New plan to scare clients away from prostitutes
Just a few days after they announced a plan to help prostitutes exit their job (read here), today they announced a plan that basically is supposed to the push us to want help to exit our job. Today three members of parliament, Gert-Jan Segers, Nine Kooiman and Marith Rebel, launched an initiative law that criminalizes clients of forced prostitutes 'who knowingly take advantage' of one. I have here the official documents, including the official proposed law, which states:

"Artikel 273g
Hij die seksuele handelingen verricht met een ander, terwijl hij weet of redelijkerwijs moet vermoeden dat die ander zich onder de in artikel 273f, eerste lid, sub 1 ̊, bedoelde omstandigheden beschikbaar stelt tot het verrichten van seksuele handelingen met een derde tegen betaling, wordt gestraft met een gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste vier jaren of geldboete van de vierde categorie."

Translated to English:
"Article 273g
He who performs sexual acts with another person, knowing or could reasonably suspect that the other person has been made available under the circumstances mentioned in article 273f 1 sub 1 to perform sexual acts with someone else, will be sentenced to jail for at least four years or has to pay a fine of the fourth category."

When word got out that this law initiative was in the making I already wrote a blogpost about this (read here). That led to an article with an interview with me in the newspaper Het Parool (read here), and the request of one of the initiative takers from parliament on this law to talk with me about this.
After having talked with this member at my workplace, I was convinced that this article would only apply to illegal prostitution. I didn't need to worry that this law would apply to me or my clients, those were the comforting words to which I was put at ease.

But today, reading the full description and initiative law, I was shocked. Nowhere it is mentioned that this law would only apply to the non-licensed sector. The new initiative law refers to another law that currently already exists, article 273f 1 sub 1. That article however refers to organ trafficking (another form of human trafficking), which I don't think was their intention.
The article number it should point to is article 273f 1 sub 3, which regards to human trafficking in prostitution, and not just specifically forced prostitution or just specifically the unlicensed sector. The article literally states:

"273f 1.3
Degene die een ander aanwerft, medeneemt of ontvoert met het oogmerk die ander in een ander land ertoe te brengen zich beschikbaar te stellen tot het verrichten van seksuele handelingen met of voor een derde tegen betaling;"

Translated to English
"273f 1.3.
The person who recruits, takes along or abducts another person with the intention to make that person available in another country to carry out sexual acts with another person in exchange for payment;"

In short, this new law will affect all those who encounter a victim of human trafficking, and not just a prostitute which is forced, but also a prostitute that is being exploited (though willingly choose to do this job), and even those prostitutes which had help with migration to come here and become a sex worker.
Because in the article 273f 1.3 it literally states that "the person who takes along another person", meaning there is no form of pressure, but simply taking someone with you, knowing that person is going to work in prostitution, is already enough to be seen by the law as a human trafficker, and makes the prostitute herself a victim.

I've already talked many times about this part of the law, that basically assumes that any person assisting in the migration of a sex worker, is automatically a bad guy. While in reality it is almost impossible to migrate to another country without the help of others.
It is also a strange thing in the first place that no other legal job in Holland has such restrictions except for prostitution, basically making it impossible for anyone to help us in a legal way with our migration, while the government itself also doesn't offer any alternatives for prostitutes for help.

But none of the above mentioned articles mention anything about it being restricted just to the licensed or unlicensed sector, meaning this law does apply to all forms prostitution. And that is not what the member of parliament had promised me.

Beyond the fact that this law is not what was promised to me, it hits another point that I discussed with the member of parliament. I expressed my concerns that my clients, and many of the other clients of other prostitutes as well, would become scared to visit prostitutes with such a law.
I would only agree with this law, if it was absolutely proven that the client in question, absolutely 100% knew the prostitute he was visiting was being forced. But unfortunately that's not the case at all here. Because in the initiative law it does not just state that her person 'knowing' this would be convicted for crimes, but also 'could reasonably suspect', which leaves a huge opening for interpretation.
Who is to say what another person knew or did not know something? Reasonably suspecting leaves it up to the judge to say if that person 'could've suspected' a girl was a victim, regardless of the fact if the client actually did know or not. Sure, the politicians keep hushing us this would only apply to really clear cases, but that's not what this article states. This article leaves things open for interpretation of the judge, and that's where the clients go scared, because that leaves their fate in the hands of a judge, rather then based on facts.

On TV in front of the NOS news Gert-Jan Segers explains (at 3.03 minutes) that he doesn't want a situation in where a prostitute is being forced, and that forced prostitution should be fought. But he doesn't want as many as possible clients to end up in jail, he claims, or have to pay huge fines, because that doesn't help much, according to him. But what does help, according to him, is if they report things, so we can take down pimps and human traffickers.
Yet this makes one wonder why this law isn't targeting pimps, in stead of clients, if that is his real goal. The idea that clients would report things they otherwise would not if there's a price on their head is incredibly dumb. This is a scare tactic, to scare clients to report things or else...

And if Gert-Jan Segers really doesn't want clients in jail, then why is he making a law that it's very goal it is to get clients in jail? Has nobody taught these people that rewarding always works better then punishing? It's the most basic rule of life. You can keep trying to forbid people things, but that hardly ever works. Yet, if you reward people for good behavior (in this case reporting victims), this would be much more successful. In my opinion the positive always outweighs the negative every single time.

But honestly, what will the results be if this law will be accepted? Will less prostitutes now be forced into prostitution? Euh... well, no! Because this law, yet again, fights the backdoor of the problem in stead of the front door. This law applies to women who've already become a victim of trafficking, meaning they already are victims. It doesn't make any less victims in any way, it will just scare clients more to visit prostitutes in fear of accidentally running into a forced prostitute and being sued after because he 'could have reasonably suspected it'.

In the attached explanation with the proposed law, it states that one could reasonably suspect a prostitute is being forced if one shows signs of forced prostitution. The signs mentioned in the explanation involve: bruises (because only forced prostitutes get those), welts (because only forced prostitutes get those as well), or because the prostitute is scared (because only forced prostitutes gets scared sometimes by their customers), disgust (because only forced prostitutes feel that with some clients) or sadness (because only forced prostitutes can be sad). I've already explained these ridiculous 'signs of forced prostitution' once before in a blogpost here in detail already, so I won't go much further into this. But bottom line is, that these signs say nothing about whether a prostitute is being forced or not, and could apply to any prostitute.
This will result in situations where prostitutes who have a bruise will not get any clients anymore, because clients are scared to come in, because this prostitute might be forced. In fact, I often have one of these 'signs' on a daily base, sometimes even combined, which would have an enormous impact on my income, since scared clients will stay away from me.

What the result will be is that many prostitutes will be reported to the authorities as 'possible victims'. At the end of the year, this list of 'possible victims' however ends up in the hands of the Nationaal Rapporteur, who counts these numbers, adds them all together (regardless of the fact if they might count the same girl double or not, or even triple or more times), and then presents her numbers in a new report. Those reports often reduces 'possible victims' into 'victims' throughout their reports, which politicians then use again to prove that 'human trafficking is growing, and we need to solve this problem', which makes the whole circus start all over again with new repressing measures being taken (also read Marijke Vonk her blog about how the Nationaal Rapporteur counts these victims)
In short, this law will only increase the numbers of possible victims, because if people don't do that they could be facing serious charges if the girl does turn out to be a victim. But does this mean the numbers are correct? NO! Because that's exactly the problem with the Nationaal Rapporteur, she prefers quantity over quality. She doesn't look at the quality of the reports that she gets, and how probable it is that a 'possible victim' is a real victim, she seems to be more interested in reaching higher numbers regardless of whether the numbers are a realistic view of reality. Quantity over quality.

The only thing this law will achieve, is more clients getting scared to visit prostitutes out of fear of prosecution. More people reporting regardless of how likely it really is that someone's a victim, just to avoid prosecution. Reports about possible victims will remain 'questionable', since every hint of doubt regardless of the probabilities of one actually being a victim will be reported. Not any less victims will be made, since the girls first have to become victims before someone can report them. Not more pimps will get caught, because this law doesn't target them. And finally, but not unimportant, it damages my fucking business, because more people will be scared to go inside, because I bump my fucking leg every fucking day to the fucking bed causing bruises, even though I'm not a forced prostitute!

If you want to fight human trafficking, then fight the pimps, not the clients! The cause of human trafficking are the traffickers. Clients didn't ask for forced prostitutes, they simply want A prostitute. A prostitute that is being forced, and is disgusted by the very thought of having sex with a clients, isn't exactly a turn on for clients. Therefor the idea that clients are the demand of human trafficking is bullshit. They want prostitutes that do their job because they want to, not one that does it because someone else makes her do it, that's a huge turn off!
And how are clients supposed to know a girl is being forced, if even the police can't see it? Why is this government taking the responsibilities of the police towards the clients, while it's the police their fucking job to look for this! If you can't catch all the pimps, that's the police their fault, not the clients who's job it isn't to play police detective! And in what universe is punishing people if they don't do something called encouraging them? If you want to encourage a soccer team, do you think they encourage them through threatening them with torture if they don't win? Do you think that would help?! I don't think so!
So don't put the responsibilities of the police on the lap of the client that never asked for this. They have no interest in keeping forced prostitution alive (after all, it also stigmatizes them), and neither does it turn them on. Grow some fucking brains people!

Dutch version
4 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Grow some fucking brains, people! That made me laugh. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. On the positive side most clients aren't going to be aware of this issue. There do seem to be practical issues in terms of implementation. In order to get a conviction the authorities (police?) would have to identify a woman standing at the window who is bruised (for example) in a way which suggests that she has been beaten (for example) in order for her to 'do the job'. I have never ever EVER seen one. Nor has anyone else. To get a prosecution they would have to watch a client enter and then apprehend him as he leaves. More importantly, they would have to leave her there suspecting forced prostitution. It raises an interesting question. Who is the real abuser? An unwitting client or a politician who would put his/her name to the abuse of a prostitute by using her as bait. I think we all know the answer. At the same time, it does seem reasonable to prosecute men who pay for sex with women who even Felicia would agree has been trafficked in the most heinous way.


  2. Kevin Finch Says:

    It's a horrible piece of legislation. The focus should be on reducing the stigma of sex work, making it easier for sex workers to do their job. When you force sex work out of the open it increases problems such as trafficking, it doesn't decrease them.


  3. Cliente X Says:

    In ur last post (23th december) u have told that laws against human trafficking are, in fact, RAISING human trafficking.
    Do u think that its possible that laws that are supposed to protect prostitutes are really harming them?
    Or that legislation that aims to prosecute exploitation can be used by the true pimps to scare, abuse and extort prostitutes?

    In all ur posts u point that govertnments are doing wrong about prostitution. It's curious that they can be so stupids for so many time.

    Maybe they're not the assholes but us, for believing them.

    Maybe their politics are not a fail but a success because they are achieving what they want.

    Maybe they want to say one thing and do another. That's not called a mistake. It's called HYPOCRISY.


  4. Clients don't know that the girl is being forced. It is the responsibility of brothel owners to check whether the girl is interested or not. The proposed law will not help in reducing the human trafficking or exploitation.


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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.