Saturday, November 17, 2007



I like to add some history to my blog about prostitution in the Netherlands. It seems that throughout history nearly all prostitutes have been slaves, but only in the 1960s there seems to have been a revolution where the situation turned somewhat for the better.

From the book"Het Amsterdams Hoerdom - Prostitutie in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw" [The Whoredom of Amsterdam - Prostitution in the eighteenth and nineteenth century] (Lotte van der Pol, 1996).

First a short explanation: playhouses [speelhuizen in Dutch] are brothels where also music is played. The prostitution doesn't take place in the playhouses themselves. Most brothels weren't playhouses. But there was an overlap between different forms. Prostitutes often worked in different kind of brothels at the same time.

Lotte van der Pol also refers to the seventeenth century book written by an anonymous person: T'Amsterdamsch hoerdom. Behelzende de listen en streken, daar zich de hoeren en hoere-waardinnen van dienen; benevens der zelver maniere van leeven, dwaaze bygeloovigheden, en in 't algemeen alles 'tgeen by dese juffers in ghebruick is (1681). It contains a lot of information about prostitution in Amsterdam at that time, Lotte van der Pol considers it to be very reliable.

Page 34 (quote):
In the period of the late middle aged regulation there existed a word for pimp: in many keuren [~laws] ‘poytier’ exists in this meaning. In the early modern period a separate word for pimp is absent. During this period there is a clear unwillingness to view men as actively involved in the organization of prostitution: women, not men were viewed as the instigators of this evil. But also the type of the pimp seems to be rare in reality. In some occasions a ‘hoerenbeschermer’ [protector of prostitutes] appears before court, paid by kruishoeren [street prostitutes] to assist them in times of emergency. And in the eighteenth century some prostitutes have a man whom they call their ‘liefste’ [sweetheart], with whom they lived together and who lived of their earnings. In general no large and clear role was granted to him in prostitution during this period.
Page 87 (quote):
Successful landladies had little problems finding a man, what turns out from the fact that whore-landlords were often younger, often many years younger than the landladies with whom they lived. The earnings of prostitution from a whorehouse were the business of the landlady; this form of procuration after all was women’s labour, just like keeping supervision over female personnel and the retail trade. (…) The role of the landlord was supposed to be limited to server of beverages and bouncer of difficult clients. That the landlord in fact lived of the earnings of his wife, and in a certain way this involved tainted money, was humiliating for the man. Men who were accused of being a whore-landlord, often testify before court that they knew nothing of it and were not involved in it, because the housekeeping and therefore the whore-housekeeping only concerned their wife.
Page 120 (quote):
It regularly occurred that a woman left a whorehouse for a man who wanted to keep her as a mistress [he wanted to ‘maiteneren’ her in Dutch, like maitenee in French]. In most cases he had to ‘release’ [‘lossen’ in Dutch], that is to pay off her debts.
Page 199 (quote):
The confession books in this period [1578-1650] paint a picture of prostitution which is small-scale and yet not much professionalized, and of prostitutes who operated fairly independently.
Page 214 (quote):
Also orphans enjoyed special protection by the city. The mayors after all had the [in old Dutch] ‘supreme guardianship over widows and orphans’ and swore an oath at taking up office that they would shield and protect [in old Dutch] ‘the city’s gates, widows and orphans’. When a child was abandoned by the parents, the formula was used in which the [in old Dutch] ‘Gentlemen Mayors have accepted the child’ and that [in old Dutch] ‘on the order of the Gentlemen Mayors’ it was taken to the Aalmoezeniershuis [Chaplain’s house]. The government took the position of the parents and ‘debauching’ a girl from a orphanage was taken very seriously. The government was involved with the two municipal orphanages, the Burgerweeshuis [Civilian Orphanage] and the Aalmoezeniersweeshuis [Chaplain’s orphanage], where the children resided from the poorest families and the families least rooted in Amsterdam. (…)
The protection of girls who still lived in an orphanage, seems to have been reasonably effective. The many poor and orphaned chaplain’s girls could have been an easy prey for prostitution, but judging from the confession books the whore-landladies left them alone, like they also didn’t want to burn their fingers on girls with a family in the city.
Page 223 (quote):
One of the most important instruments the government had at its disposal in her battle, was striking the industry in it’s capital. When the seventeenth century whorehouses were continuously ‘interrupted’ and routed, the prostitution businesses stayed small. Because of the high chance of raids and forced relocations it was not responsible to make investments; furthermore a large business escapes less from the attention of the law than a small one. When the playhouses came into fashion, around 1675, the government mostly left these businesses and their landlords alone. Only the prostitutes were arrested. This led to big businesses which operated very openly; this period therefore had been a bloom of prostitution.
Page 223-224 (quote):
It was much more effective to hit the whore-landladies and landlords rather than the prostitutes. The large-scale arrests of prostitutes in playhouses in the last quarter of the seventeenth century hardly helped to decrease prostitution, especially when the girls were lightly punished and quickly returned to business. The organizers had more means at their disposal to withdraw from persecution than prostitutes, and the first did their utmost best to shift the risks to the last.
Page 272 (quote):
Until 1670 it often occurred that a house where prostitutes lived, was more like a ‘dishonourable sleeping house’ than a brothel. Prostitutes were less personally committed to a landlady and prostitution was in general less professional in character. The prostitute therefore had more freedom and could more easily leave the life.
Page 282 (quote):
In the better playhouses they were only admitted when they were beautifully dressed, but not rarely they had gotten themselves into debts at a whore-landlady for those clothes. This person therefore didn’t lose sight of them, and many prostitutes only went to the playhouses under the guidance of the landlady or her maid.
Page 300-301 (quote):
The theme of debts runs like a red thread through the history of prostitution. Perhaps even more than dire poverty this comes forward as a reason to prostitute and as an obstruction to stop. This is also true for early modern Amsterdam. The whore-landlady had the connections which were necessary to acquire customers and could offer the protection to actually let them pay. But the most important capital was equipment. The landlady distinguished herself from the prostitute because she had money or credit. With that she could hire a house or acquire things like food and clothes, but it especially brought her into the position to lend a whore money or to take over her debt. A woman who was pregnant, could give birth in a whorehouse; a woman who was ill, could be nursed there; who was unemployed, could bridge the time there until a new employment. Sooner or later the bill had to be paid off later through prostitution.
Page 301 (quote):
Debts were also built up at the beginning of a life as a whore, for the acquirement of clothes and adornment. Beautiful clothes were required as professional garment, but were for girls from the poorer sections of the population at the same time an important temptation to become a prostitute. Clothes were actually very expensive and the debts which were made this way, could only be paid off with big efforts.
Many whores handed over all their earnings to pay off their debts or in order that the landlady would provide them clothes. (…) Especially young and novice prostitutes tell that they themselves earned little or nothing. Their inexperience will have played tricks on them; at the same time most money could be earned from novices.
Page 302 (quote):
For instance, in the years 1692-1694 the following amounts of debt were given [in the confession books]: 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 30, 40, 40 to 57 and 87 guilders. In half of the cases this was more than the annual pay of a housemaid. (…)
The debts caused that the prostitutes were in the power of the whore-landladies, who - with debt included - then could also sell (‘lossen’) them off to another landlady or landlord. Aaltje van Arnhem, taken from the whore-basement of Anna Vlam in the Wijde Kapelsteeg, told that [in old Dutch] ‘companian last Sunday is released [‘lossen’] and then went to the whorehouse on the Zeedijk at Magteld [they probably mean Magteld as a madam]’. The court then asked [in old Dutch] ‘what is meant by saying to be released [‘gelost’]’, where Aaltje answered ‘that Magteld paid for her debt to the landlord and landlady.’ More often in these cases with these transactions the words ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ were used: the woman whom was released for 60 guilders [‘gelost’], was bought [‘gekogt’] a month earlier for 80 guilders. These were normal transactions to satisfy the demand for new faces. The female whore-contractors [hoerenbesteedsters] who didn’t keep women for themselves but who only mediated, received a commission for this which simply was added again to the debt of the girls.
Page 305 (quote):
The method of coercion to prostitute was nearly always the debt of the whore to the landlady, and lending money was obviously not punishable. According to Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom the women who were in the power of the landlady through debts never succeeded to get out on their own accord: they had to be able to flee, or else find a man who wanted to purchase their freedom, in the words of this book [in old Dutch] ‘that they can grab an idiot by the leg, who redeems the debt, and then fulfils all that is necessary, to have a stinking pisshole for themselve alone.’
Page 305 (not a quote) !!!!:
The debts were recognized by the government.
Page 306 (quote):
When in 1762 the German [Johann] Beckmann in all kinds of playhouses asked the girls about their dishonourable life, he got the standard answer that the girls migrated to family members in Amsterdam but that they had diseased and thereafter ended up in the hands of whore-landladies through debts [Kernkamp G.W., ‘Johan Beckmann’s dagboek van zijne reis door Nederland in 1762’, Bijdragen en Mededeelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 33 (1912), pp. 311-473]. This seems to have become a fixed point of excuse, but indeed the debts seem to have been viewed as something obvious in the eighteenth century.
Page 307 (quote):
In prostitution clothes have played an important role. Especially through clothes and other adornment prostitutes have gotten into debt. Beautiful clothes belonged to the standard outfit, the labour capital of the prostitute. In the property inventories among the poorest groups of Delft in the eighteenth century, beautiful clothes were found among prostitutes. The clothes were an important bait to seduce women to prostitution. A girl from the common people possessed over a limited wardrobe, with until late in the eighteenth a simple brown or black skirt. She could never afford the beautiful clothes, cheerful colours and adornment of the women of the higher classes which she saw continuously; even a cheep imitation of this fashion was beyond her reach. Articles of clothes of any kind were too expensive but were also of a quality that was very endurable.
Page 308 (quote):
The system of debts through clothes stayed in vogue until the end of the nineteenth century; supposedly this came to an end with the fabrics becoming cheaper and the rise of the confection-industry, which caused a greater variety of nice clothes coming within the reach of ordinary women.
Page 312 (quote):
Such an expensive outfit seems only to have come into fashion with the development of the playhouses. Until 1680 only two times the acquirement of clothes was mentioned, from 1680 onwards this is mentioned many times.
Page 314 (quote):
The tabbaards, samaren and fontanges [very strange Dutch words for some clothing!!!] attracted the most attention of contemporaries and the law, but because of the costs will likely not have belonged to the standard dress of the prostitute. Also Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom describes aside from those who pretend to be ladies, many ‘conventionally’ [burgerlijk] dressed whores, even dressed like woman farmers, so that many types of people were attracted.
Page 326 (quote):
Within a whorehouse it seems that only one are a couple of clients a day or even per week were received. The organization and association with a client costs a lot of time in itself: often a woman had to be brought over, there was dancing, drinking and eating together, and sometimes the man slept over the whole night or dated the same girl for several days.
Page 329 (quote):
Paedophilic wishes of clients stay in the dark, rarely prostitutes were rarely found who were younger than fifteen years. Child prostitution on any scale has not been there, although there are also stories, rumours and accusations which suspect that things like that did exist.
Page 336 (quote):
The travel stories of the second half of that [seventeenth] century report that visitors on entry of a playhouse were given a bottle of wine of one guilder, whether one drinks it or not. A prostitute had the task to entice a man to drink and to drink as much on his cost herself; a good whore, who brings in lots of money in is able to [in old Dutch] ‘awfully drink’ according to Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom.
Page 339-340 (quote):
The 6 to 8 guilders which an average prostitute must have earned per week, were approximately equal to the weekly income of a schooled labourer in Amsterdam and two or three times as much as a woman with equal labour could have earned. After reduction of board and contribution to the landlady she could have saved up a couple of guilders per week; yearly some 100 to 150 guilders, three to five times the annual pay of a housemaid. Many prostitutes had debts, and then the question remains if one saved money in this milieu. Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom writes that the whores spend the earned money very easily, an observation that can also be found in nineteenth and twentieth century prostitution research.
Page 351 (quote):
To give the guest what they came for – and what they had read about -, investments were made in the rent of spaces and musicians, in the acquisition of furniture, clothes and adornment. These investments have professionalized the prostitution business and thrown the prostitution into debt.
From ‘Het Mysterie van de Verdwenen Bordelen’ [The mystery of the disappeared brothels]

A short explanation: Ottho Gerhard Heldring was a countryside reverend and founded the Heldring-foundations after a visit in 1847 to the only female prison in the Netherlands in Gouda (p. 103). He was shocked to see how young women were recruited for prostitution; the young women were in prison together with madams (p. 103). He opened Asyl Steenbeek in Zetten to shelter fallen women (not only prostitutes) (p. 110). The daily direction was under Petronella Voûte (p. 111). Heldring died in 1876 and in the beginning of 1877 he was followed by Hendrik Pierson (p. 129). On April 14th 1877 Asyl Steenbeek was destroyed in a fire which also killed Petronella Voûte (p. 123). It was rebuilt.

Page 117-118 (quote):
Fortunately for Heldring he knew less doubt in other respects - and more public support. Like this, he succeeded in 1859 to touch a tender spot by comparing the fate of prostitutes empathically with those of female slaves. (…) His brochure with the title the rhetorical question Is er nog slavernij in Nederland? [Is there still slavery in the Netherlands?] has since then gained a certain fame, not only because of the signal function, but also because of the political effect that it did reach this time. Once again it evolved around debt [in Dutch the word for debt and guilt is the same] and punishment, but this time in a totally different meaning.
‘The debt’, that was the sum which the prostitute usually owed to the female brothel keeper, the ‘punishment’ was the slave existence which she was condemned to because of that. Some five years before Jacob van Lennep let Klaasje Zevenster fall in such a trap, Heldring in the meantime - based on the ‘adventures and messages of asylists’ in Steenbeek - paints the dramatic scenario: young daughter is brought by procuress on the wrong path, cast off the parental home, ‘miss’ – not miss Voûte, but a Mama Canaille – takes care of her, puts her into ‘the finest outfits’, ‘the good woman lends everything’, but immediately it turns out that those ‘splendour of clothes’ are the first chain in the slave chain, not only is she now served to ‘the rich sophisticated lecher’, but also her debt increases steadily, because everything costs money, board and lodging, clothing and laundry, reparations and medical examination, everything two to three times the normal price, so that the repayment of debt, escaping the slave chain is impossible, or one of those rich sophisticated lechers had to buy her freedom, that mostly means being abused as a private slave, or another madam wants to take her over, after which there is bargaining over her like over a head of cattle, and she continues her slave existence in another brothel, and after a while another brothel again, right until she is becoming old and worn-out and has no value anymore and becomes discarded, and eventually wins her freedom, the freedom to suffer like a beggar woman or a vagrant. ‘That such a traffic in people exists (…) [(…) in book ‘Het mysterie….’] in the civilized Netherlands,’ concludes Heldring formally, ‘that is irresponsible.’
Page 152 (quote) [Hendrik Pierson responds to a law which obligated brothel keepers, in the presence of mayor or one of his servants, to announce to the women what kind of work they would be doing]:
From his Steenbeek experience he knew which ‘magic power’ the brothel keeper ‘or even more the brothelkeepster’ exerted over a ‘pensionnaire’, to let her say what the mayor wants to hear. No, the only ones who could henceforth find ‘a support in the law’, that were the brothel keepers themselves. Their profession was now, unfortunately, lawfully recognized.
Page 214-215 (quote):
At the suggestion of the medical practitioner A. Voûte it was decided that there should be started a detailed investigation into the nature and size of prostitution, and most importantly – for the first time in the nation – by the members of the city council [of Amsterdam] itself. Aside from Voûte and colleague-physician C.F.J. Blooker also Fabius and J.G. Schölvinck, two of the eleven initiators, and P. Nolting were appointed into the committee.
If even the establishment of the council committee is already remarkable, because of the ambitious method of working, her research report became all the more special. Figures provided by the police and register (of birth, death and marriages), were completed with information by the middernachtzendelingen [midnight missionaries]. Also some members of the committee set off themselves, dropping by in the brothels, armed with questionnaires in French, the mother language of most prostitutes working there. (…)
This way it took the committee more than a year, but her conclusion presented on January 20th 1897, was quite explicit. ‘The public houses of debauchery should disappear,’ was her unanimous verdict. The underlying line of reasoning was bunched into one emotionally trembling sentence: ‘that continuing the brothels means continuing the degrading traffic in women; continuing the aggravating temptation to the vilest forms of debauchery; continuing eventually the dependency bordering slavery, where the fellow [wo]men are brought and kept by the scum of society.’
It especially were the answers of prostitutes which made the biggest impression on the members of the committee. The labour circumstances in the brothels, with their dictatorial governesses, their lying placeurs and their fixed high prices for all kinds of things, were the sheerest exploitation; (…)
From “Kuisheid voor mannen, vrijheid voor vrouwen” [chastity for men, freedom for women] by Petra de Vries (1997)

Page 252-253:
In the autumn of 1901 the policeman J. Balkenstein, a man who was sympathetic towards the work of the Middernachtzending [Midnight mission], went for a visit to the brothels of Amsterdam. This remarkable step was connected to the assignment he got from the Nationaal Comité [National Committee] to do research into ‘the nature and size’ of the problem of traffic in women and children. Under the cover of ‘client’ he held conversations with prostitutes, as policeman he followed the trails of certain suspected ‘employers’, ‘placeurs’ and ‘traffickers’, and he personally helped to set girls free from brothels where they had ended up against their will. He laid down the result of his efforts in a detailed report that can be viewed as a unique historical document about women trafficking around 1900. The research had a strong empirical character where clearly the hand of the policeman, used to objective descriptions of ‘cases’, could be recognized, and where without much ideological trimmings an answer came to the question which frustrated the abolitionists: how it was actually possible that deceived girls not immediately made a U-turn when they noticed they had ended up in a brothel. The report Balkenstein for instance showed how young, minor French girls through deception and false documents ended up in the luxurious brothel Maison Weinthal in Amsterdam, how the women were intimidated, how many of them in the so-called closed brothels practically rarely or never came outside and that some had no clothes to show themselves on street, how indifferently the police responded on violence against the women. Also what nowadays is called ‘trauma’ resounded, some women didn’t even know that something like a brothel existed before they ended up there; in one cases there was a girl that continuously ‘wept’ and with the help of other women knew literally to escape. A tried and tested method seems to have been to instil fear for the police into the woman, especially because her ‘documents’ were not in order. In connection with this several abolitionists later noticed the same female weakness: “Every woman, but especially an uncivilized one has a natural fright for ‘papers and documents’”
The report by Balkenstein was because of delicacy towards the Dutch government, which had ‘granted such a loyal collaboration’, not published, but it nevertheless gained through the French and German translations large international fame. For the abolitionists the report was important for political propaganda, because it now definitively was demonstrated that in the whole of Europe there existed an ‘organized traffic’.
From ‘Het rosse leven en sterven van de Zandstraat’ [Red Light living and dying of the Zandstraat] (M.J. Brusse, originally 1912, second edition of 1917, with illustrations)

Short explanation: this is a very interesting book about the old Zandstraat of Rotterdam where much prostitution took place. Much information comes from an old major of the police and a detective who gives a tour. With the “Polder” they probably mean the area of the Zandstraat.

Page 9: [according to M.J. Brusse]
I have seen many old madam, who has trained who knows how many innocent girls, lisp about Juliaantje [crown princess of the Netherlands at that time] with tears in their eyes.
Page 22:
And old major of the police told me about the past of den Polder:
“In [18]77 I made my first walk in the Zandstraat, and since then I have walked there for years, but never suffered a blow or punch. Because there it was after all always pleasant. And when it was sometimes necessary, you could do with a big mouth a lot more than with a sabre or pen and ink for a booking.
Page 26: [according to the major]
But the miserable disgrace of pimps was totally unknown right then, and thus also the blackmail and the robbery!
Page 29: [according to the major]
“But what’s the worst? – Yes, how did it go in earlier years? Then it especially were girls, who were too lazy to work, and from their own free will would rather work in de Zandstraat. Nowadays it is often those young day-maids and factory girls, which you didn’t have in my time. They are free in the evening, then go dancing in the Zandstraat, as if it isn’t a disgrace anymore for a middle class daughter. How many parents still follow the movements of their children stringently enough? How many children are still disturbed by that stringent supervision, by the hour of coming how in the evening? – Just as long until it’s too late, and they fall into the hands of these unscrupulous loafers, whose only goal is to train such girls, so that they will soon earn a living for them in disgrace...”
Page 44-46 [according to the inspector]:
And the smart Polder characters are observant on the foolishness of many parents, who sometimes very quickly put the catch on the door, and for once don’t let their lawless daughter for one night, to her punishment! – You have those pimp-types, who make a system from that. At first they pose as the most honourable gallants, who want to start a “decent courtship”; speaking of wedding plans, like real “seducers”, of whom you read a lot in episode novels… But during dancing they make it later and later… Until father finally boiling over with anger roars from the upper window: “Jaan, well I’ll be darned, you just stay outside tonight!”
Thèn the loafer has his way… Accommodation enough for the night in all those lodgings and rendezvous of the Polder, for such cast off sheep and her protectors. Or if the girl doesn’t want it yet, you’ll have beer and a gentle mom there, who tenderly takes care of such a minor girl in her knipje [brothel], be it up there in a empty room. And mom, be it Belze Jeanette or Scheele Dien, promises it by selling her soul for it, that she will never betray the lost daughter, if Jaan then will “verkotst” [vomits out?] it to nobody, what she in case will see in mom’s little business and… experiences herself, in case.
But as a rule the chivalrous gallant proposes to do the things with each other, and in the meantime live in such a furnished little home on the Polder, while waiting for all the fiddling about to get married as soon as possible… That’s mostly the normal procedure. The boy at the moment doesn’t make one penny though – he is a stereotypical “loswerkman” [loose worker?] – but ah, there drops something off every once in while [?], when he is with his buddies…
Until the first consequences of living together come, which bind the girl even closer to her “guy”, and when he slowly starts with the drilling, to toughen up her feeling of shame, with the help usually of his own bad buddies, or with threats and violence. Because that’s the intention. It started for no other reason, than that she, the earlier the better, makes a living for him, and preferable a lot and nicely. For that purpose he drives his sweetheart on de Blaak; even follows her on the opposite side.... And if she doesn’t have enough guts, in the beginning; not shamelessly fulfils her task, which he trained her to do, then there will be hell to pay during the night… But as a rule the method has been put to the test, and within a week or something he can let her solicit the streets on or own; she regularly brings the tax home, which he imposed on her…
Than the Polder population has been supplemented with another smart prostitute. And ah, under the same leadership, under the familiar traffic with pickpockets, ladenlichter [I believe they mean people who steal from drawers], kwartjesvinders [quarter finders], thieves and burglars – where the guild of pimps goes along with, among things for pastime outside the Polder, when they walk schaailoos [???], because their girls are after all occupied on the home, - ah, in that criminal environment the transition from prostitution to robbing the clients is often just only one step.
If her “guy” sometimes is apprehended for an unfortunate blow [they mean criminal act] and mostly put away for years, well then she usually mourns and whines for a little while because of his misery and her want for cruel love violence, - but among the buddies there are enough to comfort her and maintain the business on an equal footing. But it’s just a phenomenon, that the buddies among each other – be it concealed then in the letters to the prison – take over the sweethearts during that period, for the ones who have to serve their time in prison once again. Every once in a while the girl stays loyal in as far that she doesn’t choose a steady substitute, but independently, or together with a girlfriend, goes living in a semi-furnished room, to run her own business until he is released again. Or that some madam temporarily “rents her a room”, as it is called since the ban on brothels, until her “guy” is released then again… But as a rule is the servile need for male “support” in the life so uncontrollable, that today or tomorrow she will take “temporary help” all along. And so grows the detestable pimphood – especially after the implementation of the proposal of – Van Staveren – even more alarmingly: and truly not only in the Polder! Because the abolition of brothels drives the women mostly into seeking “protection” with this kind of men.
Page 61-63 [according to the inspector]:
(…) But those dirty guys complete wrap in such a girl, and sometimes it is like they are enchanted by those pimps.

“You have among them, of these loafers, mostly in the age between eighteen and twenty-four – you would send them your own daughter to hear her confession. Nicely dressed, decent face sometimes, very respectable in talking, if they want to. Because there are of all kinds of ranks in the Polder; of well-known families, real gentlemen, who are just lazing and debauching on the earnings of such a poor girl. And you don’t understand what that these young kids like about them; what these pimps have, where they become so crazy about, these girls. But the police keeps their eye on it, and as soon as we see these innocent girls talking with these pea jackets, they are warned and informed.
“Because such guys, those are the biggest danger. There are among them, of whom we know, that they have brought some five, six girls in a row from outside the Polder in prostitution. It’s a factory of prostitutes; and then those masses of prostitutes. But during recent time they are fortunately taken away from the destruction by the government… Ah, and for the girls themselves, when they eventually live together which such a pimp, then usually nothing can be done about it anymore. Then they are so completely spun in; sometimes by love, sometimes out of fear, mostly by both at the same time. Because it happens often enough, that they will complain about their distress at the vice police… A girl: black Sien, a young girl still, has even told, that that Macaroni demanded five guilders every evening, or she will get a beating without mercy. But that’s not enough yet. If she has sometimes been with gentlemen, with married ones especially, then he demands from Sientje, that she will extort money from them, for example some fifty guilders, - or else that he will visit their homes. And Sientje doesn’t want that, she’s too decent for that. But what must she do know? Because that Macaroni has her completely in his power. She doesn’t dare running away from him, so scared to death and still so very much in love they seem to be with such a guy.
And a wonderful means of these loafers to make the girls crazy: these are the dance houses, - “What’s the fuzz about a little dance?” – is what these day maids, those factory workers, ironers, and all these young kids think, who are free in the evening. Dancing is fun; is done at every opportunity, at every party and in all circles? – But the pernicious of dancing here is, that it lures girls of sometimes only fourteen or fifteen years into the Polder, among the Polder population, in a whirling and swaying with prostitutes, with seamen under influence, who expect nobody else than prostitutes; and with those cunning bird-watchers: the pimps! Because for every one of them dancing is after all not a goal: but only a means to the worst moral evil…”
“Kind onder de hoeren – Herinneringen uit de rosse buurt van Amsterdam van 1913-1937” [child among the whores – Memories from the red light district of Amsterdam from 1913-1937] (Nel Hoenderdos, 1976)

Short explanation: Nel Hoenderdos grew up in the red light district of Amsterdam.

Page 151:
Those beautiful ladies, these whores had only little money. They received a lot but only an awful bit remained for themselves. They were on the half, that means that the whore madam, who rented or bought the room, immediately took half of the earnings already. Then they nearly all had a so-called protector who regularly claimed a large proportion of the remainder to try to cut a dash with it. This way these caged women, these white slaves had nearly nothing themselves.
“Doden spreken niet – Veertig onopgeloste moorden” [The dead don’t speak – forty unsolved murders] (A.C. Baantjer, 1981) [Baantjer worked as an inspector in the RLD of Amsterdam since 1955 for 38 years]
Page 37:
Prostitution is a simple business with little exploitation costs and relatively high earnings. It should be expected, that many prostitutes should belong to the class of comfortable circumstances. Nothing is further from the truth. Most of them are penniless and live from one day to the next. They spend their money as quickly as they earn it. And often even quicker. Furthermore there are plenty of competitors. Shrewd madams/brothel keepsters and clever pimps are outstanding examples of profiteers. They manoeuvre the prostitutes, mostly in a position, where you cannot speak of independent exploitation. She is being exploited. Of the high earnings factually only little remains for the perpetrator of debauchery.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Unsafe sex


I lately realised that I actually forgot to mention unsafe sex in prostitution on my blog. I the beginning of 2006 I did a sample survey on in which I mapped how many times prostitutes in Belgium performed unsafe sex. I sampled 301 prostitutes in Belgium who worked in brothels (not window prostitution). Of these prostitutes 56% (N=168) had oral sex without protection and 76% (N=229) kissed.

I did a sample (on September the 6th, 2007) on the website (a Dutch website where mostly prostitutes residing in the Netherlands place ads) and of the 687 prostitutes sampled:
75% (N=517) offer cunnilingus without protection
72% (N=496) offer French kissing
57% (N=393) offer oral sex without protection.
28% (N=191) offer anal sex with condom
2,2% (N=15) offer anal sex without condom

Another interesting thing is that:
20% (N=136) offer to be video-recorded
27% (N=186) offer to be photographed
Overall 27% (N=187) either way offer to be photographed or video-recorded. This suggests a large overlap between the prostitution-industry and the porn-industry. For instance; 28% of the 119 street- and escort-prostitutes in Phoenix Arizona interviewed in a study by Lisa A. Kramer had also engaged in pornography (see “emotional experiences of performing prostitution” in “prostitution, trafficking and traumatic stress” edited by Melissa Farley, 2003).


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Black Hole Land


Hey you guys, I never actually heard of compulsion in the webcam industry, so perhaps I thought I could give it a try with a webcam lady.

After all, life is all about acquiring peak experiences. Well, this is one of my conversations:

(**=me, __=the webcam lady)

**Are you Brittish?
**Or British?
__but you?
**You speak the language well
**I'm Dutch
__well i'm from nowhere land
__do u know where that is?
__i bet u have a guess
**Anonymous land
**Okay, really have to leave
__land of nobody i call it...shit land hole...
__nice meeting u
**Are you really feeling that bad?
__one word"romania" tells it all
**Wow, lucky that's now a part of the EU
**Say, you are not forced to do this are you?
__yup ..hope my gradchildren will live better
__nope.the bonus i have to get ugrges me badly i'm sorryu if i stall and keep u more
**Okay, bye!
__scared u off
__truth hurts

Hmmm, I really don't know. This costs me a whole lot of money, so perhaps I should stop.
Don't know what to think anymore of the sex industry (if working in prostitution really has not effect on your mental well-being).

In the mean time a few days later: I just asked another Romanian webcam girl how much money she earns per minute. Of the 80 eurocents I pay per minute, she only recieves 10.... oopss... Anyway, I should have known because it's all explained on the website "Camgirlnotes". You should especially read Global differences in payscale on this website. They actually report that:
The Czechs and Slovaks earn about one dollar to a $1.20, and the Bulgarians, Estonians and Russians about 0.70 cents to 0.80 cents. The Ukrainians were near the bottom of the global pay-scale, only earning between 0.25 to 0.30 cents per minute plus their measly hourly fee. Bulgarian Models on LJ only earn 0.25 cents per minute, while some Romanians are reportedy paid a little as 0.10 per minute for flashing themselves -a fee they must then split with their studios - leaving them with only a nickel.
(actually I already read this way before my webcam-experiments, but I simply forgot)


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Quality Labels [2]


Finally, I managed to work through another boring bureaucratic report, this one studies the feasibility of quality labels for the sex industry:
(watch out, it's on a porn site)
A pilot study on the development and the feasibility of introducing European quality labels in the prostitution sector in the Netherlands (By Dr. Conny Rijken and Linda van Krimpen)

I must add that they call every ‘she’ a ‘he’.

For businesses being part of the prostitution sector, they think it is best to make some guarantees to get a quality label. In my eyes, two of the most important guarantees listed are the following (see for instance page 236):
- that all employees have given their informed consent freely, in the required legal form and expressed or evidenced in writing (contract). This contract contains information on the working conditions, the minimum wage and rights and duties in general.
- that no consent has been given when use is made of the following means: threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
They asked some prostitutes what they thought about it (page 247):
They think a quality label could be a helpful additional instrument against trafficking in human beings although they state that trafficking in human beings is very difficult to recognise and it is not certain that the introduction of a quality label will be a large contribution to fight trafficking in human beings.
They asked some organizations not part of but nevertheless involved in the sector what they thought about it (like the Red Thread or the National Rapporteur on human trafficking) (see page 251):
Although all agree that a contract should be the basis for all work of the prostitutes, some important remarks were made. They said this rule does not say anything since a woman who is forced to work in prostitution will nevertheless sign. One person thought many women do not want to sign a contract so this rule would not work in practice. Another adds that most women only work for each entrepreneur for a short time so he wonders how this will work in practice. Furthermore, remarks are made on the fact that the free consent is very hard to check and that the responsibility is not with the entrepreneur. One person points out the downside of this rule, namely, that it can turn against the woman if she has signed a contract and she wants to report forced prostitution. However, he thinks it would be good to oblige entrepreneurs to interview the new employee in order to find out if she is being forced. Most agree that it is hard to find a solution for the problem of the absence of free consent, but it is thought that employees should at least be told about the role of help businesses like SHOP when they enter into an employment contract.
On page 257:
First of all, the rule that the consent of the prostitute has to be expressed in a legal contract is no protection since women who are forced to work in prostitution will also sign the contract. In this way, the contract does not say anything about the woman’s consent. Of course, the employer should focus on whether or not the woman is forced, but a legal contract will not prevent force. The suggestion of one interviewee to oblige the employer to interview every woman that wants to work in his club in order to find out if she is being forced may help, but it is still not a guarantee that she gave her free consent.
And they asked some law enforcement authorities about this issue(page 263):
One interviewee thinks a quality label could possibly change the atmosphere in Europe by making the sector healthier. In this way, the sector could get a better reputation, which may stimulate the sector to try to do more than only live up to the minimum standards. However, he does not think a quality label will decrease trafficking in human beings because this did not happen after the legalisation either.
The researchers also mention quality labels for street prostitutes (page 265):
It was stated by one of the interviewees that the policy with regard to street prostitution in Arnhem is different from the policy in Utrecht. In Arnhem, 85 street prostitutes have a licence but the municipality tries to reduce this number to a total of 35 by not issuing any new licences. Women working in the streetwalkers’ district meet four criteria: they are homeless, they have mental problems, they are severely addicted, and they are problematic.
Page 266:
One interviewee is opposed to putting the element of free consent in the contract since women who are forced will also sign. He is not opposed to an employment contract, but this contract should be adapted to prostitution. Furthermore, he thinks that if an employer finds out his employee is being forced, he should be obliged to contact the police or the STV (Foundation against Trafficking in Women). Another person also does not think a contract will help since every prostitute, forced or voluntary, will sign. It was added that the responsibilities of the employer should be formulated very carefully since they act not always very responsible.
Page 267-268:
Furthermore, it was added that there should be a reporting obligation if the employer suspects his employee to be forced by a pimp. This idea was discussed with other interviewees as well and the impression was that this obligation was greatly approved by both the sector and the law enforcement agencies. As stated above, in order to give shape to such an indicator the entrepreneurs must know the indicators as developed by the Board of Procurators General and discussed above.

One entrepreneur stated that colleagues of the prostitutes know better when a person is a possible victim of trafficking in human beings. However, those prostitutes interviewed did not want to report to the police if they have any suspicion. They thought it a private matter for the colleague and were also afraid that they could lose their anonymity if they reported.
Page 272:
Another concern with regard to the content of the quality label is the norm about the expression of free consent in a employment contract. Many of the respondents think this is a false protection since women who are forced to work as a prostitute will also sign the contract. In order to build in some guarantees that the woman is working voluntarily, a few more concrete indicators were suggested, for instance, a more elaborate intake with new employees. Such an interview can help to filter out victims of trafficking in human beings. It would be a good idea to develop a model questionnaire for the intake which is to be used by the entrepreneurs.
The research ends with a final list of indicators for independent prostitutes among which I will highlight some indicators (page 276):
- in order to find out whether the person is working voluntarily within our business an intake will take place before the actual work can commence. [footnote at the bottom of that page: For this intake, a standard questionnaire must be developed which includes questions on the existence of a voluntary basis for working in prostitution. ] Accompanying persons are never allowed to participate in the intake.
Page 277:
- that the business will report to the police or ‘Meld misdaad anoniem’ in case there are indications that a self employed person is a victim of trafficking in human beings. To this end the entrepreneur must know the indicators included in the guideline on trafficking in human beings.
Now, the end conclusion must be that according to many respondents it is not possible to filter out victims of human trafficking. This is a problem, because that would mean even if one would start a female-loving brothel, it would be impossible to stop forced prostitutes from working in such a brothel. And even if you would devise a system of quality labels you could and will have the strange situation that you have a brothel with a quality label which is full of victims of human trafficking, and where such a situation is even tolerated (because it is impossible to stop anyway). In that situation men will be guided to places where they legitimately can rape women.

I’ve actually wondered myself if it is actually possible in the first place. I was thinking about if perhaps there could be a system of psychiatrist who can first check a woman who wants to work in prostitution if she is mentally fit to do this work and perhaps also check if she is forced. But, in a situation where a boyfriend is the perpetrator I guess you have the situation that perhaps it is a violation of the woman’s privacy to ask such questions. That means that it is even illegal to stop some forms of forced prostitution in legal brothels.

This is a hell of a situation because I actually believe there are a substantial number of women who are actually voluntarily working in prostitution. I’m also of the opinion that prostitution in itself is not bad at all and doesn’t have a negative effect in itself on the women in the industry.

But I’m starting to believe that there will never ever be a system for prostitution clients to distinguish the forced from the voluntary prostitutes.

At the end, I can only hope the problem of forced prostitution will someday simply disappear.


Monday, July 30, 2007


I managed to find out how large the total information on my blog really is (drag it to WORD).

On A4-sized paper this is near 200 pages, and when you print it as a pocket-sized book it would be over 400 pages!!!

I already wondered why I lost overview over my blog.

It is really meant as a short summary for potential clients of prostitutes (not that they would ever use this information).

Hmmmm, perhaps I should make a short summary of a summary.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Goals, Methodology and Conclusions


I will try to give my research a more scientific basis by stating the goals and working methods. I’m thinking long and hard how to do this and it’s extremely difficult. I’m still not satisfied so there will be a lot of tinkering. Actually, this is part of a complete overhaul, but I have no time to waste.

The Goal is to find out from a viewpoint of a critical consumer which prostitute is forced and which one is not. I will use the following ideas of what voluntary/forced prostitution is:
-The right of sexual self-determination of a prostitute. As long as she cannot decide for herself what she does with her body than I consider that person as forced. So when there’s somebody in the background who decides when and where the prostitute works then I see the prostitute as forced. I don’t believe it makes a difference if the woman knew that she would work as a prostitute or if she already was a prostitute before she enters a situation of forced prostitution. I believe also prostitutes have the right to sexual self-determination. I look wider than only physical force, also emotional and financial force by third persons I consider as forced.
-The prostitute must have the ability to exert her own will. Somebody who works to maintain a drug addiction or who is psychologically not in order I also consider as forced, because that person cannot voluntarily decide to work in prostitution.


I will list some methods I used to study prostitution in the Netherlands and some of their results.

-The first and most obvious thing you would do is to find out if you can directly see if a prostitute is forced.

But in my opinion you cannot judge by the behaviour of a prostitute if she is forced. I base myself on eyewitness reports but also on common sense. Of men who have visited prostitutes I know that prostitutes who offered good quality service including the “girlfriend-experience” afterwards turned out to be victims of human trafficking after all. I know for instance from clients who visit FKK-clubs in Germany that many Eastern European prostitutes who work there do that under the pressure of pimps, but these women still offer much better quality than for instance Dutch prostitutes in the Netherlands.

I seems that everybody thinks that clients are clairvoyant. Take for instance Maria de Cock of the Foundation against Human trafficking (Interview from Het AD, 12 September 2005, translated from Dutch):
What we want to do is to make clients more aware and we will actively ask to pass on abuses to justice. Because a whore-hopper can excellently see if a woman prostitutes under coercion.
Even Karina Schaapman seems to believe that (see "Het onzichtbare zichtbaar gemaakt, prostitutie in Amsterdam anno 2005" [The invisible made visible, prostitution in Amsterdam in the year 2005”). From a selection of quotes from it is concluded that (translated from Dutch):
(…) clients actually are aware of the fact if one prostitutes under coercion or voluntarily.
I’m of the opinion that things are not that simple. A prostitute who enters prostitution on her own accord could hate her job and ooze that out (hmmm, if that's such a good thing, but it's 'consensual' anyway....). Perhaps the fact that a prostitute is looking depressed could have nothing to do with the fact that she is working in prostitution; perhaps a family member died or something else terrible has happened.
A victim of human trafficking can under pressure of virtual debts and threats of violence act as if she enjoys her work to satisfy the clients. Also looking for loitering pimps won’t yield anything. Many victims of human trafficking are not guarded 24 hours a day. Many times the threats of violence towards the victim and her family members are enough to comply. Also many women who work for their boyfriend or husband are often not guarded, and won’t ooze out that they are coerced, these women often don’t believe that they are forced. On I count of the almost 4000 prostitutes reviewed in the Netherlands, at most 30 women where the client notices that she could be forced by a pimp. That’s less than 1 percent. In those cases there’s clearly a guy circling around the woman or she has a showy tattoo on her body with an Arab or Turkish name. That nearly always happens in window prostitution followed on a large distance by prostitution at home (privéontvangst, private reception). Controlling pimps in these sectors of prostitution are much better visible. In a club you won’t find a pimp hanging around (except for FKK-clubs in Germany where this does often happen).

Also you will not see bruises on the prostitutes (on I count three prostitutes where the client says that she has bruises). By the way, that is a mystery to me. Especially because of the fact that human traffickers often use excessive violence against the prostitutes, you would expect that (if human trafficking is indeed such a huge problem) that there must be a lot of prostitutes behind windows with visible bruises. Yet I’ve never seen them.
In some Volkskrant-articles written by Menno van Dongen some possible explanations are given for this contradiction. In the article “een geraffineerd spel” [A clever game] (May 12th 2007) a human trafficking gang is described (translated from Dutch):
Beatings often take place in these circles, but treating the women with baseball bats is another story. Victims who spoke about this with the police nearly all said that immediately after they were beaten up, they were put in cold water. Then you get much fewer bruises.
In another article written by Menno van Dongen in de Volkskrant (“Toch weer verliefd op een pooier” [Yet in love with a pimp again”], May 17th 2007) a former prostitute says that (translated from Dutch):
He squeezed out cigarettes on my body and beat me up. I had to polish off the bruises with make-up, then you didn’t see much of it with that dimmed light behind the windows. When I looked bad, I had to take rest. But then I built up a debt, which I had to repay by working longer.
The book “Ga je mee schat?” [Will you accompagny me honey?] (1998, Henk Ruigrok, Bert Voskuil) describes the Polish Maria (on page 92, translated from Dutch)
The next day I had to go again. But I didn’t want to. Then I was beaten again. In such a way that we didn’t get black eyes. The disabled Moroccan let one of his helpers hold my hands behind my body and then he hit me with a glass cola bottle on my stomach. It hurt a lot. Then you do give in.
On the blog of Rob Zijlstra (court reporter based at Groningen) a case of forced prostitution is described in the article "loverboys" (Rob Zijlstra, February 1st, 2005):
The public prosecutor – he demanded a sentence of 24 and 30 months – bases himself predominantly on wiretapped telephone conversations, from which he amply cited to convince the court. Furthermore, in the home of one of the suspects an article was found about loverboys [pimps]. Epilogue is written at the top of the article, written by one of the suspects. It says among other things that if you beat a woman, you must never hit her in the face. After all, with torn lips or a black eye you can’t play whore. Hitting on the head with the flat of one’s hand, that works.

Also this is denied by the suspect. The article is not from his brain, but he transcribed it, out of boredom, from the Libelle or the Margriet [Dutch ladies’ magazines], or something. But the public prosecutor had let it been checked out and let it known that these ladies’ magazines, and also not de Viva, de Tina and de Flair have published such an article.
That would mean that human traffickers could use special techniques to make sure that injuries are not visible.

It is not necessarily so that a loitering man who keeps an eye on the prostitute means any harm. It could be out of genuine concern that her boyfriend keeps an eye on her. The Norwegian researchers Cecilie Hoigard and Liv Finstad studied street prostitutes in the eighties in Oslo (see the book: “Backstreets: Prostitution, Money and Love”, 1992). It occurred to them that actually the men who were loitering around in the neighbourhood of the prostitute actually were the nicer pimps. Men who use violence on their women often just sit down at home!!!!

In my views I feel confirmed by the fieldwork of Liesbeth Venicz. In the period 1997/1998 she has done fieldwork among window prostitutes in Groningen. Her experiences are written down in the report: “Achter de ramen – veldwerk onder raamprostituees in Groningen” [Behind the windows – fieldwork among window prostitutes in Groningen] (1998). She says:
(translated from Dutch)
On page 3:
The foreign women are not so dependent as the popular image wants to, on the contrary. Also the Dutch woman are by far not all those independently working women like we want to see them.
How sensitive the prostitutes are to that image, becomes clear through the smoke screens the women lay around them, especially when they don’t completely work voluntarily. This makes the stories that I hear, sometimes very confusing. (…)
Again and again I was confronted with the fact that I judged too quickly about a situation. Behind every image that I formed of a woman there turned out to be another, more nuanced story. A very independent looking woman, allowed herself to be given a black eye by her boyfriend. A woman who I thought looked like she was succumbing, turned out to have a surprising resilience.
About Dutch prostitutes who work for pimps she says (on page 10):
It must be emphasized that this concerns not all Dutch girls. There are also girls who do work independently, sometimes after working for some time for a pimp-boyfriend, or who choose to maintain their boyfriend and decide for themselves what amount of money they hand over to him. Through the smoke screens the women create around themselves, it is not easy to say with precision who does or does not belong to this group.
And on page 25:
The girls often don’t always look like being under pressure. Also women with a self-confident posture sometimes turn out to be a victim of human trafficking.
My question is: if this aid worker – who is better able to come in contact with prostitutes - cannot even know or see that prostitutes are forced or not, how can clients?

Main conclusion: clients cannot judge from the behaviour of the prostitute if she is forced or not, except perhaps under extreme conditions.

The next question is then, are there other ways to know for a client to know if a prostitute is working voluntarily? Obviously, if you personally know a prostitute, then it’s possible. I can image that via an internet forum you could get in contact with a prostitute and first get to know that person. Or perhaps another client knows several prostitutes really well and is certain that they are free, and who could refer you to them or vice versa. But this is very time-consuming I guess, you have to build a real network for this to be possible. I think it is possible. But for many potential clients this would cost too much time, so there must be other ways.

Perhaps there are certain brothels where they take care of these things? For instance, making sure no prostitute enters the brothel who is forced?

The sad answer is NO!!!! Not according to a research by criminologist Frank Bovenkerk and others. I quote from their report: 'Loverboys' of modern pooierschap in Amsterdam [‘Loverboys’ or modern pimphood in Amsterdam] (2004)
(translated from Dutch)
Page 60-61:
A representative of the luxurious club-business 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 by 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.
So the clear answer is, sex operators do nothing to stop pimps and human traffickers. Lets look for other ways.

-I have tried to compare the characteristics of victims of human trafficking with the characteristics of prostitutes in general. Unfortunately, information about victims of human trafficking is present but not of prostitutes in general. I had to search the client-reviews on the website to search for characteristics of prostitutes. I mainly look for ages and nationalities. Unfortunately I didn’t do it really thoroughly. For instance, I didn’t note down per prostitute what was the period when she was observed. But the largest segment of prostitutes were observed in 2005 and a smaller group in 2002-2004. But that causes few problems nonetheless. You can now look what are the differences and similarities between the prostitutes described on and victims of human trafficking like they are described by the Foundation against Trafficking in Women. If it’s true that certain groups of victims are underrepresented then it could be that also in reality there are relatively fewer of them. The problem only is then that you have to assume that victims like they are registered are representative of the victim of human trafficking. That is probably not true because you cannot easily separate the voluntary from the forced prostitutes, there probably is a more gradual transition. I have the strong suspicion that the characteristics of the victims like registered at the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women don’t give a representative picture of persons in general who you could describe as victim of human trafficking. What strikes me is that in the media-articles and in many studies which describe victims of human trafficking by far most victims didn’t know that they would work in prostitution, and they were also subjected to lots of violence. The reality in the field is that probably the large majority of the prostitutes who fall under the definition of human trafficking actually knew that they would work in prostitution.
You could also wonder if the prostitutes reveal their real ages and nationalities to the customers on For instance, it is known that in the nineties many Russian prostitutes worked with forged Polish passports to circumvent the visa requirements (see the report "Mensenhandel vanuit Centraal- en Oost Europa", 1997 by the IPIT and IRT Noord en Oost Nederland).

The end result of this method is that when you take all the statistics literally, then you must conclude that:
1. The percentage of the prostitutes who are victims of this crime probably doesn't reach the 10 percent.
2. That Latin American and Thai prostitutes are far less often victims of human trafficking than the rest of the prostitutes.
3. That most Eastern European prostitutes are from Poland and the Czech Republic and that these prostitutes are far less often victims of human trafficking than the rest, and that among the Eastern European prostitutes this crime relatively often occurs among Bulgarian and Romanian prostitutes.
4. That Dutch prostitutes relatively far less often work in window prostitution, that Dutch forced prostitutes predominantly work in window prostitution, and that Dutch prostitutes in other forms of prostitution than window prostitution are far less often forced into prostitution.
5. That most African prostitutes are from Ghana, that a minority is from Nigeria, and that among African prostitutes forced prostitution predominantly occurs among Nigerian prostitutes.
6. That there is no evidence that forced prostitution occurs more often or less often in the illegal segment of prostitution than in the legal one.
7. That foreign prostitutes who are forced in prostitutes are more or less evenly distributed across all segments of prostitution, and that Dutch forced prostitutes predominantly work in window prostitution.
8. That many prostitutes are relatively old (30+). On the contrary, many registered forced prostitutes are younger than 30. Registered Dutch forced prostitutes only in rare cases are older than 30 and many times are younger than 25.

Perhaps this gives clues to clients how to avoid forced prostitutes. But obviously, these conclusions are based on an oversimplification.

-Furthermore you could search for studies which describe a fairly large number of prostitutes in general, and then look which of these prostitutes were forced and look what their characteristics are. Unfortunately this is not well possible because researchers then possibly only review the prostitutes who have the time to be interviewed. And that possibly are not the prostitutes who are forced because they simply don’t have the time. Such researches won’t give a reliable image. Examples of such researches are:

-Er gaat iets veranderen in de prostitutie [Something’s going to change in prostitution](2000, Liesbeth Venicz, Ine Vanwesenbeeck)
-Sociale positie van prostituees in de gereguleerde bedrijven, een jaar na de wetswijzing [The social position of prostitutes in the regulated prostitution businesses, one year of the the amendment] (2002, Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Mechtild Höing, Paul Vennix)
-De sociale positie van prostituees 2006 [The social position of prostitutes 2006] (2006, Helga Dekker, Ruud Tap, Ger Homburg)
-Hoe (ex)prostituees zich zelf redden — Een onderzoek naar de (afwezigheid van) hulpvragen [How (former) prostitutes fend for themselves — A study into the (absense of) aid requests] (Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Sietske Altink en Martine Groen, 1989)

The last mentioned report (Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Sietske Altink en Martine Groen, 1989) states that:
(translated from Dutch)
On page 11:
For a large group of women the lack of will, wish or possibility to ‘tell their story’ must be hold as decisive for the fact that we didn’t speak with them.
A more or less explicit ‘prohibition’ (by pimp, boss or colleagues) should certainly not be excluded. Illustrative of this is the fact that we have spoken with no women whom at the time of our recruitment have worked under coercion or under very strict restrictions and/or were imposed very heavy restrictions on communication. All women whom we have spoke with about such experiences, had already left this situation behind them.
The first mentioned report (2000, Liesbeth Venicz, Ine Vanwesenbeeck) states that:
(translated from Dutch)
On page 21:
Ever since our fieldwork it already became clear that prostitutes who worked under coercion of third persons didn’t want to cooperate with the interview. It is therefore not surprising that the number of prostitutes that indicate not to work totally voluntarily, is low. Three quarters of the respondents find it completely their own choice to work in prostitution during the last year. For approximately a quarter of the respondents it is not completely their own choice, but for 11,4% it is for the largest part. As a factor which limits their own choice they mainly name financial reasons. Only prostitutes who have recently stopped indicate that they worked (for the largest part) not out of their own free will, but forced by third persons.
But now, something very strange has happened: the aid organization TAMPEP who helps migrants prostitutes in several European countries has also interviewed prostitutes. Look at their report “TAMPEP – analysis – the first year: 1993/1994” on pages 12-13:
In The Netherlands a positive response to our desire to interview the migrant sex workers was registered in 95% of the cases.
Even in those instances where the migrant sex workers were under the direct control of pimps, no major difficulties were noted either for the collection of interviews or for direct contact with the migrant sex workers. If the pimps asked for an explanation regarding the presence of a TAMPEP team worker or the reasons leading to such a prolonged contact with their women, an explanation was provided regarding the role of the TAMPEP worker, their task and the concept of cultural mediation. The fact that those who conducted the interviews were also permanent project workers represented a great advantage in accessing closed circuits and other precarious situations marked by organised crime and exploitation of vulnerable sex workers. In the presence of health workers active within the context of an official European prevention program, it is rather more difficult to close doors and implicitly admit that one is obstacling access to information on, among other things, correct condom use. In addition, as we have already described in previous sections, the influence and authority of brothel owners in The Netherlands is still a force to be reckoned with in the dynamics of relations with pimps and traffickers. Prohibitions, threats and intimidations carried out against TAMPEP workers would isolate pimps from the protection and authority of the Dutch brothel owners. This balancing counter-force to the possible negative attitude of pimps and traffickers was either absent or of very limited import in the other two member states in which TAMPEP was operative. In Italy and Germany it was necessary to establish more direct and personal contacts with third parties who controlled the work places of the migrant prostitutes because their influence on them is much more strong than in the Netherlands. These attempts required time and energy and ingenuity. In many cases, the TAMPEP worker had first to perform some practical interventions among the target group in order to be able to start the interview. In the Netherlands, pimps and traffickers are often guests who reside within the brothels and in this sense their position is completely different: they must be that much more careful in their efforts to conceal themselves and reduce unwanted attention.
This is an absolute miracle to me!!!! This proves that aid workers for some reason are much better able to make contact with prostitutes, even when they are forced. But TAMPEP also hint that they maintain cordial ties with human traffickers!! That is very unorthodox at least!

Also the Scharlaken Koord based on De Wallen have no problems contacting forced prostitutes (in the manifesto Uit het donker opgelicht [Illuminated from Darkness] (2002) it is said that more than half of the prostitutes contacted by the Scharlaken Koord handed over all their earnings to their pimp).

The four reports I mentioned are not representative of prostitutes in the Netherlands in my opinion. It is striking that in the first two mentioned reports many prostitutes indicate that they pay taxes. In the second report that’s two third of the prostitutes, in the first report it is one third. The reality is that probably only a small percentage of the prostitutes pay taxes. Therefore I believe that the researchers have mainly interviewed the more emancipated prostitutes. Look at this report "Handhaving prostitutiebranche door politiekorpsen, belastingdienst, arbeidsinspectie en UWV/GAK" [Enforcements prostitution branch by police forces, tax department and UWV/GAK] (2002, ES&E, Pauline Naber, Léon van Lier)
See page 24: 921 prostitutes were registered at the tax department, only a small fraction of the total number of prostitutes (some 20.000-30.000 on a yearly basis).
In the second mentioned report it is also true that the net response is relatively low; a number of brothels have been approached in that study and only a third (29%) at the end cooperated, and of those brothels only a couple (2) prostitutes cooperated. It is estimated that per brothel some 5,5 prostitutes work there on a daily basis (see the first profeit-studie from 1999 by Visser and others). I therefore believe that the net response is only some 11%.

The third mentioned report (about the social position of prostitutes in 2006) had a higher response. 3,54 prostitutes cooperated per approached brothel (354 prostitutes per 99 brothels). But of the businesses that were approached only 34% cooperated (see page 9). So I estimate that even for this study the net response really is only 22%. Of this group 37 percent (see page 29) made a declaration at the tax department. It must be said though that in this sample the nationalities and ages of the prostitutes have some very strong resemblances with those of the prostitutes I researched on the website (around the period 2002-2005).

-What could be done is to study a random group of prostitutes and ex-prostitutes among a wide range of sectors and then to research a certain subgroup of prostitutes (like the Dutch) and then select the prostitutes who had been forced in the past (assuming that you don’t interview forced prostitutes) and then look in which sector that was. From such a distribution that follows you could draw some conclusions. This way you could find a representative image of the victim of human trafficking. You’ll get a lot more women in view who otherwise would drop out of the picture in case you would study statistics of the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women, or when you study media articles. You can now also decide for yourself which prostitute is forced and which one is not, depending on the definition you use. You can compare that data with the characteristics of all prostitutes in the Netherlands as a whole. For example, when it turns out that all prostitutes in the researched subgroup have worked in the escort then you could draw the conclusion that outside the escort coercion doesn’t occur. Unfortunately you need quite big samples to really get statistically significant results, because by far not all prostitutes you interview have been forced in the past. I think about a 1000 prostitute who you need to interview. And you would have no idea about how large forced prostitution is as a whole, you only know the proportions.

There’s only one study which actually made such an analysis, it’s the fourth report I mentioned (Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Sietske Altink en Martine Groen, 1989). The drawback is that this study mentions such information on the side without many details (PS: among the mainly Dutch prostitutes they interviewed, violence occurred much more often among window prostitutes, and much less often among prostitutes working in clubs).

-If you want to know how large the scale of forced prostitution really is you could exclusively target women who have worked as prostitutes in the past but don’t do that anymore now. You could ask them if they had been forced and then you could ask when that happened and how long that happened, and also how long they have worked independently as prostitutes. Using this data you could calculate roughly for a certain period in the past when these women worked how many actually have been forced on a given moment during that period. I mean a calculation like this:
[The number of ex-prostitutes who have been forced in the past] / [The total number of ex-prostitutes] * [The average number of years the forced ex-prostitutes have been forced] / [The average number of years the forced ex-prostitutes totally worked]

I unfortunately never found a report which has done that.

-And furthermore you could rely on descriptions by prostitutes about their colleagues. What do they know about their colleagues? How many are forced? Where do these forced prostitutes work? Unfortunately it turns out that prostitutes often don’t know that themselves. A large number of them even deny the existence of forced prostitution.
The Norwegian Cecilie Hoigard and Liv Finstad studied street prostitutes in the eighties in Oslo (see the book “Backstreets: Prostitution, Money And Love”, 1992). They also asked prostitutes about pimps among their colleagues. They received mixed results, some said that nearly all prostitutes had pimps. The researchers themselves found out that in reality only a few women had partners you could characterize as pimp (so no violence, manipulation or multiple women who work for them)

-You obviously could also ask the same thing to other persons who are in contact with prostitutes. Like clients, cops or aid workers. Or the butcher on the corner. I especially view information by aid workers as very reliable. Many prostitutes who would not accept researchers do for some reason allow aid workers in. Aid workers see and hear a lot of things. Above all the eye witnesses generally can see things that are overlooked by researchers who take random samples. Unfortunately several sources could be very contradictory. But this could be because prostitutes could differ a lot from each other, per area, per brothel or per time period for example. It is important to look what is the source and to which group of prostitutes the observations are related.

There are many eye witness reports. I could draw some conclusions from these reports. Some of these support the conclusions from the statistical analysis I mentioned earlier, others contradict these conclusions. The conclusions are that:
1. Many prostitutes consented into working in prostitution, but are exploited. Probably the "consented-but-exploited" group is much bigger than the "did-not-consent" group.
2. Ninety percent of the Eastern European prostitutes in window prostitution are reported to be in the power of pimps, and most are exploited.
3. Latin American prostitutes are reported to be very independent, with the notable exception of Brazilian prostitutes who form a large minority among the Latin American prostitutes.
4. There are many more eyewitness reports pertaining to window prostitution compared to other forms of prostitution. Many eyewitness reports in window prostitution are from import players like policemen and aidworkers. Eyewitness reports in other sectors of prostitution are very anecdotal and fragmented.
5. Many window prostitutes in general are reported to be forced. Perhaps even most window prostitutes are forced.
6. There seems to be a drug and alcohol problem in the Dutch sex industry. However, it must be admitted that many prostitutes interviewed in recent evaluation reports seem to refute this.
7. Many prostitutes seem not to have the complete right to refuse clients and cannot completely decide their working hours. This is also less clear because for instance the statements of the Red Thread (which are negative) contradict those of prostitutes interviewed in evaluation reports.
8. Eye-witness reports indeed seem to suggest that forced prostitutes are generally younger women, but according to some sources there are also some older forced prostitutes.

-In the case of prostitutes you have to take into account the fact that they could lie about their situation. For instance, in the report of Geetanjali Gangoli about prostitutes in India (2001, “Prostitution as Livelihood, ‘Work’ or ‘Crime’?”) it is being said that:
During the course of my fieldwork, I found however, that while many women start off by telling stories of coercion and violence, once a relationship is established, the stories often change. As a paper on sex-workers in a South African mine points out, people’s stories of being tricked into sex-work were remarkably similar, almost a part of a script. However:
“… the objective veracity of people’s accounts is not the most important or interesting feature of the life histories. What is more important is how people reconstruct and account for their life choices, given that these accounts reflect the social identities that play a key role in shaping people’s sexual behavior. In this context, the main interest of these stories of origin lies in the role that they play as a strategy for coping with a spoiled identity …” [uit: Catherine Campbell, Selling Sex in the Time of AIDS: Identity, Sexuality and Commercial Sex-work on a South African mine. Social Science and Medicine. Volume 50 (2). 2000.]
On the other hand, the Christian aid workers in the manifesto Uit het donker opgelicht [Illuminated from Darkness] (2002) on the contrary say that (translated from Dutch):
We as aid workers know that the women as a first response always say that everything goes fine and that her profession poses no problem, until we gain deeper contact. Then the poignant causes often come to the surface.
Prostitutes could give a more positive image of reality. A former victim says in an interview: Vrouwenhandel/retourtje Kiev-Amsterdam [Trafficking in Women/Round-trip Kiev-Amsterdam] (Trouw, 2002, Ruth Hopkins, translated from Dutch)
She came knocking at the police bureau Warmoesstraat and, on the recommendation of the police, reported against the people who exploited her. “I have given them the living address, the license number and the working address of Olga, everything. Because I was afraid of reprisals of the Yugoslav I said that I knew that I would come to work in prostitution.”
-And obviously you also could combine the different sources. If a certain sector within prostitution is well described by eyewitnesses and you know that a lot (or not a lot) of victims of human trafficking work there, but you know a lot less about other sectors, but a distribution is known about victims of human trafficking over several sectors, than you could draw some conclusions. But then you must start from the assumption that the distribution is really representative.

Conclusion: when you assume that many window prostitutes are forced, this must be also true for other forms of prostitution. Namely, when you look at the way victims of human trafficking are distributed across different sectors of prostitution, that more or less reflects the distribution of prostitutes in general (except perhaps for Dutch prostitutes).

-The size of human trafficking is difficult to express in numbers. Essy van Dijk used a very clever mathematical trick to calculate the number of victims on a yearly basis (in the year 2000).
See the report mensenhandel in Nederland in section 5.2 (page 59, translated from Dutch)
(…) How large the willingness is among the victims to report the crime could approximately be established by relating the number of victims of human trafficking during a period to the number of reports during the same period. Now it turns out that in the period 1997-1999 671 victims have been reported at the Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel (STV [Foundation Against Trafficking in Women]) and that both in the present study as well as in an earlier assessment of the NRI (see section 3.3) during the same period 161 reports of human trafficking have been registered. This would mean that approximately a quarter of the victims of human trafficking (24%) reports the crime. Now the registrations of both institutes are an underestimate because not all victims are reported at the Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel (Van Dijk and De Savornin Lohman, 2000) and not all reports at the NRI, but in each case this forms an indication of the willingness to report. (…)
See page 124:
(…) Because only a small segment of the offender(s) are being apprehended, the real number of victims is obviously higher. How high can be — very carefully — approximated by combining a number of facts. This way it is estimated that 75% of the illegal prostitutes apprehended by the police are immediately sent home to their country of birth before an investigation into human trafficking can be started (Van Dijk and De Savornin Lohman, 2000). In section 5.2 it is calculated that the willingness to report could be 24%, that means that of all discovered victims 24% are found willing to report the crime. This should mean that behind the 203 reports in the year 2000 3.383 victims could lie hidden. [in a footnote: {(203 x 100) : 24} x 100 : 25 (25% versus 75% deportations)] This number is disputable, but does give in any way an indication — probably an underestimate — of the whole size of the problem. (…)
She makes a logical error. First of all she didn’t take into account the non-illegal victims of human trafficking. They are not expelled. Secondly she seems to assume that three quarter of all illegal prostitutes are expelled by the police before they could report the crime to the police. In reality a lot of illegal prostitutes are never discovered, and therefore not expelled. Thirdly, she doesn’t take into account the women who were already victim of human trafficking at the start of the year. And Fourthly, she didn’t take into account the fact that many foreign victims also have worked abroad and thus many victims circulate into and out of the country.

But I believe she is warm. I will make an attempt myself. Take the number X. I call X the total number of victims that release themselves from the human traffickers from the begin of the year until the end. This number tells nothing about the number of victims present during each moment or on a yearly basis. There’s a darknumber of victims which didn’t set themselves free and I assume that the number of victims at each moment is directly proportional to the average number of years that a victim is forced to work. I state that when on each moment there are a number of Z victims, and the average number of years a victims is forced to work is Y, then each year some Z/Y=X victims release themselves from the human traffickers. That is, the number of victims on each moment is equal to X times Y, that is the number of victims that free themselves during one year multiplied by the average number of years that a victim works.

When I know X and Y then I can therefore calculate the number of victims present on each moment. But then I have to make one extra proposition. Not all victims are always in the Netherlands. Victims often enter the Netherlands while already working in forced prostitution, and vice versa they leave the Netherlands while in forced prostitution. When I assume that these two flows exactly neutralize each other and each victim neatly reports the crime in the country where she freed herself of the human trafficker, than this doesn’t have any influence on X, Y and Z. Now I will look if X and Y are known.

The estimates of how long victims of trafficking in women are exploited on average range widely from 3 months to little more than a year. The report “Mensenhandel vanuit centraal- en Oost-Europa” [Human trafficking from Central and Eastern Europe] (IPIT & IRT Noord en Oost Nederland, 1997) estimates that Eastern European victims of human trafficking are put to work on average for a relatively short period, about three months, and rarely longer than a year. In the research of the EU ("Research based on case studies of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States, i.e. Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands" [2001], among whom Ruth Hopkins and Jan Nijboer have cooperated) 80 foreign victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands have been interviewed (see page 290):
The average time between departure in country of origin and entrance at reception centre is a little more than 1 year and 3 months. However this average is strongly influenced by one victim who entered the reception centre some 18 years after she left her home country. Without this victim, the average time between departure and entrance is about one year.
Using the stories of victims of human trafficking in the media, from books and on forums I managed to make an estimate of the period the victims have been under the control of their pimp(s). From a sample of 114 cases where such a period is mentioned, I can derive that on average this number must lie between 1,3 and 2,2 years (1,72±0,44, the error margin is obviously very big). At then end I’ll use my estimates, because the estimate of three months is based on only the Eastern European victims, and the estimate of 1 year and three months only on the foreign victims. I will use one correction for my estimates; Dutch victims are probably overrepresented in this number. It is based on 57 Dutch victims and 54 foreign victims (and some cases of which the nationality was unknown). The average time the Dutch victims were exploited was 2,25 (±0,65) years. For foreign victims this is 1,17 (±0,60) years. That is a significant difference. This poses a problem because it is actually not known how many of the victims are Dutch. In latest figures from 2005 and 2006 of registered victims (released by the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women - see their website this percentage fluctuates around 25%, this was much lower in earlier years. Victim support organisations in 2000 came into contact with 608 victims of whom 138 were Dutch (see the first report of the Dutch national rapporteur on human trafficking on page 50, table 4.2). I take the guess that this reflects the reality. If I use this correction then I arrive at an average of 1,42 (±0,49) years that victims of human trafficking are exploited. So Y is now known. I must add that in this case I make the assumption that Y is constant at all times.

Now I need an number to calculate the number of victims that released themselves from the human trafficker during a year. I use a segment of the calculation used by Essy van Dijk, but without the extrapolation of the illegal prostitutes. In the year 2000 there were 203 reports made by victims of human trafficking. For other years there are only numbers known of the reports who are referred to the Public Prosecution Service. In the Fifth Report of the Dutch Rapporteur on human trafficking (Dutch version), there were 91 reports and witness statements made by victims in 2000 which were referred to the Public Prosecution Service (see table 5.2 on page 143). That is very different from the 203 mentioned by Essy van Dijk, but I believe that's because not all reports made by victims were included. During the period 2001-2004 this number averages 199 per year, so not very different from 203. Unfortunately also the number of witness statements were also included so these numbers are not really comparable. Only the Foundation against human trafficking ( gives some extra clues about the number of reports, but only for those victims who were reported at the foundation. For the years 2003-2006 there were 157,5 reports on average per year (see their 2006 report on their website). But this must be a lot more in reality, many times it was unknown if the victim made a report. But lets focus on the 203 reports in 2000 and assume that this number is also more or less true for other years.

I see it like this, there are 203 victims of human trafficking who have released themselves from the human trafficker and then have reported the crime. Essy van Dijk estimates that a quarter (24%) of the total number of victims reports the crime and the funny thing is that in my media-analysis also approximately a quarter (51 of 234 cases) report the crime. But perhaps that estimate is too high, because obviously the victims who come forward are also the ones who tend to report the crime, on the other hand it could be too low because of not all cases it is known if the victim reported the crime. By the way, it seems to be the case that foreign victims are much more eager to report the crime (in 36 of 116 cases = 31%) than Dutch victims (in 15 of 118 cases = 13%). According to the second report (2003) of the National Rapporteur on human trafficking (on page 64) various police officials involved in the fight of THB (among others from PPM/dNP) and the Foundation for Support and Reception of Prostitutes (Stichting Hulpverlening en Opvang Prostituees – SHOP) assume a readiness among these victims to report an offence of 5% to 10%.

But when I assume that 24% (±3,23) is the right number then I arrive at 203 * 100 / 24 = ~846 (±114) victims of human trafficking in 2000 who released themselves from the human trafficker. Now also X is known. Also in this case I have to add that I assume that the percentage of the victims who report the crime is constant.

I therefore estimate that at any moment (in 2000) there were X * Y = 846 * 1,42 = 1201 (±445) victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands.

When you want to calculate the number of victims on a yearly basis then you have to add another X to this number. Then the number will be 2047 (±498) victims on a yearly basis. But when you take the circulation of the victims between the Netherlands and abroad into the equation than this number will get higher. The National Rapporteur on human trafficking in the Netherlands says in her fourth report (on page 23) in table 3.13 that in 44% of the human trafficking cases in the period 2000-2003 the victims were also put to work outside the Netherlands, this percentage is 51% for cross border human trafficking and 23% for domestic human trafficking. It is not known how much of the time they were outside the Netherlands, in other words, you don't know the flow and that could make a big difference. When you take the gamble that 44% of the victims of human trafficking in one year enter the country and a group of the same size has also left the country, then you can add to the estimate on a yearly basis the number X * Y * 44/100. And then you can stretch the total number to app 2600 (±540) on a yearly basis, but this is just a gamble.

Obviously these numbers are merely best guesses. If you would assume that the victims are exploited for three months on average then the number would be 200 at each moment and 1300 on a yearly basis. If you assume that the victims are exploited for 2 years on average the number would be 1600 at each moment and 3100 on a yearly basis. And if you additionaly would also assume that the willingness of the victim to report the crime is only 10% then the number jumps to 4000 at each moment and 8000 on a yearly basis. And if it was 5% it would be 8000 at each moment and 16000 on a yearly basis.

But even if you could calculate the number of victims of human trafficking then you must realise that it is plausible that there’s a gradual transition between a situation of human trafficking and voluntary prostitution. So even when you could say that “10 percent” of the prostitutes are victims of human trafficking, that doesn’t mean that the other 90 percent are voluntarily in prostitution. It could be that many prostitutes turn over a large percentage of their income to their pimps, and little is left over for themselves, but still “choose” to be in such a situation because in their country of origin they could be in an even worse situation. For instance, in the report "Illegaliteit, onvrijwilligheid en minderjarigheid" in de Nederlandse prostitutie een jaar na de opheffing van het bordeelverbod" [Illegality, involuntariness and minority in Dutch prostitution one year after the lifting of the ban on brothels] by Goderie, Spierings en ter Woerds from 2002 it is said on page 59 that (translated from Dutch):
It seems to be the case that there is a sort of scale running from severe forms of human trafficking (gross deception and severe forms of violence) to lighter forms which almost fall under people smuggling, be it that it concerns work in prostitution. Prostitutes from outside the EU in the last mentioned case by definition don’t feel themselves victims of human trafficking. Working in prostitution in the Netherlands could also be a rational decision. It could even be an emancipatory decision (economic independence, gender change of transsexuals, ). There are big individual differences of the situation where prostitutes are in and the extent of deception, violence and coercion they are confronted with.
Alright. You can compare the numbers I mentioned (1200 victims at each moment and 2600 on a yearly basis) to what is known about the total number of prostitutes in general. On a yearly basis there are supposed to be some 25.000 prostitutes, [source: "Mobiliteit in de Nederlandse prostitutie" (1999, Lucie van Mens)]. And according to the mr A de Graafstichting the number should be 12.500 prostitutes who work on a daily or weekly basis (see the article 'Betaalde liefde' by Marieke van Doorninck in "C.V. Koers", February 2000, page 6 and further). Well, if these numbers are true then on a yearly basis and on a daily or weekly basis some 10% of the prostitutes are forced into prostitution (but these are only the worst cases).


Sorry, not yet a solution!!!

The problem here is the gradual transition. Things are not black and white, there's a lot of grey. So, where do you draw the line? What is voluntary, and what is forced?

Perhaps it's possible to avoid the extreme cases by only visiting Dutch prostitutes in a club who are older than 30, or by visiting Dominican and Colombian prostitutes, but then you avoid only the extreme cases. The milder cases of forced prostitution are less clear.