How to prevent human trafficking
These days governments in Europe, and actually all over the world are so worried about human trafficking. The Dutch government is no exception to that. Especially saving women from human trafficking in prostitution seems to be top priority these days. A delegation of the Dutch government recently even payed a visit to Romania and Bulgaria to talk about it. The idea to stop human trafficking at the source, rather than the destination, seems to be the target now. And rightfully so, I'd say.

But what has the Dutch government themselves done thus far to prevent this from happening, and fight human trafficking? The government has made human trafficking illegal, and with that I mean, they made it illegal to exploit someone and they made forced labor illegal, both things that where already illegal but apparently needed another law specifically so we can call it human trafficking. And they made it illegal for someone else to help a prostitute crossing a border to work in prostitution.
I've already talked about that before in this post here, that prostitutes need help to get started here. But the people helping are by default criminals for the human trafficking law, even if the prostitute herself agrees on it, and even if those human traffickers have no bad intentions at all. In short, it's illegal to help a girl into prostitution, no matter if she agrees on it or not.
But what has the government done to prevent this from happening? Did they come up with an idea how to support people from entering prostitution in a save way if they want it? No! And because the government doesn't offer a solution for this, it leaves prostitutes no other choice but to get help from a human trafficker, and thereby becoming a victim of human trafficking themselves. In other words, it's the government themselves that drives prostitutes into the hands of human traffickers, because of a lack of support for prostitutes.

If the government was to help women who want to enter prostitution, there would be no need for the prostitutes to accept help from others. Instantly you would make it safer for prostitutes to enter prostitution in the first place, and you help prevent prostitutes from falling in the wrong hands. You could fight human trafficking, exploitation and forced prostitution all at the same time.
In stead they choose to not support prostitutes in any way, keep on making new rules to try and catch human traffickers, which only backfires (closing windows, prostitution registrations etc.), and on top of that close safe work places, leaving prostitutes no option but to move to unsafe work places, with as a result that again they could fall into the hands of a human trafficker.
Sometimes it almost looks like the government wants prostitutes to become victims of human trafficking, they push girls with so many things into that direction, that you'd almost begin to wonder if they want to create more victims or less. Almost like they're interested in creating so many victims, that eventually they will just say legalizing prostitution was a bad idea, because they only got more victims. Well, of course, if you push girls into human trafficking with these kind of laws, no wonder you create more victims.

What I don't understand is why the government doesn't do anything to help girls get started in prostitution. There's obviously a need for help since a lot of girls want it, and that help now comes from people who are being called pimps or human traffickers, even though many of them have no bad intentions at all. In fact, most people who are considered by law to be human traffickers are not bad people at all, but rather just people helping prostitutes, many of them are prostitutes themselves, working here and helping friends to come over here. Only a few people with bad intentions take advantage of girls who need help, and afterwards start to demand for more money, but this is only a small portion. Most of these people helping prostitutes are just providing a service to help the girls get started, a service the government neglects to provide.

Within these services we can count in financial help to get started, a bank loan for instance would solve this problem, but right now prostitutes by default can't get a loan from a bank, and also many people from Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary) get refused for a bank loan. The government has done nothing to improve the situation of prostitutes towards banks. Prostitutes in Holland these days still can't even get a bank account from most banks (except ING, but only personal bank accounts and not business bank accounts), let alone a loan or a mortgage.

Secondly housing is a service these people offer help with. Prostitutes are often refused apartments solely based on their jobs, and this comes from the bad reputation prostitution has. A campaign to improve the reputation of prostitution, and perhaps a law to forbid people from asking people about their jobs would solve this problem. You can still show papers that can prove your income, and give house owners their guarantee, but there's no need for them to know exactly what job you're doing, in my opinion that's privacy. It prevents people from getting discriminated based on their profession. Right now the government does nothing for this, and they're surprised when they find 10 girls living together, and think it's suspicious and a sign of human trafficking, while many of these girls live together simply because they can't find a place to live.

A third service these people offer is good information. The government spends right now a lot of money on telling you what not to do in prostitution, and how to not become a victim of human trafficking, but nobody tells you how to start this job in a safe way. And there's no information available out there to inform girls about the reality of prostitution in stead of the stories all people hear on TV. I myself had a very different idea about prostitution before I started talking with the people that helped me to come here, but thanks to them I got good information about this profession which changed my mind and eventually made me decide to come here. Again a campaign with good information about prostitution would be the solution here, but all the government does is warn you about the bad things in prostitution, and not how to start it.

These people who are now being considered criminals for helping prostitutes, because the government neglects to help us, would in any other profession considered to be unemployment agency helping people to find a job. These people help to fight the unemployment in Europe, one of the biggest problems the European Union has right now, and yet they're being considered criminals. And why is it no problem to help someone find a job in another country, except when it's prostitution? The only reason I can think of why this is illegal, is because people 'think' prostitution is a job nobody would want to do, and therefore by default all prostitutes must be victims, but that's simply not true. In fact, most of the women from Eastern Europe come here, because prostitution is legal, and thereby safe to work, something their own country doesn't have.

And all of this is happening because of a stupid human trafficking law that forbids things that where already illegal (exploitation, and forced labor), but also forbids people from helping prostitutes if they want help.
In that way, the government doesn't seem to want to prevent girls from becoming victims of human trafficking, but rather prevent girls from entering prostitution at all. And my question would be to the government, why are you preventing girls from entering prostitution, when you made it a legal job yourselves?

Dutch version
8 Responses
  1. Ivonn Says:

    What is this registrartion that you mentioned in your post?


  2. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Ivonn
    About a year ago the government made plans to begin with the registration of all prostitutes. Prostitutes without registration would be working illegal. The idea behind it was that by registering prostitutes, they could keep out the forced prostitutes, and clients had to check before they went to a prostitute if she was registered or not.

    Fortunately this plan got shot down before they could make it into a law, because it was violating our privacy (the government would have all data on all prostitutes). On top of that also our privacy towards clients would be endangered, so this could potentially cause dangerous situations of stalking clients of prostitutes in their private life.

    I never quite understood why this idea got so far in the first place. Like a forced prostitutes magically wouldn't be able to register herself or something. And the idea was that clients would check on a website if a prostitute was registered or not. They could of course do this on their smartphone, but what about tourists that don't know about this website, or that don't have internet? And of course we all know clients are very willing to first ask a prostitute for her registration number, after check on a website to see if she's registered, and after that continue with approaching her, especially when their drunk or stoned, like most of the people in the Red Light District.

    In short, bad idea that never would've solved anything, but only caused more problems than it intended to solve.


  3. Korhomme Says:

    Your views are always very interesting. I'm also very impressed with your ability in English. Am I right in thinking that English is the first foreign language that kids learn in Romania? (Sorry for being nosey!)


  4. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Korhomme
    No, it's French when I was a kid, but I really suck at French. LOL
    I got 10 years French in school, but still can only say three sentences.
    When I came here I could hardly speak any English at all, but because of the clients you kinda have to learn it, otherwise you won't survive. So it's more of a survival thing in this job, then anything else.
    On top of that my boyfriend is Dutch, and when we started to be together we talked in English all the time, as we still do now. He's really good at English, so I learned a lot from him. I speak English on a daily base with my boyfriend, with clients, basically everywhere I go. So it would be weird if I still sucked at English after 4 years.

    With other girls working here it's different. Often they live together with a boyfriend or friends from their own country doing the same job, so they speak their own language at home. That's why my English is better then most others.

    In fact, I sometimes even have trouble speaking Romanian, because I hardly speak it anymore with people. Even when I'm thinking I think in English now, which is weird if you think that I couldn't even speak a word of English 5 years ago.

    But I think these days Romanian kids do get English in school. In my time it was French (no idea why though), and when my mother went to school it was still Russian.


  5. Korhomme Says:

    Thank you. I'm still impressed. I worked in Switzerland for a couple of years, so I can speak and read German well enough, but I wouldn't dare write it.

    Linguists say, that there is a step progress in language, from listening to speaking, to reading; but the hardest step is to be able to write it.

    I'm not surprised by the French, it was the language of diplomacy for so long; but even after years of it at school, my ability is really very basic. I would have thought that German, once a common language in middle and eastern Europe, wasn't learned in Romania; perhaps this was a political reaction—rather like your mother's Russian.

    Don't worry about forgetting Romanian; language is like riding a bicycle, it's something you don't forget. You might be a bit wobbly when you first try, but it will all come back, and very quickly.

    It's also said, that you have mastery of a language when you dream in it...this doesn't happen to me with German :)


  6. Korhomme Says:

    I should add that my curiosity about Romania is sparked because my daughter is at present in Cluj-Napoca, doing a masters degree—in English—it's a joint venture with a Uni in Berlin. She's very impressed with the place, specially some of the prices. Romania seems to be a very different country from the impression we here in the west have been lead to believe.


  7. Felicia Anna Says:

    @Korhomme
    Yeah, my boyfriend had the same thing. They present Romania in the media always like a very poor country with almost more shacks than houses, including dirt roads and women in the street begging etc.
    And yes, Romania is a poor country, but not in the way they present it in the media. What they show in the media are extreme examples to almost victimize Eastern European, and especially Romanian and Bulgarian citizens as extremely poor and in dying need of help.
    It's a trick not only the rescue industry in prostitution uses for human trafficking and slavery, but also many rescue organisations use for poverty in our countries.

    Funny enough, most of the times when they show Romania on the TV, they show the worst parts of the country they can find, and combine this with images of Moldavia, the country next to Romania where the situation is worse then in Romania.

    I guess it's good for fundraising to show poverty porn. People need extreme examples to get into action, too bad those extreme examples set the standard to how people view our countries.

    I know several girls from Cluj working here in the Red Light District, so you can imagine yourself how poor and how bad their situation was or not.


  8. Korhomme Says:

    The DD went by car from Switzerland via Berlin to Cluj. Her Swiss aunt said that the Fiat Panda would be the poshest car in Romania. But the DD found that, in her area of Cluj, the posher Audis were the most common cars.


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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.