Maggie McNeill’s blog can be found here:
To counter several of her claims, I wanted to write something about Saban B and his gang. This gang exploited prostitutes on De Wallen in Amsterdam, Het Zandpad in Utrecht, De Achterdam in Alkmaar, the red light districts of Den Haag and other places. The gang also exploited prostitutes in other sectors of prostitution, but mainly in the window prostitution areas. They also had some women in sex clubs. The gang was active in the Netherlands in the period 1998-2007. I have already written about the gang in other posts. See here:
http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2008/09/sneep.html (in this post the gang members’ names have been altered, and they are not called by their real names)
In this post I want to tackle two of Maggie McNeill’s ideas:
1. Potential forced prostitutes (if they exist) would probably speak with the police about their ordeal.
2. The big police raids of brothels in several countries never unearth victims of forced prostitution, so forced prostitution isn’t there.
I want to make it plausible that basically all the women who were exploited by the gang of Saban B were treated badly, because it could theoretically be possible that some women were treated badly while most were treated well. I want to do it the following way. The gang was essentially a collective of pimps, with Saban B as the leader. The collective was named ‘the community’ by the gang members. Individual pimps who belonged to the gang each could have a stable of prostitutes, or just one prostitute (there were also some bodyguards who had no stable of prostitutes). Pimps could be admitted into the gang. Several eyewitnesses say that Saban B pushed or incited the other gang members to abuse the women who personally worked for them. This also emerges from several wiretapped telephone conversations. I will translate parts of verdicts (published on rechtspraak.nl) to show this. Important sentences will be highlighted by me.
I have a specific goal in mind when I argue that all the women who worked for Saban’s gang were forced by the gang members. I want to counter Maggie McNeill’s claim that it is a myth to believe that victims of forced prostitution don’t dare to go to the police or otherwise seek help. I argue that this is exactly the case; forced prostitutes often are afraid to seek help, and rarely do. In Saban B’s case only 17 of the 120 women (whom the police associated with the gang) lodged a complaint or testified to the police. I explain extensively how I derived these numbers in this post:
Now the quotes from the verdicts… (remember: emphases mine) …
I will quote from rechtspraak.nl. See this verdict (with LJN-number BP6723):
Also see the following post in which I translated more parts of this and other verdicts into English:
Now the quotes from verdict BP6723:
6. The testimony of witness [person 8] (April 3 and 18, 2008):Two wiretapped telephone conversations from the same verdict:
In the beginning I was in love with [suspect Tayfun K]. He was kind towards me. That other one, his boss [suspect Saban B], incited him. I worked for [suspect Tayfun K] but I was particularly afraid of [suspect Saban B]. [Suspect Tayfun K] said to me over the telephone "I will give you my boss". He cursed that I had to earn 1500 euro or else I had to leave the Netherlands. [Suspect Saban B] and [suspect Tayfun K] then arranged our workplace. With us I mean [person 25] and I. We first were in Alkmaar. We finally got a workplace in the [address] in Den Haag.
9. A wiretapped conversation between [S] [suspect Saban B] and [T] [suspect Tayfun K] (November 1, 2006 at 20.06.59 hours):In the previous quotes you see how Saban B tried to incite Tayfun K to treat the ladies badly, and to draw as much money from them as possible.
S.: Say to the girls that they have to save the money. They mustn't spend it here and there..say it. Look, they mustn't fuck with others, we will take care that they will be finished then.
T.: I have said it exactly the same way.
S.: Say it to both of them. They are not allowed to go out with others. (...) they must save the money. Is that okay. (...) in a few days I will take the money...tomorrow, at most the day after tomorrow we will take the money out of their hands.
10. A wiretapped conversation between [S] [suspect Saban B] and [T] [suspect Tayfun K] (November 1, 2006 at 22.27.13 hours):
T.: I have left them behind (...) I have said it (...) they say agreed.
S.: They say agreed. You should have said about properly saving money.
T.: They will save... They were a little reserved because they had to work naked. (...)
T.: I have said "you are not alone here, everybody does the same" I have said.
T.: I will not bring you back again, or else you will buy a ticket here and you can leave. (...) after this she said let me go to Den Haag. I said not today.
Next I want to quote from the verdict with LJN-number BP7662. It is here:
You can also read the following post in which I have translated more parts from this and other verdicts:
Now the quotes from verdict BP7662:
1. The testimony of several police officers (June 22, 2007):
On May 7, 2007 we, officers, are approached by a woman whom we know under the work name [E]. Her full personal information is: [person 13], born in [place] in 1979, making use of the telephone number [nr.].Okay, the previous quotes are important because one victim only dared to speak out when some gang members were arrested. And Saban B had a really bad influence on the other gang members, notably Cillekes Ö. The other gang members were afraid of Saban B, and Saban wanted them to treat the women badly.
It is known to us that [E], together with her girlfriend [W], came from Germany to Den Haag to work in prostitution. The full personal information of [W] is: [person 21], born in [place] in 1978, making use of her telephone number [nr.]. [E] says that since November 2006 she had to hand over money to [suspect Cillekes Ö] who is called [Hakan] who is approximately 25 years old. She asks if it is correct that he has been apprehended. She didn't want to tell much because she was afraid and his little friends still walk about freely here who will carry it out for him. She had just been phoned by him. On Tuesday, May 8, 2007 in the building on the [address] in Den Haag, there were talks with [E] and [W]. [W] tells that she has had a relationship for five years with [Hakan] and that she had to work in prostitution for him. She had to hand over the money to him. When she said that she wanted to stop working she was phoned by [S (comment by Donkey: do they mean Saban?)]. She is very afraid of him and then decided that she should just keep on working. She indicates that since three months ago she got rid of [Hakan]. She is afraid to press charges, in connection with the consequences for her mother and her little daughter in Germany. [Hakan] knows where they live.
[E] tells that she has seen that [S (Saban?)] has beaten a girl with a baseball bat. She has also seen that he beat girls with his fists. Sometimes he went out eating and sleeping with multiple girls. Without reason, one of the girls was maltreated after that. [Saban] was seen by [E] and [W] as the boss. They are very afraid of him.
2. The testimony of [person 21] (January 15, 2010):
Yes, I know [suspect Cillekes Ö]. Another name that I've heard, is [Hakan]. I have had a relationship with him. I got to know him six or seven years ago in Frankfurt am Main. A couple of weeks later we entered into a relationship. He started talking about if I could work in the Netherlands instead of in Germany. I have thought about that. It didn't seem to be a bad idea. I started working in Alkmaar. I handed over my money to [Hakan]. When you ask me on whose initiative I gave the money to [Hakan], then I say that [Hakan] took the money from me. After eight or nine months I left. I saw [Hakan] again two or three years later. That was by coincidence. In Köln I got to know [person 13]. At a certain moment [person 13] was together with a certain [S (Saban?)]. She wanted to visit him in Frankfurt and asked me if I wanted to accompany her. I have done that. In the cafe we encountered [S (Saban?)], and to my big surprise also [Hakan]. They knew each other. That was not known to me and to [person 13]. I then spoke a long time with [Hakan] and we came together again. [Hakan] proposed that [person 13] and I could work in Saarbrücken in a privéhuis. [Person 13] and I weren't there for a long time. [Person 13] didn't earn well there. We then asked if we were allowed to go to the Netherlands and that was allowed by [S (Saban?)] and [Hakan]. I was home for a couple of weeks and then I went to the Netherlands. Then [person 13] accompanied me. We then lived again in a holiday park in Vinkeveen. [Person 13] lived with [person 36] and I lived with [R]. [Person 13] and I worked in Utrecht.
After I asked [person 36] for money for fuel one time, [suspect Saban B] and [Hakan] picked me up together with the jeep of [suspect Saban B]. [Suspect Saban B] was very angry and he wanted that [Hakan] would punish me. [Hakan] tried to calm [suspect Saban B] down a little and he said that it wasn't such a big story anyway. [Suspect Saban B] couldn't be calmed down however during such moments. [Suspect Saban B] then turned around to me in the car and screamed to me who I was supposed to think that I am. As a punishment I had to stay longer at work. I had to work longer. I wasn't allowed to phone. I wasn't allowed to talk to [Hakan]. When I was home I had to go to my room immediately. I felt as if I was punished like a small child. You notice that you see, that while I'm telling this I am very emotional and I'm crying. You ask me why I am so emotional about this. I say to you that I have seen a lot of what [suspect Saban B] has done with other women. He has beaten [person 36], among other persons, with a baseball bat. He pushed her down the stairs. Women were obliged by him to jump in the lake and stay in there until they were allowed to go out. [Suspect Saban B] has repeatedly told other men how they should treat their women. All men from the group were afraid of him. [Suspect Saban B] enjoyed this. He liked it when things happened like he wanted it to happen. [Hakan] also threatened with [suspect Saban B]. [Suspect Saban B] didn't beat me. I wasn't his woman. He did it in a more psychological way. He looks at you in a certain way and he says things in a certain way. Aside from this you see what he does with his own women. [Hakan] also became more and more like [suspect Saban B]. He said that I didn't earn so well anymore. I felt that he started to exert more pressure on me. If I would have given [Hakan] no money he wouldn't have been together with me. I am afraid, especially of a person other than [suspect Cillekes Ö]. I don't want to talk about this person. I don't dare to. He knows how to find me everywhere anyway. I went from the Netherlands to Germany. From Germany to the Netherlands again, and from the Netherlands to Belgium again. The police has said to me that they would give me police protection, but suddenly another person from the group stood before me once again. One time it was [suspect Cillekes Ö] himself. [Hakan] has beaten me one time. He gave me a heavy box on my ears because I didn't listen. [Hakan] was also afraid of [suspect Saban B]. [Hakan] also threatened with [suspect Saban B].
From the same verdict:
10. The testimony of [person 94] (February 21, 2004):This last quote is important because one errand boy claims that the at least 10 prostitutes who were forced on De Wallen by the gang were all forced. And apparently people were very afraid of Saban B. By the way, another errand boy or bodyguard seems to suggest the group had around 30 women on de Wallen in Amsterdam. The gang reportedly had around 30-35 gang members, so probably the number of women who worked for them is of that order. You can read it all here in the following posts on my blog:
Since approximately 2 months I work as an errand boy for a group of pimps on De Wallen in Amsterdam. They are all Turkish man and I only know their first name. They are named [suspect Saban B], [suspect Hasan B], [suspect Nuri T], [Chiko] (…). [Suspect Saban B] and [suspect Hasan B] are brothers of each other. They all come from Germany and know each other for a long time. The group has girls working for them. [Suspect Saban B] and [suspect Hasan B] are leaders of the group. I know that they are also occupied with weapons. I've also seen a firearm with [suspect Saban B], because [suspect Saban B] has threatened me with that. He showed me that weapon and he said that I had to keep on working for him. [Suspect Saban B] arranges weapons, (…) and girls. I believe that the group has at least 10 girls working here. Then they also have girls in Den Haag.
I will tell what [suspect Saban B] orders me to do. When a girl has problems with a client then I receive a telephone call from [suspect Saban B]. Then by [suspect Saban B]'s order I have to go there. Then by [suspect Saban B]'s order I have to beat up the client. I have seen that [suspect Saban B], [suspect Nuri T] and [Chiko] beat up people when they take pictures of the girls. I know that [suspect Saban B], [suspect Nuri T] and [Chiko] have fought with a couple of Moroccans a couple of weeks ago. Everybody in the neighbourhood is afraid of the group. I know that pimps of other girls in the neighbourhood who don't belong to the group pay security levy to [suspect Saban B].
The women and weapons they bring from Germany. I attended that one time. I mean with weapons, these small weapons which you can carry with you.
The group thrashes the whole place here. Threaten everybody and beat up the whole place, frighten people. I'm very afraid of [suspect Saban B] and [suspect Hasan B] and their friends. If they know that I want to press charges against them, then they'll kill me. [Suspect Nuri T] and [suspect Saban B] have seen that I was taken to the police office. They both said in the Turkish language that I must say nothing, or else I was in deep shit.
I have been apprehended because I was supposed to have threatened a whore. I did go to that girl. That happened by order of [suspect Saban B]. I had to say to her that she had to give all her money to [suspect Saban B] and [suspect Hasan B]. I had to threaten her. [Suspect Saban B] said to me that if she would make a fuss then I had to give some beatings.
For two months I have worked every evening for [suspect Saban B]. I was forced to work by him. I couldn't get an evening off.
I am convinced that all girls who are named by me work against their will for [suspect Saban B], [suspect Hasan B], [Chiko], (…) and [suspect Nuri T]. I know of all girls that they have to hand over their earned money.
Now I want to quote from the verdict with LJN-number BP6953:
9. A wiretapped telephone conversation between [suspect Saban B] and [suspect Torsten M] on April 20 2003 at 20:03 hours, Page C-03/224 (investigation [involved person 133]):Conclusion: all the prostitutes working for the gang were forced. Saban B simply didn’t allow the members of the gang to treat the prostitutes with respect. Now, how do prostitutes respond when the police perform a routine inspection? I will quote (translate from Dutch) from the report Kwetsbaar beroep - Een onderzoek naar de prostitutiebranche in Amsterdam (Anton van Wijk, Annemiek Nieuwenhuis, Denise van Tuyn, Tom van Ham, Jos Kuppens en Henk Ferwerda, 2010, Bekereeks). You can download it here:
[Suspect Saban B] phones with [suspect Torsten M]
For [suspect Torsten M] it is still weekend. [Suspect Saban B] isn’t satisfied with the weekend. [Suspect Torsten M] has nothing to complain about and says 600 and 800. [Suspect Saban B] says that this amount of money is a disaster for him. [Suspect Torsten M] says that he is not so demanding.
Intermezzo – window prostitution: visible and under controle?This must be true for all prostitutes in window prostitution, so also for the prostitutes belonging to the gang of Saban B. They just don’t tell it. Maggie McNeill is wrong when she says that potential forced prostitutes would quickly go to the police.
In this research we have spoken with various respondents who somewhat reluctantly admit that in window prostitution abuses do occur and that these have to be tackled. But in their opinion these abuses don’t occur to such a degree and extent as is alleged. Their argument is that the window prostitution is the most visible form of prostitution and the most supervised. Operators also have nothing to gain if they would concern themselves with forced prostitution, because using identified abuses the license can be withdrawn. In other words, hardly any abuses can occur. Some criticism can be leveled against this. During the contact with the prostitutes the police can pick up signs of forced prostitution. The reality however is that the contacts are of a very short duration. You can hardly speak of the necessary building up of a relationship of trust with the police officer. It therefore doesn’t occur that the prostitutes report the fact that they are forced or that they make some allusion to it. [this is followed by a note in the book which reads as: One of the respondents named the single exception of one woman who while crying fell into the arms of the police.]
The strange phenomenon of forced prostitutes not daring to speak with the police (inspectors) about their ordeal is also exemplified in the so called ‘Korpsmonitors’, especially the one of 2003. Unfortunately there seems to be no online version of the Korpsmonitor 2003 (R. Coster, 2004, Politie Regio Haaglanden) at the moment. I will quote (translate from Dutch) from the section related to the region Amsterdam-Amstelland:
The tippelzone and the window prostitution is more or less under control, be it that the remark has to be made that this statement limits itself to abuses such as: illegality, minority and false documents. For obtaining a view of classic exploitation this form of contact is too superficial. Regarding the presence of the phenomenon of human trafficking therefore also for that reason no statement substantiated with enough facts can be made.Conclusion: none of the prostitutes (or except maybe one prostitute) belonging to Saban B’s gang grabbed the opportunity to seek help when the police visited them during routine inspections. So: Maggie McNeill is wrong. This also sheds light on the failed PENTAMETER operations in the UK. Many brothels were raided but no victim of forced prostitution showed up. I think because the contacts with the prostitutes were too superficial. So this cannot be used as an argument to show that forced prostitution is rare in UK brothels. (the same goes for the failed raids in the red light districts of Den Haag, Eindhoven and Alkmaar). I think it takes time to build up a relationship of trust with potential victims of forced prostitution. One raid or one interview isn’t enough.