The new war against clients of prostitutes
|Book promotion of Renate van der Zee disguised as a symposium|
Apparently Renate van der Zee and her select group of friends (Gert-Jan Segers from ChristenUnie, Fier Fryslan, CKM, Free a Girl, Stop The Traffik, Karina Schaapman, Frits Rouvoet, Tanja Blokland, Irene Plas, Jojanneke van den Berge, Maria Genova, Goedele Liekens etc.), who all also promote her book, have noticed they have lost the debate on coercion in sex work. The debate, which used the claim of 70% coercion, imploded in their face unexpectedly, and they didn't achieve their goal (a pimpban), so they quickly decided to claim that 'this discussion about statistics has to stop', even though they were the ones who did that. So now they have to play the game differently. And thus they shift their target from sex workers as victims to clients as the bad guys, in hopes that those clients will give them less of a fight than the sex workers they claimed to be victims.
In her book, and in her various performances in the media and during the syposium, Renate van der Zee tries to frame clients of sex workers as the 'bad guys', by claiming they are (partially) responsible for human trafficking. She mainly uses a research done by the GGD in Amsterdam among clients, called 'In gesprek met de klant' (talking with the clients), to frame them this way, by selectively using statistics in her own advantage. She tries to frame those clients as people who don't care about human trafficking or the sex workers, and wants to make it look like they are partially responsible for human trafficking to exist. Which is funny, since the same research she is using statistics from has shown that 69% of the clients feel responsible for the fate of sex workers (page 53). In short, the claim of Renate van der Zee is already proven to be false, but Renate van der Zee tries to avoid that, by using a different statistic from the same report.
For example they use the statistic of 43% of the clients which would be willing to report abuses in the sex industry from that same report (page 55). Which is weird, since that same report shows that 65,3% feels responsible for reporting abuses (page 53), and only 16.3% of the clients reports they feel it's not the responsibility to do this (page 53).
What hardly comes out however, is the reason why they don't want to report it. Because if 69% of the clients feel responsible, than why does only 43% of them want to report it? And this is because they are not capable of judging if someone is a victim of trafficking, but also they don't trust the government to improve the situation for victims if they report it (page 56). In fact, many clients state they fear the situation will only get worse if they report it, because of the way the government treats sex workers. In short, they want to, but they are not able to recognize it even if they did come across it, but also they feel the government cannot be trusted, and this is mainly due to the fact that the same government has framed sex workers for so long as victims, using false statistics.
Renate van der Zee also used a part from the research which stated that prostitutes think about their clients that 'they don't care about us' (page 61). But what she doesn't tell, is that this comes from a minority of the prostitutes of 43,6%, meaning 56,4% of the prostitutes do think their clients care, a majority. But more importantly, just that some people think this about their clients, doesn't make it true.
But the prostitutes also explain why they don't agree with this statement, as only 29,7% of the prostitutes state that their clients are capable enough of recognizing it (page 62), meaning most clients simply can't recognize it, and that's something also 55% of the clients state themselves (page 54). Also 26,2% of the prostitutes don't want their clients to meddle with their business. But more importantly, 43,6% of the prostitutes state there could be various reasons why clients don't want to report it. But since since these various reasons are all grouped together (not caring, not thinking about it, wanting to stay anonymous, don't want to get in trouble), it is impossible to state that prostitutes believe in general that their clients don't care about them, since they are not specified separately.
But the same report also states that the majority of the interviewed prostitutes describe their clients as 'good clients', being respectful, clean and sticking to the agreements. Also they state that most of their clients state that it's important to them that they visit a prostitute that is not a victim. And more importantly, none of the clients in the report ever want to use the services of a victim, and neither did they ever come across any signs that could indicate coercion (bruises, brand marks, giving a scared or frightened impression, crying, etc.) In short, exactly the opposite almost of what Renate van der Zee wants to claim, that the clients don't want to see it, and are thereby willfully ignoring the facts.
But the idea behind all these statements Renate van der Zee is making is of course to 'show' that clients don't care about the women they visit, and that they are evildoers. Because, or so explains Renate van der Zee with her anti-prostitution group, if clients don't care it means that they are allowing human trafficking to happen. And that's exactly the point they are working towards. Putting away clients as 'assholes who don't give a fuck and allow human trafficking to exist', even though the majority of the clients do feel this responsibility, just so they can claim clients should be punished and get the Swedish model introduced.
And by selecting only the statistics that work in their own advantage (like always), Renate van der Zee & Co want to make it look like it's the clients their fault that human trafficking exists. Karina Schaapman, another abolitionist who was also in the PvdA when they started Project 1012, does this during the symposium by asking 'if buying sex is a human right'. But this is of course a ridiculous statement, because so many things aren't a human right, but that doesn't make it wrong. After all, is buying a refrigerator a human right? No! Is it therefore wrong? No!
Just because buying sex, or actually buying a sexual service, is not a human right, doesn't make it wrong or anything. Even better, if you would criminalize my clients, you would make my job impossible. After all, no clients means no job. Yet, human rights state that every person on this planet has the right to free choice of employment (article 23), and Dutch law states that I have the right to decide what to do with my own body what I want (article 11).
In short it's no human right to buy sex, but so aren't any other things. But it is my right to do with my own body what I want, and it is my free choice of employment to decide what type of job I want to do. Taking away my clients, by criminalizing them, violates my human rights as well as the Dutch law.
Renate van der Zee and her anti-prostitution friends have shifted their strategy. It's not longer a debate on whether or not prostitutes do their job by choice in order to get rid of prostitution, because they have clearly lost that argument. In stead they are now attempting (again) to move towards the Swedish model, trying to frame the clients as bad guys, and get rid of prostitution in that way.
Renate van der Zee and all her friends often pretend to want to 'protect prostitutes', but they only endanger us, by stigmatizing us and our clients, making it more difficult for the sex industry to normalize and thus for prostitutes to be accepted as regular people with a regular job. This causes many difficulties for prostitutes with for example housing and financial services, causing more human trafficking. But Renate van der Zee doesn't care about that, as long as prostitution is destroyed and she can make money on it by selling her books, she's happy.