Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Loverboys and modern pimps

Back to index

Okay, now some excerpts from a Dutch report. This report was a government assigned report. The goal was to map the loverboy-phenomenon. The researchers concluded that there wasn’t a loverboy-problem, but a ‘modern pimp’-problem. Only a small percentage of the pimps use romantic seduction techniques according to the researchers.

Notice that the researchers mainly focused on de Wallen. “Het Scharlaken Koord”
operates on the Wallen. So don’t be confused. And their evening-walks were on this particular RLD.

The name of the report is: ‘Loverboys’ of modern pooierschap in Amsterdam.

I will translate some parts from Dutch into English. Here's the link to the original report:

original document (in Dutch)

‘Loverboys’ or modern pimphood in Amsterdam’
Frank Bovenkerk
Marion van San
Miranda Boone
Tim Boekhout van Solinge
Dirk J. Korf

Willem Pompe Instituut voor Strafrechtwetenschappen [Willem Pompe Institute for criminal sciences]
Utrecht, December 2004

page 34:All policemen whom we speak with, say that the vast majority of the prostitutes on de Wallen have a pimp-boyfriend in one form or another. Ladies from the Dominican Republic and Colombia are actually the only ones who work completely independent (at least independent of men in the Netherlands).

page 58-61:We got to know the prostitution-business better in the months from August through December of this year [2004]. The assumption was that in a healthy and well regulated business new criminality like those by loverboys wouldn’t get a chance. Only since November we have the conviction that we understand what happens in the world of modern pimphood and how this world is working. It has become clear to us that the prostitution-business is not that healthy at all. A business that has been working underground for centuries doesn’t seem to have been tidied up just like that a couple of years after the ban on brothels has been lifted.

Male partners in all shapes and sizes
It is practically impossible for women to work alone and independently. There always are men in the background and only their roles vary. The most important variable turns out to be the ethnic group where the prostitutes are part of. Around each ethnical segment there are (networks) of men who profit from prostitution. The ladies themselves assure us that in reality not one prostitute works entirely without a man. Those who try cannot offer resistance to men who obtrude themselves. This form of blackmail is typical of prostitution.
The only question is which role these male profiteers play: husband, friend, old fashioned pimp, dealer, loverboy? For African and South-American women there are presumably men in the background in the countries of origin. Except for the ones involved nobody knows the exact details, but the story itself is powerful enough to leave these women alone. For Eastern European women there seem to be men present in the background who rather operate as human trafficker or inspector in service of the human trafficking organisation. When one of us together with Toos Heemskerk [who works for “Het Scharlaken Koord”] came knocking on the door of Eastern European girls and stepped in, we noticed that each time within two minutes there was a phone call. The people who called probably were in the café on the opposite side and were keeping an eye on the windows. According to our informants there are many Albanians among the Eastern European supervisors. It’s difficult to find out. Police-officer Mos Florie who really puts the fear of God into people, sees them hurrying into the alleys when he’s coming and it’s well visible on the monitors of the camera-surveillance in the bureau Warmoesstraat.
For our quest, the Western European, white, segment is the most important. Now, the old pimps are gone indeed. It has little do to with the normalisation of the prostitution-business, but it's related to the rise in the trafficking in drugs. From literature about the rise of organized crime (see ‘Inzake Opsporing” of the commission van Traa in 1995, especially supplement XI) it can be deducted that a large part of the old underworld has shifted to the lucrative trade in soft drugs. Nowadays there are only two characters who fit the stereotype of the old pimp (a businesslike profiteer for sure, but based on a certain equality and chosen by the woman). People chuckle about them, they are rumoured to be doing the dishes when their dearest wife comes home late. When we meet one of them (adorable man with a doggie) we understand they are cherished like museum pieces. A new generation of pimps have replaced them and Moroccans, some Turks and even Antilleans are dominating. The Turks can be found in the higher echelons and that seems to be related to the human trafficking connection of Eastern Europe through Instanbul (compare Siegel and Yesilgöz, 2003). The pimp hasn’t disappeared, the older Dutch generation simply has been replaced by immigrants. Typically a case of ethnic succession (Bovenkerk, 1992). A released ‘niche’ in the (informal) economy has been occupied by a new ethnic group. In de same way Turkish bakers are rising in the multicultural neighbourhoods and Dutch cleaning women are replaced by cleaning women from South- and Eastern Europe and then from the third world.
Now, the difficult question if they're all loverboys according to our definition. This is the case when such men bring women in prostitution through romantic manipulation. During our research we had the chance to ask this question to at least twenty girls. Yes, at first they often have entered prostitution through a love affair. The way this has happened makes a exceptionally cunning impression. The main characters in their stories often come close to the loverboy-stereotype. They also tell us that Moroccan young men (and also Turks by the way) use magical techniques to achieve this. The girls call this voodoo. Also compare this to what the loverboys themselves let us know in the previous chapter. This could explain why they behave like spineless victims and despite the most terrible experiences of maltreatment and deceit cannot break free from their loverboy at all. We now understand the use of the word loverboy better. In the world of prostitution itself the word is not used, but the young prostitutes cherish it to maintain the fiction that “their” boyfriend is real and not an unscrupulous exploiter; he is not a pimp but a loverboy. Many of these girls now work independently (with another, self chosen boyfriend in the background) or they have switched or were sold from one pimp to another. Sometimes they tell they have been sold for some tens of thousands of Euros.
It’s striking that the girls don’t seem to originate from Amsterdam itself. They come from Groningen, Gouda, Harderwijk, Zwolle etcetera. But beware: this is nothing new. The prostitutes of Amsterdam in the seventeenth and eighteenth century came from adjoining provinces and from North-Germany (Van de Pol, 1996: 103) and not from the city itself. According to one of the guides on de Wallen, Toos Heemskerk of “Het Scharlaken Koord”, this is one of the reasons why the problem of modern pimps especially in Amsterdam has been noticed so late. She could be right about that. The modern pimps are more adventurous and ‘outreaching’ compared to the older generation. They go to the provinces themselves to recruit girls. The new youthful prostitutes don’t exclusively come from the lower social environments like in the fifties and sixties of the past century, prostitution is not a poverty phenomenon anymore. Families of who a girl has disappeared into prostitution, are looking for her, they report themselves to the police and mobilise supporters to hunt for the tormenters of their daughters. Based on their stories we became impressed by the disruptive effect this phenomenon has on families and the great effort the parents are making to get their daughters back. The authorities of the places where the girls come from get some information, but not from the city of Amsterdam where the girls are put to work. A second reason why the problem hasn’t been noticed in Amsterdam is because the girls and their pimps are very mobile. They could be put to work for day, weeks or months in Amsterdam and then in The Hague, Eindhoven and Antwerpen.

The attitude of the sex-operators
Now the question is, how does the prostitution-business respond to the new pimps. On first glance they are only annoyed by these parasites and it gives the business a bad image. But why do the entrepreneurs of the commercial sex-business allow it? Our interview-round went very predictable. All the interviewees inform us that they strictly don’t allow the prostitutes to be escorted by what men whatsoever and that it doesn’t take place in their segment of prostitution. It would be better if we went to look in other branches of prostitution.
You don’t solicit in prostitution because this would implicate that you are going to work in a paid employment, that means that the treasury could interpret this as a ‘labour relation’. Paying taxes is avoided in this former illegal world (well then: also in other sectors). The operators demand that the women present themselves alone, without a man. They assured us that the party was over when a young man escorts her and makes the impression of being a pimp. This is confirmed by the girls during interviews: as a girl you always go alone to rent a window or to work in a club. And … when there’s a pimp, he waits around the corner.
A representative of the luxurious club-business [probably the 'Excellent Groep'] tells us that in his segment only independent women can work who really know what they’re doing. He will initiate them, supplies them with all kinds of information about work and health and explains the terms. If they come with pimp-type (immigrant) boyfriends, he will try to get rid of the situation and not to incite aggression: ‘I will not employ her because she doesn’t realise where she’s heading’. Girls who work under duress are unprofessional. He doesn’t want controlling men in his place who are receiving money and he doesn’t want to be disturbed by men who repeatedly call their girls with a mobile phone. No, these girls could better go to window-prostitution, because there they can make more money because of the conveyer-belt type of work [typical of window-prostitution] and the young man can supervise his girlfriend better.
We don’t rule out that entrepreneurs in the prostitution-business really don’t know that she works for a pimp. And indeed: some of them stand firm. But the girls we interview have to chuckle about it. The doorkeeper of the club of which we spoke the aforesaid owner, knows very well who is waiting outside. They assure us that they very easily can get started in all sectors of prostitution, and that the entrepreneurs know damn well that they work for a pimp.
By the way, the spokesman of the clubs is completely right with his reference to window-prostitution. It’s true that in all sectors of prostitution there are girls who work for pimps, but researchers in the escort-sector and in other sectors rarely find them (compare the disappointing result of such attempts about the escort-sector in Amsterdam of Eijsink-Smeets and Etman, 2000 and Goderie, Spierings and ter Woerds, 2002, about juvenile prostitution after the lifting of the ban on brothels), but both the so-called pimps themselves we interviewed and the girls refer foremost to the windows. For research this sector has the advantage that it is easily accessible.


Page 62:The managers do their best to rent out as many of their windows as possible. During weekdays it is calm, in the weekend it is busy. He has every reason to rent out his window (compare the letting of hotel rooms) for a certain shift over a full week. In practice it turns out to be easier to make such a deal for a whole week with a pimp who supervises multiple girls. The prostitute reports herself to the office (collects the key etcetera), but the rental agreement is being made by telephone with him. This turns out from telephone conversations which have been tapped by the police. A next compelling reason to take ones chance with pimps is simply intimidation. There are among the pimps very aggressive types like it has turned out from police information. We can vividly imagine that the managers in their offices don’t want to run unnecessary risks. The police has pointed out to proprietors the possibility to report the violent pimps via an anonymous emergency number. But nothing came from the neighbourhood, they’ve probably got the wind up. After all there’s little dispute agáinst the pimps. Also the Eastern European human traffickers have, as far as we could check, not succeeded in acquiring any property or position of power within the prostitution business. Dutch (immigrant) pimps have not yet tried.


quote from appendix 1:
page 72-73:Do we as researchers have a certain impression about the size of this [loverboy-]phenomenon? Yes, and we’ll show it for what’s it worth. We started this investigation with a scientific attitude of eternal doubt about the large numbers named in the media, we had the impression of a hype or a moral panic. After this we wandered alone or together through a part of the prostitution landscape and started to think about this with more shade of meaning. Obviously there isn’t a objective trait we can count. A tattoo on the girls could perhaps be a male name? This is hardly reliable and sometimes the tattoos are in places which aren’t publicly visible. But we did observe that some windows were kept an eye on and that boys were loitering near prostitution-establishments with other intentions than ‘to bring clean sheets’. We assume based on literature that nearly all women work for a man and a part of them work for a pimp.
Without any doubt there are pimps among them who actively recruit innocent girls who they violently bring and keep in prostitution. While we gradually reached the understanding that the relations between prostitutes and their pimps know all the possible variants and that the methods of loverboys are not sufficiently unique to be recognized as a separate category, but such boys obviously do exist. We got to know them by speaking with them in jails and their method of working became more and more apparent to us. We learned to identify them better during our walks on de Wallen. Controlled observations followed using a social worker and a police officer who knew the men and women involved like nobody else in their ‘natural environment’ of prostitution. Their estimates were very identical. During weekday evenings some twenty [Dutch loverboy-]girls work on de Wallen and in the weekend this number is more than double: fifty. Calculated over one year this must be much more because the speed at which these girls are transferred, is big. Then we were shown a photo book by de Wallen-team of the police and we became aware of 76 men who had been observed during the last half year and of whom it is certain that they have a very violent past. Not all those pimps follow the method of loverboys, but when we keep in mind that some of them don’t show themselves in the neighbourhood, when we know that they also operate in other branches of prostitution elsewhere in the city and when we presume that in the foreign segment there are pimps and human traffickers around who use romantic tricks, then we’ll risk at least a minimum estimate of a hundred pimps including their assistants, calculated over on whole year. The number of women who they have a relationship with is at least the same number, but this number should be larger because there are pimps who exploit multiple women simultaneously. That’s our rough estimate for now.


Back to index


123456712345 said...

Great information here! Many people don't seem to realize or care that legalized prostitution is simply legalized pimping. The law should protect independents, but it tends to favor brothel, agency, and strip club owners--pimps.

Anonymous said...

This article is from 2006, and heavely outdated. Amsterdam has a licence system these days, and has forced to close down a lot of brothels and escort agencies that were not able to get a licence due to the BIBOB law. This law makes it possible to deny or revoke a licence to any bar, restuarant, coffee shop, club or escort service of which criminal ties are suspected. This has cleaned out the scene a lot. Of approximately 150 escort agencies that were in Amsterdam before, only 15 remain. For an example of a legitimate escort agency, see

Donkey said...

Yes, the article is becoming old isn't it?

And I must admit, in my opinion, I follow the news constantly, but during the last year or so I notice that there is a far lower number of news reports about women being forced in prostitution, compared to earlier years.

So perhaps this is a real trend?

But you should be beware of one thing: forced prostitutes are hard to be recognized as such, even by brothel owners and police inspectors, so I believe there must be still some victims out there in the legal prostitution industry who are unnoticed.

Nice advert by the way.

Amsterdam Escort Service said...

Prostitution, for a long time now, has been a profession in Amsterdam. But escort service not just offers sex, it offers companionship which can be enjoyable for both the escort and the customer.

Donkey said...

Certainly true, you just don't have to fuck from start to finish.

Nice advert by the way.

I feel honoured.

trans torino said...

Women, nowadays, do not realize the importance of purity of their body. due to the rise of the economic crisis, they tend to get involved in prostitution where they can find pleasure, at the same time, money.