Only 15 sex workers show interest in Project Own Window
One of the ex-brothels now offered to sex workers to run for themselves
Today there was big news about window prostitution in Amsterdam. Project Own Window, which offers which offers sex workers a chance to form their own corporation and run their own brothel is getting a green light from the city government. According to the articles published in the media, there's enough support from sex workers to continue with this project.

Back in February of this year, the city of Amsterdam announced they wanted to investigate the possibility of sex workers running their own brothel. They had 18 windows at their disposal for sex workers who wanted to form their own corporation. And thus the city began investigating if sex workers would be interested in running a brothel for themselves.

To the media this project was being sold as 'a way for prostitutes to work without pimps', implying that we would be working with pimps at this moment. It was a way for the city to justify why they wanted to close down brothels on one hand, but on the other hand now all of the sudden they wanted to open new brothels. The media, non-critical as they are, ate up the story, and sold it to the public as a 'pimp free' workplace for prostitutes.

Of course this is nonsense. Most sex workers who work in window brothels right now don't have a pimp. They only want to imply that, to make the other brothel owners look bad, because they still intend to close them down. Otherwise it would be impossible to defend their policy of closing down windows, while at the same time opening new windows.

Because in reality, there's just as much chance of pimps being involved with the women working in these Project Own Window brothels, as when they would be working for a conventional brothel operator. Who runs the brothel is irrelevant to being a victim. The brothel owners aren't the pimps, and neither do they work together with them. So there's just as much chance of victims working in this new brothel, run by sex workers, as there's a chance of victims working in brothels run by the current brothel operators.

But today the city announced that there's enough support from the sex workers to continue with this project. An interesting conclusion, because in the investigation report, they claim they need at least 45 to 50 sex workers to be interested (page 9), in order for this project to succeed. So the question becomes, did they find 45 to 50 sex workers that are interested in participating in this project? Well, no!

In the report you can read that in March there was a meeting organized for sex workers to inform them about this project (page 6). 24 Sex workers showed up, including myself, from the approximately 600 sex workers working in the Red Light District. So immediately you could say that not many sex workers were interested in this project if only 4% shows up. Not a strange thing, since most sex workers are content with their current workplace, situation and brothel operator. In short, there's no desire to change things.
One of the other things that made sex workers not to be interested in this project, was the fact that they simply don't want that responsibility. It's the whole reason why sex workers are so content with their brothel operator. They do all the paper work, and we only have to work and once in a while pay taxes over our income. Most of us aren't interested in taking up more paperwork, rules and regulations in order to work.

Some sex workers however were interested in this project. How many? Well, as we can read in the report, 15 sex workers showed an interest during talks that happened back in April and May (page 6). Not exactly 45 to 50 sex workers, like how many would be required to make this project successful.
And so in June, the mayor expressed that he hadn't found enough sex workers to make this project work.
So, what has changed? Well, nothing. No more new sex workers were found that showed an interest. Meaning, it's still the same 15 sex workers that showed an interest. Not even close to the 45 to 50 sex workers that they required according to their own criteria. Yet the media state that there's enough support from the sex workers to continue with this project.

Perhaps this is also the reason why now all of the sudden there aren't 18, but 15 windows available for this project. After all, back in February they said 18 windows were available. But now all of the sudden there are 3 windows less. And funny enough, there are exactly as many windows, as there are sex workers who showed an interest in this. I wouldn't be surprised if those other 3 windows dropped out, due to the fact that they simply couldn't find any more sex workers willing to participate in this project. But, sure, keep selling it to the public as if there's a lot of support from the sex workers to participate in this project.

The report says that perhaps sex workers don't show an interest yet, because they are still waiting to see how things will turn out (page 7). For example, what the rental would be. But I think the deal is much simpler. Just not that many sex workers are interested in running their own brothel. We just want to work how we do right now. Have a brothel operator take care of all the paperwork, legal work etc., so all we have to worry about is paying our taxes in time. We don't want any more work, or having to spend more time on our jobs than we already do.

We never asked to run a brothel ourselves. This is, yet again, one of those projects politicians come up with, because 'they think' we want this. But they never listen to us. We didn't ask to run our own brothel. We just asked that you stop closing down windows, and give us back the windows that are still vacant. That's what we asked for when we went to demonstrate against Project 1012. We didn't ask if we could please start our own brothel so we could be pimp free! Most of us are pimp free, and we don't need this brothel to prove that!

Dutch version
  • My photo

    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.