Thursday, March 09, 2006

Threat to switch off city's red lights

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Interesting discussion about human trafficking and de Wallen in this article:

Threat to switch off city's red lights

Lodewijk Asscher has indicated that de Wallen in Amsterdam should be closed down over time, because of the human trafficking associated with this RLD. Also Anneke Bouman seems to agree:

Anneke Bouman, who helps run a counselling and assistance service for trafficked women, said the idea that the red-light district was an integral part of Amsterdam's tolerant image was 'completely wrong. Many women are very afraid and very anxious.'
Bouman's organisation, HVO-Querido, provides a safe house for prostitutes fleeing violent pimps. According to police sources, various gangs control much of the sex trade in Amsterdam, including Turkish and German groups. Many girls are subjected to serious assaults, several have been killed, others have had the names of their 'owners' tattooed on their skin.

But Ruth Hopkins disagrees:

'The police priorities are elsewhere,' said Ruth Hopkins, a researcher based in Holland who has published a book on human trafficking in Europe. 'It makes no sense to shut down the red-light district. They are looking at the symptoms, not the cause. Dutch politics, from left wing to right wing, is all about what looks good on the outside, not about an in-depth approach.'

And also NRC columnist Bas Heijne disagrees:

Hopkins is not the only analyst to see broader trends. Bas Heijne, a columnist for the NRC-Handelsblad newspaper, said Asscher was part of a wave of Dutch politicians 'who are moral, or at least using morality, in a highly dubious sense. They are trying to overcompensate for a lack of moral values over a long period. They have ideas that are not very well thought-out but that they think should be implemented immediately.'

But again it strikes me that nobody thinks about the clients who visit these women. I have visited the Prostitution Information Centre on de Wallen and discussed with Mariska Majoor, a former prostitute. She admitted that many prositutes on de Wallen were trafficked. She estimated that 20 percent of the women on de Wallen were trafficked.

If that’s true and you are a regular visitor, then basically for each 10 prostitutes you visit, you should expect to encounter 2 women who are trafficked. Essentially you’re raping these women. Only in the case when you know of a particular prostitute who works voluntarily it is justifiable to visit a prostitute in my opinion.

From my point of view de Wallen is useless. The police and the landlords should put their efforts in stopping the victims from working in these brothels. Or else they would better close them down. Unfortunately the landlords often deny the presence of human trafficking in their brothels, so every basis for a discussion is lacking.

Funny thing in this article is that according to recent government figures 26 percent of the prostitutes in Amsterdam are African. But that’s funny because I’ve counted prostitutes on, a website for clients of prostitutes where they can share their experiences with prostitutes. My estimate is that in Amsterdam only 5 percent of the prostitutes is African. 2 clients who regularly visit prostitutes in Amsterdam confirmed that only a few African prostitutes work in Amsterdam. Like for instance on de Wallen only some 30 African women are concentrated around the Oudekerksplein. And you’ll hardly find them on de the Ruysdaelkade and de Pijp. I have to figure this out.

Update March 9th, 2006
And I have found the solution, it seems that the author of the article has misinterpreted the statistics!!! (those numbers refer to victims of human trafficking and NOT to prostitutes in Amsterdam) You can read my explanation in my next post.

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Anonymous said...

Ok you have figured it out already, but some other point is that there's more prostitution than only window prostitution. I somewhere read that window prostitution is only a very small part of the total sector..

Donkey said...

That's right, I believe there's a lot less trafficking in the other sectors.

Remember, this is not an anti-prostitution blog!!! I'm only worried about the complacency by the brothel-operators.