Jojanneke's 70% forced prostitutes is a lie
Numerous times she's claimed it already. According to Jojanneke van den Berge 70% of the girls working behind the windows are forced. These are numbers from the Public Prosecutors (Openbaar Ministerie) she claims. When asked for a source about this, she refers to her documentary. But of course a documentary isn't a report, a documentary is simply something that might mention a report, but it doesn't show it. So the question remains what her source is. The fact that after repeated asking for it, she only keeps referring to her documentary tells us two things.
She doesn't have a source of is scared to show it, because it probably won't support what she's claiming. And secondly, she wants to get famous, which is why she keeps referring people to watch her documentary, in stead of coming up with some real facts and not false claims.

But after a long search with my boyfriend, we were able to uncover the statistics she based this claim upon. And shocking fact is, the only two things true about what she claims, is the fact that is mentions a number of 70% and that it's originated from the Public Prosecution Office. And those are about the only two things that are true about her claims, because if you take a closer look at what it says, you'll find out it's something completely different from what Jojanneke van den Berge claims.

To begin with I'll refer to the origins of this statistic, which can be found here on the website of the Nationaal Rapporteur in Holland. The article is about new statistics about human trafficking and they are based upon the statistics of the Public Prosuction Office (OM) and CoMensha, the organisation which counts all the 'possible' victims.

"In 2012 en 2013 kwam de rechter in ruim 70% van de zaken tot een veroordeling voor mensenhandel."

Translation:
"In 2012 and 2013 over 70% of the human trafficking cases in court came to a conviction."

That is what it literally says on the website of the Nationaal Rapporteur. These are also the only statistics to can be found which mention 70% that originate from the Public Prosectution Office. There are simply no other documents to be found that mention 70% in combination with forced prostitution or human trafficking that originate from the Public Prosectution Office, or any other source for that matter. So either Jojanneke has found some secret, hidden document that nobody knows about, except her and the Public Prosectution Office, but I highly doubt that. Or these are the statistics she's referring to, which explains why she's so reluctant to give away the source, since that would undermine everything that she's claiming.

So why is Jojanneke wrong with her claims? Well, first of all, she repeatedly claims the 70% are only about window prostitution and nothing else. This is false! These numbers are about all human trafficking, and not solely those from window prostitution. This already gives her one reason not to give us the real source, since she knows it doesn't hold up. But this isn't the most shocking false claims she's making.

Secondly, she claims that 70% are forced. which is again false, since forced prostitution is only one type of human trafficking. Like I've explained extensively in this post here, not all human trafficking is forced prostitution. Human trafficking consists out of basically two types: forced prostitution and exploitation. These are two different things not to be confused with each other, even though for the law they fall under the same category.
Besides, most cases in court regarding human trafficking are about exploitation and not forced prostitution at all. So to claim all of those 70% are about forced prostitution is simply false. Some part could be about forced prostitution, but the numbers never specify exactly what part of these numbers are about forced prostitution versus which part are about exploitation. Therefor it's impossible to claim these are only forced women. Especially considering the fact that most cases attorneys handle are about exploitation and not forced prostitution at all, this furthermore supports the fact that a large majority of this 70% are exploitation victims and not victims of forced prostitution, like how Jojanneke claims.

But most important is the fact that this 70% is only based upon the cases that see court. In short, this is not based upon the total number of prostitutes working in Holland, or those working behind windows. This is based ONLY upon all the court cases in Holland, and not those who never go to court. Obviously the number of trafficking victims that go to court are much higher than those who do not, since there must be reason why they go to court in the first place.
Basically this 70% is not a percentage about how many girls are forced into prostitution, but it's a conviction rate. This conviction rate shows in how many of the court cases someone get's convicted versus how many are not getting convicted. This says nothing about how many girls are forced behind the windows, but only about how many people that go to court for human trafficking cases get convicted in the end.

To give you an example, let's say there are 1200 cases of sexual assualt in Holland (rape, but also lighter forms of sexual assaults, like sexual harassment for example), and from those 1200 cases 900 are found guilty and therefore convicted. That would mean that 75% of the cases lead to a conviction. Just like how 70% of the court cases about human trafficking lead to a conviction. This however doesn't automatically mean that 75% of the women in Holland get raped, which is how Jojanneke presents things. In short, not 70% behind the windows are forced, but 70% in court are found guilty. This is something completely different from what Jojanneke claims.

This means that 70% says nothing about how many women are forced behind the windows. And how could they? The Public Prosectution Office has never been in Amsterdam's Red Light District to take a look or to do research, since that's not their job. The job of the Public Prosectution Office is to deal with court cases, not to do research on how many girls are forced in the field, that's the job of CoMensha, the police and the KMar (marshals). And that's also exactly what they did because the only thing they did, was count the total number of trafficking cases, and calculate how much of those court cases end up in a conviction.
So these numbers are conviction rates, not statistics about how many girls are forced. And these numbers are certainly not solely based upon just window prostitution, even though Jojanneke claims that is the case. Also she claims this is about how many girls are forced, while that's not the case at all, since these are numbers on trafficking and not just forced prostitution alone.

Fact is that Jojanneke her claim: '70% of the girls working behind the windows are forced', is absolutely false on so many different levels. The number doesn't speak about how many girls behind the windows, but how many court cases. The number doesn't speak about how many are forced, but how many are trafficked. And the number doesn't give any indication as to how many women are forced in Holland, but how many court cases lead to a conviction.

Shocking though, is the fact that numerous media publish this information without checking the facts. Feminist magazine Opzij published this false information without checking it in an article here, as well as countless other media did. But even newspaper De Telegraaf published this information without checking the facts in an article here.
It is remarkable how media copy Jojanneke her words, and without checking these facts, and presenting them to the public. Especially considering the fact that recently newspaper Trouw fired one of it's journalists, Perdiep Ramesar, for using untraceable sources. Also his articles mostly were about human trafficking and prostitution (what a surprise, right?). And of course this is not the first person who got caught lying about prostitution, since we already have people like Patricia Perquin and Maria Mosterd who were exposed to be frauds.

How much longer do we have to wait for the media, for journalists, for editors, to wake up? How much longer do we have to wait before they start checking their facts before publishing them? Especially since there have already been so many people who have been lying about prostitution. Shouldn't their ring a bell, whenever someone comes with these kind of 'horrifying' stories about forced prostitution by now?

So media, wake up! Check your facts! Don't believe whatever stories people tell, check the facts for yourselves before publishing it! You've had plenty of examples by now, to prove that people are lying about prostitution in a negative way. So whenever someone comes with some story about how bad things are about prostitution, you first check the facts and the sources!
And of course the EO isn't going to check the facts of Jojanneke. Why should they? She's claiming things which play right into the cards of more conservative Christians, which is to spread negative stories about prostitution, in hopes to make it illegal. This is exactly what they want, and this is also the reason they hired Jojanneke van den Berge, since she was already against prostitution to begin with, just like the EO itself.

How much longer will people believe the bullshit about prostitution? How much longer will people keep blind to all the lies that are spread? How many more writers, journalists and reports have to get fired because of fraud and untraceable sources, before people begin to realize these stories are just fabricated to criminalize prostitution, in stead of helping victims of trafficking.
For how long are you going to stay blind to this? Are you going to sit around, read this post, and move on with your life? Or are you going to stand up against this injustice, and share this article, so that everyone can read the lies people spread about my job and my workplace? Stand up and fight! Fight against the corruption, the corruption in the media who are protecting liars out of moral and political motives. Fight against the corruption in the politics, who are not interested in you, but in themselves and their own morals. You didn't really think they're making human trafficking laws to make things better for us, did you?

Share this article, and let Jojanneke answer for the lies she's been spreading. Let her prove where here statistics come from, if she has any. Because as far as the facts go, there is no number of 70% the Public Prosectution Office mentions that are about forced prostitution, besides how many court cases lead to a conviction. So, Jojanneke, if you have any proof, bring it to the table! If not, you're just another liar like Perdiep Ramesar, Maria Mosterd and Patricia Perquin, gaining fame over false stories about my job and my workplace.

Dutch version


More bullshit about prostitution in Holland
I see it happen so many times, report after report comes out about human trafficking. By now the numbers reach from 90% to 5% and almost everything in between. The numbers show us basically one thing, that we don't know a damn thing about how the size is of human trafficking.
Yet, the anti-prostitution people keep claiming there's lots of it happening, even though they've never met one, otherwise of course it would be breaking news that a reporter or politician found a forced prostitute by him or herself. But since this never happens, all those people claiming these things, only claim these things based upon reports that state what they want to hear, and ignore other reports that state the opposite.
Truth is, we don't know. Nobody knows. Even the people claiming they know, they don't know. I wrote a while ago my personal estimations, but truth is, I also don't know. So, if some outsider claims to know it better, that just proves how ignorant they are, since even we, the sex workers themselves don't know it, and we're in the middle of it all!

But every once in a while there's some prostitution hating person who's found a platform to twist the truth about this, and make all sorts of false claims. Now for example Jojanneke van den Berge, a 'reporter' (if we can call it that), has found her place with the anti-prostitution TV-channel of the EO, to 'report' about how forced we all are in a 4 part documentary.
Sure, sure, Jojanneke, we can't even tell it from each other if we're forced after years, sometimes even decades of working here. But you, an outsider, has figured it all out in a matter of months what other journalists, politicians and decades worth of scientific researchers couldn't figure out. Of course this has nothing to do with the fact that you called prostitution 'idiotic' in one of your earlier interviews, and of course this also has nothing to do with the fact that the EO is a strict Christian channel who's known for it's frequent negative reporting on prostitution, because it against their Christian values.

Enlarging the negative, while keeping the positive small
Honestly, if people buy this shit, they're too far gone to safe. So I say let those people believe what they want, people who can't see past this bullshit aren't even worth talking to.
That doesn't take away however the fact that she does come up with some things that are interesting. For example she mentioned that she had numbers from the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) about forced prostitution. First of all, the Public Prosecution Service doesn't have any statistics on how many forced prostitutes there are, all they do is count the number of court cases they have. Since they only deal with court cases (that's their job after all), they can never make any estimations, since they only deal with the victims, or 'possible' victims and never any non-victims. In other words, since they would never come across a sex worker who has no problems at all, they can never make any good estimations about how many girls aren't forced versus how many are.
For example, the only way you can make an estimation about how much percentage of green dots there are, is if you also have other dots to compare them to. But since Public Prosecution Service only deals with victims, they never come across any material to compare them to.

Funny thing though about how the Public Prosecution Service counts their statistics about trafficking cases (not about how many girls are forced, but other statistics about how many court cases etc.) is this. If the Public Prosecution Service has 10 human trafficking cases a year (meaning 10 suspects), but only 1 is actually guilty, the Public Prosecution Service will still count those other 9 as trafficking cases as well, meaning that they will still report them as if these are also legit cases. How do I know this? Well, fortunately I've talked with some good lawyers who were able to explain this to me. They are also very aware of how the Public Prosecution Service manipulates their statistics to crank up the numbers.
The idea behind counting this way, is that perhaps those people that did not get convicted could still be guilty, but they just couldn't prove it. Obviously this is a completely ridiculous way of counting things, since that would mean that any person who is being falsely accused of something is guilty no matter what. In short, completely bullshit, but since few people know about it, and it's the Public Prosecution Service, few people know this and have the guts to spill it out.

So where do these so called 'statistics' from Jojanneke come from, if not from the Public Prosecution Service? Well, there aren't that many places it could come from, since there's only one organisation in Holland that deals with statistics about human trafficking, and that's the Nationaal Rapporteur.
As I've talked about before, Marijke Vonk already wrote an excellent essay about how the Nationaal Rapporteur comes to these numbers. Counting innocent tourists and visitors to Amsterdam from so called 'source countries' (a.k.a. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary), as 'possible victims' for no reason. Really? Yes, really, you can read the entire thing on Marijke her excellent blog here with examples to prove it.
On top of that comes the fact that these statistics are statistics on 'possible victims', meaning we're not sure if they're victims or not. They could be victims, perhaps, but we're not sure. And we're definetly not so sure anymore about it, after reading Marijke her research on this subject, which just shows that the definition of 'possible' is stretched out into the extreme, so far that you can't even call them 'possible' victims anymore. In fact, even I am being reported as a 'possible' victim for no reason, simply because I'm travelling from or to a source country, in this case Romania.
In short, these statistics say nothing about the number of real victims out there. These numbers are trying to give people an indication of how many girls COULD possible be a victim. They are not exact numbers about victims, since those numbers don't exist. Anyone using these numbers to prove how many girls are forced are just making themselves more ridiculous, since these numbers are near indications and not exact numbers, and not the best ones either.

But I'm not so much interested about the fact who they count as 'possible victims' or not, even though some of them are completely ridiculous. What is far worse, is the fact that Jojanneke presents these numbers as numbers of forced prostitution, which they are NOT.
How do I know? Well, for the very simple reason that there is no organisation in Holland that counts numbers of forced prostitutes. All numbers about prostitution regarding forced prostitution are called human trafficking. And human trafficking is much larger than just forced prostitution.
Like I've talked about in my previous post here, human trafficking is not just forced prostitution, but exploitation as well. And since exploitation cases have nothing to about being forced into prostitution, calling human trafficking numbers forced prostitution would be a false way of presenting facts. After all, most cases about human trafficking are about exploitation, and NOT forced prostitution. And more importantly, a victim of exploitation DID choose for prostitution voluntarily, they just were exploited doing so.
In most cases the victims of exploitation also continue their work during the court case, or continue their work in prostitution after the case is over. Being exploited doesn't mean these women don't like prostitution, or didn't want to work in prostitution, it only means someone is taking away their money and they don't agree with that and take those people to court. Not nice indeed, but this says nothing about the women their choices to work in prostitution.

Unfortunately this is not very well known among people, and sometimes not even among lawyers specializing in human trafficking. I've come across lawyers who didn't even know that exploitation is also human trafficking, and we had to explain to them that also exploitation is human trafficking, which I guess proves how little people know about it.
Most people think that human trafficking and forced prostitution are the same thing, which is definitely not the case. Forced prostitution is nearly one type of human trafficking, a much larger description of different types of crimes often associated with prostitution, but not solely happening in prostitution as they happen in other industries as well.

Interestingly enough, most human trafficking cases that see court are about exploitation and not about forced prostitution, as also several lawyers have confirmed. And that's also kind of logical, since forced prostitution simply doesn't happen as much over here, though still more than we all would like.
Fact is that in reality forced prostitution happens very rarely. In all my time working in Amsterdam's Red Light District I've never came across one single girl that is being forced. Only recently I've came across ONE girl, in my now nearly 5 years time, that used to be forced years ago. But guess what? She went back into prostitution after all, even though nobody forced her this time, simply to make good money. This proves that prostitution is not bad, and that even sometimes victims that were forced into this work, would have no problem to do this work if they weren't being forced into it.

I guess the most common cases of human trafficking would be 50/50 cases. Those are exploitation cases about girls who take the 50/50 deal. Those cases are about girls in need of assistance with their migration. But since the Dutch government so cleverly blocked any way of receiving any legal assistance with their migration, due to some law it seems, they have to turn to people willing to help them in an illegal way. Obviously few people risk to burn their hands on that, and this is the opening this government provides for the traffickers to come into play.
These people offer help to these girls with their migration, in exchange for 50% of their income during their stay. Essentially they're doing exactly they same thing as an unemployment agency does for other jobs, except that it's illegal. Why is it illegal again if unemployment agencies can do for other jobs? Well, simple, because it's about sex! The fact that it's also about work doesn't matter, people are still scared shit about sex, because apparently it's a huge taboo for many people. That's why!
Now, since these girls don't have any other options (why? because the fucking government blocked it, that's why!), the girls are basically forced to accept their help. And because they are more or less forced to accept these people their help, and they're making a lot of money on it, it's basically called exploitation, which falls under the human trafficking law.

So, there you have it people. Our own government is the one blocking the only other option girls have from avoiding human traffickers, with a law that ironically enough is meant to prevent human trafficking. But as usual, this is the way things work in prostitution. Politicians making laws to prevent human trafficking, that eventually only increase human trafficking in stead of reducing it, only because the politicians have trouble to embrace prostitution because some religious nuts and radical feminists have issues with it.
So if you're looking for the ones responsible for all those 'poor, sad girls' who have become victims of human trafficking, you only need to look at those people that throw up a blockade for prostitution to be accepted, so we can make laws that actually prevent human trafficking rather than creating it.
If for example the ChristenUnie and the SGP wouldn't make such a big deal about the government supporting people to step into prostitution, we could change those laws that force girls into the hands of traffickers, and we would be able to create laws that supports women to enter prostitution in a safe and legal way, taking away the need for the services these traffickers provide.

And about Jojanneke? I really don't care about her. I've asked around but no other girl has talked to her. She claims she's talked with a lot of prostitutes, yet nobody that I know from Holland's most famous prostitution area has either seen or heard of her. So whatever she's came up with, it isn't going to be a very realistic presentation about Amsterdam's Red Light District, even though we all know that's what 90% of this thing will be about.
But as usual, people rather avoid us than finding out the ugly truth. They'd rather live in a world in where they can believe that no girl would ever 'sell their body' for sex, rather than accepting the truth that sex isn't all that special, it's the person you do it with that makes it special. Accepting sex work as work doesn't change a damn thing about sex, just like selling food doesn't change a damn thing about the food itself. It's just sex people, get over it!
I'm not asking you to sell it, but don't tell me what I can or cannot do with my own body! Denying me the right to decide what I can do with my own body is taking away my rights to decide about myself, limiting women's choices because it deals with 'sex' and nothing else. This just proves still how women are even until today still being limited in their choices by other people, like for example feminist Renate van der Zee, who advocates heavily against prostitution.
Some feminist you are, Renate! Advocating against the right to decide about myself. You're only talking shit about my job, in hopes that my job will become illegal, meaning you're advocating against my choice of doing with my own body what I want to! What did you say feminism was about again? About improving women's rights?!

Jojanneke her documentary about prostitution will be nothing more than a promo for the ChristenUnie, since the EO is basically a ChristenUnie TV channel. Promoting that sex work is bad, girls only do this because they are forced, and the ones that do do this job voluntarily are just crazy bitches that are exceptions. That's much easier to accept than to accept the fact that sex doesn't have to be special, because that would seriously damage a lot of people their idea about what sex means to them, only because they think this is what sex means.
Sex is just sex, it's nothing special. It's like walking, kissing or farting. It's nothing special until you do it with someone that's special with you, and that's what makes sex special. Not the sex itself, but the person you do it with! And since my clients aren't special to me, since they're nearly my clients, sex with clients is never special. The only sex that I have that is special is with my boyfriend. It's completely different sex from the sex I have with my clients, and no client could ever get me or them the experience I have with my boyfriend. That's what makes it special!

Dutch version
Different definitions in prostitution
In prostitution there are many definitions being used for the same or different things at times. It’s confusing, and that’s probably also exactly the idea by the people that use this, since that way they can claim anything depending on which definition you use. One of those definitions for example is human trafficking, often people just refer to it as forced prostitution, which isn’t correct, since human trafficking encompasses much more than just forced prostitution. Human trafficking also encompasses exploitation, which doesn’t have anything to do with being forced into prostitution. Yet people often use trafficking numbers when they talk about forced prostitution, to prove how ‘bad’ the situation is. So let’s get some things straight to avoid confusion.

A pimp
What people think:
A pimp is someone who exploits or forces a prostitute. A pimp is a bad person and a criminal. 

Reality:
A pimp is anyone who profits from a prostitute. This could be someone forcing or exploiting a prostitute, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. There are good pimps and bad pimps. Examples of good pimps are window owners, escort agencies, even drivers and security guards are called pimps in the prostitution business.

What’s going wrong?
Basically when people often refer to a pimp, they actually mean to say a trafficker. But because people are unaware of the difference between a pimp and a trafficker, they use these two terms interchangeably. I also often refer to traffickers as pimps, basically everyone in the Red Light District does, since nobody calls their window owner a pimp, it just sounds so rude because of the negative vibe hanging around the term, since people always use it to describe a trafficker with it. Also the police themselves use the word pimp when they’re referring to a trafficker, which causes the outside world to believe that the pimps are all traffickers, which in reality is not the case at all.
A pimp is a neutral term, there are bad pimps (traffickers) and good pimps (people offering services to prostitutes that are legal). But since the word has such a negative vibe surrounding it, and people often confuse it with a trafficker, there are very few people who still use the word pimp as the neutral term, and in fact are talking about traffickers.
This also causes some problems in some discussions. You’ll often see people clashing about pimps, and whether they’re good or not, because they’re using different definitions of the word pimp. You’ll see one person using the neutral term of pimp clashing with someone who’s actually talking about a trafficker. The use of different definitions is often exploited by anti-prostitution people to cause more confusion around the word, in order to make prostitution look more bad than it in reality is.

A human trafficker
What people think:
A human trafficker is someone who traffics victims from one country to another country, forcing them into prostitution against their will as sexslaves.

Reality:
A human trafficker is anyone that forces someone into prostitution against their will OR exploits a prostitute. Human trafficking is by definition a crime.

What’s going wrong?
People think about the word ‘trafficking’ or ‘mensenhandel’ in Dutch, and they get the image of a girl being trafficked to another country, or sold like a slave (the Dutch word ‘handel’ literally means trading). The image is further enhanced by movies and TV-series like for example Matroesjka’s or the movie Sex Trafficking, which depicts a form of human trafficking, in which girls are basically being abducted by criminals to be sold and forced to work into prostitution. This image is what’s stuck in the people’s mind when they talk about trafficking, and they don’t think about the fact that they are just describing one specific form of trafficking.
Trafficking encompasses any form of forcing someone into work, not just prostitution but any type of work. Therefore trafficking is also not just related to prostitution, but to many other industries as well, for example also agriculture, or house holding. Trafficking also encompasses any form of exploitation, again regardless of the industry type. Anyone who is being exploited in any industry is a victim of human trafficking. There are many different forms of exploitation, from heavy exploitation using violence, to people who exploit other people using manipulation or simply taking advantage of their vulnerable situation.
Basically every time someone is talking about pimps as bad people, they’re not really talking about pimps, but they’re actually just talking about traffickers. Indeed a trafficker is also a pimp, but not all pimps are traffickers and therefore not all pimps are bad people.
You’ll also often see me refer to traffickers as pimps, for the very simple reason that this is how most people understand it. Most people think a pimp is a trafficker, and I’m simply trying to connect to a broad audience using the words they’re most familiar with. On top of that, in the Red Light District all the girls themselves also refer to traffickers as pimps, since everyone thinks it’s rude to call their office a pimp. Often also sex workers themselves don’t know the difference, further creating more confusion about the definition. This confusion is again what anti-prostitution people use to give a false image about the problems in the prostitution industry.

A loverboy
What people think:
A (often Moroccan or otherwise immigrant) man who manipulates and forces a young (often teenage) girl into prostitution in order to exploit her.

Reality:
A loverboy is a technique some traffickers use. Instead of forcing a girl with violence into prostitution or forcing her with violence to exploit her, the loverboy technique revolves around manipulation and scamming. They will make the victim believe they are in love, and using that the loverboy will manipulate her into exploiting the girl.

What’s going wrong?
Most people think loverboys are targeting young naïve Dutch girls, but that’s not true at all. Those type of loverboys are usually more the type of boys that aren’t pushing girls into professional prostitution but rather illegal and unorganized forms of prostitution, and will often make those Dutch girls pretend to be part-time almost hobby prostitutes in illegal prostitution, which is not to mention that it's any easier or less violating to those girls. 
The real loverboys are often Albanian guys, and they won’t manipulate a girl into prostitution, but they’ll rather try to seek out girls that are already doing this job in order to profit from their income as their ‘boyfriend’. Basically their technique is to seek out the more naïve sex workers, and make them believe they’re falling in love, in order to exploit them. They will try to convince the girls, by telling what a wonderful future they will have if they will safe up some money, and he will manipulate her into giving her money to him. Loverboys don’t use much violence, and will rarely ask directly to the girl for money, they will rather try to plant the idea in the girl’s mind to give her money to him, using manipulation.
The loverboy is actually nothing more than a male version of a golddigger. Yet, since we’re dealing with prostitution, new definitions had to be created to brand prostitution in a more negative way. But really, a loverboy is exactly the same as golddigger, but instead of a stunning blonde trying to rip of an old guy for his inheritance, the male version is a smooth talking guy seeking out women that make a lot of money in an industry that is very poorly protected by the government.
All loverboys are traffickers, but not every trafficker is a loverboy. And indeed all loverboys are pimps as well, but again, not all pimps are loverboys by far. A loverboy is nothing more than one specific type or form of trafficking. Basically a loverboy is nothing more than a profiteer, profiting of the income of someone else. 

Forced prostitution
What people think:
A girl getting forced brutally into prostitution by a pimp, also known as human trafficking

Reality:
Forced prostitution is just one specific form of human trafficking. Not all human trafficking is forced prostitution.

What’s going wrong?
This is probably the most used confusion used by anti-prostitution people. Almost 90% of the times you’ll see people calling human trafficking forced prostitution, using examples of forced prostitution, while referring to numbers and statistics of human trafficking.
Problem of course is, that forced prostitution is just one type of human trafficking, and not the biggest one as well. Most forms of human trafficking are about exploitation, and not forced prostitution. But using the statistics of human trafficking, people will often try to paint a false image about prostitution referring to this as ‘forced prostitution’, giving the most extreme examples of forced prostitution, while using statistics about human trafficking.

Human trafficking
What people think:
Trafficking a girl from one country into another country to force her into prostitution as a sexslave to exploit her.

Reality:
Any form of forced labor or exploitation in any industry.

What’s going wrong?
People often think when they´re talking about human trafficking, only about prostitution. But human trafficking doesn´t just happen in prostitution, but in many other industries as well. Think for example about forced labor in India, or exploited women working in clothing factories in Third World countries, producing your H&M or Forever21 clothes.
Human trafficking is more than a prostitution problem, yet often you’ll see people shouting there are millions of victims of trafficking and referring to prostitution, as if that’s the only industry this is happening in. What people also don’t realize is that often victims of human trafficking in for example Cambodia or India are often ex-sex workers. They have been abducted from their workplace by NGO’s to ‘save them from prostitution’ under the name of ‘fighting human trafficking’. Vice recently made a documentary about these sex workers who were abducted from their workplace by NGO’s.
The sex workers are given one choice after they are 'saved' or rather abducted from their workplace, which is either to go to jail for prostitution or work in a factory (talking about forced labor). Of course the choice is a no brainer, so the girls choose to work in a factory in favor of going to jail, only to try and escape at a later point to go back to their workplace in prostitution.
Another problem with the term human trafficking on an international level, is the fact that different countries use different definitions of trafficking. This causes voluntarily working sex workers in some countries to be counted as victims, while in other countries these sex workers are not seen as victims, causing an incorrect image about both countries their real trafficking problems.
Another problem is that for example Sweden often treats victims as ‘illegal immigrants’, which is the reason why Sweden has such low statistics on trafficking, not because there really are such few victims, but rather because Sweden is trying to hide this from the rest of the world in their defense of their ‘Swedish model’.
Therefore comparing trafficking statistics from different countries is also useless. Different countries use different definitions for the same things, cause a false image.

As you can see there are many definitions being used to describe different things, and often the wrong definitions are used. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, for example because of lack of knowledge. Other times it does happen intentionally, and it’s a way of making prostitution look bad in the eyes of the audience, in an attempt to further criminalize prostitution.
As I’ve already wrote, I also often use the wrong definitions, but I do that intentionally. Not to confuse people, but because I’m trying to connect with a broad audience that is not always aware of the different definitions. So you’ll often see me use the word pimp, while I in fact meant trafficker, but I simply do that because that’s how people will recognize and understand it better. It’s all just a way of communicating with my audience, and I’m pretty sure that everyone understands exactly who I’m talking about. But it’s nice I guess to clarify things for those people that are not aware of all these definitions, and their different meanings.

Dutch version



Why prostitutes don't press charges
Often when it comes to human trafficking related to prostitution, the reason people give why so few girls go to the police is because they are scared of the pimps. That’s however not entirely true. Surely there are cases in where the traffickers have such a strong grip over the victim, that the victim is scared, these are however mostly cases with forced prostitution.

But the largest majority of human trafficking related cases aren't about forced prostitution. Forced prostitution is not nearly as big as a problem as many people think. All those high numbers about trafficking come from one single thing, girls who are being exploited. These are girls that aren't forced into prostitution against their will, as so many people often think. These are girls that are willing to do this job, to make money in hopes of a better life. Not because their life was so incredibly terrible, but simply because they want more than they have right now.

Often people call it forced by economic circumstances, and apply this reasoning to a lot to girls from Eastern Europe, girls from Romania like myself, Bulgaria, Hungary. People that use this argument always try and make it sound like these girls didn't have any other option. But let’s face it, there are many options, and rather than seeing prostitution as a ‘problem’, try to see prostitution as an incredibly quick solution to poverty. But really, most girls from Eastern Europe aren't forced by economic circumstances. Most girls could live their lives perfectly well back in their home country without a problem. The problem however is, they want something more, they don’t want to live a regular life, they want to life the classy lifestyle, they want more, more money. And simply the quickest way to get there is with prostitution. There is no other job in the world with such low requirements that makes so much money, and that’s what attracts many girls from Eastern Europe to do this job.

Problem is however, like I've talked about before here, that the living standard between Eastern Europe and West Europe is quite big. In Eastern Europe they can make a fine living with their salary, but compared to Western European standards their salary is nothing. So when girls do decide to come to West Europe to work in prostitution, that presents a problem. A money problem, but also a language problem and an immigration problem.
How do you get from a poor country to a rich country if you don’t have enough money? How do arrange a place to live if you don’t speak the language? Especially considering the fact that many house owners are reluctant to rent out a house to a prostitute, even though it’s a legal profession. And how do you arrange all the paperwork without an intimate knowledge of the Dutch bureaucratic system?

In regular immigration cases these things are often arranged by the company they are being hired by. They provide a place to live, help with the paperwork, give an advance in the salary. But since for example window prostitutes are self employed, they don’t have a company to arrange these things for them. And this is where the human traffickers come into play. Most girls don’t see them as traffickers though, and why should they? These traffickers are basically unemployment agencies that help girls by giving them a small loan so they have enough money to start up everything, they help them arrange their travel, their housing, even their paperwork. And in exchange they ask for a fee. Sometimes it’s a fixed number, sometimes it’s just the expenses with a small fee for their services, and sometimes it’s a 50/50 deal.

The 50/50 deal is probably the most common one. The deal is actually very simple. They arrange everything for you, while you pay during your entire stay 50 percent of your income for their services. Some people call it criminal, by law it’s human trafficking. Yet, funny enough, many people have the exact same deal in other jobs, and it’s completely legal. Then those people are called an unemployment agency, Holland has many of them, with Randstad Uitzendbureau as one of the biggest examples. Often these unemployment companies will find a workplace for you, some unemployment companies even help with immigration, and about 50% of your salary ends up in the pockets of these companies. My boyfriend as experience with this, as I think many young people have these days. For years he’s worked for an unemployment agency. The company where he works pays the double of his salary. Why does he only get half of his salary? Because the other half goes to the unemployment agency. Now isn't this exactly the same deal as the 50/50 deal those girls take?

So there’s a reason why girls don’t see the need to go to the police. Why would they go to the police, to press charges against people that helped them? What did the government or the police do to help them? What help they did ever get from them? Nothing!
So why would they cause problems to the only people that are willing to help them? Especially if there aren't any other options? The government in no way helps girls, but these people do. Yes, they take 50 percent of your income, but since the government isn't providing any other options, what choice do they have? Besides, unemployment companies do exactly the same thing, so why would this be illegal? Simply because it deals with prostitution?

But even if there are problems, the police isn't very helpful. Recently I've come across a girl who was having some problems and asked for my help. She had been working here for a couple of months already, when a guy came one day to her window and demanded she paid him. At first thinking it was a joke, she dismissed him. But he kept coming back, and he started to threaten her. He threatened to slit her throat if she didn't pay him. So she called the police. Smart move, right?
She waited until the police arrived, as the guy waited at her window. Once the police got there, they went inside her room to talk with her about what happened. And guess what happened next?
The police took away the girl, dismissed the guy, and took the girl to a shelter and locked her up for 3 days! Is this how we fight human trafficking and pimps these days? By locking up the victims? And worst of all, they let the guy get away without doing anything about it!

After three days she was released from the shelter, and wanted to go back to work. That was however easier said than done. My office had to refuse her. She was now officially branded a victim of trafficking, and therefor my office couldn't allow her to rent a window from them, otherwise they'd be renting out windows to victims, for which they could loose their permit.
Without a place to work and therefor no income, the girl needed help. So the office called me to ask if I could help. Together with me we sought help for her through various of my contacts. Eventually one of my contacts was able to put some political pressure on the matter, to which my office received a letter that they could allow her to rent her a room without the risk of them loosing their permit.

So let's review the whole situation. A girl is in trouble. A pimp is demanding money. Who should be punished here and who should be helped? You'd say the girl, right? Yet, all that happened was that the girl got into trouble, because of the police, and the pimp himself got away free.
The girl told me afterwards she doubted a lot before calling the police. 'For sure she would get in trouble', she told me. And unfortunately she was right. This is exactly one of those reasons why girls don't want to involve the police, because they don't do anything, all they do is cause you problems in stead of the pimp!

Naturally the girl couldn't let things rest. Why should she, right? She wasn't the criminal, she was the victim, yet they locked her up and not him! So she went to the police to press charges against the pimp. Good thing, right?
Well, think again. Once at the police station the police officer told her, that if she would press charges against this guy, she had to stop this job. In other words, she can't press charges if she keeps working, Apparently there's some rule which states that if you want to press charges against a trafficker in a case that happened less than 3 months ago, you can't do this job anymore. In short, it's either waiting until 3 months have passed before you can press charges, the pimp might have run off and the leads go cold, or you have to stop this job if you really want to go after him.
It's needless to say that few people would press charges against someone if they would loose their jobs over it. Of course the police offers you all kinds of help if you quit the job. They'll offer you a place to stay (I presume a shelter), but than again, she doesn't want to go to a shelter, she just got released from there.  And let's be honest, how many people would willingly trade in their home for a shelter because they want to press charges against someone else? Would you leave your house, simply to put a criminal behind bars? Especially if the shelter locks you up like you're the criminal. 
But paying your 1500 euro apartment without this job, even if you get money from the government, isn't going to be enough. Above all, quitting the job would mean she couldn't save up money she was set on saving up, thus postponing her plans. So naturally she declined it, meaning she can't press charges against him at this moment. 

And now people still wonder why girls don't press charges? What kind of a world do we live in, in where victims are being locked up and criminals are being let go? In where victims can't press charges unless they quit their job? In where police doesn't want to help you catch the bad guys?
It's such a weird thing, especially if you consider the hunt on pimps and traffickers, and the great lengths politicians go for to help the police fight harder against it. I mean, take for example this new plan to criminalize clients of victims. I've talked with the parliament members. They ensured me that this new law only applies to very suspicious circumstances, thus automatically (according to them) not applying to any legal places, like for example Amsterdam's Red Light District, since they are legal and therfor not suspicious circumstances. According to them this law only applies to very shady circumstances, and since you can expect that a girl working in Amsterdam's Red Light District is safe, they don't consider it to be shady circumstances, according to the policymakers.
I still want to see it in reality, because it wouldn't be the first time that a law has more disadvantages than advantages. 

But now let's take for example a case like that. A client goes to a girl under very shady circumstances. He knows she's a victim, and he goes to the police to report it. However, the police can't do anything, unless the girl herself presses charges. We all know she doesn't trust the police (read the story above for one of the many reasons). But let's say she does trust the police, and does want to press charges. The police will than actually tell her she can't work anymore for 3 months if she presses charges, making her reluctant to press charges, thus resulting in nothing happening.
In short, does that new law help to fight human trafficking? No! Does it save girls? No! Does it do anything at all? Well, not so much. In fact, even the policy makers confessed their new law applies to only a very few cases a year. Yet the impact of this law is so big, and scares away so many clients, that the end effect for both sex workers and victims are only negative. In no case does this law actually help victims or fighting trafficking. The only thing it does, is scaring away a lot of clients, damaging our industry and our income heavily. And for who, for what? For a handful of clients a year? If we can prove it at all! Because even for those handful cases a year, the policy makers have already confessed that it will be very difficult to prove things.

So what does this new law do? Basically nothing. The few cases a year for which this law is being created are so few in number, and so difficult to prove in court, that it hardly has any effect. The law above all doesn't fight trafficking. But more importantly, this law won't help if other laws prevent girls from pressing charges against their pimps.
Why don't they scrap this law, which hardly has any effect, and only scares away a large group of clients, and why don't they focus more on helping the real victims, in stead of getting more girls into trouble? Why don't they do something about the police holding back victims to press charges? Why don't they do something about girls being locked up, in stead of pimps?
I know why. Because locking up pimps doesn't decrease prostitution, but criminalizing clients does. They don't really care about victims, they only care about less prostitution. If they would really care about those victims, they wouldn't be going after the clients, but after the pimps. The clients are not the pimps, the pimps are. Arrest them, and not clients or girls!

Dutch version
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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.