Maggie is a former prostitute and escort madam. She is an American. On her blog she mainly targets the nonsense that you hear in the media about prostitution and forced prostitution. She also tells a lot about her favorite books and movies. I have commented sometimes on her blog (under the name Kris), and she didn't like me, she practically banned me at one point (putting me on permanent moderation). You can read my comments on her blog in this blog post:
...and in this blog post:
I agree with many things she says about the sex industry. It is indeed true what she says that the average age the women enter prostitution is NOT 14 years, like you often hear in the media. And no, working in prostitution is not inherently traumatizing. She is right about that.
But she makes some outlandish claims sometimes too!!! I hate it to directly attack a specific person right on the internet. But, she does it all the time on her own blog, so I think she wouldn’t be bothered if I did it to her. I think she likes a little dialectic.
As I said, I don’t agree with a lot of what she says. For instance, she claims that women who say that they are or were forced to work in prostitution are comparable to people who say they have been abducted by extraterrestrial entities, and they often suffer from false memories because they believe these outlandish stories themselves!
Read this post to see what I mean:
She says: ‘Next time you see one of these “survivor” narratives, compare it to the now-discredited accounts of Satanic ritual abuse and the widely-ridiculed tales of alien medical experiments.’
However, she makes a peculiar exception for Jill Brenneman who went through a similar ordeal of being locked up by a man and having to receive clients for him. You can read Jill Brenneman’s story here:
If she would have been consistent, you would have discarded Jill Brenneman’s story too!!
In one blog post she writes a poem in which she ridicules journalists who buy into the stories of forced prostitutes. She believes that forced prostitutes have reframed their stories under the pressure of social workers. Read it here:
In a follow up post she explains her poem. You can read it here:
In this last post she also doubts the stories of women who say they have been abused by family members.
In the following blog post she says that prostitutes lie to the police that they are forced by a pimp in order to drop charges:
I will quote from it:
Imagine yourself a teenage streetwalker hauled in by a group of brutal thugs and thrown into a cell, threatened with imprisonment on whatever charges they can dream up…and then a detective or social worker comes in to play “good cop”, telling you that they know you’ve been “trafficked” and are willing to drop all charges – maybe even get you some goodies like a place to live and medical care – if you’ll just tell them the name of the bad men who “forced” you into prostitution. Faced with such a choice, do you honestly believe you’d hesitate to name somebody – anybody – in order to get the deal?That’s it, that’s the explanation. These forced prostitutes are just fakers. But they have a good reason, it is the only way out of the justice system. I meant it cynically.
In one blog post Maggie denies the existence of the Stockholm Syndrome and she also denies that forced prostitutes could be too afraid to testify against their traffickers (implying that they aren't there). I would say that I don’t agree with that at all!!! I have written about a lot of just these cases on my blog. It is absolutely possible that people side with their oppressors in order to survive or be treated better, or that forced prostitutes are too afraid to go to police. You can read this blog post here:
You can also derive from this blog post, that she is a hardcore libertarian who defends the people’s right to live in slavery. She criticizes the denial of “the agency of those who choose to migrate even when they know or at least suspect their conditions will be harsh”. I understand that she defends the right of people to be treated badly. I believe that it doesn’t therefore give people the right to abuse prostitutes, even if the prostitutes suspected beforehand that they were probably going to be abused.
In one blog post she responds to a reader who asks her if selling one’s daughter is perfectly okay. Here’s the post:
Like many people, you are pretending that sex magically makes everything different. Women whose families pressure them into prostitution are NO DIFFERENT from those who pressure them into any other kind of work, especially in countries like Switzerland and Hungary where prostitution is legal. If it’s “wrong” for a family to push a woman to do sex work, then it’s also “wrong” when she’s pushed to get an office job. So is the average American man a “human trafficker” in your mind? Because most men expect their wives to work nowadays.Here she has a point, there is also abuse outside the world of prostitution. But in my opinion she compares evil with evil. Perhaps we SHOULD criticize people when they push their children to work! She uses it as a distraction, because it is okay in her opinion when parents or husbands force their children or wives to work in general, it is thus also okay for them to force them to work in prostitution. Here she implicitly defends forced prostitution.
I find it interesting that she denies the voices of prostitutes who say that they have been abused or coerced in prostitution. Generally people in the prostitutes’ rights movement say that we should take seriously what prostitutes say. But in Maggies eyes we should only take the voices of happy hookers seriously.
Don’t get me wrong, some people could lie about being forced prostitutes. And indeed, several of these cases are known. But does that mean that all alleged forced prostitutes lie? There are people who say that they have been in nazi concentration camps or who have fought in the Vietnam war, and then it turns out that they did not. Does it mean that there were no victims in concentration camps and no Vietnam veterans?
Lately, Maggie has said that claiming that there is an ‘epidemic’ of forced prostitution (a.k.a ‘sex trafficking’) is like saying that the moon is made of cheese. She also says this of the theory that men and women are behaviorally very similar (like it is proposed by Janet Shibley Hyde), or that there is some kind of rape culture. She does that here in this blog post:
She has made a cartoon in which a mouse and Alice debate the idea that the moon is made of cheese. The mouse is the defender of the theory that the moon is made of cheese. Alice wants proof, but the mouse isn't interested in proof, because he/she 'believes' in it. The point that Maggie likes to make is that the ideas of behavioral sexual equality, forced prostitution, and rape culture are so outlandish that you don’t have to proof of disprove that it is true or not. You now just by sitting in your armchair that these ideas cannot but true, just like you know beforehand that the moon is not made of cheese or Jupiter made of plywood, or the sun made of candlelight. She claims that if you make such an outlandish claim the burden of proof is on the one who proposes it.
I believe Maggie McNeill has given me a purpose. I want to debunk a lot of what she says. I want to proof that forced prostitutes could really be too afraid to say to the police that they are forced. And… I want to proof that there really is (or at least was) a forced prostitution ‘epidemic’ at least in the Netherlands. I say ‘at least was’ because it could be theoretically true that the situation has improved in the Netherlands during the last few years. But information comes in very slowly, so I don’t want to make claims regarding the present. I have no knowledge of other countries other than the Netherlands though, so I don’t want to make any claims about New Zeeland or Australia for example.
I want to spread out the debunking of Maggies claims over several blog posts. First I like to start with a claim that she makes that ‘only’ 1,5% of the prostitutes are coerced. That is an interesting claim in itself, because didn’t she compare the stories of forced prostitutes with those people who claim they have been abducted by aliens? If she would have been consistent she would claim that NO prostitute is coerced. But I don’t want to blame her. I could be inconsistent at occasions myself. But at least I willing to admit that the world is a fuzzy place, and that I don’t know what to think of sexuality (is it something beautiful, something ugly, or both?), should I visit or should I not visit prostitutes, etc… And I indeed sometimes doubt if there is really a problem of forced prostitution; because ... do the victims lie? There is no definite counterproof, so you can make such a claim and believe it, believe some kind of conspiracy that all alleged forced prostitutes turned out to have made false claims, or that the police just wants to score points. And indeed, there have been some cases where a forced prostitution story turned out to be false. So at one point I started to visit prostitutes again. But this is the direction that Maggie is going, and I want to depart from that direction.
I have collected a lot of evidence on my blog to prove that there is a substantial forced prostitution problem in the Netherlands. So I could just say, read my blog and weep. However, I think I have made the mistake on my blog just to collect information without interpreting it myself. I could just point to an abuse and assume that people would become upset about it, but I slowly became aware that some people would not. There are people called ‘libertarians’ who defend voluntary slavery, and these people are not upset when they hear that a man maltreats a women provided that this women decides to stay with him. In this case it would be consensual, in their opinion. It turns out that a lot of forced prostitutes - despite all the abuse - voluntarily decide to stay with their abusers. This is acceptable to libertarians such as Maggie mcNeill and Laura Agustín, but I like to explain from now on why I believe it is not. It is all about morality.
But first I want to tackle her 1,5% claim. The rest will follow in the future.
She writes about it in this blog post:
First she claims that male pimps showed up only until just before the turn of the 20th century because of the prohibition laws, and that prior to that, prostitution was mainly organized by women. I believe this is correct, but she makes the tacit assumption that therefore the female brothel owners were therefore friendly towards the prostitutes. (She doesn’t say it explicitly however). I have copy-pasted-translated some parts of books (such as by Lotte van de Pol) into the following post on my blog where I describe the situation in the Netherlands in ancient times:
It turns out many prostitutes in the distant past were also exploited, debt-bonded, not allowed to leave the brothel with their sparse clothes, etc...... And all this perpetrated by women. But I don’t want to talk about this issue. Let’s move to the 1,5%. I will quote verbatim from her latest blog post I mentioned about pimps:
Pimps as we now know them did not appear until just before the turn of the 20th century, when the widespread “purity movement” (an outgrowth of early feminism which was also responsible for such brilliant ideas as Prohibition and attempts to prevent little boys from masturbating) pressured legislatures throughout the West (especially in the US) to ban prostitution outright rather than merely seeking to “control” it. Since under these new laws women could in many cities be arrested on suspicion of prostitution for simply walking in the street unescorted, streetwalkers began to employ men either to escort them so as to throw the police off, or to keep a lookout at the ends of streets so the whores could rush inside when the cops showed up. And when a whore was busted despite precautions, a male contact who held some of her money could arrange bail. In other words, the first true pimps appeared as a direct result of the criminalization of prostitution, which puts modern “anti-pimping laws” on shaky moral ground indeed. Sadly, this is not the only time in which the government’s excuse for some tyrannical law is the suppression of a problem which would not exist but for other tyrannical laws. If prostitution were not illegal there would be no need for pimps, and the streetwalkers who keep pimps only do so because they fear the cops more.To summarize: she surmises that only street prostitutes have pimps, that 15% of the prostitutes work in street prostitution, and that roughly 10% of the street prostitutes have pimps, and that therefore as a whole 1,5% of the prostitutes in general have pimps. I think conservative statisticians would criticize her decuction, because she extrapolates from France and Great Britain to the rest of the Western world. But I believe as an educated guess it suffices. It also relieves me myself of sticking to strict statistical principles. I just take data from the Netherlands and extrapolate it to the rest of the Western world.
Even among streetwalkers, though, the stereotyped abusive pimp is fairly rare. American studies show that fewer than half of all streetwalkers have pimps, and of those that do the majority of them control the pimps rather than the other way around. The English Collective of Prostitutes estimates that fewer than 10% of English streetwalkers are encumbered by a “heavy ponce” (abusive pimp) and French estimates are lower still, about 5% of streetwalkers. Using the English estimate as a median between the higher American and lower French figures, and applying it to our standard 15% estimate of the percentage of all whores who are streetwalkers, we arrive at a figure of roughly 1.5% of all Western prostitutes who are controlled by pimps. This is a far cry from the “vast majority” claimed by the anti-whore propagandists who infest government and the feminist movement, and similar to most estimates of the number of women with abusive husbands or boyfriends.
In the Netherlands the large majority of forced prostitution cases are not related to street prostitution, but happen indoors. It is important because that makes her initial guess of 1,5% of Western prostitutes who are controlled by pimps potentially a lot larger! How much larger remains to be speculated about; is it 5 times larger, 10 times larger, 2 times larger, 20 times larger?
But luckily we have data from the Netherlands! I believe nowadays forced prostitution cases in street prostitution is really rare, but in the past it happened somewhat more often in that sector of prostitution. I will take data from the past because the situation of today seems to be special because lots of tolerance zones for street prostitutes have been closed down. Street prostitutes aren’t really tolerated nowadays in the Netherlands. So I will take data from the past, start from Maggies 1,5%, estimate the percentage of forced prostitutes who work indoors, and then guess the number of forced prostitutes using the 1,5% as a guideline.
I take the yearly report (Jaarverslag 2006) of Comensha (a.ka. the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women) of the year 2006 (see page 8):
44 of the 549 reported victims of human trafficking (these were all reports, also by social workers) allegedly worked in street prostitution. But not all human trafficking is prostitution-related so I remove the non-prostitution cases. That leaves 311 cases. 44 of 311 is 14,1%.
The second report of the Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel also contains some numbers regarding finished police investigations. You can read it here (see page 54, table 4.17):
There were 111 cases during the period 1997-2001. In 14% of the cases also street prostitution was involved. In 56% also window prostitution was involved, in 52% clubs/brothels were involved, and in 15% also escort prostitution was involved. The problem here is that multiple victims could be involved in one single investigation, and one single investigation could cover multiple sectors. But I think the 14% figure roughly confirms the number that I derived from the year 2006.
Okay, let’s guess that 14% of the forced prostitutes work in street prostitution in the whole Western world, that would mean 86% of the forced prostitutes work indoors. That means that there are roughly 6 times more indoor forced prostitutes than street prostitutes. As a whole there are roughly 7 times more forced prostitutes than Maggy initially surmises, assuming only street prostitutes could be forced to work in prostitution. 1,5% times 7 is roughly 10,5%. Let’s say 10%. I think this is a realistic estimate. I have made other attempts in the past to arrive at an estimate and then I roughly arrive at this number. Perhaps it is 20%, 15%, or something. I notice that forced prostitutes are often young and often Eastern European prostitutes are involved. Many forced prostitutes work on de Wallen in Amsterdam. So I could do something with that. Just look at my blog to find more. Especially the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Read my FAQ here:
If 10% of the prostitutes are forced, suddenly forced prostitution isn’t such a rare phenomenon anymore, if at least you think 1,5% is rare. If you say 10% of the prostitutes are forced than I believe you can speak definitely of an epidemic. It is always difficult to determine what you believe is a lot, are what you consider that be rare. It is all subjective. In the Netherlands an epidemic is defined as when more than 51 of every 100000 people are affected by a particular illness. That’s roughly half a percentage. So even Maggies 1,5% is above that! So we really have a forced prostitution epidemic in the (Western) world.
Case closed. There is more to come, stay tuned. This is just part 1 (I hope).
This is part 2:
This is part 3:
This is part 4:
This is part 5: