So you think they will dance?
For a while now there's this video circulating on the web, it's a video shot in the Red Light District of Amsterdam with a message at the end to capture the people's attention. The video is called Girls going wild in the red light district and can be found here:


The video is an awareness video created for Stop The Traffik to get more attention for human trafficking happening in the prostitution industry. The video shows some text which is the following:
'Every year, thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here.'
This video is also being shown in the Red Light Secrets prostitution museum in the Amsterdam Red Light District, aiming at informing people about the life behind the windows (read more about the museum here).

In my opinion this video is absolutely disgusting, giving people the idea that most of the women in the Amsterdam Red Light District are being forced to work here, brought here under the pretenses of having a nice career as a dancer or a waitress or whatever. This video makes it not only look like most prostitutes working in the Red Light District are being forced, but on top of that, that the girls working here are also so dumb and naive that they would fall for such a dumb lie.

What's really interesting about this video, is that the statement at the end of the video, only two sentences, are both filled with so much lies, that I have to cut them into pieces to explain it. So let's start with the first sentence:
'Every year, thousands of women are being promised a dance career in Western Europe.'
Now I'm sure that thousands of women indeed are being promised a dancing career, either in Europe or in other parts of the world, but mostly these women also end up being a dancer. The thousands, the people who made this video of course are talking about, are the thousands of women who end up forced in prostitution. In fact, they even state that they end up 'here'. Which means that every year thousands of women end up in the Red Light District of Amsterdam forced behind a window, according to this video.
That's an interesting thing, since Amsterdam only has about 400 windows (source here). According to the myth most forced prostitution stories use, the prostitutes who are being forced have to work long days, 12-18 hours a day, meaning that they work both day and night shifts. So, that leaves no room for double shifts, in other words, only one woman can occupy one window a day, and not two women. This means there is only place in the Amsterdam Red Light District for 400 women, if all prostitutes would be forced.
But since that doesn't even come close to the thousands they're speaking of in this video, we'll have to look for another option. The other option of course, is that the forced women are only working one shift per day (which doesn't match the other stories of forced prostitution out there), either a day or a night shift, but even if we do that, than we still only get to 800 women (400 in the day, 400 in the night), and still not the 'thousands' they are claiming. And that's even if all prostitutes in Amsterdam would be forced!
What this comes down to, is the simple fact that thousands of forced prostitutes in the Amsterdam Red Light District is simply impossible, because there aren't enough windows for that. In fact, in the total of Amsterdam, including all legal prostitutes and every type of prostitution, there only work 900 prostitutes a day! And that's including escort, clubs, home and window prostitution all together!

But that's even if we assume that all prostitutes are being forced. And we all know, not all prostitutes are being forced. So this is already where the video goes wrong in the first place. Now let's assume, that they meant to say, that not all of these women end up here, but some do. Of course it might have been wise to add that in the video, to explain to the people that not every prostitute in the Red Light District in Amsterdam is being forced, but I'm pretty sure the makers of this video aren't so worried about that. They'd rather stigmatize all prostitutes, than not getting the attention (read funding) for their organisation that they need.
But now let's assume that they meant to say that 'many' of them end up here. Even if many of them would end up here, that would mean that this would come back in the court cases about forced prostitutes from Amsterdam. But interestingly, most of the time I read about a court case involving a prostitute from Amsterdam, the girl who was the victim, knew she was going to work here as a prostitute, and even more interesting, she agreed with it!
And even more interesting, is the fact that there is not one single court case about a prostitute in Amsterdam, who was told she was going to get a dance career, or even a career as a waitress in West-Europe. In fact, most of the court cases about human trafficking, involves women who knew they where going to be prostitutes in Amsterdam and had also agreed on this, but eventually got tricked into paying more for their deal than they had talked about, and eventually ended up being exploited. And only a hand full of court cases of prostitutes from the Amsterdam Red Light District have actually had a prostitute actually being forced into it, but in none of the cases where they tricked into it by a story of getting a dance career here.
And there's a big difference, between being exploited as a prostitute, or being forced into prostitution. Since being forced into prostitution, means that someone is forcing you to prostitute yourself, while you don't want to be a prostitute. While being exploited nearly means that you are being pressured to pay someone (forced to pay someone) for a deal you made about becoming a prostitute yourself, which you did agee one. An exploited prostitute in 99% of the cases, is a girl who choose this job for herself.

And as I've already shown you people in this blogpost here already, only about 8-10% at the maximum are possibly forced in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, according to scientific research. This would come down to about 50 to 90 girls in total in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, and not even close to the thousands this video claims.
Interesting note though, apparently Stop The Traffik has various different versions of the same videoclips online. One version here states 'Sadly too many of them end up here', which is again an adjustment made on an earlier statement that 'they end up here' (meaning all). Though of course the question is what is too many? Since even one person being victim of human trafficking would be considered 'too many'.
It seems like this video was made with a TV show in the back of their minds, namely Matroesjka's. Matroesjka's was a Belgium mini-series about a group of Eastern European women, who where told they could be dancers and would go on a tour in Europe, and ended up in a brothel/stripclub in Antwerpen.
The TV mini-series was hailed in both Belgium and Holland (along with probably many other countries it was broadcasted), as a huge achievement in the warning for human trafficking in the sexindustry in both Holland and Belgium. Now, besides the fact that most of the things that happen in the TV show, couldn't happen in reality (simple things, like pasports being taken, a brothel not closed down after a raid with serios clues for human trafficking, girls crying on the stage without any clients reporting it etc. etc. etc.), what frequently happens in the TV show, is that women see a chance to escape, and they run for their lives.
Interestingly though, this never happens in the Amsterdam Red Light District, even though the possible 'pimp' is kept much further away from the girl (since there's police control on that), and it gives the girl much more chances to run away. If this would be for real, the streets in Amsterdam would be filled with women running through the streets, screaming for help.
The only time I've seen prostitutes running and screaming on the streets, is when some asshole steals something from the prostitute, and she runs after him. So if she can do that, she could certainly run away from her pimp. After all, the police station is only a few blocks away.

But this video isn't the only video out there, making false statements about human trafficking and forced prostitution happening in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. There are many video's out there, reaching millions of people (the Stop The Traffik video alone already has 11 million views), and basically giving people false information, and thereby negatively influencing their opinion about our profession, but more importantly, negatively influencing their opinions about ourselves.
There are just too many video's out there for me to handle each and every one of them, but there is one other video that I would like to discuss here, which is the following video:


And again, just like with the Stop The Traffik video, also here the video contains only text and is designed to inform people about the dangers of human trafficking. And again the video is filled with false statements, and some facts that are either mixed up, or misunderstood. The text is the following:

Prostitution in Amsterdam's Red Light District is legal and regulated.
Though some girls work here by choice, many are trafficked from Central and Eastern European countries. Prices starts at just fifty Euro for thirty minutes. Over 1000 women sell sex in windows. They are open 24 hours a day.
Prostitutes even have a union (De Rode Draad), but most won't become a member for various reasons. Amsterdam prostitutes pay an avarage of 85 Euros for a small room during the day shift and 115 for the night shift. Ownership of the windows is divided between many small landlords.
In 2009 a window prostitute was killed during her night shift, and the murderer was never caught.
Amsterdam legalized prostitution to eliminate crime, but instead legalization made human trafficking rampant. The Amsterdam City Council has noticed the side effects of prostitution and have reduced the number of brothels in the past few years.

The first part is good, indeed prostitution in Amsterdam (along with the rest of Holland, by the way) is legal and regulated. This is also the reason many women have come to Amsterdam (and Holland), because they can do this job here legal and safe, while in other countries it's illegal and therefore very unsafe. In fact, it's because it is legal here, that most of the prostitutes in this country aren't forced. The legalization of prostitution has caused a run on this country of women who choose to do this job. It rather attracts women who chose this job, than it attracts human traffickers, since it's much more controlled, and therefore much more difficult to force a girl into prostitution. After all, it's much easier to force someone to do something, when nobody can see it, and there's no control, like in countries where it's illegal. In short: why would a human trafficker risk being caught here, while he can do it much safer in a country without so much control of the police and the government.

Than the video claims that 'some' girls work here by choice, but that 'many' of them are trafficked. Of course it's up to the viewer to define what's 'some' and what's 'many', since some people might say 10 girls are 'many', while others might say more than half is 'many'. In short, what is many? And what is some?
But I think it's safe to assume that if only 'some' do it by choice, and 'many' are trafficked, as this video claims, that we can assume that more than half are trafficked according to this video, and only a small part of perhaps 20 or 30% of the prostitutes do it by their own choice.
Of course I don't need to explain to you again, as I've already stated here above, that only a maximum of 10% of the girls are forced. This would rather mean that 'some' girls are forced, and 'many' work here by their own choice, which is completely the opposite of what the video claims.
Funny detail is the fact that all the girls in the video (since I know all the girls who appeared in the video personally), are working here by their own choice, and are not forced. But I don't think the maker of this video bothered to ask that.

The part about the prices are correct (although adding the 'just' makes it sounds like it's cheap, which was obviously the intention of the filmmaker), but the time sadly is wrong. Clients get 20 minutes for 50 Euro's, of which 5 minutes are included extra to change the clothes for the customer. Over 1000 women sell sex is true. But the Red Light District is not open 24 hours a day. Perhaps people might get the impression it's open 24 hours, but the windows do close down in the morning for several hours, during which the rooms get cleaned.

Than there's an interesting mention of De Rode Draad (The Red Wire). De Rode Draad however is not a union, and never was a union, they where a foundation aimed at improving the position of prostitutes. De Rode Draad however closed down already in 2009, as a result of not receiving anymore funding from the government. This could explain of course why 'most won't become a member', since it's kinda difficult to become a member of something that doesn't exist anymore.

The parts about the average prices for the windows in the day shifts are about correct, although the night shifts are 150 Euro average, and not 115 Euro as this video claims. And the part about the window owners is also about correct, although some window owners so have large numbers of windows.
But than all of the sudden this video goes into a murder that was committed in 2009 on a prostitute. Of course the idea is to suggest that the legalization and regulation of the prostitution in Holland has only made the safety worse for prostitutes than it was before. But when you look at the number of prostitutes that where murdered since the regulation in the year 2000, you can only find 2 women where murdered.
While if we look at the same length of period (14 years), before the regulation of prostitution, you'll find that 3 prostitutes had been murdered. So in the end there's not much of a difference between the number of murders before and after the regulation, in fact you could even say the safety has improved since that time, since one murder less was committed after the regulation in the same length of time as before the regulation.

Than the video correctly states that Amsterdam (or actually Holland) has legalized prostitution in order to prevent crime from happening. But than states all of the sudden that human trafficking has become rampant since that time. This is interesting, since first of all, we all know by know the numbers of human trafficking in most researches are hugely exaggerated. And secondly, the most interesting thing is, that human trafficking globally has seen become a rampant problem, so it's not just Amsterdam, this is happening all over the world. And since most countries besides Holland have not regulated prostitution, you could even say the cause of the rampant human trafficking increase is the fault of other countries not following Hollands example to control and protect the prostitutes in order to fight human trafficking by legalizing and regulating it.
And as we've learned from the numbers of murders happening in the Amsterdam Red Light District, which have gone down since the regulation, the safety has even become better, rather than worse how this video claims.

Than the video continues with the claim that the Amsterdam City Council has noticed the side effects of this. But funny enough the video does not state, that the City Council of Amsterdam has lost every single court case against these so called side effects, known as prostitution. In fact the City Council indeed did reduce the numbers of windows, but not by fighting crime, or closing down criminal organisations, but rather by buying out the owners, since they lost every court case from these owners.
Interstingly the City Council of Amsterdam has even stated ever since they lost those court cases against the owners of the prostitution windows, that the number of forced prostitutes is unknown, and could be anywhere between 10 and 90%. In other words, the City Council has bluffed and failed. The City Council lost every single case against these so called 'criminal businesses', bases upon the very simple fact that those businesses where never criminal to begin with.

This video was made by Renee Cole, a Lady Gaga impersonator, who apparently doesn't have Lady Gaga's open mind about sexuality. What bugs me the most about this video is the fact that she hasn't blurred out, or made any of the prostitutes in this video unrecognizable, which already shows to me the lack of respect this woman has for the prostitutes and their families and friends. I know all the girls in this video, and I can tell you that these girls did not approve to be in this video, and weren't aware of the fact that they where being filmed. This video is therefore a violation of their privacy and their portret rights according to the Dutch law, which makes it illegal.
Apparently besides the lack of respect Renee Cole shows for these prostitutes, by showing them fully recognizable in the video, and thereby violating their privacy and portret rights, she apparently also didn't consider the fact the possible problems these girls could get in because of her action. These girls have families in their home countries, who don't know they are doing this job. In fact, for some of them, it's considered a disgrace, and they could even get in serious problems because of this with their families.

I know Renee Cole isn't the only one out there who's filming or taking pictures of prostitutes. Many people in the Red Light District take pictures or videos of us, fully recognizable. Even though every tour guide will tell you it's not allowed to take any pictures of the prostitutes, and even though many windows have a sticker on it with a sign that says it's not allowed to make pictures, still people keep doing it.
And it's not so much the fact that we're camera shy or something, or that we want people to pay for it or something like that. It has to do with the fact that many prostitutes, including myself, have family and friends at home who don't know we do this job. Since this job, unfortunately, still isn't socially accepted (partially because of video's like this and stories about forced prostitution and crime), many prostitutes could get in trouble with their family or friends if they would find out. It's got nothing to do with the fact that we're not proud of our job, but rather with the fact that other people have problem with the job that we try to do proudly.
One of my best friends has already gotten in a lot of trouble with her family, because one stupid guy made a picture of her, which ended up on the internet. Because of that she had to stop the job, and hasn't spoken with her family in almost two years now, even though part of the reason she did this job, was to send home part of the money for her family. And this goes for a lot of cases. Many girls send money home to their parents, who don't know where the money really comes from. We try to help our parents, our family, and we are prepared to go very far for this. So when some stupid guy or girls fucks this up for us, because he wants to make one stupid picture or video, he has to realize he's not only fucking up our lives, but our families lives as well. And let me ask you one thing. How far are you willing to go for your family? What would you do to help you family out? It's not that our families are dying from hunger, but when you have enough money for yourself, and your family is struggling financially, who wouldn't want to help their parents or their family out if they had the money for it?
The people taking pictures of us, and filming us, have no idea the damage they can do to someone's lives. And it's not because we choose this job that's to blame, but rather the stigmatization that prostitution gets, through videos like this, that are to blame for this.

In my opinion the organisations that fight human trafficking would be more successful if they started to work with the prostitutes in stead of against prostitutes.
People who makes videos like Stop The Traffik and Renee Cole in my opinion don't improve anything for the situations of prostitutes, forced or free. In fact, the only thing these videos do, is stigmatize the industry, which makes it impossible to become socially accepted. That doesn't help the prostitutes who chose this job, because they will always be seen as possible victims. And it doesn't help the victims either, because people will always see them as 'that prostitute'. Prostitution doesn't need more rules, or more awareness for human trafficking. It needs to become socially accepted by our society as a job, rather than a slavery product.

Dutch version
13 Responses
  1. Korhomme Says:

    Thanks for that.

    There's a debate in N Ireland about introducing the Swedish/Nordic model; the politicians are keen as it will stop trafficking, they say. The reality is actually religiousity.

    Anyhow a question. One local politician keeps telling us that there have been 127 murders of prostitutes in Holland since 1998. It's totally unclear where he got this figure from. Have you come across this? Any idea whehttp://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Assembly-Business/Official-Report/Committee-Minutes-of-Evidence/Session-2013-2014/January-2014/Human-Trafficking-and-Exploitation-Further-Provisions-and-Support-for-Victims-Bill-International-Union-of-Sex-Workers/re it came from?

    (use the edit function to search for 'murder').

    Thanks

    He's recorded here saying it:


  2. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Korhomme
    That's a very interesting thing, but very far from the truth. There is a website here, which keeps track of the murders commited in prostitution. I've counted there 33 murders since 1998, which is very far apart from the 127 that your local politician is claiming.
    And beyond that, a lot of murders from those 33 cases, revolve often around private matters, and only very few happen at their job. In fact, most murders where murders that could've happened to anyone, where personal, and often didn't even take place at their workplace.

    So you can tell your local politician that he's full of shit, and is only trying to scare people to accept prostitution as a normal job. Scaring people is the oldest tactic in the book. Christians have used it for ages, by claiming prostiutes where dirty and wrong women, and now they're doing it by claiming there's a lot of crime happening, either human trafficking, or in this case murder.

    But thank you for your comment, it's very interesting to hear these kind of things.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    I seriously doubt that even 10% of sex workers are being forced in any meaningful way. In fact, the level of coercion is likely lower than in many other occupations.


  4. Korhomme Says:

    Thank you for your reply and the link. I understand German, so I gather that most of the women were strangled and were victims of domestic violence.

    Unfortunately, the politician is a member of a fundamentalist Christian party, one where belief will always trump the facts.

    (And my apologies for the mangled link in my first reply.)


  5. Anonymous Says:

    I follow your argument that it’s impossible to have thousands of trafficked women working in the windows (thousands don’t fit into 400 windows). However, I think that you could undermine that 400 figure. That was before the government started buying them and closing them. The number of available windows is closer to 200. As I’ve said before, if you count occupancy you get about 120 -130 women working at night and about 70 during the day (that’s 200 women in total, not 200 per shift). Those women work several days each week (5 – 6); the window population is stable, so it’s not even 200 different women each day. Ignatzmice and hookers provide some valuable raw data on numbers. Hookers, for example list reviews of 392 women in De Wallen. Not all women who work there have reviews, but we can see that we are not dealing with thousands.


  6. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Anonymous May 9, 2014 at 8:40 AM
    The number of 400 (or 401 to be exact) windows I mentioned in this blogpost, is based upon a count that someone does on a website here: http://www.amsterdam-red-light-district-maps.com/, which was last updated with the three new windows at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 92 on 21 January of this year. To me this is the most accurate and up to date count of number of windows in Amsterdam. The person who made this website is actively keeping count regularly on how many windows there are, and documents it very well.

    You are probably talking about the number of windows just in the Red Light District in Amsterdam known as De Wallen, which has right now 296 windows, and not 200.

    Since the last update on this website was at 21 January of this year, and it's been some time since the city of Amsterdam bought any windows, and certainly didn't buy any new windows this year (in fact, three new windows got added!), we can be sure that the number of windows mentioned on this website is still accurate.

    I wouldn't trust to much the count of girls on sites like Hookers.nl and Ignatzmice, since I often see there that different girls are listed as one and the same girl. So I wouldn't trust those counts too much, even though they try to do a very good job of keeping track of the women.

    But the number of windows in Amsterdam last counted on 21 January of this year is still 401, and not 200 like you suggest.


  7. Anonymous Says:

    Just to say I am impressed by the way you write and your awareness of the facts. I have a relationship with a former prostitute and she says the same. Thank you very much. Stay safe! Cheers, Beau.


  8. Anonymous Says:

    If you don't want to be photographed on a public street selling sex don't do it. You claim to be proud of doing this and not ashamed yet you don't want anyone to see you doing this. Contradicting yourselves. Photography isn't illegal in a public street in Holland or anywhere in the world. Filmmakers have every right to film on the street without permission. You have no respect for your body or self worth by selling sex. Have some dignity and self respect. -John, UK


  9. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Anonymous May 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM
    You seem to be confusing personal pride with social acceptance. I am proud of myself and for doing this job. That does not mean that other people, like you for instance, will accept it, and that's what makes it socially unacceptable.
    So this has nothing to do with my pride for my job, or my self respect. But not everybody shares this, and this is exactly the reason why I would prefer it if people don't take pictures.

    Secondly, you seem to forget the fact that in Holland it is illegal to make pictures of people without their permission. This is called a portret rights, and it's the reason many social media offer an option to remove any images or videos from the web that are not posted without any permission of the people in the pictures.

    On top of that, actually there are many signs in the Red Light District that show people they can't make pictures of the women for this reason. If someone takes a picture of me, I can simply call the police, and they will make the person delete the picture, no questions asked, since it's a clear example of violation of the portret right.

    So what you're stating is wrong. You can't take pictures of people without their permission. This is called a portret right.
    You're confusing it with copyright, which is the right the person has who took the picture. But portret right always goes above copyright, unless otherwise agreed on, like in a contract for example.

    And beyond that, people actually need a film permit to film things in Amsterdam. This is the reason many filmmakers choose to avoid Amsterdam for making movies, since they can shoot similar views in other cities in Holland, without having to pay for a permit.

    Perhaps you don't know this, but the prostitutes in Amsterdam don't work on a public street. They work inside the buildings. How would you feel if I took my camera to your house, and started making pictures of you in your house from the outside? This is called invading ones privacy.

    And beyond that, I don't think you can judge from behind your computer how much self respect and dignity I have for myself, just because you read my blog and know I'm a prostitute.
    It's a common misconception that one cannot have self respect and dignity for oneself when doing prostitution. This is an idea fed to people by the anti-prostitution lobby.
    In fact, I think U have much more self respect for myself and my body, since I take extremely good care of it compared to other people I've met in my life. In fact, almost all prostitutes take good care of themselves, since without it we would look shit and nobody would go to us to have sex. And secondly because we like to take care of ourselves.
    I've met in my work as prostitute a lot of people who've neglected their personal hygiene, and thereby not showing any respect for themselves or their body.

    But here's my question to you. Why would you want to take a picture of a girl in the Red Light District? What do you want the picture for? Is it because you want to make a handjob for yourself?
    Give me one good reason why you should be able to break someone's portret right and privacy rights, in order for one idiot to make a picture for himself?


  10. Anonymous Says:

    While the amount of research you put into this is admirable, you're ridiculously literal-minded about the first video.
    Didn't it occur to you that "they end up here" doesn't necessarily mean "In the red light district in Amsterdam." I saw the video several times before and never came to that conclusion. It was obvious to me that "here" referred to prostitution, not specifically Amsterdam.
    You also seem to be remarkably callous about the <10% who are being forced. Sorry, but in my mind the human rights of those being trafficked against their will come before the convenience of those doing it by choice.
    "If this would be for real, the streets in Amsterdam would be filled with women running through the streets, screaming for help."
    First of all, you made the comparison to the TV show, which, being a TV show, it going to be an exaggeration. Expecting it to be accurate would be like expecting Glee to give you a good idea of what American High school life is like.
    However, your response is extremely ignorant and completely ignores the fact that if these women are being abused and trafficked by a pimp their emotional state is not going to be healthy or normal. Just like a victim of domestic violence, the women might be too frightened to ask for help, or they might have a relationship with the pimp and unable to leave just as a victim of domestic abuse who still clings to their spouse. There are any number of reasons why the a prostitute who is being exploited, trafficked, or abused might not ask for help, much less run down the street screaming.


  11. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Anonymous
    Let me first of all state, that just because you didn't come to this conclusion, doesn't mean other people won't. In fact, look at the comments on the various websites where this video is posted, most of the comments you'll see are specifically about Amsterdam's Red Light District. So just because you didn't think about this, doesn't mean other won't.

    Secondly, I'm not stating that people shouldn't do nothing against human trafficking because 'it's only 10%', like how you make it sound. But stating that thousands of women would end up in Amsterdam's Red Light District, is far from the truth, as well as it is stigmatizing.
    They could've easily chosen to create awareness on this subject without stigmatizing us in such a way. The fact that you can't seem to understand that, simply means you're underestimating the damage stigmatization causes.

    Thridly, the TV show was praised for it's 'realistic' look on prostitution and human trafficking, and interestingly enough, that one TV show isn't the only TV show depicting these things. In fact, most TV shows of movies made about human trafficking always depict these things, which begs the question why this never happens in real life, if the TV shows and movies are being hailed as 'realistic'.

    The fact that you call me ignorant on a subject that is being projected onto women like me, shows more your ignorance about this subject then mine. After all, this is my workplace, and these people are making statements about my workplace which simply aren't true. I know most of the girls that work here, and I know their situation. I'm not ignorant about the facts, your ignorant about the realities.


  12. Bobby Says:

    @Anonymous:
    I don't agree with your statement "Sorry, but in my mind the human rights of those being trafficked against their will come before the convenience of those doing it by choice." You may call it "convenience" but it's actually the human rights of those doing it by choice - the right to choose your occupation. And the human rights of one person should not come before the human rights of another, otherwise we are going down a slippery slope. Anti-trafficking measures should not infringe on the rights of other people - e.g. people who want to sell sex or people who want to migrate. Otherwise we might as well close all borders in order to prevent trafficking...


  13. jcm manuel Says:

    I posted an objection to that "dance" video. Not sure if they will leave it or remove it, so let me just post my reaction here as well:

    The "girls going wild in red light district" video is obviously meant to support a campaign against women trafficking. But in reality it is a bizarre display of ignorance. Of course human trafficking exists - there's no doubt about that. Those networks should be dismantled. But to use this sad situation in support of another agenda, which is: to downplay, conceal or ignore what many other sex workers (in the West) are doing out of their own free will, is a bad and alarming signal. By giving this false impression, the political / public will, and goodwill, to protect sex workers, is actively being undermined. The much needed respect of men for women (including sex workers) is being undermined. Because, when we continuously depict all sex work as something in which those women are only "victims", we are inevitably criminalizing all sex work (prostitution), which in turn increases people's fear for (or hatred against) sex workers, and diminishes human respect.

    From which I can only conclude (and I'm far from being alone in this) that THIS type of advertising against prostitution is either (A) typically male (males still don't seem to care much about feminism); or (B) typically 'religious' (Christians for instance will often start by calling all sex work 'sin' to begin with - they don't even consider other possibilities), or (C) typically a conservative political agenda, in which the "strong families" model (mom, dad and the kids) is considered the only valid model, which is what such politicians want because it is good for the economy (read: for capitalism) so it makes their position as a politician stronger. But at the cost of the security and well-being of those sex workers.

    Now this is nothing new. But why does it take years before this confusion comes to an end?

    I do not need sex workers in my life (well, not yet). But I sympathize a lot with feminism - not to say I am a feminist, and maybe all real men should consider being a bit more daring in their support for women, who still don't have the same chances and job opportunities like men in most Western countries. And in this case, not the same protection either. And we shouldn't put the blame on those 'prostitutes' - it is US, citizens and politicians, who do this to them, as long as we don't stop mixing up 2 very different things, thereby criminalizing all sex work.

    The victim of this tragic mix of "human traffic" on the one hand and sex workers on the other hand are those women, that's for sure. But women have a right to their own bodies, and a right to do this kind of job. They can make their own choices, choosing a independent life, offering services to men who, in many cases, need this kind of human contact in an otherwise - in their experience - cold and bleak world. (Also the other way round, women may need to spend time with a male escort worker, for instance).

    Those who do not, or do not want to, understand these things, will of course disagree - there's no objection against disagreeing. But my point is: women deserve protection. And the best protection is, when men start respecting women more. And this is not going to happen in our societies if others keep treating all female sex workers as "victims of male abuse" or "victims of sex-obsessed men" or anything along those lines. Because that's just criminalizing the wrong people and messing with the lives of those women.


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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.