Thursday, May 14, 2009



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 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 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 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 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).


Hannah said...

I'm really interested in your research. I am a Broadcast Journalism student, focussing on the clean-up of the red light district, and how the prostitutes have been affected. Would it be possible to email you directly?
Kind regards,
Hannah Mashford.

Donkey said...

Yes sure, just visit my profile and you'll see an email-address:

Actually the answer to your question is difficult. A recent report came out which concluded that the demand for window brothels outweighs the supply so the prices have gone up, which is not good for the prostitutes:

On the other hand, from what I know is that for years the brothels are heavily underoccupied. The window brothels as well as the clubs. This is a complaint made many times by clients, prostitutes and brothel owners. It is actually also what you can observe yourself when you walk to the Red Light Districts. So from that perspective the clean-up cannot have much influence.

Perhaps the situation has changed recently because of the large influx of prostitutes from Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.