Thursday, January 19, 2006


Back to index

Vital Statistics

Important documents:
(in English:)
First Report of the Dutch National Rapporteur
Second report of the Dutch National Rapporteur (Supplementary figures)
Third report of the Dutch National Rapporteur
Fourth report of the Dutch National Rapporteur (Supplementary figures)
Research based on case studies (of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States)
TAMPEP 2000-2002 (study about prostitutes in Europe, includes details about window prostitutes in the Netherlands)
TAMPEP 2004 (part 1)
TAMPEP 2004 (part 2)

(in Dutch)
Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000
Mobiliteit in de Nederlandse prostitutie

I want to present to you some vital statistics about prostitution in the Netherlands

Total number of prostitutes.
This number is very insecure. Usually those estimates are usually on a yearly basis. The following quote I lifted from this report:
Research based on case studies (of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States)
(but originally it was from this report, but it's in Dutch:
Mobiliteit in de Nederlandse prostitutie )

In the framework of the aid- and std-prevention projects the GGD's made an inventarisation in the Netherlands of the composition of the population of the prostitutes in 1999. This research yielded in 20.000 persons. A part of the target group remains however invisible. Other estimations (a.o. Visser, 2000,2002) vary roughly between 20.000 and 30.000. The accepted estimation of 25.000 prostitutes is therefore possibly correct (Van Mens en Van der Helm, 2000,11).

I use this source:
Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000

According to Visser and other ('Trends in prostitutie en beleid. De tweede rapportage van de Profeitstudie', 2000) there are app. 18.000 prostitutes in the Netherlands.

There are an estimated 15.000 illegal prostitutes in the Netherlands according to data from Sietske Altink in the year 1996.

All these estimates are usually on a yearly basis, in reality there could by only 12.500 prostitutes who work on a daily or weekly basis (according to the mr A de Graafstichting, see the article 'Betaalde liefde' by Marieke van Doorninck in "C.V. Koers", February 2000, page 6 and further).

An older estimate is from 1977 from the report 'De commerciële sexbedrijven in Nederland' (by C. van der Werff and A.A. Van der Zee-Nefkens). The police was then familiar with 8000 prostitutes for whom 5500 women prostitution was their main means of income and of whom 2400 women worked incidentally in prostitution. The number of men in prostitution was estimated at 1300.

What are the countries of origin of the prostitutes?
Again I have lifted the following data from this report:
Research based on case studies (of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States)
(but originally it was from this report, but it's in Dutch:
Mobiliteit in de Nederlandse prostitutie )

(Van Mens en Van der Helm, 2000)
32%:The Netherlands
22%:Latin America/Caribbean
19%:Central- and Eastern Europe (mostly Polish and Czech)
13%:Sub Sahara Africa
6%:Other EU-countries
5%:North Africa

There's also information by Licia Brussa (in 'Migrant prostitutes in the Netherlands' in 'A vindication of the rights of whores' Edited by Gail Pheterson, 1989) from a pilot investigation in Amsterdam in 1985: she estimated that, depending on the location, between 30 and 60 percent of the prostitutes in the Netherlands were from South America, South East Asia and Africa. Between 40 and 50 percent of the foreign prostitutes were illegal.

According to TAMPEP in their report: 'TAMPEP - analysis - the first year : 1993/1994' (page 37) 70 percent of the prostitutes in window prostiution and sex clubs in the Netherlands were migrants from outside the EU. However, they stress that very few foreigners work in street prostitution, private apartments or escort services. Most likely, according to TAMPEP, the Dutch (as well as the Surinamese, Antillian and Northern African) prostitutes prefer to work in the more hidden forms of prostitution.

In the study 'Er gaat iets veranderen in de prostitutie' (Liesbeth Venicz, Ine Vanwesenbeeck, 2000) prostitutes were asked how many foreign prostitutes worked on their workplace (page 33). On average the percentage was 48,6%. The percentage of estimated forced prostitutes was more than 10% (the median laid around 10%).

Types of prostitution
According to the mr A de Graaf foundation and the sticting SOA-bestrijding the prostitutes (in 1999 in 18 cities) where distributed over the several types of prostitution as followed:

45%:Clubs and “privé-huizen”(a “privé-huis”=’private house’ is essentially a club without a bar)
5%:At the prostitute’s home
10%:Other forms of prostitution (massage parlors, sexshops, etc...)

An older distribution is from the 'Nationaal Centrum voor Aids Bestrijding' (in 'Aids en prostitutie 1990', 1990):
30%:Clubs and brothels (probably also the 'privé-huizen')
30%:Window prostitution
15%:Own home

Child Prostitution
According to Liesbeth Venicz and Ine Vanwesenbeeck there were an estimated 1000-1500 prostitutes younger than 18 on a yearly basis based on information gathered between Januari 1996 and July 1998. (see the report: 'Aard en omvang van (gedwongen) prostitutie onder minderjarige (allochtone) meisjes', 1998)

Human trafficking
Also the estimated number of victims of human trafficking varies heavily.
I use this source:
Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000

2000-3000 victims according to Sietske Altink (1996)
1000 according to Marjan Wijers (1997)
5000-7000 victims from Central and Eastern Europe ALONE according to KT NON & IPIT, (1997) [they mean the report "Mensenhandel vanuit Centraal- en Oost Europa" or in English "Human trafficking from Central and Eastern Europe", Nijverdal : IRT-NON, 1997, ISBN 90-76089-01-9. Funny thing is that I actually read the report and I didn't find the estimate of 5000-7000!!!!! They actuall say 500 Eastern European forced prostitutes at each moment and 2000 on a yearly basis. They estimate that 25% of the Eastern European prostitutes are forced, based on eyewitness reports.]
At least 3500 according to Essy van Dijk (2002, which is actually the same report: Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000)

I now know this number (3500) which is commonly cited is a mistake. In the report (Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000) she explains how she arrives at that number. Look at page 123-124. There were 203 victims who reported the crime in 2000. She estimates that 24 percent of the victims report the crime and she assumes that of all victims 75 percent are expelled before they could report the crime in the first place. Therefore she multiplies 203 by 100/24 and then by 4 (=3383). The latter assumption is clearly wrong. Not all illegal prostitutes are expelled (many are not), and not all victims of human trafficking are illegal. She also forgot to include the victims who were already victim at the start of the year. I actually did my own attempt to calculate the number of victims in this post:
Goals, methodology and conclusions

In what types off prostitution are all the victims of human trafficking employed?
Is use this source:
Trafficking in Human Beings (Supplementary figures, Fourth report of the Dutch National Rapporteur)

There’s information derive from police-investigations. It turns out that most prostitutes work in licensed establishments, which is a shame really:
A total of 54 sex establishments were involved in the successfully completed investigations into THB [in 2003], of which 19 were unlicensed. In 2002 this figure was 140, 38 of which were unlicensed.

Some more details:Third report by the National rapporteur Human Trafficking
(…) Among the 666 arrested suspects there are 64 proprietors of primarily - partially legal - clubs and brothels. The percentage of proprietors among the suspects remained virtually the same from 1999: about 10%. Many of the arrested proprietors (53, or 83% were ‘referred’ to the PPS.
As well as the criminal prosecution of proprietors of sex establishments, there is also the possibility for an ‘administrative procedure’: imposing administrative measures (sanctions). It has been examined for 2002 how often this occurred. In that year, a total of 140 prostitution establishments were involved in 46 of the successfully completed investigations into THB. Of these 140 establishments, 38 (27%) were unlicensed (partly because some municipalities had not yet properly organized their licensing procedures). [footnote at the bottom of that page: “It concerned 69 clubs, of which 16 (23%) were unlicensed, 52 window brothels of which 12 (23%) were unlicensed, 12 escort services of which 6 (50%) were unlicensed and 4 other businesses without licenses (Turkish coffee houses in all cases). It is unknown for 9 prostitution establishments (4 clubs, 3 window brothels and 2 escort services) whether they possessed a license.”] (…)

PS: notice that most of the human trafficking in brothels takes place in licensed brothels, and that even many window-brothels have still not been licensed. It must be admitted though that 9 investigations also concerned off-venue prostitution (like street prostitution).

It is also surprising than many victims of human trafficking work in window prostitution. (notice that app. 20% op ALL prostitutes works in window-prostitution) ... more numbers:
Fourth report of the Dutch National Rapporteur (Supplementary figures)

Victims of THB may be put to work in various sectors of prostitution, such as window prostitution, clubs/brothels/private homes, the escort sector and street prostitution. Table 3.11 shows which prostitution sectors were involved in the cases of THB that were investigated. Since victims may be put to work in several sectors, the percentages do not add up to 100%.

In the period 2000-2003 the distribution was as followed:
44%:Window prostitution
21%:Street Prostitution

In 2003 the number of investigations that concerned window and club prostitution declined. The number of investigations focusing on the escort sector remained relatively constant, whereas the number of investigations into street prostitution increased relatively slightly. Businesses that (also) engage in running sexual services in the guise of another type of business are included in Table 3.11 in the category ‘other’. In 2003, as in 2002, these involved prostitution in Turkish cafes. In addition, in 2003 victims were prostituted in a beauty salon.

Hey, but that’s funny!! Isn’t it? According to popular belief forced prostitutes are supposed to work in the illegal domain, notably in street-prostitution!!! This turns out to be far from the truth.

The Dutch Foundation against Trafficking in Women has released new numbers over the whole year of 2006 (see It is interesting that contrary to earlier years they also registered the sector where victims worked. The numbers (in case of prostitution) are like this (the total number of victims in 2006 was 579 of whom 30 were men):
124 (21,5%) : Brothel/club
66 (11,5%) : window prostitution
47 (8,1%) : Privéhuis **
44 (7,6%) : Street prostitution
30 (5,2%) : Escort

(**: A privéhuis is a brothel without a bar, clients are directly introduced to the prostitutes)

Also some 4,9% of the cases involved sectors other than prostitution. In the remaining cases (41%) the sector was probably unknown (the foundation is unclear about that). The National rapporteur mentions in her fifth report (Dutch version) that the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women also registers victims who worked at home ('thuiswerk' in Dutch). On page 70 she says that in 2005 424 victims were registered of whom 8 (2%) worked at home, 167 (39%) not, and for 249 (59%) victims it is unknown.

So, following the numbers of the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women, clubs and privéhuizen are 2,6 times more often involved than window prostitution. That's what you could expect of prostitution in general.

According to police reports human trafficking in legal brothels is rare. If refer to these reports (in Dutch unfortunately):
Korpsmonitor 2003
Korpsmonitor 2004

I quote from the last report I cited:
The results of the Korpsmonitor 2003 confirm the presumption that punishable forms of exploitation happen particularly in the non-licensed part of the business. In the supervised licensed prostitution businesses hardly any abuses were encountered. Here it seems that the reorganization intended by legalization - in the municipalities who have settled their administrative supervision and their administrative sanctioning - is taking place in the mean time.

I don't understand this contradiction.

Most common nationalities in the period 2000-2003:
6%:Russian Federation
5%:The Netherlands
51%:Others (more details in the report)

Regions of origin of (possible) victims registered by the STV, in the period 2000-2003
47%:Central- and Eastern Europe
3%:Latin America and the Carribean
6%:Western Europa (including the Netherlands)
1%:Middle East

You see, that there are a relatively few Dutch victims of human trafficking. There are also relatively few Polish victims, although a large proportion of the East-European prostitutes come from Poland. There are also very few victims from Latin America, though there are many Latin American prostitutes in the Netherlands.

But this doesn’t mean for instance that Dutch prostitutes are less likely to be trafficked. The Scharlaken Koord, a small Christian organisation who helps prostitutes on de Wallen states that the large majority (~87%) of the Dutch window prostitutes have been introduced into prostitution by a loverboy. This is confirmed to me by 2 (former) window-prostitutes. They said that indeed most of the Dutch women were introduced into prostitution by a loverboy, but they stressed that most of them get rid of the pimp within a very short while and then start to work for themselves. This is also confirmed by the Willem Plompe Institute (Frank Bovenkerk) who is doing a study on prostitutes: Most of the Dutch women were initially a victim of human trafficking, but most of those women are now independent. They continue working in prostitution because of debts or shame or they got used to the high earnings.

But all this information is heavily outdated. Early 2004 countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the European Union. Prostitution from those countries are not illegal here anymore. Many people seem to forget that. Furthermore the percentage of Dutch women working in prostitution has drastically increased!! (At least, that's what I believe. Another possibility is that the total number of foreign prostitutes has decreased.)

I have done my own research. I have analyzed more than 3000 prostitutes reviewed on a Dutch consumers-site for prostitute-clients ( And I discovered something funny. A large proportion of the prostitutes is Dutch!!!(~50%) Furthermore, I count hardly any African prostitutes (numbers which are contradicted by more recent statistics from the TAMPEP 7-report [2007] which states that 15% of prostitutes in the Netherlands are African, see page 66). Notice that 1 out of 3 victims of human trafficking comes from this part of the globe. Funny thing is that the nationalities which are most common in the statistics of the Foundation Against the Trafficking in women are very rare among the total population of prostitutes. There are hardly any Bulgarian, Romanian and Russian prostitutes. There are so few prostitutes coming from these countries that the commonly accepted estimate that 20 percent of the prostitutes in the Netherlands is a victim of human trafficking becomes doubtful.

But I have recently found a solution to that problem. I turns out that the victims are exploited by the perpetrators for only a "very short" while, that is 3 months on average. At least, that's what the researchers in the report "Mensenhandel vanuit Centraal- en Oost-Europa" [Human trafficking from Central and Eastern Europe] (IPIT & IRT Noord en Oost Nederland, 1997) say. That means that if it is true that there are app. 5000 victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands on a yearly basis, it could by "only" a 1000 on any given moment. The prostitutes who are not enslaved as a group have a much lower replacement-rate.

Hmmmmm, notice though that the European Union Report (Research based on case studies) shows different numbers (see page 290/291). In this report the victims are exploited for more than a year on average. And a recent analysis (by myself) of all the trafficking cases I know of suggests an average period of 1,72 (±0,44) years (I know periods of some 114 cases). Dutch victims are exploited significantly longer than foreign victims. For Dutch victims I find: 2,25 (±0,65) years based on 57 cases. And for foreign victims I find: 1,17 (±0,60) years based on 54 cases.

Here's some of my information:

Country of origin of the prostitutes (2005)
Notice though that I have counted some immigrants who are Dutch citizens as foreign. It is very difficult to make the distinction. For instance, by far most Surinamese, Antillean, Indonesian, Moroccan and Turkish prostitutes are Dutch citizens.

As a matter of fact, I think most of the prostitutes have a Dutch citizenship.

I counted 3592 prostitutes of who some 2759 the countries of origin were revealed. I have made some adjustments though, because for many prostitutes the only information there is is that they come, for instance from "Eastern Europe". So these numbers are really rough. And I recently discovered (March 16, 2006) that many "Italian" prostitutes actually could be Albanians or Bulgarians (often they say to the clients they are from Italy). Same for the Greek prostitutes. And perhaps the Spanish and Portuguese prostitutes are in fact Latin Americans. And many Surinamese prostituse actually could be from the Netherlands Antilles, because clients don't make that distinction.

And actually, some foreign prostitutes have worked in the Netherlands for quit some time, and speak the Dutch language very well, so clients could believe they are Dutch.

42,8% Netherlands
17,2% Eastern Europe
17,0% Latin America
12,0% Western countries (not including the Netherlands)
7,2% Asia
3,8% Africa

percentage - (number of...) - country, beware... the percentages are "adjusted" because there are a lot of "unknown" countries (I eliminated the "Eastern Europeans" and the "Latinas" etc....). The numbers thus don't correspond to the percentages. Obviously those numbers are rubbish, but look how many nationalities there are among prostitutes. I count more than 70. I recently discovered that I have missed the massage parlors. Most women who work there are Thai. I believe therefore believe that after the Dutch nationality, the Thai nationality is the most common. I estimate it could be something like 10% (instead of the 4.6%)

42,8% (1463) Netherlands
5,6% (100) Poland
4,7% (100) Surinam
4,6% (132) Thailand
3,9% (134) Germany
3,4% (72) Dominican Republic
3,3% (71) Brazil
2,6% (46) Czech Republic
2,5% (49) Spain
2,1% (37) Russia
2,0% (42) Colombia
1,7% (59) Belgium
1,6% (29) Bulgaria
1,5% (26) Hungaria
1,4% (29) Venezuela
1,3% (26) Greece
1,3% (38) Indonesia
1,2% (42) Morocco
1,2% (24) Italy
0,9% (13) Ghana
0,9% (16) Lithuania
0,8% (14) Ukraine
0,7% (15) Netherlands Antilles
0,6% (11) Rumania
0,6% (10) (former) Yugoslavia
0,5% (9) Slovakia
0,4% (15) France
0,4% (6) Nigeria
0,4% (13) Turkey
0,3% (7) Jamaica
0,3% (6) Portugal
0,3% (6) Cuba
0,3% (8) China
0,2% (7) Philippines
0,2% (4) Albania
0,2% (3) South Africa
0,2% (4) Ecuador
0,2% (4) Mexico
0,2% (4) Argentina
0,2% (5) Hindustani (Surinamese Indians)
0,2% (3) Latvia
0,1% (5) Tunesia
0,1% (2) Gambia
0,1% (2) Liberia
0,1% (2) Sierra Leone
0,1% (2) Cape Verde
0,1% (3) Puertoe Rico
0,1% (3) Costa Rica
0,1% (2) Estonia
0,09% (3) Egypt
0,09% (3) Denmark
0,07% (1) Cameroon
0,07% (1) Mauretania
0,07% (1) Angola
0,06% (2) Finland
0,06% (2) England
0,06% (1) Czechnya
0,06% (1) Armenia
0,05% (1) Peru
0,05% (1) Panama
0,04% (1) Vietnam
0,04% (1) Pakistan
0,04% (1) South Africa
0,04% (1) Taiwan
0,03% (1) Algeria
0,03% (1) Sweden
0,03% (1) Scotland
0,03% (1) Ireland
0,03% (1) Iceland
0,03% (1) Switzerland
0,03% (1) Australia
0,03% (1) Syria
0,03% (1) Iraq
0,03% (1) Palestine

see also, part 2

Back to index

No comments: