Gangs traffick Amsterdam prostitutes

20th May 2011, Comments 2 comments

Well over half of all the prostitutes working in the capital’s red light district are victims of people traffickers, an Amsterdam Labour councillor warns. He wants the police, the judiciary and the municipality to do more to tackle the problem.

Most prostitutes are trafficked by Turkish, Hugarian, Romanian and Bulgarian gangs, according to the Public Prosecutor.

It is an international problem, councillor Lodewijk Asscher says, but also requires a national approach.

Those who traffick in prostitutes, the councillor stresses, are hard to catch, and when they are, new pimps are ready to take over.

Local and national authorities should adopt an integrated approach, Mr Asscher says, praising conservative VVD Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and VVD Deputy Minister Fred Teeven.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

2 Comments To This Article

  • Aphrodite Phoenix posted:

    on 6th March 2012, 12:51:54 - Reply

    As usual, my good friend S. Egretto is strenuously working to bring reason into an extremely biased cache of research, and to call attention to how bad research manipulates the masses. Thank you again, my dear friend, for your conscientious and thorough commentary.

    In my book, Are They Bad Girls or Brilliant?, I approach one great point a thousand different ways: a person who sells herself must be completely in charge. It's her body and soul, after all. She can deliciously empower herself, her gender, and also her appreciative clients, if she is clearly and benevolently in charge. The person whose mind and body are controlled by others is in completely the opposite situation, and this situation must end.

    Gangs and other traffickers must not only be stopped, but the will of a woman to allow it must be. Self-empowerment programs must be in place for sex workers, coming right from the culture itself, just as there are a hundred ways to feel societal support if you marry.
  • S. Egretto posted:

    on 3rd March 2012, 09:29:49 - Reply

    Comment? The problem here is where to begin (and what to leave out).

    Politicians and other members of the rescue industry know that they are on shaky ground when it comes to exercising prejudices regarding prostitution. In this day and age, admitting to such a prejudice would be like owning up to homophobia or racism; you just can’t do it. But you can hide behind a façade of protecting human rights and spurious statistics.

    It’s an established fact that the average man and woman is not overly concerned by prostitution per se; they are bothered by something as noxious as human trafficking, though. And that is the members of the rescue industry’s ace card. It’s easily claimed, it’s damaging, and it’s difficult to disprove.

    Obviously there are some very unpleasant things that occur in the context of prostitution, including trafficking (and those responsible should be hunted down, prosecuted and punished), but we should be guarded against this overstated phenomenon being used to support a political or personal agenda, especially when it damages the very people who it is claimed to be helping.

    Any argument which uses a statistic which ranges from 50% - 90% (see has to be dismissed out of hand. It simply doesn’t make sense. It might be 50%, it might be 90%, but a claim that a true figure lies somewhere between the two is patently statistical nonsense. It’s pretty clear why a range has been used – it can’t easily be challenged. If a specific claim was made (for example, that 50% of women in a given population had been trafficked), those responsible for generating the statistic could be called to account; if you know it’s 50%, you also know who they are, especially when dealing with a population the size of the one in Amsterdam’s red light district (and, of course, they don’t know).

    Actually, the fact that the focus here is the Amsterdam red light district is particularly helpful. Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t thousands (or even hundreds) of women working there. On average, on a Saturday night (the busiest night of the week), research indicates a working population of 125 women. Obviously, because it is an average there might be a few more or a few less, but 125 is a good working number. The women are working in a small geographical area (about the size of a football pitch) and it is an open, highly visible system. It can be observed by tourists, the police and the politicians and researchers. The women all have names and identities and they are all registered with the authorities. Further, the window population is very stable. The same women occupy the same windows for years at a time.

    The women are mostly EU citizens. Many of them are from Hungary and Bulgaria. These are two countries which don’t enjoy open house when it comes to working in other EU states, but it’s not difficult; there is no need for trafficking. There is no need for a middle man or a Mr Big who orchestrates a trafficking system. A woman in, say, Bulgaria can simply hop on a bus (metaphorically speaking), end up in Amsterdam and apply for a work permit.

    Asscher would have people believe that on any Saturday night there are between 62.5 (50%) and 112.5 (90%) women who have been coerced and/or trafficked. He’s also telling us that the police, the judiciary, the local government and the national government have been unable to bring the weight of their collective resources to bear on the problem that he claims. Just how difficult can it be given the small number of women involved, the openness of the system and the narrow geographical constraints?

    Apparently, it’s because the uneducated lowlifes who make up the trafficking gangs are too clever for those whose responsibility it is to protect the public. Are the Dutch police really that inept?

    The prostitutes themselves habitually, and strenuously, deny that they are working under duress and that they are being exploited. They do, however, own up to working in fear – not fear of East European gangsters, but fear of Dutch politicians, feminist extremists and members of the rescue industry who are threatening their livlihood and who they believe are intent on violating their human rights.