What I've learned over the years is that probably forced prostitution is a very big problem on certain locations in the Netherlands. Such as De Wallen in Amsterdam and the Achterdam in Alkmaar. You hear about De Wallen in Amsterdam that for some years it has been virtually impossible to work there in prostitution independently. When pimps notice that prostitutes work for themselves, the prostitutes are immediately extorted by the pimps. Pimps also extort each other. That means that De Wallen is a very dangerous place to work as a prostitute. So I believe that probably most prostitutes who work there are coerced. Only the Latin American women are not bothered by the pimps, probably because they are older than the other prostitutes, and therefore less interesting for pimps.
What I have also learned is that probably forced prostitution in Amsterdam is mainly concentrated on De Wallen. Outside this area, you don’t find that many more forced prostitutes in Amsterdam. I can use this notion to make an estimate of the total number of forced prostitutes in the Netherlands. After all, there is some data known about how victims of human trafficking are distributed over the many police regions in the Netherlands.
So this is what I'm going to do in this post. To make an estimate of the total number of forced prostitutes in the Netherlands, using De Wallen as a starting point for an extrapolation. Later on, I also will do this starting from the number of prostitutes who worked for the gang of Saban B, and then extrapolating using the number of prostitutes who worked for Saban B who reported to the police as a fraction of the total number of prostitutes in the Netherlands who reported to the police. But first I will do De Wallen. (Spoiler: I arrive at approximately 1000 forced prostitutes at each moment at least, but probably it’s more like 2000-3000. And at least 10% of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are coerced, but probably it’s more like 20%).
I want to sum up my evidence of the notion that most prostitutes on De Wallen are forced to work. The first main exhibit is the report Kwetsbaar beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam [Vulnerable profession - a research into the prostitution branch in Amsterdam] (Bureau Beke, 2010), about prostitution in Amsterdam. I mention it in this post:
You can download the report here:
I quote (translated by me into English) from the book from page 165:
On De Wallen there is virtually no prostitute who works without a pimp, at least that's what several interviewed respondents say, police as well as social work and the prostitutes themselves. The pimps can offer the prostitutes protection and share in the profits. The last thing isn't necessarily illegal, provided that the prostitute can decide this in full freedom. From interviews with prostitutes it emerges that strictly speaking nothing is necessarily wrong with pimps. They can arrange things for the prostitutes and act in the ways of a manager. A pimp in their experience is comparable to a boss from the normal business life. A number of prostitutes previously have also worked for a pimp, but can fend for themselves just fine now. Some admit that they still have 'a boyfriend', but according to the prostitutes themselves you can not speak of coercion or involuntariness. They decide for themselves when, where and how long they work. About their colleague-prostitutes on De Wallen, they say that 90 percent work for a pimp to whom they have to hand over a large part of their income (after deduction of the window rent half of the revenue). When prostitutes don't want to work for a pimp, these men sabotage the entry of customers by simply standing in front of the door permanently. This way they force the women into paying 'protection'. There is also a group of prostitutes on De Wallen of whom many respondents say that they work completely independently, without a pimp. This involves transsexuals and South Americans who work in the Bloedsteeg. These are prostitutes who in the view of a respondent 'don't let themselves be forced'. They work here in prostitutes for years.This suggests that many prostitutes do choose to work for prostitution, but they are extorted. They have to hand over a large part of their earnings. I think that not everybody would agree, but in my opinion if a prostitute is extorted into handing over a large part of her earnings, then she is a forced prostitute. And because 90% of the prostitutes on the De Wallen have to hand over a large part of their earnings, or else the entry of customers is blocked, then 90% of the prostitutes on De Wallen are forced into prostitution.
A second exhibit from the same book:
On page 20 it is said that the police people of the Beursstraat (near the Wallen) registered from mid 2007 through May 2009 a total of 670 window prostitutes and 208 men whom the police refer to as persons who commit violence (geweldplegers). These men directly or indirectly surfaced in cases of trafficking in women. If they are right this could hint at a ratio of 3 evil pimps for every 10 prostitutes on the Wallen.
A third exhibit from the pamphlet: Uit het donker opgelicht [Illuminated from darkness] (October 2003), written by several Christian organizations such as Het Scharlaken Koord, The Salvation Army etc…... I wrote about this pamphlet in this post:
You can download it here:
I quote from the pamphlet (translated by me into English):
On page 5:
Controlling and regulating the exploitation of voluntary prostitution depends on the willingness of the prostitute and the operator [of brothels] to be registered. The readiness of a prostitute to be registered for the purpose of, for instance, paying taxes is completely lacking. We know from our own research that 93% don’t pay taxes and of the 892 contacts the Scharlaken Koord had with prostitutes in 2002, only 19 (which means 97% don’t pay taxes) said they were paying taxes or were willing to pay taxes if they had made enough money. More than 450 women had no say in the money they earned. They turned over all the money to their pimp or loverboy.On page 6:
Involuntary prostitution has boomed the last two years in the Netherlands. There seems to be a shift within the criminal domain from the high risk trafficking in drugs to the almost risk-free exploitation of women. Because of the lacking supervision by the government of the huge flow of money within the prostitution industry, it is very tempting for criminals to change over to this lucrative ‘branch of industry’. Therefore it came to no surprise that among a random sample survey of 439 Dutch window-prostitutes in de Wallen in 2001 and 2002, more than 380 women indicated that they were introduced to prostitution by a loverboy[pimp].On page 8:
Since October 1, 2000 prostitution is a legal sector. This implies that employers and employees have to work by mutual agreement on normal labour relations. This is primarily a responsibility of the person concerned and they will be addressed because of that. [I don’t understand the previous sentence]. Of the 427 Dutch women the Scharlaken Koord encountered on de Wallen in 2001/2002 and who entered prostitution by a loverboy, there were no normal labour relations. In 7 out of 10 contacts, within 2 minutes the mobile phone rings and the woman behind the window immediately has to explain why she is not working and who is visiting her. Hereby a great difference becomes visible between the factual situation and the desired/presented situation of an independent entrepreneur or a self-confident employer who takes care of things. As stated earlier, of the 892 contacts with window-prostitutes in Amsterdam by the Scharlaken Koord in 2002, only 19 where independent entrepreneurs.So, 7 out of 10 Dutch window prostitutes were tightly controlled in 2001/2002. I have some doubts about the Scharlaken Koord. Obviously this is a Christian organisation which condemns prostitution. And did 450 of 892 prostitutes really say to the Scharlaken Koord that they hand over all their money to their pimp or boyfriend? Forced prostitutes are known to be very secretive to researchers and the police. On the other hand, perhaps they trust social workers more. But if it is true that 450 of 892 prostitutes on De Wallen (in 2002) handed over all their money to a pimp or boyfriend, then I consider them to be coerced. Who hands over all his or her money voluntarily? No, and I don’t believe it is normal in a relationship to hand over all your income to your lover. Something must be really wrong in such a case. By the way, I had such a discussion with Stephen Paterson, read here in the comments of this post on his blog:
I have to notice that the Scharlaken Koord seems to make a tiny mistake. First they say 439 Dutch window-prostitutes whom they spoke on de Wallen in 2001 and 2002, then they talk about 427.
The fourth exhibit:
This is from a report written by Frank Bovenkerk and others belonging to the Willem Pompe Instituut voor Strafrechtwetenschappen [Willem Pompe Institute for criminal sciences]. The name of the report is:
‘ Loverboys’ of modern pooierschap in Amsterdam [‘Loverboys’ or modern pimphood in Amsterdam’] (Frank Bovenkerk, Marion van San, Miranda Boone, Tim Boekhout van Solinge, Dirk J. Korf, 2004)
You can read more about this report in these posts on my blog:
I’ll quote from the report (translated by me from Dutch into English):
All policemen whom we speak with, say that the vast majority of the prostitutes on de Wallen have a pimp-boyfriend in one form or another. Ladies from the Dominican Republic and Colombia are actually the only ones who work completely independent (at least independent of men in the Netherlands).page 58-61:
We got to know the prostitution-business better in the months from August through December of this year . The assumption was that in a healthy and well regulated business new criminality like those by loverboys wouldn’t get a chance. Only since November we have the conviction that we understand what happens in the world of modern pimphood and how this world is working. It has become clear to us that the prostitution-business is not that healthy at all. A business that has been working underground for centuries doesn’t seem to have been tidied up just like that a couple of years after the ban on brothels has been lifted.So again, you cannot work independently on De Wallen, and Eastern European prostitutes are heavily supervised by pimps.In the post below I have gathered some subsidiary evidence of forced prostitution in the Netherlands, which I will repeat in this post:
Male partners in all shapes and sizes
It is practically impossible for women to work alone and independently. There always are men in the background and only their roles vary. The most important variable turns out to be the ethnic group where the prostitutes are part of. Around each ethnical segment there are (networks) of men who profit from prostitution. The ladies themselves assure us that in reality not one prostitute works entirely without a man. Those who try cannot offer resistance to men who obtrude themselves. This form of blackmail is typical of prostitution.
The only question is which role these male profiteers play: husband, friend, old fashioned pimp, dealer, loverboy? For African and South-American women there are presumably men in the background in the countries of origin. Except for the ones involved nobody knows the exact details, but the story itself is powerful enough to leave these women alone. For Eastern European women there seem to be men present in the background who rather operate as human trafficker or inspector in service of the human trafficking organisation. When one of us together with Toos Heemskerk [who works for “Het Scharlaken Koord”] came knocking on the door of Eastern European girls and stepped in, we noticed that each time within two minutes there was a phone call. The people who called probably were in the café on the opposite side and were keeping an eye on the windows. According to our informants there are many Albanians among the Eastern European supervisors. It’s difficult to find out. Police-officer Mos Florie who really puts the fear of God into people, sees them hurrying into the alleys when he’s coming and it’s well visible on the monitors of the camera-surveillance in the bureau Warmoesstraat.
In this post there is also evidence related to other prostitution areas or brothels, but I will repeat the examples about De Wallen here below:
In the 'Volkskrant'-article: 'Reportage Misstanden in de prostitutie - Toch weer verliefd op een pooier' ['Report - Abuses in prostitution - Yet still in love with a pimp again'] (May 19th 2007, Menno van Dongen) a Dutch victim of human trafficking explains (translated from Dutch):
'After that fake-vacation I had to sit behind the window in Amsterdam, on de Wallen. I only knew two girls there who worked for themselves. Others were forced or they were put there by a loverboy. It was terrible out there.'http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/1594598/werken-op-de-wallen-kon-niet-zonder-te-betalen.html
'Werken op de Wallen kon niet zonder te betalen' ['Working on de Wallen wasn't possible without paying'] (June 2nd 2008, nu.nl) (translated from Dutch)
ALMELO - It was during the time when the brothers B. were in charge over de Wallen impossible for prostitutes to work there without handing over money to these brothers. That was said to the police by a possible victim of the gang of human traffickers.“Inzake opsporing” [“With respect to hunting down”] (Bijlage XI – Deelonderzoek 4, Hoofdstuk 3.3, “Prostitutie, Vrouwenhandel en (kinder-)pornografie”, Cyrille Fijnaut and Frank Bovenkerk, 1995) (translated from Dutch)
The court in Almelo hears the case against six suspects of human trafficking, the 'Group B'. Purportedly, for years and years the network violently forced dozens of women to prostitute themselves.
The team ‘decentrale controle prostitutie’ [decentralized supervision prostitution], tries to build up a relationship of trust with the prostitutes on de Wallen, such that they were prepared to be voluntarily registered. This team registered 934 window-prostitutes on de Wallen in April 1995. (…) The team ‘decentrale controle prostitutie’ has the impression that a substantial percentage of the registered women practice their activities not (completely) voluntarily. There is the suspicion that quite a lot of women have a so called "work arrangement" with a pimp, in which there is an exploitative situation. However, the team only goes into action when the ones involved indicate themselves that they have problems. It will call the project-team ‘prostitutie en vrouwenhandel’ [prostitution and women trafficking] into action.http://www.nrc.nl/redactie/binnenland/chaosaandeamstel7.pdf
Aan het front op de Wallen, a chapter from Chaos aan de Amstel – Fraude en corruptie in Amsterdam (Jos Verlaan, 1999)
(…)Na legalisering ging seksbranche verder ondergronds (Jos Verlaan in the Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad, August 22th 2008)
In the best case the upper floors of the coffeeshops are rented out for high prices as a sleeping address for often illegal prostitutes who work in the neighbourhood. The turnover which is obtained from these lodging places – often not more than a couple of mattresses in a room – is even higher than the estimated turnover in the window brothel exploitation: yearly some ten million guilders for the 350 windows which de Wallen still counted three years ago. ‘Gray premises’, as many immovable goods on de Wallen in the jargon of the police and the municipality are defined.
The butcher of that premise on de Oudezijds[e Achterburgwal] takes an unobtrusive position in the neighbourhood, but for years he was such an entrepreneur who rented out floors above his brothels to illegal aliens. ‘An unexpected newcomer in this group’, as he is described by the commission-Van Traa. ‘A small retailer in the neighbourhood who has worked himself up through evasion of import taxes, the investment in so called telehouses, and who further exploits the living spaces above his businesses in his own way.’
In the past the butcher was once caught already in connection with tampering with the purchase of meat. In the nineties he expanded his empire on de Wallen further with brothels and the renting out of floors to illegal aliens. For doing that he was sentenced in 1995 to a fine of 50.000 guilders, of which half was conditional. The interrogations after his apprehension give a picture of his way of doing business.
First the butcher himself, Jan, at the police office: ‘I remind you of the meeting where members of the leadership of the police were present and where it is stated that the rental to illegal prostitutes could quietly continue without taking action against it. If the police allows illegal prostitution, you know that these people must also be able to live somewhere. From the rental I make profit. I also have a butcher’s shop.’
A former tenant: ‘I live since March 29 1994 in de Beursstraat 25. I share a room with a girlfriend. Together we pay 350 guilders weekly. That money is collected by a man who calls himself Roberto. I have never reported myself to the police. The landlord didn’t ask me to show my identity papers.’
Another tenant: ‘Directly after my arrival in Amsterdam I went to the house on the Warmoesstraat 56. I now live on the Warmoesstraat 74 and pay 500 guilders per week for a room which I share with four persons. I rent from a negro who does activities in the house on the Warmoesstraat 47 in Amsterdam. I didn’t report myself to the police in the Netherlands.’
Another such tenant: ‘Fourteen days ago I came back to the Netherlands. Roberto and a Moroccan come to collect the rent. I know that the owner of the premises is a white man and has a butcher-shop. I reside illegally in the Netherlands. I pay 500 guilders a week rent. The landlord didn’t ask me to show my identity papers.’
A staff member of the butcher: ‘Jan knew exactly who resided in the rooms. He all kept track of that. In the butcher-shop of Jan there hangs a sign on which it is written in Spanish that he rents out rooms. In the rooms where I have been there mostly are three beds per room. Most people who live in the houses of Jan, reside and work illegally in the Netherlands. Nearly all rooms of Jan are rented out to people who work in the Netherlands in prostitution.’
A confidential report ‘for internal use’ of bureau Warmoesstraat from 1996 about the prostitution branch unearths what was all possible in practise with such an imperium, aside of which the government has lost its supervision. ‘Rood licht, valse hoop’ [Red light, false hope] was the name of the report that deals with the abdomen of the prostitution circuit on de Wallen, based on eighteen months of talking with illegal prostitutes, editing of minutes and observations in the neighbourhood. It is a story of women trafficking, exploitation, passport forgery and bribery. Expressions of a third world economy – in the middle of Amsterdam. The report uncovers the relationship between the circuit of hundreds of illegal prostitutes behind the windows and the intensification of criminality on the street where Northern African ‘protectors’ in the wake of the women determine the street scene and aside from prostitution occupy themselves with drug trafficking, robbery and fights. Illegal women who were hauled in to Amsterdam, were sold through within the circuit for three thousand guilders to other traffickers when they didn’t yield enough profit. Also there was a lively trade in forged residence papers, drugs, weapons and medicines. The detective force encountered women behind the windows who in the country of origin had made towering debts with women traffickers to be allowed to work here and who after arrival had to hand over their passport to brothel owners. Bullying or even maltreatment followed when too little money came in and debts weren’t paid off on time. The police spoke with women who stood behind the window seven days a week sixteen hours a day. In the report the Wallen-circuit is painted as a façade world, which is so treacherous that even own colleagues at the police were caught on corruption in the prostitution field.
Passport forgery, exploitation, maltreatment and, above all, a good organized maffia circuit of women trafficking. Ten years ago in a confidential report a special team of the Amsterdam police lays bare the world of the prostitution circuit. There were at that time at least 27 networks of women traffickers active there. And an extensive network of street pimps. Women who often stood behind the windows for seven days per week and sixteen hours per day. Who were being resold to other traffickers for a couple of thousand euros. Their so-called 'protectors' trafficked in forged identity papers, drugs, weapons and medicine.Lovergirl, September the 27th 2004, 1:51:00 (on hookers.nl) (translated from Dutch)
The confidential report about that, Rood licht valse hoop [Red Light False Hope] appeared on the eve of the legalization of window prostitution. Legalization should have ended these atrocities, was then the hope of the police.
You are really rancid men!A window prostitute (who worked on the Bethlemsteeg on De Wallen) on hookers.nl (January 30th 2007, and Januari 31th 2007) (translated from Dutch)
I was forced into prostitution in Amsterdam on de Wallen for two years and I wasn’t the only one who was forced.
As far as I know all girls are there because of their pimps and not because they want so themselves, even if they say they do and they act as if they keep the money themselves.
Do not cooperate!!!
I think that some 90 % of the girls, work for some other person’s wallet to say it eloquently.. as soon as they name the word “boyfriend” or pimp then you know how things stand.I tell something on my blog about a book called vrouwen te koop – loverboys, stalkers en seksslavinnen written by Maria Genova, and published in 2011. See this post:
I have experienced it myself and still see it around me. It is old news. And it is going on for centuries like this, I don’t see an immediate solution.. pitiful but unfortunately true. So that boycott list of girls who work under force.. haha
Now please what a bullshit .. then close down the whole of De Wallen.
What happens in clubs can still defy your imagination, because that’s more closed. (…)
I stand with young women around me. And well, in general there are few girls who think on their eighteenth birthday: you know what, I’m going to play whore. Nearly every man has his cross to bear. Most have not entered prostitution voluntarily. But with beautiful talk or simply threats. But I do know some 3 girls who have entered prostitution for the wrong reasons but who now work independently and without compulsion in the profession.. so they do exist.
I will quote directly from my post and skip some bits:
Maria Genova delved deeper into the world of prostitution. So here we have a new book (women for sale). After her previous book was published, she received a lot of e-mails from victims of forced prostitution. She came into contact with a girl called Cindy (she is actually Sweetmizzy, who wrote extensively about the case on her website. I also write about her on my blog in this post: Two forced prostitutes on De Wallen. Chris Sent also writes about her on her blog in this blog post: Een prostituee kan niet de moeder van mijn kind zijn). Two and a half years earlier she escaped from her pimp. He and his brothers were nearly all active as pimp on the Wallen in Amsterdam. She tells that when clients made trouble, she pushed on the alarm button. A couple of times she was rescued by Saban B. Saban was very cruel towards his girls. But for her and her pimp, he had respect. She believes that perhaps that is the case because the network of her pimp was just as large and violent (with respect to using guns). Cindy and the other girls called Saban "gorilla" because he was an anabolic steroid freak. She says: "when I called for his help, then most of the time he took the difficult client by his shoulders and easily put him down outside. Saban received a lot of attention in the media and was depicted as one of the most cruel pimps. The strange thing is that on the Wallen much bigger pimps walked around, whom Saban was clearly afraid of, but they were apparently never arrested. They often were these conspicuous types with big golden chains. Mind you that I didn't have the idea that the police could protect me. Sometimes I pushed the alarm button in my workroom and then it took twenty minutes before the cops came looking. Every now and then they didn't show up at all."Cindy didn't have the idea that the police cared about her personal problems. She explains: "mind you that we were all girls of pimps. When the woman didn't have a pimp, then she was abused in another way. I estimate that 97% of all whores do this work out of sheer necessity. There are only a few who consciously choose for it. Personally I didn't see one who worked for herself. They say they did, but if you eavesdropped on their telephone conversations, you knew that it wasn't. I have seen girls that were so ripped up and wounded from underneath because of all the these rapes that their genitals were totally unrecognisable. I also got acquainted with women who were anally fucked to shreds in such a way, that they couldn't keep their crap inside. During busy periods you sometimes get fifteen clients in eight hours time. When you don't see yourself as a woman anymore, but as a piece of meat, then you are lost in the system."Extra evidence from a prosti. It is in this post on my blog:
Maria Genova also met Frits Rouvoet. Since three years he helps prostitutes on the Wallen together with his sister-in-law. Frits wants to introduce her to three Bulgarian women who already work in prostitution for a while. Frits explains: "I dare to say that nearly all women do this work forced. Sometimes they come voluntarily, because golden mountains were promised, but those golden mountains all disappear into the pockets of the pimps. During the last years he saw an awful lot of misery. Robin, a girl aged 21, for whom I was a sort of father figure, hanged herself after her escape. She couldn't cope with the fact that her pimps denied everything. Right before that she had a talk with a psychologist who could do nothing with her emotions. She had to return to her room to cool down. She became cold for always."
Maria Genova was phoned by a Bulgarian girlfriend. Velina discovered a hairdresser's saloon a hundred meters from the Achterdam in Alkmaar. The Achterdam is a red light district. This hairdresser's saloon is managed by Bulgarians, and all pimps and prostitutes come there as client. Velina proposes to Maria that she could go undercover there. Maria decides to do it and let her hair cut there. They meet a Bulgarian prostitute outside the hairdresser's saloon. They ask her if she earns a little. She answered that sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't. She says she also moonlights in the hotel opposite the station. Maria says that prostitution isn't allowed in hotels. The prostitute says: "you don't believe that somebody checks that, hey? Only once, I had an extensive conversation with the police. It turned out they knew I had a Turkish pimp. The police offered me protection in exchange for reporting him to the police." Maria and Velina asked what happened then. "Nothing obviously. You don't believe that I will trust that they will protect me? I believe they don't know themselves whom they have to deal with. Those pimps are very powerful." The prostitute asks Velina from which city she comes. Velina comes from Sliven, the prostitute reacts with recognition. Velina says that in her city the pimps simply kidnap the girls on the street to bring them into prostitution. The prostitute wonders why they still kidnap the girls, don't they have enough women that they can simply make believe that you can become very rich in prostitution? Velina says that not so long ago, the 15-year-old daughter of a girlfriend disappeared. A week later she was found in a village in a house full of camera's. The girl was ready for departure to the Netherlands, all her documents were in order.
Maria goes into the hairdresser's saloon with Velina. A beautiful girl's hair is done, curls are put into her hair. A man walks around nervously in the saloon. He asks the girl when she is ready. In the Bulgarian language she answers: "you do want me to be beautiful?" He answers: "yes, but you're busy for such a long time. I lose my patience. You must go to work." When the girl is ready, the pimp pays the bill and they leave towards her workroom. Then Maria's hair is going to be done. Another girl takes place at another hairdresser. Dessi also works in prostitution. She says she doesn't do it for the fun of it. She knows no woman who does it for the fun of it. She says that you get used to the work and over time it goes into your blood.
Maria also comes into contact with a vice detective. He tells that he sees nearly all pimps who he brings to court back in the red light district. The law prohibits him from actively observing them, even if he is almost certain that they are trafficking in women again. That's what the pimps also know, so they have free play. He has spoken with many hundreds of prostitutes. He suspects that between seventy and eighty percent is in one way or the other a victim of human trafficking. In the most extreme case they are maltreated daily, locked in and exploited. But there are also girls who don't realise that for their boyfriend it's all about the money and that this has nothing to do with love. When the girl is in prostitution long enough, they start to see it as a free choice, he explains.
It is about the verdicts regarding the brothers Nuri T and Pehlul T, belonging to the gang of Saban B. Here’s the link to the verdict of Nuri T:
Here are some quotes (translated by me from Dutch into English) from this verdict, and look at what the prostitute called person 53 says at the end!!!!:
11. The testimony of [person 53] (March 3, 2006):Okay, some reflection. Read back again what she said: "It is customary in the world of prostitution that money is being paid then." !!!!! Okay so it is normal in the world of prostitution that if a prostitute moves from one boyfriend to another, that money is being transferred. She is sold.
I work as a prostitute on De Wallen in Amsterdam. I already know [person 11] for a month. Her boyfriend and pimp is [Y], a brother of [Monti]. She is fed up of being with him, but she doesn't dare to go away. [Person 11] would happily have girlfriends but that isn't allowed by [Y]. I have spoken with [Y] a month ago and I have said that I have no bad plans regarding [person 11], but only want to talk a little. [Y] said that [person 11] isn't there to talk, but that she has to work. I have said to [Y] that I know that he has phoned to me two times during the night with the telephone of [person 11]. [Person 11] told me that she had to hand over all her earned money and her savings to [Y]. He wants to buy a car. She also pays the rent of a house in Vinkeveen. She told that lately she has been beaten with a baseball bat by [Y].
4. A wiretapped telephone conversation between [person 53] and [person 17] on March 1, 2006 at 21.35:
[Person 53]: You let [person 5] visit your sick mother.
[Person 53]: Piss off, you. Cancer rotten you. With your dirty cancer whores that you always have had. (...) Now that [person 5]. You have fucking no taste, (…) and if you have problems, she then goes that 30,000 euro, she will cough that up.
5. The testimony of [person 53] (March 3, 2006):
I work since August 2003 on De Wallen. I know [person 11] since a month ago. Her pimp is [suspect Pehlul T]. I have spoken with [suspect Pehlul T] a month ago. [Suspect Pehlul T] asked me where [person 17] was, my ex. He seeks for that person because he has a relationship with [person 5], the former girlfriend of [suspect Nuri T]. I said that [person 17] was abroad. [Suspect Pehlul T] said that he would find him anyway. I later told [person 17] that I was approached by [suspect Pehlul T]. [Person 17] told me that [suspect Nuri T] searched for him for money. [Suspect Nuri T] wanted €30,000 from [person 17] because [suspect Nuri T] believes that [person 17] has taken away [person 5].
6. The testimony of [person 53] (March 7, 2006):
I know that [suspect Nuri T] believes that [person 17] owes him 30,000 euro, because [person 5] transferred from [suspect Nuri T] to [person 17]. It is customary in the world of prostitution that money is being paid then.
Here is where my list of evidence that most prostitutes on De Wallen are coerced, extorted or exploited ends. Also notice that the information is very consistent over a long period of time (1995-2011). So I assume the problem to be something permanent, with no fluctuations, no periods in which the problem is a lot smaller.
Again, assuming that most prostitutes on De Wallen are forced, I can use this as a start for an extrapolation. The number of windows is 290 or 371 based on the moment in time; a lot of windows have closed down since 2007. But let's take the number 371 as a start, because I want to go back to the past because I have more data from the period before, say 2007. How many women work there? I draw from the report Kwetsbaar Beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam (2010, Bureau Beke), It has been estimated that (see page 39) between 60% and 80% of the windows are occupied, and generally there are two shifts. I quote from the report Kwetsbaar beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam [Vulnerable profession - a research into the prostitution branch in Amsterdam] (Bureau Beke, 2010), which you can download here:
Okay, I’ll translated from Dutch into English:
The first assumption is the number of shifts in which the windows are rented out. According to the respondents of the tax department, police, social service organisations and [brothel] operators in general, the windows on De Wallen are generally rented out in two shifts. There is one [brothel] operator who rents out his windows in the weekend in three shifts. [Note at the end of this chapter: on Friday and Saturday this operator rents out his 32 windows in three different shifts.] According to the respondents all windows in the Singel area and on the Ruysdaelkade are rented out in two shifts.I want to substantiate the number of windows on De Wallen. According to the report Kwetsbaar Beroep (page 184) there were at first 371 windows on De Wallen. But as of September 2009 only 290 are left over. So I can pick different periods to estimate the number of (forced) prostitution on De Wallen. When were many of the windows closed down? 51 were closed down in September 2009. The municipality bought 18 prostitution buildings with 51 windows from Charles Geerts. Read this article:
The second assumption is connected to the occupation degree. This way the department Bouw- en Woningtoezicht [Construction and House supervision] of the municipality has done research into the occupation degree in the whole of Amsterdam. For the brothels they arrive at a maximum occupation degree of 70 percent. In addition to this, there is also information available about the occupation degree of the windows for the three prostitution areas. According to the police, who have insight into De Wallen area, the occupation degree here is approximately 80 percent. The respondents of municipality and the tax department believe that it is less. They believe that the occupation degree lies between 60 and 80 percent. According to different [brothel] operators on De Wallen, during the evening the windows are mostly occupied, but 'during daytime there could be vacancy sometimes'. 'An occupation degree of 100 percent is reached by nobody, there is always window capacity left', so says a window operator. The more the weekend comes closer, the more the occupation degree rises. One [brothel] operator who rents out 40 windows (in two shifts) on De Wallen, has on average an occupation degree of 65 percent. 'The windows are not always full.' That's why - while calculating the minimum - we assume an occupation degree of 70 percent for De Wallen. The occupation degree in the Singel area is, according to prostitutes who work (or have worked) there and multiple other respondents, approximately 70 percent. According to respondents the windows on the Ruysdaelkade are completely full during the night, but during daytime it could also be completely vacant. Based on this data, for all three the areas an occupation degree of 70 percent is assumed.
Seksbaas Charles Geerts verkoopt zijn imperium (Jaap Meijers, September the 20th 2007)
You can find it here:
In the past (prior to 2007), there was room for (371-32) X 2 + 32 X 3 = 774 women to work there on a daily basis (remember: 32 windows have three shifts), but in reality this should rather be between 464 (60% occupation) and 619 (80% occupation). If it is true that most prostitutes on De Wallen are forced, then at least 232 prostitutes are forced to work there. I take the safe side, I don't assume that 90% of the prostitutes are forced, I go for 50%. It should be noticed that it seems to be true that actually most forced prostitution in Amsterdam is on De Wallen. There are hardly any reports of forced prostitution outside that area, I base myself on the Kwetsbaar Beroep report again. It could be true that most forced prostitutes in Amsterdam work on De Wallen. To support this claim, I want to quote again (translated by me from Dutch) from the report Kwetsbaar beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam [Vulnerable profession - a research into the prostitution branch in Amsterdam] (Bureau Beke, 2010), which you can download here:
Page 166-167 (about human trafficking in the Singel area and the Ruysdaelkade, which are the other two window prostitution areas in Amsterdam, beside De Wallen):
Singel areaPage 167 (about human trafficking in the escort sector):
Also in the Singel area forced prostitution seems to be occuring to a lesser degree compared to De Wallen. This has to do with the group of prostitutes who sometimes work there for years and have acquired an independent position for themselves (see chapter 3). Also the surveyability and the small-scale of the Singel area have the effect that there is less human trafficking taking place compared to De Wallen. A respondent who is well informed about the situation in the Singel area says about this:
De Wallen is more suitable for this. It so happens that it is more crowded, bigger and more obscure there. There is less social control, and the women are less able to build up a bond with others there (other women, local residents and the police). Trafficking in women can stay invisible and anonymous there.
Nevertheless, a number of respondents who have a good view of the area place their question marks on the voluntariness of especially the prostitutes from Eastern Europe. 'There are clear underbelly feelings', so says a respondent. They observe for example that these prostitutes are regularly transported from the Singel area to De Wallen. The women are picked up and brought with big BMWs. Pimps relocate the women consciously because the women then don't get the opportunity to feel at ease and build up a bond with the other prostitutes. By doing this the probability is smaller that they are going to talk about the possible involuntariness of their work. One of the respondents thinks that among the large majority of the prostitutes from Eastern Europe there is a matter of a certain degree of involuntariness and exploitation. When one of the respondents asks it directly to the prostitutes in question, they indicate that they have a relationship with their 'boyfriend' (pimp) and that they do the work voluntarily.
As far as the respondents have insight into this, they are of the opinion that forced prostitution in the area of the Ruysdaelkade truly occurs (see chapter 3) but not to the same degree as on De Wallen. When there are signs which point to this, then these can mostly be traced back to the women from countries such as Bulgaria and Hungary. The unexpected prostitution inspections in the area result in approximately 50 signals of human trafficking each year. The suspicion of one of the police officials is that approximately ten percent of the prostitutes are coerced. The signs which point to this, vary, as it turns out in the following example.
'Until approximately 2006 the women came from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. And suddenly ten women who all came from a fairly poor area in Bulgaria came to the prostitution area. An organisation arranged out of Bulgaria that these women came to the Netherlands to work here as a prostitute. Within a day these women could start working here. It is impossible that these women have arranged this themselves. They don't speak the [Dutch] language and don't know their way around here in the Netherlands. But within a day there actually was living accommodation, a KvK-registration [KvK = Dutch chamber of commerce] and a workspace which had been arranged. The women who are completely henpecked, are simply registered as prostitutes. Many aspects which give the feeling that things are not alright (BMW which is over the top, Turkish men who circle around the women and who give the women lip).' Source: Respondent.
At the same time it is known from the interviews with police officials, social workers and a few prostitutes that some prostitutes of the Rusydaelkade also work on De Wallen and that suspicious figures are also observed there. The area of the Ruysdaelkade is perhaps less separate than it seems at first glance, also concerning trafficking in women.
However, in this research practically no indication has been found for the occurrence of human trafficking on a scale comparable to window brothels. More strongly expressed, the number of registered cases of trafficking in women (the public prosecutor, police, social work) that can be traced back to the escort sector is practically nil. This could mean that in reality no victims of human trafficking are working in the escort sector. It could also be possible that prostitutes in the escort sector - even more than prostitutes in the window brothels - are under the influence of the pimp and have more difficulties compared to the window prostitutes to be able or to dare to back out from this. It is also more difficult for authorities to build up a relationship of trust because they have practically no direct contact with these prostitutes. Based on the conversations and impressions it can be assumed that the subject of human trafficking doesn't play a role in the higher segment of the escort sector and among the independent escorts. Mostly Western European women work in this sector who are registered at licensed escort businesses, and according to agreements made in advance they are allowed to keep a part of their earnings. In the licensed middle segment, like has been said before, many Eastern European women are active. These prostitutes register at different bureaus and decide for themselves to what extent and during which times they want to work. There doesn't seem to be a question of coercion or exploitation on a big scale. Also the licensed middle segment of the escort can exist by the grace of a qualitative good service. Forced prostitution then doesn't fit in this picture. In the absolute bottom of the market there are concerns among the respondents about the circumstances in which the women (must) work. From official bodies and the licensed escort sector there is no insight into the unlicensed escort sector.Page 169 (still about human trafficking in the escort sector):
The fact that licensed escort bureaus offer prices above the absolute minimum doesn't mean by the way that there is no question of human trafficking and/or forced prostitution. However, this doesn't need to be known to the bureau itself. These contacts between the bureau and the prostitute are short and businesslike. Suspicions of coercion in this research therefore come from a respondent who by virtue of his profession comes often into contact with escort prostitutes. It is stated [by him] that many Romanians are supposedly faced with coercion. He deduces that among other things from the many phone calls and SMS text messages in the car. One girl who spoke to him said that she wanted to leave it [prostitution]. There were threats being made however that something would be done to her family then. Finally she did take the plunge, and she started to work as an independent. The threats have never been carried out, but for the girl concerned it was a reason to work for a longer time under supervision than she actually wanted. The respondent tells furthermore about four girls who lived with a Rumanian married couple, and there they had to hand over half of the money that they earned. Likewise strict house rules were applied: when breaking these rules a fine had to be paid, which resulted into the presence of many rules and the girls having to pay many fines. Likewise they had to be available 24 hours per day, which could also be a sign of coercion.Page 169-170 (about forced prostitution in sectors other than window prostitution and escort prostitution,):
In the interviews with the police and social work there are also questions asked about the occurrence of human trafficking in the other sectors. In street prostitution prostitutes are mainly active who have psychological and/or addiction problems. They work independently. At most one can speak of situational coercion, namely to 'have to' be active in prostitution to fund the addiction. Prostitutes who work in a club, rarely or never come into the view of the police and social work as a victim of human trafficking. The manager has supervision in the club; pimps can therefore exert no supervision and control here. From the point of view of the respondents it is a safe environment for the prostitutes. The same seems to be true for privéhuizen [= private houses, these are clubs where the clients are directly introduced to the prostitutes, without having a drink first], although the right of say of the prostitutes seems to be less here. What is meant by this is to be able to decide for yourself which sexual acts could be performed. The other side of the relatively safe environment is that the power of the managers can be big; when a prostitute doesn't wish to conform to the 'policy' of the privéhuis she can leave. The freedom of choice of the prostitutes is not affected in this case; she can look for another workplace.This was my evidence that forced prostitution in Amsterdam mainly happens on De Wallen. As the source above explains not all forced prostitution happens there. There seems to be some forced prostitution in escort prostitution. This is also what I notice while studying human trafficking cases. I discovered that since approximately 2004 forced prostitution mainly happens in window prostitution and in the escort sector. Prior to 2004 (relatively to window prostitution) there was also a lot of forced prostitution in clubs and privéhuizen. That seems to have stopped now. For the sake of simplicity I assume that in Amsterdam forced prostitution only happens on De Wallen, and that half of the prostitutes on De Wallen are somehow coerced, exploited or extorted.
There hardly seems to be a question, given the consulted sources, of human trafficking in the home prostitution circuit. In an incidental case the neighbourhood director has suspicions of abuses in the home prostitution; the care is then mainly directed at the aspect of human trafficking and to a lesser degree to illegality. In addition to this, it is striking that masseuses in Thai and Chinese massage parlours earn little and above all sometimes have agreements with the operators about the distribution of extras. Regarding this there is at least a question of economic exploitation.
Regarding hotel prostitution there is, according to a source within the police, an international organisation behind it what can be described as a 'touring circus': prostitutes move through Europe and work from a hotel for a couple of days in the places which they visit. Within this form of hotel prostitution pressure and coercion cannot be ruled out. We have no reason to assume that prostitutes who work independently from a hotel room, experience any pressure or coercion from third persons. Prostitution from (Turkish) coffee houses seems to occur very little. When there really is a question of prostitution from such catering establishments, then according to one respondent there is almost always a question of coercion or exploitation of women; in addition to this they (sometimes) work in very bad work circumstances.
So I assume that, prior to 2007, at least 232 prostitutes are forced to work on De Wallen. I will look for information about the distribution of human trafficking across the Dutch police regions. This will be a difficult one. First I will start at the Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel, nowadays called Comensha. After studying yearly reports from the Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel/Comensha I conclude that some 12% of reports of human trafficking to this foundation seem to be from the region Amsterdam-Amstelland. I substantiate the 12%:
I will sum up data (and sources) from the Foundation against Trafficking in Women (Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel, now known as CoMensha), about the number of reports of human trafficking from Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of reports:
Prior to 2003: No information that I could find, unfortunately!
Jaarverslag 2005 (not online)
ALL REPORTS TO STV
2003: 12 out of 257 (4,67%)
2004: 48 out of 405 (11,85%)
On page 16:
REPORTS FROM POLICE TO STV
2004: 23 out of 153 men and women (15,03%) Schiphol not included
2005: 40 out of 297 men and women (13,47%) Schiphol not included
2006: 37 out of 459 men and women (8,06%), if Schiphol is not included: 37 of 404 men and women (9,16%)
REPORTS FROM SHELTERS TO STV
2004: 7 out of 126 men and women (5,56%)
2005: 23 out of 134 men and women (17,16%)
2006: 34 out of 158 men and women (21,52%)
ALL REPORTS TO STV
75 out of 779 women (9,63%), if Schiphol is not included: 75 of 749 women (10,01%)
ALL REPORTS TO STV
111 out of 770 women (14,42%), if Schiphol is not included: 111 of 740 women (15,00%)
All combined: 380 reports from Amsterdam-Amstelland of a total number 3259 reports. That’s 11,66% (with an error margin of 1,1% if you assume this is some kind of random sample, BTW: with a 95% confidence-interval). Obviously you have to notice that if a report comes from a certain police region, this doesn't mean that the actual forced prostitution or slavery took place in that particular police region. As a matter of fact, basically all human trafficking could happen in one police region, but then the victims go to other police regions and report to the police or social organisations there. But the Amsterdam-Amstelland region is a large region, so I assume that many forced prostitutes stick there when they report to the police or a social organisation. This is unfortunately the weak part in my extrapolation. What is also a pity is that I miss information prior to 2003. Could I use the 11,66% as a guideline? Can I assume that 11,66% of all victims of human trafficking work in Amsterdam at any given time?
Luckily, there is another source which I can use: the number of police investigations per region and the B9-arrangement [this is the arrangement which gives illegal people who have been victims of human trafficking the right to stay in the Netherlands as long as the court procedures last, then they must leave]. The Bureau Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel publishes data regarding the police regions where (granted) B9-requests are being made by victims. Problem is that Dutch (and EU) victims are excluded because they don’t need the B9-arrangement to stay in the Netherlands. But it gives me another hint of how forced prostitution is distributed across the Netherlands, and it also provides data going back to 1996 (data from 2003 and 2004 seems to be missing). The same is true for the police investigations, but the numbers are smaller here (so the error margins are bigger).
Here is I sum up information from the third report by the Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel, regarding the number of requests in Amsterdam-Amstelland as compared to the total number of requests in the Netherlands:
See pages 97-98 (table 3.13), Granted B9-requests:
1998: 2 out of 41 (5%)
1999: 11 out of 66 (17%)
2000: 11 out of 52 (21%)
2001: 13 out of 120 (11%)
2002: 25 out of 123 (20%)
Total: 62 out of 402 (15% plus or minus 3,5%)
The same report also mentions data about the closed police investigations per region (on pages 283-284, table B6.1), so here I present information about the number of investigations in Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of cases:
1998: 3 out of 14 (21%)
1999: 5 out of 16 (31%)
2000: 3 out of 25 (12%)
2001: 4 out of 48 (8%)
2002: 2 out of 55 (3,6%)
Total: 17 out of 158 (11% plus or minus 5%)
Now I sum up information from the seventh report by the Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel
Granted requests for B9-arrangement, see page 127 (table 4.17), so here also information about the number of B9-requests in Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of cases:
2005: 6 out of 61 (10%)
2006: 23 out of 150 (15%)
2007: 16 out of 143 (11%)
2008: 21 out of 243 (9%)
Total: 66 out of 597 (11,1% plus or minus 2,4%)
Here I sum up information from the fourth report by the Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel
Information about the number of police investigations in Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of investigations in the Netherlands (on page 58, table B3.1):
2000: 3 out of 25 (12%)
2001: 4 out of 48 (8%)
2002: 2 out of 55 (3,6%)
2003: 1 out of 42 (2,4%)
Total: 10 out of 170 (5,8% plus or minus 3,5%)
From the second report by the Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel:
Granted requests for B9-arrangement, see page 26 (table 3.9), so here also information about the number of B9-requests in Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of cases:
1996-June 2002, requests B9-arrangement: 98 out of 607 (16%)
1996-June 2002, granted requests B9-arrangement: 73 out of 462 (16%)
From the same report:
B9-requests, granted and not granted (page 28, table 3.10):
1996: 17 out of 70 (24%)
1997: 12 out of 53 (23%)
1998: 2 out of 52 (3,8%)
1999: 15 out of 99 (15%)
2000: 16 out of 72 (22%)
2001: 15 out of 147 (10%)
2002 until June: 21 out of 114 (18%)
Total: 98 out of 607 (16,1% plus or minus 2,8%)
The same report also mentions data about the closed police investigations per region (on page 99, table 2), so here also information about the number of investigations in Amsterdam-Amstelland compared to the total number of cases:
1997: 0 out of 8 (0%)
1998: 3 out of 14 (21%)
1999: 5 out of 16 (31%)
2000: 3 out of 25 (12%)
2001: 4 out of 48 (8%)
Total: 15 out of 111 (14% plus or minus 6%)
(Including from the other reports the year 2002: 2 out of 55, and 2003: 1 out of 42, the total is 18 of 208, which is 8,6% plus or minus 3,7%)
I want to speculate on which numbers are useful. I think the data about the police investigations is most reliable because I assume the slavery genuinely took place in the particular region specified. However, one investigation could contain multiple victims. I consider the information regarding the B9-requests to be less reliable because many Africans are included, and Dutch victims are excluded. My experience is that there are not many African prostitutes in the Netherlands. The court cases regarding African prostitutes often involves prostitution outside of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is merely used as a transit country. Dutch victims are an important group in my experience, but are not included in the B9-arrangement, because they are citizens of this country. Aside from this, I notice that the numbers from different sources are very similar.
In the period 2003-2009 (not including 2007) the percentage of reports to the Foundation against Trafficking in Women originating from Amsterdam-Amstelland is on average 12%. The average percentage of police investigations during 1997-2003 in Amsterdam-Amstelland (compared to the rest of the Netherlands) is around 9%, but heavily fluctuating over the years. The average percentage of B9-requests in Amsterdam-Amstelland is approximately 16% in the period 1996-June 2002, and 11% in the period 2005-2008. Let’s say, a number between 9% and 16% is correct. I want to be very conservative making estimates of the scope of forced prostitution in the Netherlands. The higher the percentage of forced prostitution in Amsterdam, the lower is the number of human trafficking cases relatively to Amsterdam, from which I want to extrapolate. I pick 15%, which is a beautiful round number. So I assume that roughly 15% of all the forced prostitutes in the Netherlands work in Amsterdam during each moment. Probably this percentage is too high. So if we assume that there are at least 232 forced prostitutes in Amsterdam, we can extrapolate the 232 forced prostitutes in Amsterdam to 1547 forced prostitutes in the Netherlands (232/0,15), at least. That is at least a number. If you believe what I said about De Wallen (and about the 15%). By the way, if this whole calculation was done with 290 windows instead of 371 windows, the I arrive at 1224 forced prostitutes at least at each moment in the Netherlands. Let's say that there are at least a thousand forced prostitutes in the Netherlands to be sure.
When you believe that more than 50% of the prostitutes on De Wallen are forced (for instance 90%), and there are some forced prostitutes in Amsterdam not working on De Wallen, then these number are obviously higher. Probably twice as large: 2500 or 3000 for instance.
I also want to calculate a percentage of the total number of prostitutes in the Netherlands who are forced. Then you must start from the percentage of all prostitutes who work on De Wallen. I use data from the following study:
De Profeit Studie - Prostitutie in Nederland in 1999 - De nulmeting, een jaar voor de invoering van de wet die de opheffing van het algemene bordeelverbod regelt (Visser, Jan H., Oomens, Hetty C.D.M., Boerman, F.A., 2000)
This report estimates that in 1999 there were 2037 windows (see page 19 in this report).
The total percentage of window prostitutes in the Netherlands is estimated to be 20%. But this was in 1998-1999. See the following document for the source of this percentage (see page 9):
MOBILITEIT IN DE NEDERLANDSE PROSTITUTIE EEN INVENTARISATIE - Uitgevoerd in het kader van EUROPAP 1998 – 1999 (Lucie van Mens, Thérèse van der Helm, 1999)
If it is true that there were 2037 windows in 1999, and 371 windows on De Wallen (I assume no windows on De Wallen have been closed in the period 1999-2007, I guess some on the Molensteeg have been closed but I don’t know for sure…), and 20% of all the prostitutes in the Netherlands work in window prostitution, then approximately 3,64% (= 20% X 371/2037) of the total number of prostitutes work on De Wallen. If at least half are forced, that would mean at least 1,82% of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are forced prostitutes on De Wallen. Across the whole of the Netherlands this would mean (assuming 15% of forced prostitution happens in Amsterdam), that at least 12% of the total number of prostitutes are forced in the Netherlands. But that was around the year 2000. I don’t know the percentage of prostitutes who work in window prostitution during later years. Nowadays, half the number of windows disappeared. But so does the number of clubs and privéhuizen! But De Wallen is largely intact, so this would change the calculation. But because I lack data regarding the percentage of the total number of prostitutes in the Netherlands working in window prostitution for later years, I don’t even try.
Another method to estimate the number of forced prostitutes in the Netherlands is to look at the gang of Saban B. This notorious gang was active on De Wallen and in other prostitution areas starting from 1998 until 2007. In 2007 many of the gang members were arrested, and the gang finally fell apart. What is special about this gang is that we know how many prostitutes have made a statement to the police, how many prostitutes have totally worked for the gang, and how many gang members the gang had, and thus approximately how many prostitutes worked at each moment for the gang (assuming that at least one woman worked for each gang member). This makes it possible to make a rough estimate how many women are forced into prostitution in the Netherlands as a whole. Above all, we have an impression how many reports are made by the victims to the police.
How many women did the gang of Saban B have under their control? That is difficult to estimate, but according to one bodyguard they had approximately 30 women on De Wallen. I write about this in this post on my blog:
On the website rechtspraak.nl there is a verdict with the LJN-number BP6711. You can find it here:
It is about the bodyguard Zafer O. Also the testimony of a certain person 94 (a bodyguard) shows up. I will quote and translate from Dutch into English:
13. The testimony of [person 94] (April 22, 2007):Here are other posts about Saban B on my blog:
Q: Since when are you active on De Wallen in Amsterdam in the Netherlands?
A: Since approximately 18 months.
Q: How did you end up there?
A: I left prison and I went home. After a quarrel at home I went to De Wallen to the bridge at the Old Sailor. I then got to know [Victor]. After three days I got to know [Victor]. [Victor] always stood there. [Victor] is named [suspect Zafer O].
Remark: we show the suspect a photo from the photographic records numbered 12 (the court understands: photo 12 from file 16).
A: That is the [Victor] that I mean. After three weeks [Victor] asked me if I wanted to work as a bodyguard.
Q: Which activities did you do on De Wallen in Amsterdam?
A: When there were problems I simply had to get him out and to outside, it concerned clients who were annoying. I knew that I had to go to a woman because I was phoned then. [Victor] gave my telephone number to the girls. The girls told their names to me and then I knew where I had to go. After I had just started, they phoned [Victor] and then I accompanied [Victor] and [Victor] said to me who they were. After work I had to bring the women to the taxi.
Q: What did the girls for whom you worked think?
A: We received money from the girls, not from the pimps. Each week the girls gave money to [Victor]. Per girl they gave 50 euro to [Victor]. But it were girls belonging to pimps. It concerned as many as 30 girls. I knew that because I heard: that girl belongs to this pimp, this one belongs to this one and this one belongs to this one. [Victor] showed the girls to me and said this girl belongs to this pimp and that girl belongs to this one. He named the names. He said: this one belongs to that little group. You have to keep your hands off of them, or else they will kill you, they will demolish you.
After I just started to work with him and while he showed me the girls, [Victor] told me a story. [Victor] told me that, during the time that I didn't work with him yet, a prostitute had broken her nose or something. A client had done that. I don't know which prostitute that was. [Victor] told me that he had to come to the pimps. Then the pimps gave him two black eyes, and they said: you had to be there, and when our girl gets something broken, we will break you too. [Victor] then told me that I wasn't supposed to do things to girls and what I was supposed to do and that they, the pimps, would otherwise do that to me.
Q: Did [Victor] named names related to that?
A: Yes always [suspect Saban B] and [suspect Nuri T]. The big boys.
Q: Did [Victor] say that [suspect Saban B] and [suspect Nuri T] maltreated him?
The question is, how many girls worked in total for Saban B and the gang? According to an article the gang consisted of 50 members.
You can find the information in this article:
OM eist gevangenisstraffen wegens mensenhandel tegen leden ‘Sneep-bende’ (11 november 2010 - Landelijk Parket)
You can find it here:
I will translate a bit from the article into English:
The leaders of the Sneep-gang, the brothers Saban and Hasan B. have first been observed by the police in the Netherlands in 1998. Under the cover of a cafe in Amsterdam they developed their criminal activities and caused nuisance, drugs criminality and reports about forced prostitution.Now I will translate some parts from the report:
The brothers implanted themselves in the red light districts and expanded their organisation with pimps and bodyguards. The woman were kept under supervision for 24 hours a day. They had to hand over the earned money almost in its entirety to their pimps. Women who earned a lot of money, got a preferential treatment and became 'little princesses'. They not only worked as prostitutes, but also collected the earnings of other women and above all they kept a look-out.
The organisation grew so large that in Vinkeveen a bungalow park was rented with a group discount. The hierarchically tightly organised, international criminal organisation counted 50 members, who let approximately 120 women work for them. The gang members provided each other with false identities, weapons and bulletproof vests. One of them even had a false police identification at his disposal. To counter eavesdropping by the police, they used many telephones, which were changed often.
Schone schijn - de signalering van mensenhandel in de vergunde prostitutiesector (M.M.J. van Hout en F.J. van der Laan, 2008)
You can download it here:
Here’s the quote:
On page 34:
The analysts of the project Sneep had since January 2007 insight into 120 possible victims around the network of the brothers Dürdan [not the real surname of the brothers by the way], of whom 78 supposed victims (also see size, paragraph 3.6, and methods, paragraph 4.7.1.). Of the 120 prostitutes many originated from Germany (36) and the Netherlands (25). In total 73 women (65%) came from the 'old EU-member states', twenty women (17%) came from the member states which joined [the EU] in 2005, and eleven (9%) from the member states which joined [the EU] in 2007. Six women (5%) were not born in a country that is a member of the European Union. Of ten women no country of birth was known.Page 39:
Since February 2007 55 suspects were known from the investigations of the project Sneep, including twenty pimps, eleven active bodyguards and three fixed drivers (crawlers). Thirteen men who have worked as bodyguard, weren't active anymore in the meantime. Other suspects came into view as facilitator. One prostitute was in addition to being a victim also a suspect.So, the police could track down 120 women who are possible victims. I assume that these women are victims, or else they wouldn't have been connected to the gang of Saban B. Presumably many more women are victims of the gang, because the gang has been active for so many years. But this does not mean that all these women worked at each moment. According to the book Slaven in de polder – Hoe sekswerkers, schoonmakers en seizoenarbeiders worden uitgebuit (2011) written by Martijn Roessingh and Perdiep Ramesar, there were only 17 reports or incriminating statements made by victims to the police at the start of the process in May 2008 (see page 22). According to the same book there were 35 members at one moment during the peak of the gang (see page 16).
Since January 2007 120 women were on the 'possible victim list' of the project Sneep (see methods, paragraph 4.7.1.). Seventy-eight of these were considered as 'supposed victim'. The remaining 42 prostitutes came up to the fore from the investigations, but too little was known about them to establish if it truly concerned victims. The total group of 120 prostitutes is therefore specified with the term 'possible victims'.
Fifteen victims have pressed charges or made incriminating statements. Most victims still worked in window prostitution. Also the bodyguards went to work again in the window prostitution area.
So that would mean if you assume at least one prostitute per pimp, then they had to have 35 women under their control at each moment, at least. This also makes sense because the bodyguard says that 30 women worked for them on De Wallen, and probably also other women worked for them on the Zandpad in Utrecht and the Achterdam in Alkmaar. The only weak point is: did they have 35 women working for them at each moment in the entire period 1998-2007? They began small I guess. How long did it take to grow? I don’t know. To be very careful, let’s reduce the 35 victims to 30 victims at each moment. Another question is if all these women were coerced by the gang, and if perhaps some were treated well. I tackle this question in one post on my blog. You can find it here. I argue in this post that indeed all the women must have been coerced, because Saban reportedly stimulated the other gang members to treat the women badly, at least that's what emerges from wiretapped telephone conversations and eyewitness reports.
The police could track down 120 victims in total. At one moment, only 17 victims made a statement to the police or officially reported the crime to the police, or pressed charges. That means that less than 15% has pressed charges. That is an indication that only a very small segment of victims of human trafficking press charges, or report to the police. Possibly less than 10% (remember that not all victims are tracked down). Let’s remember that these women really had to be pushed by the police to make a statement, because they were so frightened. On the other hand, this was a very dangerous gang, so perhaps this number is an underestimate, because perhaps victims of other, less dangerous human trafficking gangs are more eager to report to the police. But let's take this 15% as a guideline. I could use it to estimate how many forced prostitutes are in the Netherlands. It is known how many women reported to the police or pressed charges. However, also many African forced prostitutes press charges, and it is known that many African forced prostitutes are actually exploited abroad. It is rumoured that many charges or reports by victims of human trafficking are false! I will substiantiate it.
First, this report:
De mens beschermd en de handel bestreden - een advies over een evenwichtig beschermingsregime voor slachtoffers van mensenhandel (Adviescommissie voor Vreemdelingenzaken, 2009)
Which you can download here:
I will quote from the report (translated by me from Dutch into English):
The Landelijke Expertgroep Mensenhandel (LEM, [= National Expert Group Human Trafficking]), an operational consultative structure of the corps experts human trafficking, is of the opinion that abuse is being made of the B9-arrangement [this is the arrangement which gives illegal people who have been victims of human trafficking the right to stay in the Netherlands as long as the court procedures last, then they must leave]. The LEM indicates that it observes an increase in the number of 'disputable' appeals to the (time for reflection from the) B9-arrangement. It supposedly occurs regularly that aliens indicate to be victim of human trafficking without any substantiation. The LEM estimates that 50% of the number of appeals to the (time of reflection from the) B9-arrangement are disputable. The LEM names as characteristics of these cases the identical stories, previous piling up of procedures and very scanty statements, without concrete leads for criminal investigations.However, others don't agree. For instance, the organisation Fier Fryslân who helps victims of human trafficking. I will quote from an article from the Friesch Dagblad (January 20, 2012).
You can find the article here:
Here is the quote (translated by me from Dutch into English):
Fier Fryslân rarely encounters false reports by victims of human trafficking [to the police]. The organization - which takes care of victims of human trafficking - therefore doesn't agree with Minister of Immigration Gerd Leers who wants to make stricter rules for this group. Together with eleven other aid organizations Fier Fryslân expresses their sincere concerns.I want to find out how many reports are made by victims to the police, or charges pressed, whatever it is called (, is there a difference between reporting to the police or pressing charges? I haven’t found out yet). First I want to move to this report again:
Victims of human trafficking can receive a residence arrangement when they report [the crime to the police] (the so-called B9-arrangement). To prevent that abuse is being made of this - by for instance feigning a story for a residence permit - Leers wants to make the rules more strict. This way the Minister wants to prosecute false reports of human trafficking and to end the right to stay after dropping a criminal case.
But according to the aid organisations the assumption that lots of lies are told for a residence permit, is unjust. "We rarely encounter a false report by a victim of human trafficking [to the police]", says Ineke van Buren, coordinator Netwerk Mensenhandel [Network Human Trafficking] at Fier Fryslân. "Often there hides behind an alleged false report [by a victim to the police] a human trafficking case after all. Victims often don't tell their whole story. There is much fear behind it. They are enormously afraid of reprisals."
De mens beschermd en de handel bestreden - een advies over een evenwichtig beschermingsregime voor slachtoffers van mensenhandel (Adviescommissie voor Vreemdelingenzaken, 2009)
Which you can download here:
It contains information regarding the numbers of reports by victims to the police or pressed charges.
On page 22:
Gathered from table 2.1:
2001: no information!
2002: no information!
2003: 84 reports/charges pressed by victims
2004: 185 reports/charges pressed by victims
2005: 155 reports/charges pressed by victims
2006: 206 reports/charges pressed by victims
2007: 211 reports/charges pressed by victims
Unfortunately there's no information prior to 2003. It turns out there is no reliable information, according to this report. So I draw upon other sources (which by the way contradict each other).
Vierde Rapportage Mensenhandel (2005)
Derde Rapportage Mensenhandel (2004)
Tweede Rapportage Mensenhandel (2003)
Vijfde Rapportage Mensenhandel (2007)
Zesde Rapportage Mensenhandel (2008)
Zevende Rapportage Mensenhandel (2009)
That's a lot of (contradicting!) resources. I present a total list here:
2003: 155? / 84?
2004: 197? / 185?
2006: 208? / 206?
2007: 234? /211?
The gang of Saban B was active from 1998 until 2007. Within this period between 1543 and 1651 victims reported to the police or press charges (depending on which resources you use). Let's pick the lower estimate. The gang of Saban B wasn’t active during the entire period of 1998 and 2007. Actually the first arrests were made in February 2007 (According to the Schone Schijn report, see page 39). Let’s remove 2007, and then you end up with 1332 reports. I have no information about when the gang actually started, other than that they were first spotted in 1998. So I also remove half of 1998, and then you end up with 1283 reports. Assuming that half of the reports are false, that's approximately 641 victims. As we have learned before, 17 victims of the gang of Saban B reported to the police within about eight years. If my hunch is right, that means that 17/641 = 2,65% of the total number of the forced prostitutes in the Netherlands belonged to the gang of Saban B. So you could extrapolate the roughly 30 women that the gang controlled at each moment, to 1131 forced prostitutes in the Netherlands at each moment. Let’s say 1100 victims.
But there is another way to extrapolate. If 15% of the total number of forced prostitutes press charges or make a statement, and the gang was active for roughly 8,5 years and there are 641 / 8,5 = 75 forced prostitutes who press charges during each year on average, and it is true (like I have calculated by studying lots of forced prostitution cases) that forced prostitutes are forced to work for approximately 2 years (plus or minus half a year), then there are: 77 X 2 / 0,15 = approximately 1000 forced prostitutes (between 750 and 1250) in the Netherlands at each moment. I you believe no report by a victim to the police is false, then you must multiply by two, so you arrive at: 2000 (between 1500 and 2500).
To sum it all up, there are at least 1500 forced prostitutes in the Netherlands according to my ‘Wallen-1-extrapolation’, at least 1200 forced prostitutes in the Netherlands according to my ‘Wallen-2-extrapolation’,approximately 1100 forced prostitutes according to my ‘Saban-1-extrapolation’, and approximately 750 forced prostitutes according to my ‘Saban-2-extrapolation’. In percentages, at least 10% of all prostitutes in 1999 according to my ‘Wallen-3-extrapolation’. I think these are realistic estimates. So let’s say there are at least a 1000 forced prostitutes in the Netherlands at each moment. But probably it’s more like 2000 or 3000 or something. And at least 10% of the prostitutes are coerced, but probably it’s more like 20%.