid-workers it is very difficult to drive a wedge between the girl and her loverboy, because she is emotionally attached to him and despite the heavy maltreatments she maintains that she loves him.

The Turks and the GermansOn de Wallen there are two groups of pimps, the loverboys and a group known as ‘the Turks’. The last group is compromised of Dutch and German Turks and their accomplices. In the year 2002 another group joined the Turks. It were Germans from Berlin with crewcuts and bare-shaven heads, which yielded them skinheads as a nickname.

(...)

The Turkish group is led by the two brothers Dürdan and their cousin Serdar. In 1998 the two brothers from Instanbul and Serdar from Dortmund settled down in Amsterdam. At first they stayed in Hotel Mevlana at the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal for a while with two women who worked for them as prostitutes. They brought more and more women to Amsterdam. Eight pimps and a varying group of accomplices, errand boys and ‘patrons’ showed themselves regularly on de Wallen.

(...)

Errand boys‘What’s your name?’ Ron is almost standing against the belly of the errand boy of the Dürdan-group. He looks at him with his eyes fixed. The boy mumbles. ‘Mehmet’. He’s a fat boy with a brightly-coloured jacket and sunglasses on his head. Mehmet is leaning against the wall of a café together with another boy. Earlier that night we saw him walking passed the windows. Every now and then he took something from the women.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Nothing, you can see that, we are waiting for a friend.’
Ron checks his documents. They’re okay. He walks further. Hans and Ron go inside in one of the windows Mehmet stopped by earlier. A tall slim girl stands in lace underwear before [actually behind] the window. She looks like she’s sixteen years old. Hans asks her to show her passport. ‘Where do you come from?’[in Dutch] The girl looks at him with an incomprehensible look on her face. ‘When did you arrive in Amsterdam?’[in Dutch] Again a helpless look on her face. ‘When did you arrive?’[in English] ‘Wann sind Sie angekommen?’ [in German] The girl starts to panic, she flees out of her window and comes back with the other woman who stood behind a window. In a couple of words of German she explains they both come from Slovakia. The girl has just turned 19. All documents are okay: the registration into the Chamber of commerce, certificates, residence permits. In a corner of the window she bites on her nails and watches her girlfriend struggling with the questions asked by the police officers. Hans and Ron walk into the cold night. ‘How can a 19-year-old girl that doesn’t speak the language have arranged all those documents?’ ‘Mehmet, the fat one, is one of the errand boys of the Turkish group. He transports the women and arranges everything for them’, says Manuela, a window-landlady. She ‘maintains the compartments’, cleans them, collects the rent and knows everybody who lives and works on de Wallen. ‘Men are not allowed to rent a window for a woman, they have to do that themselves. They hope to distract pimps that way.’ She looks cynically. ‘But the pimps run the show here. Mehmet once came with another man and a Bulgarian girl. She took her bags with her belongings with her behind the window, as if she had just arrived here. That was strange. I saw she didn’t want to work her. All night long the men stood before her window, checking if she had enough customers. In the morning she was forced to join them again.’

A fantastic fiascoRon pressed the local team for a year to start an investigation into the Dürdan-group. ‘We can’t cope anymore with the daily confrontation with women who are factually being raped.’, says Hans about this. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against prostitution, but it has to happen voluntarily.’

(...)

The group-Dürdan created a control-system were the women were monitored 24 hours a day. With some women the Dürdan brothers and there accomplices got romantically involved. They enjoyed special privileges and status within the group. These ‘girlfriends’ rented rooms on strategic locations were they could monitor a large number of windows where the new East European women were put to work. Regularly the location of the women changed, they also had to work in Alkmaar, Antwerpen and Germany. So they couldn’t get in touch with local residents and the police.

(...)

also read:A top attraction build on oppression
The prostitution cycle
Strong victims

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