Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good news

I lately wondered, I mostly put negative news on my blog about prostitution in the Netherlands. As if I try to paint the situation here as bleakly as possible. Well, hearing about the good news in the Singel area in Amsterdam (sorry however for the Romanian and Bulgarian prostitutes) I thought to myself: maybe I should just give it a try. So, I headed to this area, tried to pick an older woman (older than 30) and rapidly made my decision.

Unfortunately, she was 24 instead of 30, and Dutch. As a matter of fact, she has many of the characteristics of a victim of a so-called loverboy (or pimpboy as they are called nowadays): she is Dutch, young, and works behind a window. I politely asked her if she wasn't forced to do this. She indicated that she was shocked by the question (but in a positive way: she smiled about it); I was the first person to ask! No, she wasn't, she hated pimps, she works wholly independently. Later after we were done she said she didn't have debts and that she made her hobby her profession. And why would she work behind a counter for a couple a hundred euros a month if she could make 700 euros a day in prostitution?

I believe her, but, if she would have been forced, would she have told me that? Later one of my punter-friends who also knows this girl told me that she doesn't work very often (2 afternoons in the week). She studies and she does this work on the side. She also has a child and a boyfriend. If there is one prostitute he knows who does it voluntarily it is her.

That was very impulsive of me, I felt really bad about myself afterwards, but perhaps I was lucky this time. I think I will visit specific prostitutes in the future of whom I know for sure beforehand that they are really not forced.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Refuse all Romanian girls

Lately a report came out:

It is called 'Weg achter het raam?' ['Gone behind the window?'] by the Bureau Beke (written by Anton van Wijk, Ilse van Leiden en Henk Ferwerda, 2009).

It is about the effect on prostitutes after the closure of several window brothels in Amsterdam. They conclude that because the supply of windows has gone down, the window rents have gone up. The prostitutes now have to pay more to get behind a window. But that is not so interesting in my opinion; if you want to solve this problem, simply help some prostitutes out (especially the forced prostitutes of whom there are rumoured to be many in this type of prostitution), then the demand of prostitutes for windows also goes down. And also; what they say cannot be true because from what I know the windows are heavily under-occupied. But perhaps the situation has recently changed.

But there's something else more interesting in the report. Lately, the municipality of Amsterdam wanted to close down brothels in the Singel area (Korte Korsjespoortsteeg and the Oude Nieuwstraat). It refrained from doing so because there are supposedly much fewer forced prostitutes in that area. I always wondered what is the secret behind this? The report mentions a Romanian girl (page 20) who tried to work in this area, but who was refused because (translated):
"At first the brothel owner finds it okay but as soon as I mention that I am Romanian, the doors gets closed. Bulgarian and Romanian Girls are refused because the brothel owners assume that we all bring problems with us and all are in the hands of loverboys and pimps, that stings us, we feel stigmatized by that."

Very interesting. I always wondered what I would do if I were a brothel owner. In my opinion, from what I know today, it is nearly impossible to seperate the forced from the voluntary prostitutes. They are so good at hiding their situation. And what indeed about just refusing whole groups of prostitutes? No Africans, no Eastern Europeans, no young women (younger than 30), etc ....... Turns out that some brothel owners are indeed doing just that. It is not waterproof however.