Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Positive report


Hi, a new report came out where 94 prostitutes in Amsterdam were interviewed. I'm very happy and excited about the new report, I still must read it so I can't wait (update: I read it), but I have made some furtive looks in it. The work was ordered by the political party Amsterdam Sociaal and carried out by students of the UvA (Universiteit van Amsterdam) (and shamefully unmentioned in the report) and you can download the report here:
De Amsterdamse Prostitutie Monitor

But anyway, the main conclusion is that forced prostitution in Amsterdam is largely exaggerated and that the large majority of prostitutes are working voluntarily in prostitution and can leave the work at any moment if they want to. And also, prostitutes are satisfied about about their clients, so I was very wrong to say that prostitutes don't like their work. All the massive amount of evidence about forced prostitution I gathered over the years (including my word-document with over 700 cases of forced prostitution I found in the media) can be presumably thrown in the dustbin. At this moment I think about what former victim of forced prostiution Anna Ziverte said when she did fieldwork (probably) for TAMPEP in Alkmaar in the late nineties, she said that forced prostitution was much larger than she could have ever imagined!!!! But that was more than 10 years ago, I admit. (A more recent example are the admissions of a hookers.nl-moderator who has visited lots of prostitutes, read my post about the moderator).

The reports which keep coming keep on contradicting each other, and it makes me wonder, if there really is nothing as a customer of prostitutes to worry about? The prostitutes are happy, like their jobs, like their clients, like the sex and like the money they earn. And we (the clients) don't have to worry about forced prostitution or that our sexual behaviour is in any way intimidating towards the women. We can just close our eyes, lie down and relax.

But just to make some minor objections about the report: It is very difficult to create a representative sample of prostitutes (the response rate is not indicated in the report), the probability is large that prostitutes who are actually forced to do this work don't admit that to the interviewers or even simply don't participate. Another objection is that some prostitutes give contradictory answers to certain questions. (On page 14) 93 of 94 say they work independently and don't hand over money to third persons except to family. (On page 15) 98% says they work voluntarily and then suddenly (on page 15), 9 out of 94 ........

......... admit they are being forced to do this work ..........

(and they don't mean forced by circumstances by the way)

I still have to fully read it (update: I read it), but I definitely hope I was totally wrong over the years!!! It is always good to solve a problem just by discovering there was never ever a problem in the first place (except for Saban and his gang).

PS: I have read further and it is striking that they haven't interviewed Latin American women, I think because they only did the interviews in Dutch or English. They interviewed mainly young Dutch and Eastern European women. These women don't seem to work particularly hard, and receive a surprisingly low number of clients per week (21,3% receive 10 clients per week or less, and 56,4% receive 20 clients per week or less, calculate: that's just 4 clients a day given a 5 day workweek .... only 2,1% receive more than 40 clients per week, half of the prostitutes don't work every day). This is in contrast with reports by the municipality (using information form the prostitution and health centre P&G292) which states that the prostitutes often work way too hard, sometimes more than 100 hours per week (see this link to the newspaper article in De Telegraaf, 'Amsterdamse prostituees werken veel te hard' February 11th, 2009). What's also interesting is that nearly all women state that they have no knowledge of women who are coerced to work in prostitution. I find this all very interesting. I would typify exactly these women (young and Dutch and working behind windows, plus young Eastern European women) as the typical kind of women who are coerced/forced/manipulated to work in prostitution! It is funny to see how these women react to questionaries.

But then again, perhaps that I was alllll wrong. It is always good to be honest. But I always fear the worst (I am a very frightened person).


Anonymous said...

Hi, let's think about three most compared models, The Swedish one, Legalization and Decriminalization. I agree with you that decriminalization should be prefered, but this is more or less just my feeling and the strong but foolish need to find any consistent opinion in myself regarding the prostitution. Can you tell me based on which particular literature, documents or countries' policies you came to this conclusion? thank you, simona.

Donkey said...

No literature or documents in particular. I think that people if they really choose to do so should be able to work in prostitution. It is a very demeaning dirty degrading job but not particularly dangerous except for street prostitution or escort. I think it wouldn't matter for the prostitutes if prostitution were prohibited or abolished anyway. It is all so underground. All policy is symbolism. And you could turn the argument around; it doesn't matter for the prostitutes if it were dicriminalized either. It wouldn't solve anything.

A consistent opinion? You can't find one. There is never a solution. We are all oblivious about what the real labour conditions are regarding the products we buy or the services we use. The state can try to improve things but it rarely works. It seems that the powerless are powerless against the powerful anyway. No government can help. Perhaps the solution would be some kind of empowerment, but in case of prostitution that would mean that nobody would work in prostitution in the first place except for the kinky-SM types.