City center council meeting: The co-creators of this policy
This is the second part about the Amsterdam city center council meeting, you can read part 1 here. In this part I will talk about the co-creators of this prostitution policy, the prostitutes themselves, and how much we were really involved in the making of these policies. I will also discuss here the part about improving the position of sex workers and empowering them, and what the city government in reality does about that, and about prevention.

For those of you that wish to look back the entire meeting, you can watch it back online on this link. I'll also put a time frame at my mentions, so you can keep track of what part of the meeting I'm talking about exactly.

Here goes:

Yolanda van Doeveren also mentioned that they've talked with many prostitutes (1.17.41). Of course I don't know what she calls 'many', but I've never even heard of her or her entire 'prostitution program' before the start of this meeting, and I'm almost 100% sure the other girls that work with me didn't talk with them either, so I wonder who the hell she did talk with.
She mentions that it's very 'unique' in Holland that prostitutes 'in large numbers' have been actively involved with the creation of the policies regarding prostitution in Amsterdam, a co-creation she calls it. I think she means the monthly meeting at the P&G 292, a meeting most prostitutes don't even know exists, and monthly gets visited by around 5 to 20 prostitutes. Thinking about the roughly 7000 to 4000 estimated prostitutes in Amsterdam, and the 900 prostitutes working behind the windows, around 20 girls is hardly something I would call 'large number of prostitutes. Yolanda van Doeveren makes it sound like the prostitutes have been involved on a large scale with the creation of these policies, but I can assure you that's very far from the truth.
I often see people claim things about their contact with prostitutes. Some people complain that it's hard to get in touch with prostitutes. Partially that's true, not many girls give a damn about what other people have to say about us, all they care about is making money. But then again, if you never go out in the nights (when most of the women work) to come to us, then the chance to get in touch with us is pretty small. After all, most of the girls behind the windows don't speak Dutch, they don't follow the Dutch news and they're not interested to look up things about their job in their spare time. It's a typical example of how most of the girls like to keep their work and private life separated, and one of the major reasons I don't target my blog to my colleagues, since I'll know that 99% of them will never even start to look for it.
Other people always claim they have good contacts with many prostitutes, they know them intimately and often also personally. A good example of someone like this is Frits Rouvoet for example. These people always think they know everything that's going on with us, because they talk to a few girls. In reality however the number of girls they talk to are often exaggerated in order to give their claims more value. Fact is, that especially Romanian and Bulgarian women, really don't give a fuck about what other people say. They're not interested in what you have to say, and often will refuse to talk with you, because they just don't give a fuck. They're unfortunately not really like me, even though I wish they would be a bit more like me and would care a little bit more about how people treat us.
As for the case of Frits Rouvoet, I still haven't seen him, I guess his invisibility cloak is doing a really good job to avoid him from being seen by me. I did talk to some other girls though that did speak with him. Most girls mentioned that 'this idiot', as they called him, sometimes comes to them with roses or other small presents. Most of them simply ignore him, or pretend to be on the phone when he comes. Most of the girls really 'weren't interested in his bullshit', as they put it.
I guess the ones that are interested to talk with him, are the ones that are looking for help, which could explain why in his vision most girls are forced, since they're looking for someone to help them, and those are mainly the only ones he talks to. The other girls simply don't give a fuck about him or 'his bullshit'. Just so you guys know what's going on.

Yolanda van Doeveren also spoke about improving the position of sex workers and 'empowerment' (1.16.50). In reality however this mostly comes down to helping out victims, which is something that has nothing to do with 90% of the sex workers. After all, in what way is a prostitute who is not a victim 'empowered' or gets her position 'improved' by victim support? We are not victims. Why would I need victim support? That's not empowering me, that's just aiding help to victims, and falls under fighting trafficking, not under empowerment and improving my position.
Yolanda talks about how prostitutes have a bad position when it comes to negotiating the prices for our workplaces. But then again, who gave the window owners this monopoly position in the first place? The window owners have virtually no competition, meaning they can ask any price they want, since the city government keeps closing down windows. They know we're desperate for a workplace, and will pay almost any price they ask, since these are some of the few remaining legal workplaces for prostitutes. Also the closing down of windows in the past has only caused the prices for workplaces to rise at those times, so if there's one person responsible for those 'insanely' high window prices, it's the city government itself.
Though, in the past 4 and a half year that I've been working here, the prices have gone up with only 10 euro, something that I wouldn't call exactly a shocking amount. Let's face it, all prices constantly go up, and considering 10 euro in 4 years time, based upon 150 euro, isn't very much.

Yolanda van Doeveren also talked about prevention (1.19.27), and with that obviously she's talking about preventing women from becoming victims of human trafficking. In reality however things come down more to preventing women from entering prostitution in the first place, which is also the reason why they call it the barrier model, which I still think is a weird idea for something that's considered a legal job. Their idea is that if they do an intake interview with a girl, that this will prevent human trafficking. Unfortunately she's sadly mistaking.
If a girl comes to you and would be a victim, she already is a victim, so you're not preventing anything, you're just stopping it from happening on your doorstep. Those girls that are forced will just be pushed by their pimp to go somewhere else, to another country perhaps, or to another city, or work in illegal prostitution. You're not preventing human trafficking in this way, you're just pushing them somewhere else, to make it someone else his problem.
But more importantly, the intake interview itself is laughable. I did the intake interview with my office, and if they can figure out if I'm forced or not based on those questions, I'll give them all a brand new Ferrari. Fact is, it's virtually impossible to find out through an intake interview if a girl is being forced or not, especially with these stupid questions. And let's be honest, even if a girl would be forced, she would never say this in an interview.
Preventing girls from becoming victims of human trafficking (which for the largest part exists out of women being exploited and not so much really forced), doesn't start with making it more difficult for them to come to work here. It starts by providing good, legal and safe alternatives to the services the human traffickers now offer. Like I explained in this blog before, most girls that are victims of human trafficking, are girls that need these traffickers to help them out to get started over here. If the government would provide these girls with help to get started over here, most of these girls wouldn't need the help of these traffickers, and would've prevented most of the trafficking simply by providing a service.

Another interesting thing Yolanda van Doeveren mentioned quickly, was that according to her there are more human trafficking cases in court then before (1.15.40), and also the number of investigations has gone up incredibly much. This is however completely the opposite of what her own report shows, as I've explained in detail already in this post here. The number of girls pressing charges from 2012 to 2013 (which is the period she is talking about), has dropped from 124 to only 32 (74% less). The number of suspects has dropped from 35 to 21 (40% less). Also the number of investigations has dropped from 195 to 72 (63% less).
So I don't know if Yolanda read her own report, but what she states is completely the opposite of reality, and completely the opposite of what her own report says about it. In fact, every number in her report regarding human trafficking show's an incredible decrease, which is quite the opposite of what she's saying here.

Read here part 1 about our working contracts and conditions.
Read here part 3 with the answers to some of the most important questions the politicians had.

Dutch version
1 Response
  1. Kevin Finch Says:

    Thank you for your efforts in speaking out.


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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.