Monday, December 28, 2009

Harassment

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I want to return to the paradox of how prostitutes can have so much different views about their work and their clients. Why do some prostitutes put their clients on a pedestal while others say the clients are pigs or beasts? A question which puzzled me for a long time. Actually I have read the answer a long time ago, but I forgot it, I was focused too much on human trafficking. The answers are given by Metje Blaak and Jo Doezema. I will provide some quotes by them at the end of this post and also name the sources.

They are both Dutch prostitutes who have worked in the Netherlands. If I understand them completely, then it is true that clients aren’t the nicest people and that clients continuously want to transgress the boundaries of the prostitutes. They continuously try how far they can go. Only some clients are nice. Jo Doezema explains that she paints a more positive picture of prostitution because she has been pushed in a defensive position by the outside world. So that’s the answer to my question: the prostitutes who say they like their work lie, the ones who say that they don’t like their work tell the truth.

However, Jo Doezema also explains that although working in prostitution can in fact often be humiliating it doesn’t mean that it is traumatizing or that it will destroy you. This could be true because that’s what a couple of Dutch studies have found: there were no differences in distress levels between the prostitutes interviewed and people who visit a doctor (The first five words of the two reports are ‘de sociale positie van prostituees’, just use google, no need to put a link).

Radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys explains in her book (also on books.google.com) ‘The industrial Vagina: The political Economy of the Global Sex Trade’ (2009) that Jo Doezema blames herself for having ‘to suffer unwanted sex acts which would be called sexual harassment or sexual assault outside the prostitution context’ (page 25, she actually also quotes from the same source that I use).The point Sheila Jeffreys makes is interesting. According to her prostitution is like sexual harassment in the workplace, which is then in fact true like Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak have made clear. Obviously sexual harassment should be prohibited. It is actually prohibited in many countries. But if prostitution is often sexual harassment, isn’t then prostitution in general already practically forbidden? On the other hand like Jo Doezema has explained, it isn’t traumatizing or damaging, so it is also harmless. So then, if you are extremely consistent sexual harassment should be allowed because it’s harmless. So workers in general just have to accept sexual harassment as a harmless part of their work.

(Sorry, I'm becoming really cynical here but Sheila Jeffreys has genuinely raised a very difficult point for those who recognize prostiution as work)

Another point. Let’s pretend, that I am a client of prostitutes. As a matter of fact, I am a client of prostitutes. How far can I go? Well, really far, because it’s harmless what happens to the prostitute anyway, and I pay her so she gets sexually harassed by me and suffer unwanted sex acts. And she has to accept it as a part of her job. Silly isn’t it? I guess prostitutes are made of concrete.

But then what is allowed in prostitution without being harassment? Should a client ask for anything he's going to do? Perhaps. I actually grabbed the Latvian girl I visited by the butt without asking. She couldn´t speak Dutch or English. That was a difficult situation. But even if the prostitutes agrees and the act is unwanted from her point of view, is it then still a violation? Or just a part of the job that she has to accept? Like consensual sexual harassment. I must conclude this is a very difficult issue.

Returning to the issue of prostitutes not being distressed by their work; the point was made by Han Israëls, after analyzing a study by Nel Draijer in 1988, that sexual abuse during childhood didn't have very large negative effects on the affected people in itself. A Dutch article (Heilige verontwaardiging - over het boek van Han Israëls, by Dr Frans Gieles, 2001?) explains this issue. The article explains that Nel Draijer explains herself that because affective neglect is inherent to sexual abuse, the separate influence of experiences of abuse itself is comparatively small. My hypothesis is that the same mechanism might explain why prostitutes are not negatively affected by the sexual harassment of clients. The saying goes that many prostitutes in their childhood have been abused and neglected, and perhaps the same reason that the sexual abuse in childhood in itself doesn't cause any large negative effects is the same why their work in prostitution doesn't cause any large negative effects on them. So, perhaps being raped a 1000 times isn't more traumatizing than being raped a 100 times, or 10 times. Another possibility is that the negative effects of working in prostitution are somehow offset by positive effects like making more money than in other professions. To conclude; perhaps it is too dangerous using statistical evidence to conclude that a certain activity is harmless. So in the end, nobody has proved statistically that working in prostitution is harmless or not. (Nel Draijer's strange findings regarding the harmlessness of child sexual abuse also reflect a meta-analysis done by Bruce Rind and others in 1998, they basically find the same thing. Strange isn't it? Really weird)

Now what Metje Blaak and Jo Doezema have said, some quotes below..

Metje Blaak speaks in the book (quotes translated from Dutch):
Iemand moet het doen – over vuil werk en andere schone zaken (Joeri Boom, 1999) [Somebody has to do it – about dirty work and other clean issues]

Page 75:
Every now and then I received clients who were extremely dirty. They really smelled bad. A bath actually costs 50 guilders, but mostly I deducted some from the price. “Even if it is for free”, I thought sometimes, ”that guy has to become clean first”. There were some of them who sat down on my bed and left a brown stripe behind on the sheet.
Page 76-77:
You don’t do French kissing with a client. And anal sex is taboo. I wouldn’t even do that with my own man. My homosexual neighbour was sort of ready for a stoma. On sbs6 you regularly see porn stars tell how much fun and pleasant anal sex is. I don't understand any of that. They should show that on television firmly. Then the prostitutes will have it worse.

(...)

Clients are just like children. They want to grab everything. You sometimes have to deal with them harshly. Especially when they start biting in your nipples and touch your genitals with their fingernails. You’ll have to wean them off this habit. I trained my regular customers in such a way that they were kind. Women who are lured here and forced into prostitution, don’t know well how to protect themselves. That’s why I wrote Trukendoos [trick box], a handbook for whores. Then they can learn to recognize condom screws [‘condoomritselaars’].

These are dangerous folks. I was left with a tremendous gonorrhea once because of that. With their nails they tear the condom from the top if you don’t look. When aids arose I became really scared of them. When I didn’t trust someone, I made sure that I never stood with my back towards him and that he kept his little hands away from his willie.
Page 78-79:
Everything has become more expensive, but the price of a woman hasn’t gone up. Twenty years ago the windows cost fifty guilders. That’s what you still pay nowadays except that the men demand more and more because they see more and more porn. In the past you lifted your skirt a little and then they almost came. Now the ladies almost lie naked behind the glass.

(...)

There are whores who look down upon window prostitutes. They proudly say: I work at the Yab Yum. But it doesn’t matter at all. It’s just like cleaning the toilet. If you work in a three-star hotel or in a cafeteria, you are supposed to do the dirty work. Just look at the sick girls, the junkies. Up there come rich men who want to have a fuck for ten guilders. They want to completely humiliate such a girl and let her beg.
Jo Doezema speaks in the book:

Live sex acts – women performing erotic labor (Wendy Chapkis, 1997)

Page 119-120:
Another problem with the clubs is that it’s always a struggle with a client because it’s not clear what your roles are. Behind the window it’s clear – you’re a whore, he’s a client. But the whole kind of fake romanticism around the club means that he doesn’t want to think you’re a whore and he doesn’t want to see himself as a client. Not all clients are like that, some are well aware. And they are usually the good ones. But there are no set agreements about what’s going to happen once you get in the room. A lot of clients have the idea that their hours will be filled with sex of whatever sort they want. And because you can’t say in the beginning. “If you want this, this, and this, it's going to cost this much, and this I don’t do,” you are kind of struggling the whole time to keep the clients from doing things you don’t want and try to keep him satisfied at the same time.
Page 120-121:
I think for almost everybody I make it more positive than it is, because everybody has such a negative idea about it already. So you tend to only talk about the good things or the funny things. With most jobs, if you have a shitty day or a bad client or something, people don’t immediately say that it’s because of the kind of work you do and that you must stop right away. But with prostitution, I’ve always felt that if I didn’t convince everybody that this work was fantastic for me and that I really loved it that they would all be on my back to quit.
Page 121-122:
Do I have to give all of myself and not hold anything back in order to legitimately be able to say that I like my work? Sure, there are still times when I put up with something from a client that I don’t want to have happen, either because I’m too tired, or I don’t know how to say that I don’t want it. But I have learned now to deal with that, instead of thinking, “Oh, I’m the worst whore in the world,” I just think, “Okay, next time better.” And it’s not like if a client touches my breasts and I don’t feel like it that I am going to be emotionally and sexually damaged for the rest of my life. Just next time better.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Zondares

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There were some rumours that the blog of the prostitute described here is made by a female journalist, and that the blog zondares.blogspot.com is actually a hoax. I believed it for a while, but her existence is actually confirmed to me by a client of hers. There are some startling similarities between the ideas of the prostitute and the journalist by the way. Perhaps they share many ideas. [UPDATE AGAIN 1-1-2015: I actually returned to the belief that Zondares' blog is as a matter of fact a hoax. I will write something at the end of this piece in red letters.]

There's a new Dutch prostitute who maintains a blog and she tells some very interesting things. She calls herself Zondares which means female sinner. She has worked in many types of prostitution in the Netherlands. She now works in her apartment where she receives her client. She is a voluntary prostitute who enjoys her work. She says in one post that she fled window prostitution because there's lot of extortion out there, and she didn't feel comfortable there because she didn't have a pimp. She herself wasn't extorted but other girls were, so she left.

I asked her about the paradox that prostitutes have so different opinions about the clients. Her explanation was when a client says 'give me a blowjob slut' that it doesn't necessarily mean something negative. The difference is between the women, when women only do it for the money you could get problems like that (that women are shocked by the behaviour of the clients).

For me this turns everything on its head!!!! Should you visit prostitutes to insult and harass them? It is just masochism you know! Actually I completely understand it! Because one of my favorite sex phantasies is to be a woman and then to work in prostitution, where I am fucked and groped by all kinds of filthy construction workers who put their filthy fingers in my precious maidenly asshole!!! That really turns me on I feel so bad that I'm not a woman.

!

Anyway, she also has anal sex every day with her clients and she explains how she solves problems with faeces: just do an enema every morning and standardly insert lubricant. She also has bowel problems because of the frequent enemas. She also has had STD's.

But what I found most interesting was a post about a Ukrainian woman she befriended who also is a victim of human trafficking. It tells us once again how strange the world of prostitution really really is. I translated it completely:

Victim of trafficking in women
Monday 3th, 2009

No, this is not about myself. I luckily have nothing to do with it. I am always as free as a bird. I didn’t start with loverboys, and I always only made money for myself. Nobody takes my money, only the Dutch state!

I got to know a woman who is involved in that. I shall call her N. She was very open on the internet-forum where I came in the past. I met her, and we sometimes drink coffee in the city core. She is very different than I am, but there immediately was a connection when we met each other. Whores among each other, at least we can talk freely.

N is very different than I am, she is a very perfect little doll. She is blond, and she is a chain smoker. She has a very sweet little voice, with which she can speak very good Dutch. She is only here for a couple of years, but her Dutch is actually very good. N is quite intelligent, sometimes she comes with a thought which suddenly bewilders me.

She is a tiny bit of a money-grubber. She is not very interested in the sex. I find it pleasant to work with sex, for her it doesn’t matter as long as she makes a lot of money. She allows basically everything. As long as it brings in money. I do wonder how you can work well with such an attitude. I couldn’t do that, because I have to feel nice with my work. She actually doesn’t like sex that much. If she had a boyfriend and didn’t do this work, she would have had enough with once a week.

N was a nurse in the past, when she still lived in the Ukraine. She didn’t earn enough with that, and she found and advertisement in the paper to be brought to the Netherlands. She says that you must be really stupid not to understand that it is about prostitution, and she doesn’t believe that there are girls who don’t expect it.

When she came here, it was with the Mafia. It sounded very scary to me, but she is not afraid of it. She has worked a lot here, and for low prices. A lot of money was deducted from that for her pimps, whom she calls “operator” ['exploitant' in Dutch]. She at least doesn’t pay taxes. That money was to pay off her journey to here. The pimps had arranged everything, with visas and the journey. To make sure that she stayed with them, they kept her passport. The journey was very expensive, thousands of Euros.

After working a while she heard from another woman who worked for a longer time, that her journey had already been paid off but she still kept on working like that. Then she understood that she never would make money for herself, and she had a row with her operator. He then reported her to the police, and she was deported from the country. I don’t understand precisely what happened then.

She almost immediately came back to the Netherlands again, but now with a different operator. To them she pays less than I do to the tax department. She still however works cheaper. For the money that she pays she is on a really cool website, and she works a tremendously lot.

Regarding condoms N is not very careful, she always gives blowjobs without condom, and she fucks without for an extra price. She does have STD every once in a while. I don’t want to take that risk, but she doesn’t bother about it, which I find incomprehensible. She mixes with her operators like an enormous slut. She lets herself be fucked for free by them, and she goes out with them. I find that not a very good business relationship. It is normal like that with this type of human trafficking.

It sounds very awful to me, with all that Mafia and that you are actually illegal. She finds that she knows what she is doing. She has experienced violence, but not that much. She doesn’t have fear for that, but it did impress her. She doesn’t like her previous operators at all, but when I say that she has to report them to the police, she says that she will be deported then.

According to her you can talk to the police if you are being caught. But you have to prevent that you will report [the traffickers] to the police, because then it becomes difficult to find a new operator. But if you admit that you are in women trafficking as a victim, then you get no after-tax, and then you are not deported! You only have to exaggerate about that you are forced.

It is difficult to follow for me how easy she is about the police, Mafia, STD, and all those nasty things. For her it is normal, and she finds that I have it easy as a Dutchwoman. She doesn’t understand that I pay taxes, because she wouldn’t. She would make the money go away, and adopt all the possibilities to try to get away from paying. She doesn’t find a police record as scary as I do!

We have had a very strange conversation about the operators, where N said that she was comfortable to go into human trafficking herself. It earns very well, and it isn’t very difficult according to her. She hates her operators, but she doesn’t mind becoming one herself. She would like to direct women, and collect a lot of money from that. I don’t understand that. I’d rather like to work very bourgeois in my little apartment.
UPDATE 1-1-2015: Now back to where I left off. I think that Zondares the prostitute doesn't exist after all. I made an elaborate search on hookers.nl, to try to find reviews about Zondares. Zondares claims herself that she has reviews on hookers.nl. She is very consistent about working in Amsterdam. I cannot link any prostitute in Amsterdam to Zondares. I know of two other persons who also desperately searched for Zondares. They both failed miserably. I also searched for advertisements. No results.

One of them proposed that perhaps Zondares had been unmasked before and decided to have her reviews removed. But I think this is not true. I have used the wayback machine to search for old reviews from years ago, and even then I failed.

Now, this client who says he had visited Zondares claims that Zondares doesn't work in Amsterdam! She doesn't even work in the province of Noord Holland according to him. But I have also searched throughout the whole of the Netherlands. There is indeed one prostitute who has some striking similarities with Zondares, who doesn't receive clients in Noord Holland, but actually far away from that province. They have the same working style and both women stop offering anal sex at points in time which are not too far apart from each other. Zondares claims in her blog post that she stopped with anal sex a while ago, but she waited to write about it on her blog because she wanted to prevent people from recognizing her. The prostitute stopped with anal sex roughly two years before Zondares makes mention of it.

Both Zondares and this woman do everything with condom, and they offered anal sex, which is really rare for prostitutes who receive clients in homes. Nearly all prostitutes who offer anal sex also offer oral sex without condom. There are more similarities. Both women scream out loud during sex, and both give dildo-shows to their clients. They both receive their clients in a room with a television which plays porn movies. Their ages also seem to match.

But this woman is actually of German descent, and Zondares claims that she is fully Dutch. There are more differences, this woman doesn't use professional photo's in her advertisements like Zondares says she does do, she doesn't seem to have a breast enlargement like Zondares says she has, she doesn't work fulltime, etc.....

The client who says he knows Zondares, said that he only later realized the prositute he was visiting was Zondares. At first she denied, but later he saw she wrote something on her blog about something they had discussed. And suddenly she admitted she was Zondares. I believed him at first. But after thinking longer and harder, I must conclude that this woman simply could have lied. He didn't double-check if she was really Zondares. He didn't for instance sent an email to the email-address Zondares uses. Furthermore, he told two stories of how he discovered Zondares. The other (earlier) story was that he researched it, he visited her, and promised her not to tell it to everyone. His earlier story suggests that he tried to find Zondares by reading reviews or looking at advertisements, and that he found her this way. This discrepancy suggests that he makes things up along the way.

An interesting point is that he also says Zondares does have reviews! But he says it is useless to search for her, because she twisted many things to make herself unrecognizable. He said the she can only be recognized by somebody who knows her. But I cannot really believe it. He says Zondares doesn't work in Noord Holland. But Zondares is actually very consistent about that she works in Amsterdam (in Noord Holland). For instance, one Amsterdam-based prostitute asked her about the situation in Amsterdam regarding the law, and Zondares answers as if she herself also works in Amsterdam. Zondares also mentions that Christian organizations who have a deal with the municipality - like the Scharlaken Koord - visit her! As far as I know the Scharlaken Koord only has such a deal with Amsterdam and Deventer. Which means that she works in Deventer (if the client is right that Zondares doesn't work in Noord Holland), but the prostitutes in Deventer are really different.

Now if it is true that Zondares twisted things to become unrecognizable, could it be true that she actually is the German woman? Perhaps Zondares is actually German, and she didn't have a breast-enlargement, and she doesn't work fulltime, etc..... There is one crucial reason why I believe this woman cannot be Zondares. Zondares wrote on a forum prior to starting her blog that she gave blowjobs without condom, because she would receive less clients otherwise. The German woman has 6 reviews on hookers.nl prior to Zondares making this surprise admission. None of the clients says she gave blowjobs without condom. I think that if Zondares is real that she doesn't lie about giving blowjobs without condom. Why would you lie about something you are ashamed of? Therefore I think Zondares is probably not the German woman. There is a possibility that Zondares coincidentally didn't receive 6 clients who wanted oral sex without condom, the probability is like 1 or 2 percent or so, not very large.

I don't blame people who believe Zondares is the real deal. What she tells is all very plausible. I surmise that the person who writes the blog could actually be an ex-prostitute. Perhaps she has really worked on de Wallen or in clubs as she has claimed. But then the blog is still a hoax in my opinion. The stories she tells about her clients could be true, but these could have happened decades ago. I think the prostitute in Amsterdam who receives clients in a little apartment doesn't exist.

Now the question is, who has actually written this blog? It could be the journalist Fleurtje van Schaik (which is actually a pseudonym). Other people before me have pointed out the striking similarities between Zondares and Fleurtje. The first person to do so is a former victim of forced prostitution who was once rewarded almost 1 million euro by the court, and who is often attacked by both Zondares and Fleurtje. Both Zondares and Fleurtje research pimps and the women who work for them, and both draw identical conclusions. I have written about these similarities in Dutch on the hookers.nl-forum here (using the name Kris2):

http://www.hookers.nl/showthread.php?t=278603&page=6

Fleurtje knows a lot about prostitution and prostitutes, and she has reportedly worked in prostitution herself. In the past, she has presented herself to several former victims of forced prostitution as a former victim herself. She said she was forced to work in prostitution herself in the period 1987-1990. She later retracted this claim and said that in her reality it was a female friend of hers who was forced to work in prostitution, and that she used her story to gain information from victim organizations and victims themselves.

Both Fleurtje and Zondares claim for instance that prostitutes who work for pimps are responsible for their own situation, and they both see a link between pimp-relationships and sadomasochism. They both say that pimps and prostitutes have a feeling of 'we against the world', that we should respect pimp-prostitute-relationships, that prostitutes can easily walk away from such a relationship if they wanted to, and they both claim to know of 'only' three forced prostitutes!!!! I could go on... but there are many similarities.

It could be true that they simply copy ideas from each other. But I find it striking that Zondares does her own research and then simply copies all her ideas from Fleurtje. Fleurtje has complained once that people are stealing her ideas, but she doesn't attack Zondares for doing so. What I also find strange is that Zondares is very scared of being discovered, but she indicates on her blog that she does show her face to (former) victims of pimps. Isn't she scared that these people reveal her identity? It is however known that Fleurtje shows up at meetings where former victims of pimps share their stories. I think this is what Zondares is talking about on her blog when she says she meets such women.

Furthermore Fleurtje is known for creating fake accounts on several forums in which she lets the fake characters speak with each other. She has supposedly admitted to one person that she created fake accounts on several SM-forums. And a moderator could supposedly determine that she was behind several accounts on the stoploverboys.nu-forum. So Fleurtje has a history with creating fake characters.

Ultimately the idea that Fleurtje is Zondares is merely a gut feeling. Zondares is notably absent on review sites for clients, no advertisement can be linked to her, and there is a woman lurking around who is known to work with sockpuppets, and who coincidentally (?) has almost exactly the same ideas as Zondares has. In my opinion the correlation between the ideas of these two persons is almost 100%. The ideas of Zondares are Fleur's ideas, and Fleur's ideas are Zondares' ideas. Sometimes I thought to have found a difference, but I was mistaken all the time.

There are some objections against the idea that Fleurtje is Zondares. Some people (like Bouche de la Loi or Natalya) seem to know Zondares personally. Don't they see that Fleurtje is Zondares, and reveal the hoax? Are they a part of the conspiracy? I think this could just be the case. Perhaps Fleur actually did the many things that Zondares claims to be doing, and I speculate that Bouche and Natalya accept her excuse that she actually stopped working in prostitution years ago because she wants to remain anonymous, and obfuscates some facts to do so, or something along the line. Another explanation is that Bouche and Natalya are also Fleur's literary creations.

And Fleur seems to be anonymously conversing with Zondares on Zondares' blog. Fleur talks about an episode when she was attacked on the street with a knife by her pimp. But Fleur is known to talk with herself on forums, so this doesn't surprise me.

And you might notice the difference in writing style between Zondares and Fleur. But I also don't see this as a problem. It turns out that most people can easily change their writing styles, to make it unrecognizable. People can even imitate other people's writing styles. (You can look on the internet for the report Adversarial Stylometry: Circumventing Authorship Recognition to Preserve Privacy and Anonymity, that is a report written by Brennan, Afroz, and Greendstadt by the way, published in 2012.) I'm even of the opinion that Zondares clearly doesn't write on her blog the way she normally does. She often peculiarly writes several words as one. She is doing it more and more often. I think she doesn't want people to recognize her real writing style.

Zondares and Fleur also seem to have different characters. Fleur becomes angry very quickly. Zondares is calmer. But I don't see this as a problem too. Fleur just lets her fictional character behave better than she herself would.

As far as I'm concerned, we got a hit. But I can never definitely proof it. Fleurtje herself denies it, and Zondares is locked behind proxy-servers. I think the only way we can know it for sure is when the real Zondares reveals herself and could prove that she actually is the person behind the blog.

There are other possibilities. I'm roughly 60% certain that Zondares is Fleur. I'm 30% certain that Zondares is not Fleur, but another ex-prostitute. I'm 10% certain that Zondares is a working prostitute who writes a blog about a fictitious prostitute. These are my rough guesses. I have made some mistakes already by wrongly identifying some persons on the internet as Fleur, but I was wrong in these cases, so .....

- END -

Friday, December 25, 2009

Registration

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A new law will come to the Netherlands which forces prostitutes to registrate and carry a personal card with registration number and photo along with them which is coupled to their personal data. They have to registrate at the government offices where an official has to determine if the prostitute is a victim of human trafficking or not. Also, clients are obliged to ask to see the personal card of a prostitute he visits or else he is punishable.

A couple of years ago exactly the same idea came to my mind to solve forced prostitution this way. Only, I now know more. It is very hard to determine if a prostitute is forced and Soa Aids Nederland explains that you cannot decide during one contact moment if a prostitute is forced and that a long relation of trust is needed to determine this. Soa Aids Nederland is afraid prostitutes will go underground to remain anonymous (why the eternal fear that prostitution will go underground???!!!!! Isn't a hotel the safest place?). And it can give clients a false sense of safety while victims of human trafficking get a card.

This situation proves to me once again that prostitution can never ever be regulated. Now after 5 years of reading a closet full of prostitution literature I am forced to draw a conclusion what is definitely the best law to deal with prostitution. While contemplating there are several approaches:

1. Prohibition: Bad because it punishes innocent people. For instance, voluntary prostitutes and unaware clients.
2. Decriminalization/Legalisation/A system where prostitution is recognized and some laws are implemented to protect the rights of sex workers: Doesn't work. It gives men a free hand to abuse any person as long as they pay money because now as consumers they are not responsible.
3. Abolitionism: Doesn't work. Innocent people are punished, like some of the harmless boyfriends, children, parents and other people who somehow live of the avails of prostitution while not harming any person.
4. Swedish model: No good idea. It punishes the clients who genuinely visit only voluntary prostitutes who are definitely voluntary.
So, no solution. I genuinely would like a system where prostitution is not illegal per se but where the government doesn't actively license brothels which gives clients a false sense of security. But that is not possible because if you don't prohibit prostitution you are doing just that.

Perhaps another idea: Don't prohibit prostitution per se but extend the laws protecting workers in general from sexual harassment. So: no unwanted sensual touching on the workplace by other workers or costumers. Nonononono, not good. Think about the women who make themselves available for money to medical students who try to practice gynaecology. Harmless. (now that I think about it, aren't these women sex workers too?)

While contemplating harder I think decriminilization is not a bad idea after all. Simply decriminalize prostitution and try to close every brothel where human trafficking takes place. Since we all know (like Metje Blaak of the Red Thread said) that 80% of the prostitutes are coerced by violent pimps and that all brothels allow in victims of human trafficking (like Frank Bovenkerk said), that means all brothels (and also escort agencies) will be closed down, leaving only a small group of independent prostitutes.

So the path for the government to take is:

Full decriminalization of prostitution: Which means formally recognizing prostitution as work with all the rights attached to that, for instance being free of sexual harassment on the workplace. And then close down all the brothels and escort agencies who exploit prostitutes who are coerced, which are basically all the brothels and escort agencies.

This is the final solution (btw not endlösung!!!!!!).

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

BTW: I also forgot to mention that a couple of months ago two convicted human traffickers have escaped and a couple of some of the people of another Turkish Wallen-gang have also been convicted.

(And in this post I am actually very cynical but I mean every word I say.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Moderator

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I want to come back to the hookers.nl moderator whom I mentioned a couple of posts ago and actually quote some things (translated from Dutch) he said without violating too much copyrights. His words are too important to ignore. (UPDATE!!!! This moderator doesn't seem to have been a real moderator of hookers.nl, that's what a real moderator told me, actually it turns out to be frankkinky)

Twintig jaar prostitutie in Nederland – gerommel bij de hoeren (Panorama, number 43, 21-28 October 2009) [twenty years prostitution in the Netherlands – troubles among the whores]
(...)

Has much changed in prostitution land during all those years? [the moderator visits prostitutes for more than twenty years]
“The Eastern bloc content has increased a lot. The ladies now mainly come from Bulgaria and Romania. In general they are younger than the Dutch ladies, so the average age has gone down.

(...)

But a window prostitute looks down upon a privéhuis prostitute, a club lady then again looks down upon a window whore. That’s because a prostitute from a privéhuis often has PZC [Pijpen Zonder Condoom = blowjob without condom] in her package [actually also the club, escort and home prostitutes but he doesn’t mention that], what is not true for window prostitutes in 90 percent of the cases.

(...)

“I think that the segment of forced prostitution lies between 30 and 50 percent. The government wants to fool us into believing that this lies between 60 and 80 percent, but that is strongly exaggerated. When you look around carefully and pick up the signals, then even the cheerful types are often forced. You observe that they are being cheated by their pimp. Girls who work six or seven days per week, of whom you know that they take a lot of money. If you bring in that much, then you don’t gonna work six days, then you have enough with three or four days. I estimate that the majority of the East bloc women are forced and the girls who work for Moroccan loverboys. Then you have the group who work on a contract base, that is also a form of force. These are girls who have been brought here on false pretences. I heard from girls that they were being told that they were supposed to go to work in a restaurant, but instead of that their passport was taken from them and they ended up in prostitution. What I also encounter a lot are Moroccan girls who are brought here by Dutch Moroccans. They were supposed to go to work in a restaurant, but are then put behind a window with a contract for three years. They have to hand over the money that they earn and get some pocket money to live from. If they want to stop, there are threats that their family will get to know everything. Many girls who work in forced prostitution have the name of their pimps tattooed on their body, often in the neck, around the belly button or on the arm. They ask occasionally how they can remove it later. But they will never admit to a client that they are being forced.”

Why not?
“Most clients simply don’t want to know, or the lady brings herself into danger, because she obviously doesn’t know what the client will do with that information. Shame often also plays a big role.”

What kind of girls are they?
“Girls who in their youth often have been emotionally neglected, who have been disadvantaged and then suddenly are put on a pedestal by a loverboy. When such a girl wants to stop with it, there are consequences. Even beautiful high-class girls on a very educated level spontaneously begin to talk with you about such things. Mostly only if you have a client for years. They come round in an expensive car which they have paid themselves or has been leased on the name of their ‘boyfriend’, but when you ask them what happens when they stop tomorrow, you see them becoming startled. Then you hear that their boyfriend becomes violent. Or that they have nothing anymore, because he has all the money under his management. Only recently I spoke two ladies, very self-confident types. Their ‘boyfriend’ was not their pimp, but when they ended the relationship they did lose all their money. And then maintaining that it wasn’t a pimp!”

(...)
So far the moderator...

And I also want to mention the recent TAMPEP report TAMPEP report; it contains a country report about the Netherlands (page 196-208). They mention that prostitution in the Netherlands is in decline and that where in 2002-2004 there were some 25.000 prostitutes in the Netherland, this dropped to around 20.000 in 2004-2006 and further to some 10.000-15.000 on a yearly basis in 2008 (page 196). It is funny that they give as an explanation to this decline that the government has become more strict on the sex industry while closing down many brothels (page 196). This is interesting because that would mean (if they are right) that a government can actually have an influence on the size of the sex industry, just close the brothels and the number of prostitutes will go down. Perhaps if you close all the brothels that it all will disappear, if the government has the will to do it.

But honestly I would say that a more realistic explanation is that clients simply visit prostitutes less often for whatever reason, perhaps economic reasons, or just the bad news about forced prostitution in the Netherlands.

By the way: TAMPEP also mentions that there are relatively more Dutch prostitutes in Dutch prostitution (40%, see page 196), that the biggest factor for the mobility of migrant prostitution (mentioned by the women themselves) is “coercion by organisers” (page 206), that Dutch prostitutes experience lots of social isolation and exclusion, alcohol and drug dependency, violence from organisers in the sex industry, stigma, clients violence and feel coerced to provide unsafe oral sex, and that migrant prostitutes experience lots of social isolation and exclusion, violence from organisers in the sex industry, lack of access to health and social care services, discrimination and client violence.

We live in a very bad world.

(I still feel hypocritical you know)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Failed

Main

I have to admit that all my attemps to convert Laura Agustín (and all my attempts not to watch pornography) have failed so far.

She keeps on believing that sex traffickers are simply misunderstood and in reality are nice people who help other people out.

But in reality I made a small victory. She admits that clients cannot know the difference between forced and voluntary prostitutes, and those who care better should not visit prostitutes.

Demand: Clients who want to know who’s free (December 3th 2008)

I receive requests from clients asking how they can distinguish between coerced or trafficked sex workers and those more or less freely on the game. Given all the anti-demand and hate-men projects around, it’s a fair question. And, obviously, sensible clients don’t want to be told to just ask the sex workers themselves. Some say that they have met women they believed worked voluntarily, but afterwards it turned out they had been forced into it.

It’s easy to snicker at re-education projects like Johns’ Schools and say what seems obvious, which is that anyone who gets picked up while negotiating with a worker in the street probably just turns to another area of the sex industry, such as the Internet or indoor venues like massage parlours. And I don’t want to exaggerate, as some might, the significance of clients who help rescue people in trouble, but I did write about this once long ago: They Speak, but Who Listens?

The UK’s Home Secretary has proposed legislation not criminalising all buying of sex – the so-called Swedish Model – but only the buying of services from people ‘controlled for another’s gain’, which I wrote about in the Guardian recently in The Shadowy World of Sex Across Borders. And which, I learned yesterday in Copenhagen, is the Finnish Model.

In this context, I would like to come up with some advice to clients. I’m wondering what other working people advise, since I tend to think that any client genuinely worried about this should stop paying human beings for sex and move onto some other form of commercial pleasure. Why? Because, as I write ad infinitum, it is vexingly difficult to distinguish levels of will and choice, except at the extremes of the continuum where pure freedom and pure slavery supposedly exist.

And it is perfectly true that sex workers may lie about or exaggerate their happiness in their work in order to get custom, or be afraid of telling anyone the truth, since that might lead them into trouble if they are found out.

So what do people think?

Laura Agustín
So that means that in a perfect world where all people care about other people prostitution cannot exist.

Now the task for me is, to put that all in practise. My latest visit to a prostitute in April this year was a colossal mistake. And I must also admit that I do actually regularly watch pornography. I do agree with radical feminists that pornography is simply sexual violence caught on film. I can see that with my own eyes. I feel very ashamed that I get sexually excited by all this torture. But unfortunately, my highscore of not watching pornography stands at 3 months, my latest attempt lasted 2 weeks.

My only excuse for now is that all men and women watch pornography (look at all the women who shave their pussies).

Violence becomes the norm anyway nowadays.

Main

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Newsflash - FLASH!!!!

Main

Okay, and now for something completely different.

An article about another sex trafficking gang who operates in Dutch window prostiution.

De Hongaarse connectie (Trouw, December 2nd 2009)

A Hungarian prostitute (29) explains that Hungarian women are violently forced to work behind windows by a loosely organized group of Hungarian sex traffickers. The police estimates that approximately 40 women are victims of this gang. The women are lured by the men by using romantic techniques. Perhaps that you can use google translate or something to read the article.

Another newsflash:

Gerommel bij de hoeren (Panorama, 2009)

A hookers.nl (a punter website)-moderator acknowledges that there is forced prostitution in the Netherlands. He explains that nowadays prostitutes mainly come from Bulgaria and Romania. He estimates that most of the Eastern European prostitutes are forced. Even some high class escort prostitutes (not necessarily Eastern Eurpopean) are among them according to him. He denies that 60-80% of the prostitutes are forced like the government says. He estimates the number rather to be like 30-50%. Use OCR to read this article.

And a Polish madam exploits Polish women in a club in Rotterdam which she owns herself.

Poolse mensenhandelaren opgepakt (De Telegraaf, December 3th 2009)

I forgot to tell about the Koolvis case (use google) where African (Nigerian) women are forced to work in prostitution, but in this case the Netherlands is used as a transit country. It explains by the way why so many African women are registered in the Netherlands as victims of forced prostitution while you hardly see African prostitutes in the Netherlands at all, so the reason is: they are on transit..... (and according to a policemen many African illegal immigrants simply lie about being victims of forced prostitution).

By the way, nearly all the women in the articles mentioned knew that they would work in prostitution.

It is the exploitation you know (but consensual :S ).

Anyway, I'm being a hypocrite (I'm still working on my sex addiction).

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Past

Now some more old (translated) material.

From the archives of nrc:

IND: prostituees niet zelfstandig [IND: prostitutes not independent]
By one of our editors

Thursday October 15th 1998

Eight out of ten Eastern European prostitutes who work on de Wallen of Amsterdam, are the victim of women trafficking. That was put forward by two police officers yesterday before the court of Amsterdam during the handling of an appeal of six Eastern European prostitutes against the rejection of their residence permit by the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst ([Immigration and Naturalization service] IND). These women want to settle themselves as an independent entrepreneur, but the IND doesn’t believe that they are truly independent. That’s why the IND refused a residence permit two times. According to investigator H. Florie of the Sfinx-team that investigated women trafficking on the Wallen of Amsterdam, most Eastern European prostitutes come with false documents to the Netherlands. “The girls are mostly lowly educated and naive and are an easy prey for women traffickers. They often have debts, because they have to pay back the traffickers for a false passport and the journey to the Netherlands”, so says Florie.

According to the policeman it is difficult to gather evidence against the women traffickers because many victims don’t dare to make a statement [to the police]. “Not only the women themselves are threatened, but also their family members abroad’, says Florie. Also his superior, chief commissioner T. Eeken, doubts if the women are truly working indendently. According to him they almost never have money, while they nevertheless earn five hundred to thousand guilders per day. Above all there are always ‘protectors’ in the neighbourhood according to Eeken. That’s why he assumes that the prostitutes have to hand over their earnings.
From the archives of the the Volkskrant:

Hoerenbeleid Amsterdam bevordert vrouwenhandel [Whore policy Amsterdam encourages women trafficking]
Unknown, Weert Schenk

Published on February 21th 1998

The judge has helped the ‘kastenbazen’ [window brothel owners] a hand. In July last years the court in The Hague decided that window prostitutes from countries with whom the European Union has an association treaty, like Poland, the Czech Republic and Slowakia, are allowed to work here. They get a residence permit if they can prove that they are independent entrepreneurs.

Since then the Wallen have been flooded with Eastern European women with a passport which is false or not. For insiders it is clear that they are not working independently. They can see that by the cars which each drop three to four women on the working address. In front of the houses almost constantly foreign men (Turks, Yugoslavs and Albanians) stand guard.

Field workers assume that the guards of the women are ‘errand boys’ of a criminal network. The women, they say, didn’t come to Amsterdam on their own accord, but are being put to work. According to the foundation The Red Thread, who look after the interests of prostitutes, the Eastern European women work for the ‘humiliatingly low’ rate of 35 guilders. That forces the Dutch women to work cheaper.

The suspicion that te women are being exploited, agrees closely with the results of a recent police investigation. Eastern European criminals yearly bring approximately two thousand prostitutes to the Netherlands. The women are being trafficking for sums between five hundred and ten thousand guilders.

Behind the many Nigerian and Ghanian women also a criminal organization is suspected. They own good Itialian and Greek documents, or false ones which are hardly distinguishable from real. An additional problem is that these women change their appearance daily with the help of wigs. The police can only determine the validity of the passport with great difficulty.
From the archives of nrc:

Groter aantal prostituees Oost-Europa [Bigger number of prostitutes Eastern Europe]
By one of our editors

Tuesday March 6th 2001

Amsterdam, March 6th. “The number of prostitutes on the tippelzone on the Theemsweg in Amsterdam has strongly risen during the last year. From the numbers it arises that especially the number of Eastern European women has increased.

Recently mayor Cohen stated that the tippelzone is “chock full”. Numbers from the Begeleidingscommissie Tippelzone [guidance commission tolerance zone] acknowledge this. The numbers are based on the numbers of visitors in the Huiskamer [Living Room], the reception centre for the prostitution. This rised from on average 65 to 78. The number of Eastern European women that evening rose from 6 in 1997 to 32 in the year 2000.

Eastern European women mostly work with a pimp and the suspicion is that many of them are the victim of women trafficking. “We actually know for certain that often you can speak of a strong pressure on these women. We also suspect that they are put to work throughout the whole of Europe”, so says Jaap Fransman, manager of HVO-Querido, the foundation who runs the Huiskamer.

South-American women, until now the majority on the tippelzone, mostly work independently. They are now being ‘pushed aside’ by Eastern European, and to a lesser extent, African women.
From the archives of nrc:

Bordelen worstelen met gedoogbeleid [Brothels are struggling with policy of tolerance]
By our editor Anneke Visser

Thursday November 7th 1996

Brothel owners on de Wallen in Amsterdam are struggling with the harsh treatment of their business by the municipality. They fear that illegal prostitutes are chased to the streets because of that.

(…)

The objection of the brothel owners that because of the conduct of Patijn the Illegal prostitutes are sent to the street, is warded off by the municipality with the argument that these women are now no less than the prisoners of the brothel owners being meant. “They must hand over their passports and are often unable to move freely”, so says a spokesperson. Badoux on his turn: “That is rude. The municipality is itself responsible for this practice. Sometimes the brothel owners withhold passports, because they are to suffer when the women can’t identify themselves.”

Friday, October 09, 2009

Blast from the past

I wanted to inform you people about my latest excavations in the archives of Dutch newspapers. This following article (of which parts are translated by me) is about prostitution in Dutch province of Limburg in the nineties. Unfortunately the articles doesn’t contain quotation marks, I had to add them to make it more readable. The article contains the usual stunning admissions. And also unfortunately, it contains nothing new. Notice though, that in the article Russian women reportedly work with forged Polish passports. Is that the country where all the many Polish prostitutes in the Netherlands come from?

From the archives of the Dutch newspaper nrc.

Pezen voor je leven; Vrouwenhandel neemt toe, vooral vanuit Oost-Europa [prostituting for your life; Women trafficking increases, especially from Eastern Europe]

Alfred van Cleef

June 17th, 1995
(...)

It often occurs that a foreign prostitute must hand over half or more of her income to a ‘boyfriend’ or protector. Otten [club owner of Lovers Lane, on the rijksweg in Mook]: [“]many club owners would rather have girls with a pimp. Because they work at least. I they don’t feel like it, they get a punch, that’s how it is.[“] He himself doesn’t want pimps over the floor. [“]You just know what kind of blokes they are, it emanates from their jaws. Say it yourself, how many decent pimps are there now? When my girls are under thumb of a pimp, she goes out. Indefinitely. Yet it is easy to always blame the blokes. Look, you have three categories of girls: clever, dumb and extremely dumb. Yet I lately had experienced that one of the girls finally had gotten rid of such a bloke. A week later she nevertheless goes back to him and he grabs that girly by the throat. That girl had to leave.[“]

(...)

For a long time prostitution is no longer concentrated in the big cities. In Northern Limburg alone there are 58 registered brothels, against 63 in Amsterdam, so says project leader J.H. Hermans of the team Onderzoek Mensenhandel [Investigation Human Trafficking] of the regional police Limburg-Noord. [“]And then I don’t even talk about escort services, window prostitutes, housewives, street prostitutes and gays.” Hermans’ team performs aimed raids in brothels in Limburg of which there is a suspicion that women trafficking is at issue there. What he encounters during those raids he calls extremely alarming. [“]I dare to assert that seventy percent of the prostitutes in Northern Limburg are victims of women trafficking. Girls who have been put into the trunk while being drugged, minors Russian women with forged Polish passports.[“]

In many clubs the prostitutes are totally isolated according to Hermans. [“?”]They live there internally: sometimes with twenty women in one building with only six rooms, where they also must receive their clients. They only speak a Lithuanian dialect or Slovakian, are never allowed to go outside, are being relocated continuously and must work permanently, during menstruation or not. During illness they are simply dumped, beat it. They are treated like cattle, as utensils. The majority are with gigantic debts. The payment of their so-called visa and the transport. I have only one word for this: slavery.[“]

(...)

Roughly twenty women made a report of women trafficking in the case against the Dutchman H.B., who in the meantime is in a Czech cell. ‘The case H.B.’ is jewel of the stable of Hermans and his team. H.B., former owner of sex club Paradiso in Haelen in Limburg, is suspected of recruiting many dozens of women from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with as destination brothels in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Between nose and lips Hermans slips the words that H.B. was vice-chairman of the Vereniging van Exploitanten van Relaxhuizen. Chairman Klein Beekman: [“]No vice-chairman, but committee member. That’s right. Now he has been expelled. H.B. was also an ex-cop[“], Klein Beekman strikes the ball back. Which is confirmed [that H.B. was a cop] by the regional police Limburg-Noord. [”]But that was a long time ago[“], says the spokesperson.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Montly reports

Comensha (former Foundation Against Trafficking in Women) has released monthly reports: over here (see also an older post about the same subject)

maandrapportage augustus
maandrapportage januari-juli 2009
maandrapportage januari-juni 2009
maandrapportage januari-mei 2009

Nowadays they also include victims from other sectors of prostitution. There are lots of men who are exploited. Funny that they treat the victims as one group, making comparisons over the years very difficult and trivializing the particular degradation of being forced to work in the sex industry.

Plus ...... they have information about specific sectors where prostitutes are forced to work. It is interesting to see that until July forced prostitution in clubs and privéhuizen was less prevalent compared to window prostitution it seemed. Then suddenly in August the clubs and privéhuizen overtake window prostitution. It shows how tricky numbers are. What is also still striking is the large number of Dutch victims.

For many victims the type of place/brothel where they worked is unknown. Many have been forced to work in prostitution, but it is not known where. Also men have been forced to prostitute (8 men between January-August 2009). Using the August report, of the 402 women who are victims of human trafficing it is known that:
113 where forced in prostitution but it is not known what type.
25 in a brothel/club.
21 in window prostitution.
13 as an escort.
9 in street prostitution.
2 in a massage parlour.
2 in a privéhuis

Some people have worked in multiple sectors. Also, there are other types of labour where victims have been forced to work (but truely, I'm not so interested in that yet, the food on my plate is still just food, the house where I live in is still just another house). Men are especially forced to work as construction workers, in agriculture and in horticulture. The same is true for women, but women are also forced to work in privately-owned houses, I guess as housekeepers.

And ..... for something completely different, it seems that the volkskrant and nrc have opened up their archives. I found some completely new stuff there. I will point some of that out in the future. Actually the information is not new, basically it reconfirms what we already now.

But to give a preview:
Liever de hoer spelen dan land uit (Victor Lebesque, May 28th 2001)
This article in the Volkskrant describes Romanian women who were forced to prostitute in the sex club Ria on the Overtoom in Amsterdam. That is a total revelation to me because I always assumed that this was one of the better brothels. Actually this was what the anthropologist Paul van Gelder told me. I actually also read this years ago I guess in the weekly magazine Aktueel. The madam is interviewed and she told that she carefully screens the women who want to work in the club. She even refused women who had been sexually abused.

It seems that I got rid of another mirage in my head.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

review: Sonia Rossi

Main

I saw a Dutch translation of Sonia Rossi’s book ‘Fucking Berlin : Studentin und Teilzeit-Hure’ (2008) in the bookstore. Sonia Rossi (fictitious name) is an Italian immigrant who worked in prostitution a couple of years ago. She did that to finance her mathematics study and her unemployed boyfriend, and later also her baby. She mostly worked in Berlin but also made some trips to brothels in other parts in Germany. Her story is very interesting and detailed, she probably also kept a diary during that period.

Usually I only buy the books about prostitution in the Netherlands. But Berlin is close and it would be good comparison material. I thought: how would it be in this part of the world? Obviously I was especially interested in forced prostitution. Horror stories are easy to find about Dutch prostitution, and even about the areas in Germany bordering the Netherlands, but how would it be in other parts of Germany?

What I understand after reading her book is that there are many Eastern European women working in Germany. Many Russian women, but also Hungarians, Romanians, Estonians etc….. To my surprise she doesn’t mention forced prostitution very often. She first heard about it in a club in Berlin from an Estonian woman called Vera who was forced in prostitution during a period of three years starting from the age of fifteen. She also worked in the Netherlands. According to Vera the prisons in the Netherlands are good compared to other countries. Sonia was surprised by Vera’s story because she thought human trafficking was something of the past.

Furthermore she encountered two women in a club in Freiburg, one Romanian and one German, who were rumoured to be exploited by their boyfriends, according to a Russian prostitute called Natascha. Basically these women handed over all their earnings to their boyfriends. Then Sonia explains that many Russian prostitutes tell a story like this: “Becoming pregnant on their eighteenth birthday, married, divorced after a year, ended up in Germany via a marriage of convenience, left their child with grandma in Russia and eventually ended up in prostitution to be able to send enough money back home.” Perhaps I’m prejudiced, but I guess that the women (or Sonia) left out the debt bondage part of the story, because they couldn’t pay for the convenience marriage at first.

And for the rest, there’s a multi-story indoor window prostitution brothel where a young Romanian transvestite man was pimped by his mother from the age of fifteen. He handed over all his earning to her. Also his sister had worked in that brothel.

And really that’s it. As for the rest, the book doesn’t paint a good picture of prostitution. For instance, the club in Freiburg forbade the women to leave the premise. And drugs were used by all the women in that club, except two. As for the clients in general, Sonia explains that many times she has to keep the clients from groping her and putting their fingers in her anus or vagina. Sonia also worked in a brothel in Berlin with a Turkish clientele who treated her like a peace of meat. And the prices are extremely low in Berlin, 20 Euros is not unusual. It must be added by me that in the Netherlands the prices aren’t high either. I calculated that you basically pay 2 Euros per minute. You could go to very luxurious looking brothels in the Netherlands paying only 80 Euros for half an hour of sex.

On the other hand not all is bad. Sonia explains that she actually does enjoy the sex with clients sometimes. And Vera saw it like this: “20 percent of the guests were nice, 40 percent were repulsive, and the rest real assholes”. Perhaps that offers an explanation to why prostitutes could have so different views about their jobs: many are ebullient about it while others absolutely hate it. If you belief Sonia and Vera, then both views are right in a sense; perhaps some prostitutes see the glass as half full, they ignore the bad sides, and others prostitutes see the glass half empty and aren’t impressed by the nicer clients.

BTW: Probably Sonia Rossi is not really Italian. She appeared in the Dutch TV show ‘Spuiten en slikken’ and her accent is more like Eastern European. I would place a bet on Romania, perhaps Bulgaria. And there is no English translation of the book which is originally in German.

Friday, July 31, 2009

review: Jody Peters

Main

Now a new review of mine of the book:
“Een haar per dag, dertig maanden in de prostitutie” [A hair a day, thirty months in prostitution] by Jody Peters and Michiel Hegener (1988)

Jody Peters [fictitious name] is a Dutch woman (Michiel Hegener is the ghostwriter) who has been coerced to work in prostitution (in the the Netherlands) by a pimp starting from approximately 19 years of age, using the same old romantic techniques: first manipulating her to work in prostitution voluntarily, then steadily using more violence. As a child she was abused by a paedophile. She escaped with the help of an American client whom she falled in love with (he also with her).

At first she worked in clubs, then behind windows. It is unclear when this took place, but I guess during the end of the seventies or the beginning of the early nineties. This is a book I didn’t know existed but I coincidentally stumbled upon it in a library.

My eyes opened, closed and are now opening again. But still a voice within me still says that her story is just an exception. But hey, perhaps I can convert Laura. Have you all heard about Laura?

Laura is dreaming (and I'm just gossiping, I still have a concrete head).

Okay some translated quotes from the Dutch book (my eyes are closing, almost sleeping). I also selected some of these quotes because in my opinion it proves that
1. There are ways to beat up a woman without seeing bruises.
2. Prostitutes lie towards the police and the police about working voluntary or not (they probably also lie to researchers).

Below are only quotes:
(page 60) He hit me everywhere where he could hit me without lowering my market value – in my face only when I had a day off in front of me to let the welts fade away.

(page 72-73) A couple of weeks after I came to work in the Applegarden [not the real name of the club], two police officers of the vice police came by for a talk with each of the newly hired girls – except for the illegal girls: they quickly disappeared into the dressing-room. In a separate little room I was allowed to give answers to: ‘Do you do this work voluntarily?’ and: ‘Do you feel well here?’
Of course I did it voluntarily, and obviously I liked it. The idea to tell my life story to two perfect strangers was not appealing. Because of their questions the police officers painfully confirmed that I was a prostitute – much more than the clients, they [the clients] simply close their eyes to that. This was the vice police, the police for whores. It was humiliating like this already. If I said: ‘No, I don’t work voluntarily at all and I’m beaten up weekly’, it would be even more humiliating. And it wouldn’t be without effect: everything, my whole life would come into motion and I would be at the mercy of the unlimited rage of Carlos. If I would or wouldn’t tell it to the police, it wouldn’t make a difference, because no protection around the world was big enough to protect me against my pimp.
Within five minutes the conversation was over. If there unexpectedly would be any problems, they said kindly, I could always knock on their door, they would help me in any case. And I thought: Nobody could help me in the situation where I’m in now.

(page 123) To her [another prostitute] and several other girls I confided how Carlos treated me and they told me about their pimps. Behind the window next to me a divorced woman worked for a while who had a son as pimp. When it was necessary, he also battered her - once even while I was there.
There were also pimps who had their girls so well under their thumb with psychological threats and manipulations, that they didn't need to batter. With the pimps who did, they had in common that they meant much or even everything to their girl. When you have nothing else at all, you even care about someone who leeches on you, intimidates you and maltreats you. I found out that nearly each girl in the [window prostitution] street did have a pimp to whom they had to hand over her money.

(page 125) Inevitably my own life came up for discussion every now and then, and to all clients, everybody, I lied. Everybody got to hear a version of the becoming-rich-quickly-in-prostitution-story that nearly all girls tell: I did this a couple of years, everything went on the bank account, and after this, I would never had money troubles again. I would rather tell that than that I had already let me bullyrag me for two years by a psychopath who gambled away all my money or handed it out to his friends, and who beat me black and blue weekly because I never made enough money. Clients who saw me as a keen business lady who had it all arranged well, respected me more. To achieve that I gladly lied. It was the only respect that I could get.

(page 150) [Jody falls in love with a John and can't stand the clients anymore] Now only after two and a half years in prostitution, it got through me how inhumane my work was. I had allowed a couple of thousand perfect strangers to do the most intimate things to me, without impressing me.

(page 165) I wanted to write this book for a very long time because in my opinion there are in general large misunderstandings about prostitution. The image of the Happy Hooker that many have of prostitutes, for example. If feel this image is damaging: it hushes up the role of pimps, the exploitation and the gross physical abuse which is used to keep a large majority of the prostitutes in their grip. In the years that I was in prostitution myself, I never encountered a Happy Hooker.
The world of prostitution is still opaque and dark. Information to the outside world is still impeded – in the first place by pimp-intimidation, but also because many prostitutes themselves have difficulties recognizing the dreadful situation where they are in. The result is that often there are criminal and inhumane thing happening of which the rest of society has no knowledge.
With the help of Michiel Hegener I hope to have compiled a book that will open the eyes of many people to the pure slavery which prostitution is in most cases.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

review: Sarah Forsyth

Main

I was about the write a short review about Sarah Forsyth’s book ‘Slave Girl – I was an ordinary British girl. I was kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. This is my horrific true story’. Sarah Forsyth was sort of kidnapped to the Netherlands. The stereotypical story of having been promised to work as a nanny but then forced to work in a window brothel on de Wallen in Amsterdam (Goldbergersteeg). This happened around 1995.

Sarah was kidnapped by a British pimp called John Reece and his girlfriend Sally who was also forced in prostitution. Eventually she was resold to a Yugoslav pimp who at the end suddenly fled because he feared he was going to get arrested. Sarah could escape.

Her story actually doesn’t surprise me. There have been so many bad stories already about the RLD in Amsterdam. It sounds completely plausible.

She also describes the organization of de Wallen. Everything is there: the Turks, the Moroccans, the Yugoslavs. And aside of that smaller pimps like John Reece. He had some English women working for him. And some Eastern European and Thai girls (page 120-121). Sally describes that John Reece brings in women from all over Britain (page 71). Some he sells to other pimps, others he keeps for himself. Sally describes that most of them are rough and have worked in prostitution before. But he also wanted an innocent girl, a girl who has never worked as a prostitute. This is interesting because it turns out there’s also a trade of prostitutes from Britain to the mainland of Europe. And it also confirms another observation that most prostitutes who are trafficked know that they will be working in prostitution, or already work in prostitution.

At one point Sarah was approached by two Dutch vice cops (page 171-174). A man and a woman. She didn’t trust them. Why? She feared that they were some of her Yugoslav pimp’s stooges. He regularly sent in new members of his gang to talk to the girls and pretend to be members of a special police force. According to Sarah many policeman were on the payroll of this pimp. At one point she was even raped by seven policemen who entered her window (see also pages 153-154).

Corruption on de Wallen is also confirmed in the book by Jos Verlaan ‘Chaos aan de amstel’ (1999).
His book also got information from the internal police report ‘Rood licht, valse hoop’ [Red Light, False Hope] (Regiopolitie Amsterdam-Amstelland wijkteam Warmoestraat, 'Rood licht, valse hoop', October 1995). It reveals that at least 27 networks of women traffickers operated on de Wallen plus an extensive network of street pimps. read:
Na legalisering ging seksbranche verder ondergronds (Jos verlaan, August 22th 2008)

What Sarah says about not trusting the police is important and it gives a possible explanation why prostitutes rarely say to researchers (or police inspectors) that they are forced. From the point of view the researchers could be the helpers of the pimps. It also means if a client asks to a prostitute if she’s forced to do this (as I recently did) that this could be downright intimidating to her. The clients could be one of the stooges from her point of view, a way to test her allegiance.

The most striking feature of the book is the murder on the Thai prostitute Par (page 168). At one point Sarah and Par were being raped while they were also being filmed. She worked for the Yugoslav pimp at that time. At one point somebody shot Par through the head. This is actually the first case in the Netherlands where I read of where a prostitute is so clearly killed by a pimp. There are cases where prostitutes simply disappear, dead bodies are found or where prostitutes die under mysterious circumstances. But it was never definitely proven that this was done by a pimp. Usually it was a client. Obviously Par is just an anonymous prostitute who isn’t missed by anybody. To make her disappear doesn’t ring any alarms. That means that the real list of dead prostitutes is longer.

Sarah also speaks very negatively of punters (pages 100, 115-117). That will scare me off for a while. At this moment I’m in an all-the-prostitutes-are-forced phase again. I wonder how long that will take. I have switched position so very often during the years.

There are no excuses anymore.

"And when it was over , and after I had done as Sally had told me with the condom, he stood up, carefully put on his clothes and simply said ‘thanks’. Then he was gone.
I sat on the bed, curtains still closed, in a state of complete shock: relieved beyond belief that it was over but still incapable of understanding what had really just happened. And why did he say ‘thanks’ – as if I had done him some small favour that could be repaid by a simple word of empty gratitude? Thanks. For what? For letting you rape me? – for that was surely what it was. Thank you?" (from page 100)

Monday, July 20, 2009

review: David Farer

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By accident I stumbled upon a book I have totally overlooked for years. It comes in multiple versions of which the earliest is from 1995. The writer is David Farer who has lived in the brothels of Jan Bik to interview prostitutes. He also worked as a manager in the brothels.

I have a Dutch version named “Bordeellevens” [brothel lives] (1995) and a more recent English version called “Games prostitutes play – prostitution and child abuse“ (2008). The two versions differ slightly. Names are different, Marijke in the Dutch version is Maria in the English. And there are prostitutes described in one book which are not described in the other, and vice versa. The English book contains some extra chapters with comments.

In the books he explains that he is a free-lancer who writes about elderly pilots. One of the pilots who was interviewed said that if David could interview pilots he could also interview prostitutes in a particular brothel that the pilot visited when he is in Amsterdam. Jan Bik, the brothel owner, thought that was a good idea. At the end David Farer spent a long time in these brothels. In the books he says for several months in intervals. He is vague about when this actually happened but probably it is during the early nineties.

Anyway. This book is important. It is funny that after reading so much about prostitution in the Netherlands that this information in this book strikes me as a complete surprise. During last years I actually slowly began to accept the idea that forced prostitution among Dutch prostitutes largely takes place in window prostitution, and that this is especially related to young Dutch prostitutes. Several sources point this out. Often when you read about these cases (of Dutch forced prostitutes) this mostly takes place in window prostitution, and you have to take in mind that only a relatively small segment of Dutch prostitutes work behind windows. Secondly, also Ine Vanwesenbeeck noted that among the predominantly Dutch prostitutes she interviewed at the end of the eighties, that Dutch window prostitutes are much more often subjected to violence by ‘acquaintances’ than those in clubs and privéhuizen. I explain this further in my post about Dutch prostitutes:
this link here

You know the trick? Visit an older Dutch prostitutes and avoid window and street prostitution. Or visit perhaps a Latin American prostitute.

Now that I read the book by David Farer, I don’t know it anymore. I quote some of his stuff from page 392 and 393 of his English book:
Most prostitutes in permanent relationships have men who dominate, beat, belittle, insult, and attack them. Even women who dominate clients, other prostitutes, and managers at the brothel go home to men like Valerie’s boyfriend or worse. Valerie's man eventually hospitalized her, but she defended the creature even after the hospital released her.

These boyfriends are men whom the women choose for emotional reasons of their own.
Although perfectly dependent on the women, these men were cruel to them. They played no role in the women's professional lives. Many people call such men pimps, although they were not pimps in the sense of men who found their women customers and "managed" their careers as prostitutes. They had not pushed the women into prostitution. The men had no control over the women whatever, apart from that which the women gave them. Examples abound, but that which comes to mind first was when I spent hours and days explaining to a prostitute that she could and should get rid of her abusive boyfriend and find a nicer one who did not beat her up every night. She then very simply went home, packed his suitcase, drove him to a hotel, and gave him some money.
The next day she told me to pack my books and throwaway my clothes, Because she would drive by my home to pick me up. As my jaw bounced off the floor, the others took her aside and explained to her that David had not intended to apply for a position as her new pimp. She then drove to the hotel where she had deposited her old pimp and took him home. He celebrated their reunion by beating her unconscious that night.

Here is yet another example of my naiveté in intervening in situations that were over my head, and in which I went into battle armed with good intentions, but little sense.
The Latin American prostitute Catalina explains in the Dutch version (page 98):
In my opinion the Dutch prostitutes are very peculiar. They are not healthy. Many of them are addicted to drugs. I think they come from bad families. They make so much money, but they squander it to drugs and bad [boy]friends who beat them. I see them come in, fully covered with bruises.
Obviously I’m aware of some prostitutes who have said that prostitutes in general are forced in the brothels, but perhaps these were isolated cases. Such a recent case is of Kelly de Heer who said in the Dutch program ‘Pauw en Witteman’ (December 19th 2008), who worked in the clubs ‘Boobs and Booties’ in Nijmegen and in the ‘Club Reeperbahn’ in Breda. In the interview she says that ‘I will tell you and it sounds really stupid, but behind 9 out of 10 women there is a man behind it.’

However the world-famous blogger Jeanette who was a prostitute in the mid nineties and who said many prostitutes were forced to do this then, has recently re-entered her old job again, and now says that forced prostitution has substantially decreased (she has also worked as a madam in the meantime so maybe that’s an explanation).

So, the great puzzle continues.

I’m aware that David’s story is relatively old and things could have changed. But, you never know. What also surprised me is that some of the 30-plus prostitutes (like Valerie) have abusive husbands.

David also found that nearly all prostitutes have been sexually abused, mostly by their fathers. Actually, all the horrendous stereotypes of prostitutes are reinforced. He describes prostitutes as genuinely heavily traumatized women who perpetuate the trauma by working in prostitution and becoming romantically involved with violent men, often criminals. While actually more recent reports suggest that prostitutes are not more traumatized than women and men in general (I mean the sociale positie van prostituees-reports which you can all find via google). David describes that almost all prostitutes smoke. Many are on coke.

Well, perhaps I should return to my old conclusion which I drew that nearly all prostitutes are forced. The foreign as well as the Dutch, the indoor as well as the outdoor, the window prostitutes as well as those in clubs, the young as well as the old…..

MEN AROUND THE WORLD UNITE!!!!!

NEVER VISIT PROSTITUTES!!!!!

IT IS ABUSE!!!!!

So that was my book review about David.

More book reviews to come. Have you all read ‘Fucking Berlin’ by Sonia Rossi from Italy (actually Romania I guess). And obviously ‘Slave Girl’ by Sarah Forsyth, the English girl who was forced on de Wallen in Amsterdam around 1995.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crusader

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There is a new book out with several contributions:
Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients (2008, edited by: by Andrea Di Nicola, Andrea Cauduro, Marco Lombardi, Paolo Ruspini)

One of the contributions is:
The Flesh is Weak, the Spirit Even Weaker - Clients and Trafficked Women in the Netherlands (by Damián Zaitch and Richard Staring)

Actually I took part in that research, and, in that research punter-forums have been analyzed where obviously I took part in.

I'm described by Zaitch and Staring as a 'fanatic moral crusader and anti-women trafficking campaigner'. Thank you, couldn't they have used more neutral words. Like 'entrepreneur' instead of 'crusader'? Or 'driven'/'enthousiastic' instead of 'fanatic'? Crusader and fanatic sound so negative.

Perhaps they are right, I'm overdoing it.

They don't have a positive attitude about clients anyway. The clients are uninterested, often deny that there are problems in prostitution and if they (the clients) do admit that there are problems, they say they don't encounter those particular (forced) prostitutes or can(not) make the distinction (between forced and voluntary). And then there are the 'moral crusaders' like me who say how bad the others are.

Furthermore they draw the worrying conclusion that the fact that prostitution is now legal in the Netherlands creates a false sense of security among clients of prostitutes because the brothels are now supposed to be free of abuse because they are supervised. Which the brothels obviously are not (free of abuse).

Anyway, lately I was thinking how to visit a prostitute again (after my latest impulsive visit to one). I thought, perhaps I could visit one of the women who post on hookers.nl. They couldn't be forced aren't they?

Well, anyway, three years ago I was invited by one of the prostitutes (who also post on hookers.nl and with whom I also had discussions) to visit her at her home. She then lived with her (much older) husband who also operates an escort service. And I came. It was her idea, to him it was a surprise. They were friendly people. She wanted to show me that there are also good escort operators. I also spoke with another (much older) prostitute there, who grew up on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam (Red Light District).

We discussed with the four/five/six/seven (there were other people present, including children) of us how to separate the forced from the voluntary prostitutes. The other (older) prostitute who worked for the agency was of the opinion that if the prostitute wants to leave her pimp she could easily do that, just kill him in his sleep. In her opinion the women had a sadomasochistic relationship with their pimps. Own fault. Except maybe for the foreign women. She confirmed that most prostitutes have pimps, but they are not forced, she explained that pimps have multiple women in their stable and he turns them against each other. She was also a madam in the past. She said she was the Robin Hood because she gave the debt-bonded prostitutes free meals. But she was a nice lady anyway (she also believes in the paranormal).

A lively discussion arose. The woman who had invited me and I were of the opinion that forced prostitution was really a problem. The older woman believed it was not. The husband had his own opinions, he didn't believe it was really possible to separate forced from voluntary prostitution. The woman who invited me said that force and voluntariness lie very close to each other. She herself said that she enjoyed her work and that she enjoys sex.

That was a very special day.

Anyway, to come back to now; she came back on the hookers.nl forum under another name and now says that she was violently forced by her husband to work in prostitution for 9 year. She met him when she 15 years old. He was like a father for her, but he saw her as a money-well without a bottom. He persuaded her to break with her family and friends which caused her to be a puppet in his hands. If she didn't wanted to have sex with clients he beat and threatened her again and again. He almost killed her own self. She now says that she didn't enjoy her work and that she probably was a good actress because clients called her a 'girlfriend experience'. At the end she contemplated to kill her husband. She left him 2 years go.

I wish her good luck.

Well, for me that means that I'm now back again where I originally started.

Thinking back of it, I also chatted with another prostitute on hookers.nl a while back, who on the forum says that she has the coolest job in the world but personally said to me that clients treat her like a piece of meat with a hole in it, the nicer clients make the job nice. A view reflected by Sonia Rossi who wrote the book Fucking Berlin about her experiences in prostitution in the German capital. According to her, there are nice clients, but most are evil assholes who just grab, grope and put fingers in orifices without announcement. And it doesn't matter in what kind of establishment a prostitute works.

Beats me why many researched/interviewed prostitutes say they enjoy their work. Even many prostitutes on their own Dutch forum say that they describe the sex with their clients as pleasant. That's another paradox. Perhaps they see the glass as half full?

Perhaps it is better just to find a girlfriend or use my imagination (and my hand).

Friday, May 08, 2009

A dark world

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Now, an article about Thérèse van der Helm who works for the P&G292 (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 292), an information centre for prostitutes near the RLD in Amsterdam. Dark pictures again!, too easy. I'm really thinking about posting positive articles about prostitutes. Remember! Prostitution doesn't cause (post traumatic) stress (disorder). And my head is still made of concrete.

http://www.pg292.nl/pers.html
http://www.prostitutie.nl/scripts/thema/leesmeer1.php?id=124

Een duistere wereld vol geheimen [A dark World full of secrets]
over het veldwerk [about the fieldwork] GGD Vizier november 2008

by Claudia Plantinga

(...)

We walk through an alley and Therese greets the girls behind the windows. Every now and then she has a chat with them and informs if everything goes well. The alley is all window with many beautiful young dolled-up girls who stand behind it or sit on a bar stool.

Therese: Because we know many women now, they let us inside and we can keep an eye on their situation a little. We offer free services and they can go to us anonymously. We can enter almost everywhere. First it is NO!, and the door stays closed. When I call Doctor! The door does go open and we are allowed in.

Belly ache

Therese sees a girl that she doesn’t know and asks if we can come inside for a while. We are invited, although there’s lots of suspicion. Behind this window three young girls work who only speak Hungarian. One of the reasons that Betty, a Hungarian instructor, also comes along when the P&G team visits this alley. Therese gives safe sex information and information about the morning after pill. The new prostitutes get a package of condoms, sponges and information about the P&G. One of the girls still wants to ask some questions. We enter her work room.

Therese and Betty take place on the bed complete with large mirror and red lighting. The girl, 18 years old and very fragile, waveringly begins her story. She works for two weeks on de Wallen now and has lots of belly ache during her work. Therese keeps asking questions, with the help of Betty as interpreter. The girl tells that she works seven days a week and has on average ten to twenty clients per day. Therese tells that her body can’t handle that. She takes as an example that when you continuously receive punches on the same area on your arm, these also become very painful and swollen. She advises this girl to work less but she doesn’t want to know anything of this. To make the work less difficult for her Therese gives her advises with a dildo as example. She emphasizes that the girl is the boss of her body and not the client!

Three abortions

Therese wants to know why she works so much, if she has problems and if she works for somebody or is forced. The girl doesn’t really answer her questions. She tells that she works voluntarily and wants to go back once and for all to Hungary when it's Christmas. The money that she earns is for her mother. In passing she tells that she underwent three abortions in Hungary. Therese says that she readily wants to make an appointment with her and she agreed to it. We said goodbye to this bewildered girl. I feel very sorry for her.

Very thin

I also have the feeling that nobody trusts each other, a dark world full of secrets. The girls also certainly don’t show the back of their tongue. I’m deeply shocked about the situation where these girls are in. These really are girls and some I estimate to be younger than 18.

Every one of them beautiful but almost all very skinny and many with a bad set of teeth. According to Therese they live on junkfood, red bull and cola. The men who move slowly alongside the windows I don’t understand. What a strange world. I realize at the same time that it is also a matter of demand and supply…

Continue to work during pregnancy

Therese: In this alley work Hungarian women; they all have a pimp. Mostly they are victim of a criminal network where they are being forced to work in prostitution. In the Netherlands pimping is illegal by law. Therese continues her story: What I find very poignant is a prostitute who has become pregnant of a client. Now that she is too late for an abortion she keeps on working until the eight month of the pregnancy. There is no law which prohibits this. And after the delivery she gives the child away for adoption…

(...)