More anonymous reports of trafficking
Besides the questionable numbers of 'possible' victims that got presented last week, they also presented last week the numbers of anonymous reports of  'possible' trafficking. The difference between these two reports, is that the number of 'possible' victims is a combination of all the slight hunches people and organisations have regarding 'possible' victims in trafficking, and the anonymous 'possible' reports are just people who want to report 'possible' abuses in prostitution.

To start of with, between June 2014 and April 2015 they got 297 anonymous reports of possible trafficking. According to the anonymous tip line a huge success, at least 34% more reports than last year, almost as if more trafficking victims is something we should celebrate. But the question remains of course, are anonymous reports are also reliable. After all, just because someone thinks they see something suspicious doesn't make it so. So is there really more trafficking leading to more being reported, or are people just more paranoid? So let's delve a little deeper into the numbers.

The first thing that sticks out is the number of reports about illegal prostitution (prostitution without a permit). At least 207 reports were about illegal prostitution (70%), meaning only 90 reports were about legal prostitution (30%). In short, by far most reports were about illegal prostitution. This furthermore strengthens the conclusion of the recent report of the Ministry of Justice and Safety, that if any abuses occur, they are more likely to happen in the illegal prostitution rather than in the licenses prostitution. But just because prostitution happens without a license, doesn't mean there's also trafficking occurring. To illustrate they wrote:

 'People see an illegal brothel in a living area of above a cafe. They notice for example that every few months a couple of new women come to work there. They are brought and picked up from work, never go outside or sleep at their workplace.'

Okay, but just because something is happening in a place where they don't have a permit for it, doesn't mean these women are coerced or exploited. And just because new women come to work there, also doesn't prove a damn thing. And how can they never go outside, if someone comes to pick them up and brings them to work? And since when is sleeping at your workplace illegal? How many other people live and work at the same place, are they victims as well?
I'm not saying these couldn't be victims, but I'm starting to doubt whether these 207 reports about illegal prostitution were added because it was illegal prostitution (without a permit), or because someone actually had something to report about possible abuses taking place there. In short, are these reports about illegal prostitution itself, or the abuses?

The report also states they got 137 'concrete' signs of anonymous tippers. But what 'concrete' means never gets explained. It begs the question what 'concrete' signs means, and than what they consider to be no concrete signs. Does this simply mean they only got 137 reports that actually had information regarding possible trafficking, and the other 160 reports were just a bunch of people who had some hunches but not really anything that they could connect to trafficking? In short, does 'concrete' signs mean that the other reports were just a bunch of nonsense reports based on paranoid suspicion, or do they have another reason why they call these 137 reports 'concrete' signs?

They also talk about minors in prostitution, which is by definition trafficking, even if the minor is doing it willingly and is not being exploited. According to the report 22 'possible' minors were reported. Interesting is the use of the word 'possible', which suggests they also don't know if the victim truly was a minor or not. In other words, these 22 reports are just people reporting girls that look young, but just because she looks young doesn't make her a minor. Looks can be deceiving. Especially girls from Eastern Europe, like myself, often get looked upon as 'young'. I still get on a daily base the question if I'm old enough to do this job. Heck, I'm already 29 years old and I'm still getting this question! And I'm not the only one, many girls I know get that question. Fun fact here, most prostitutes in the Red Light District are actually closer to 30 than 18. In fact, there hardly are any girls younger than 25 in the busiest area of the Red Light District.

And what were the results? Well, at least 22 people got arrested, that doesn't prove they're also guilty, but still. That's about 7% of all the reports, exactly like last year (see link here). So even though 34% more reports were made, still only 7% leads to an arrest. In fact, last year they arrested 28 people.
So a lot of people reporting stuff, but in the end only 7% of them lead to an actual arrest. And 22 arrests aren't exactly world shocking considering the fact that there are an estimated 20.000 prostitutes working legal in this country. This is about 0,1% of all the legal working prostitutes in Holland, not exactly the numbers they so often claim. And looking at the number of legal prostitutes in Holland, since only 90 anonymous reports were about legal prostitution, that's about 0,5% of all the legal prostitutes in this country. 

Once again they prove the statistics don't match up to their claims. The National Rapporteur speaks of 1026 'possible' victims in the prostitution industry, while the number of court cases has remained the same approx. 280 cases a year already since 2007. There are 297 reports of 'possible' trafficking, but only 7% lead to an actual arrest just like last year, and by far the largest part comes from illegal prostitution. And since reports can be anonymous, it is not to say if the report is also reliable. I know for a fact for example, that the police often use the anonymous tip line when they have suspicions but not enough to start a case, because their suspicions are too vague. They'll call the anonymous tip line to report it anonymously, so it will get added to the case, and than they have a case to build things on. So in a lot of cases it's just the police trying to force a case when they have very little to go on.

The minister of Justice and Safety spoke this week about an increase in human trafficking, but reality is that there is no increase in actual trafficking. Just more people think they're reporting trafficking, but fact is that the number of cases a year has been the same for years already. People have just become more paranoid because this witch hunt on trafficking, based on a hype created by the city of Amsterdam and some abolitionists together with anti-trafficking organisations looking to profit from it. Reporting things that possibly could be happening doesn't prove it actually is happening. So an increase in there reports mean nothing. Facts however do prove something, and fact is that the number of court cases has been the same already since 2007, no increase at all!

Dutch version
1 Response
  1. Not all women are victims of human trafficking. Sex workers are not forced. They do this job by their own choice.


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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.