Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Turkish gang

Another large Turkish gang is active in the red light districts of the Netherlands. Two Turkish brothers (Murat and Mehmet O) and another person have been arrested on the 11th of November. They sought contact with hundreds of women on websites like,, and . Murat was known as misterr_diamond on netlog. They brought dozens of women into prostitution. They have been operating for a number of years. They had women behind the windows of Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Utrecht. According to Harold van Gelder (the coordinator on human trafficking in Amsterdam) the pimps didn't use violence, but that's not true according to a certain Mohammed, an ex-pimp who was friends the brothers. According to Harold van Gelder these brothers moved into the vacuum left behind by the other gang after they were rounded up, but that seems unlikely to me because the bodyguards of the other gang walk around freely.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Highly educated Bulgarian sex workers


Okay, I think it will be better if this will involve into a newssite.......

The following is a Dutch article from the free newspaper "De Pers" (neatly translated into English)

Pilot Abuses among highly educated women
Film informs Bulgarian prostitutes
Maaike Boersma
5 November 2008

Highly educated Bulgarian women without perspective work in our country as prostitutes. A pilot project in Groningen and Friesland attacks abuses.
The northern provinces are going to deal with Bulgarian human traffickers much harder. Groningen and Friesland were given two tons [of euros] from the national government to start a two year pilot. ‘Since the entry of Bulgaria into the EU many Bulgarian women have come to the Netherlands to work here as prostitutes’, says the public prosecutor Oebele Brouwer.

Since two years at least 150 Bulgarian women are active in the northern provinces. According to Brouwer they mainly are highly educated women. According to him they don’t come here under false pretences. ‘But still there is a very negative choice behind this. Despite having a diploma, they can’t find work in Bulgaria. To maintain their family nevertheless, they finally decide to work as a prostitute in the Netherlands, because large sums of money are held out for them’. This is especially deceptive because once the women are working, they have to hand over nearly all their money to the traffickers. ‘They then say: “we took you here, you must pay off the debt to us.” ’

With the pilot the provinces want to be one step ahead of these abuses. One of the aspects is training Bulgarian policemen. ‘They come to here for a month of three, four and learn to work with our system’, says Brouwer. The intention is that the policemen can already do preventive work in their own country. ‘Above all we then have a better insight into what happens with the women after they have been interviewed here. Now they go back to Eastern Bulgaria and we lose them. If the intimidation continues in their home country, we have no insight into this anymore’, says Brouwer.

Another idea is to make a documentary about Bulgarian prostitutes in the Netherlands as a way to give the Bulgarian women a better picture about how things go in the Dutch prostitution branch.

Most abuses come to light through inspections, says Brouwer. ‘So, lately there was a 16 year old girl behind the window. She had a false passport which said she was eighteen. She worked in prostitution since she was fourteen.’


Friday, November 07, 2008



Talking about Thai prostitutes, it seems that we have to welcome Joran as a new special guest.

Holloway suspect 'trafficks in women'

Friday 07 November 2008

Joran van der Sloot, the young man believed to be involved the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway on Aruba, is now involved in selling Thai women into prostitution, claims tv crime reporter Peter R de Vries.


According to this latest exposé, Van der Sloot makes €10,000 for every girl he delivers to the Dutch prostitution market. The girls will work for ‘just 300 dollars a month’ he is reported as saying on camera.

During conversations taped in a hotel in Bangkok, Van der Sloot tells a man posing as a Dutch sex industry boss that he can organise visas and passports for the girls, who think they are going to the Netherlands to work as dancers.



..... and that makes me wonder; lately I ignored lots of news related to prostitution here. Lots of windows in Alkmaar are closed, it is suspected that most prostitutes in the window-boat-brothels in Utrecht are forced, Jos van der Meer closed his ~40 clubs. Lots of things going on. Those brothel closures are not interesting, many brothels are under-occupied anyway, they are not missed by the prostitutes (and sex traffickers).


Monday, November 03, 2008



Lately I mentioned the report by Ine Vanwesenbeeck called:
Burnout among female indoor sex workers [Archives of Sexual Behavior Dec , 2005, Ine Vanwesenbeeck]
The website prostitution procon mentions some quotes of her report:

This study provided evidence that female indoor sex workers in the Netherlands do not exhibit a higher level of work-related emotional exhaustion or a lower level of work-related personal competence than a comparison group of female health care workers (mostly nurses)....

The fact that findings were partly contrary to expectations and contrary to suggestions from others that sex work is intrinsically traumatizing may be explained by sample differences. Here, indoor sex workers were studied, whereas many other studies focus almost exclusively on street workers..."

I took the time to actually read the report (you can download a cheap version here)

I found out that the group of prostitutes Ine Vanwesenbeeck studied in this report is the same as in another report she (co-)wrote with Liesbeth Venicz in 2000: “Er gaat iets veranderen in de prostitutie... - De sociale positie en het psychosociaal welzijn van prostituees in prostitutiebedrijven voorafgaand aan de opheffing van het bordeelverbod” [Something’s going to change in prostitution… - The social position and psychosocial wellbeing of prostitutes the prostitution businesses prior to the lifting of the ban on brothels]. (you can download it here)

In her burnout study she mentions:
Recruitment of sex workers took place by means of fieldwork. Five fieldworkers, who were either prostitution social workers or ex-prostitutes, were trained specifically for this project. Together, they visited a total of 138 sex work sites, selected on the basis of the fieldworkers' network and according to considerations of geographical dispersion. Some of the interviewers were fluent in languages that are spoken by relatively high numbers of sex workers in the Netherlands (e.g., English, Spanish, and Czech) and were provided with translated questionnaires in those languages. In 67 sites (49%), at least one worker agreed to participate in the study. Because the number of sex workers addressed varied per site, it is uncertain what the response rate on the level of individuals was. A total of 105 sex workers were interviewed. Five of these were males and four were male-to-female transsexuals. They were excluded from the analyses here. The remaining 96 female sex workers were, on average, 30.6 years of age (SD = 8.4) and had, on average, worked as a sex worker for 7.3 years (SD = 6.0). Other demographic characteristics are presented in Table I.

Burnout scores of two comparison groups were taken from Schaufeli and van Dierendonck (2000) [she means: Schaufeli, W. B., & van Dierendonck, D. (1995). A cautionary note about the cross-national and clinical validity of cut-off points for the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Psychological Reports, 76, 1083-1090.]. The first comparison group (N = 2,043) consisted of female health care workers, mostly nurses, with an average age of 36 years (SD = 10.1). The second comparison group consisted of people in treatment for work-related psychological problems (N = 142), with an average age of 41.9 years (SD = 8.9). The group was 40% female and 60% male, but no sex differences related to burnout were found. These people were from a variety of professional backgrounds, with half of them having a higher educational level. They were patients for, on average, 4.8 months (SD = 8.3).


Burnout was measured using a validated Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Utrecht Burnout Scale for the Contactual professions (UBOS-C; Schaufeli & van Dierendonck, 2000). The UBOS-C consists of 20 items and 3 factors: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal competence. Participants were asked to rate the frequency with which they experienced various feelings on a 7-point scale, ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (always/daily).
Some numbers from table III (Mean Scores on Burnout Factors for Female Sex Workers, Female Health Care Workers, and People in Treatment for Work-Related Psychological Complaints):

Sex workers (N=96):
Emotional Exhaustion: M=14,9 (SD=11,7)
Depersonalization: M=8,9 (SD=6,1)
Personal competence: M=27,5 (SD=7,9)

Health care workers (N=2043):
Emotional Exhaustion: M=15,3 (SD=8,1)
Depersonalization: M=6,8 (SD=4,2)
Personal competence: M=27,4 (SD=5,6)

Patients (N=142):
Emotional Exhaustion: M=26,0 (SD=9,5)
Depersonalization: M=9,3 (SD=4,9)
Personal competence: M=24,5 (SD=5,1)

She did more or less the same in her Er gaat iets veranderen study, using the same validated Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. You might guess that (even if you take into account that the males and transsexuals are not included in the Burnout version of her study) that the numbers should be more or less the same. But they turn out to be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!!! In her Er gaat iets veranderen study (see pages 76-77) the number for Emotional exhaustion for the prostitutes is 23,7. The number for Depersonalization was 14,2. The number for Personal Competence is 34,1. The fact that the males and transsexuals were included doesn’t explain this (except when you assume that their average number for Emotional Exhaustion exceeds 117, for Depersonalization it exceeds 70 and for Personal Competence it exceeds 104, which seems all very unlikely to me). She even calls the high score on Emotional Exhaustion worrying. It could be that Ine Vanwesenbeeck has made an error. It must be. But which are the right numbers?

And if the earlier numbers are true, the numbers of the prostitutes are in my opinion more or less comparable to those of the people (Patients) in treatment for work-related psychological problems. And if you take into account (see page 21 in the Er gaat iets veranderen study) that the researchers had the impression that during fieldwork of the research forced prostitutes didn’t want to cooperate (in addition to the quarter of the women who admitted that they have initially been forced into prostitution), you can assume that their situation is even worse.

Anyway, Vanwesenbeeck also made Correlations of Person- and Work-Related Variables with Burnout Factors in her Burnout report and these numbers correspond reasonably with those of the ones mentioned in her Er gaat iets veranderen report. These numbers show that there’s not such much a relationship between prostitution and distress per se, but in combination with having little control over interaction with clients or being forced in prostitution it could have a negative influence. Also having negative feelings about working in prostitution could cause distress. But that seems logical. Having sex per se doesn’t cause distress. Being forced to have sex or doing sexual things you don’t like could cause distress.

However, the newer Dutch reports about the social position of prostitutes in 2001 and 2006 didn’t reveal much difference between prostitutes and the general population. That’s the more surprising when you assume many prostitutes come from poor countries. In the latter report the prostitutes even had lower distress levels on average than the general population. Perhaps the situation in the brothels in the Netherlands actually did improve. This is still difficult, how much of this is related to sample biases?

The solutions to the problems prostitutes face are very simple if you would believe Ine in her burnout report:
Personnel policies, work relations, support structures, the organizational culture, and protection of personnel from violence on the work site have come forward here as relevant criteria by which "good" businesses can be distinguished from "bad" ones. Under a regulatory system, norms in relation to these aspects can be set. These would have to come about in collaboration between authorities and the parties involved so that they are broadly accepted. Departure from these norms could be met with sanctions. To promote broad application as well as other positive developments in relation to work relations, support structures and organizational cultures, both managers and sex workers may be provided with education and training. The sex business has no tradition of formal negotiation of work relations and sex workers are not used to claiming their rights as workers. A process toward better work relations, worker protection, and an improved status of sex workers, once facilitated by a legislative system as now available in the Netherlands, certainly needs further government support.

Finally, clearly it is not only their experience at work that threatens sex workers' health. Acceptance of their professional choice in their private lives appears vitally important as well. Legal rights for sex workers as a professional group are a precondition for adequate government intervention, but does not yet guarantee societal acceptance of sex workers. The struggle against social stigma of sex workers and the reduction or prevention of negative social reactions toward them should be an additional aim of any policy working toward improvement of sex workers' social status and well-being.