414 Prostitutes begin war against mayor of Amsterdam
With hundreds of sex workers marching through the streets of Amsterdam today, the sex workers made a clear statement today: Stop the closure of prostitution windows!
Since 2008 the city has closed down 117 prostitution windows, and they have another 94 windows scheduled for closure. But in recent years criticism has been rising regarding the project, because the project was being sold as a project to 'fight forced prostitution', claiming they would reduce human trafficking by closing down windows. In reality however about 300 sex workers have already lost their workplace, and another 250 girls are going to loose their workplace, and nobody knows where those girls end up. I'm sure that helps possible victims a lot!

With a bigger turn up than expected, the 200 masks we provided for the girls for the demonstration weren't enough for all the sex workers that showed up. An estimated 230 sex workers turned up for the demonstration, and another large group of supporters joined us in our march to city hall, to hand over the petition signed by sex workers and supporters to the mayor to stop closing down prostitution windows in Amsterdam.

In total 414 sex workers from the Red Light District and some sex workers from the Singel area in Amsterdam signed the petition. So if ever anyone still claims that I would be 'just one woman', here's the proof of all the women I represent. A little bit more than the 40 girls from Jojanneke I'd say.
And with only 354 windows in those two areas together, the signatures of 414 sex workers prove that a huge majority of the sex workers don't agree with the plans to close down the windows. Furthermore it also proves that behind each window is at least one woman that doesn't agree with it.
And an additional 524 supporters signed our online petition, bringing the total amount of people that signed the petition to 938 people that don't agree with closing down the windows.

With a much bigger group than expected, also the media turned out to be much more than we expected. Media from all over the world came to Amsterdam to report about this unique protest in one of the world's most famous prostitution areas. And they didn't show up for nothing.
Because even though most media report that there were 200 sex workers and supporters, we already had more than 200 sex workers alone, and on top of that came a big group of supporters.

And with more than 200 sex workers present at 18:00 at the Prostitution Information Center in Amsterdam's famous Red Light District, the march began through the Red Light District towards city hall, There we would hand out the 414 signatures of sex workers and the 524 supporters to stop closing down more windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District. We stormed into the city hall, and moved into building until the mayor showed up.

I gave a short speech to the mayor while handing out the petition and the list of demands to him. I said to him:

"You always say you care so much about sex workers. And that you care about what’s happening to us. This is what we want. These are our wishes. If you really care about us, now is the time to prove it. We don’t want to hear anymore just nice words, we want to see the changes.
People are always talking about us, but never with us. So here is our list of demands, signed by sex workers. We want project 1012 to stop. We don’t want more windows to close down."

Than the mayor started his political talk about all the things he did for us. Or, well, all the things he pretended to do for us, because he mentioned that he stopped a mandatory registration for sex workers which would violate our privacy. A strange thing, since that was his own plan in the first place, and also he recently wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice to try and violate our privacy again. So he's just lying here.

Another thing the mayor claimed to be doing for us, was making it easier for us to open up bank accounts and get insurances. But that's something he's already been talking about for two years, without ever showing any sign of results. So he didn't do that yet, he just claims to be working on it without any results at all so far. 
But beyond that, what is a business bank account, or an insurance for your company worth, if you can't work because you don't have a place to work anymore? If Van der Laan continues with Project 1012, soon that won't be necessary anymore, because there will be nothing left of the Red Light District anymore, and girls will go work in other places. And how can we pay for an insurance, that he would so kindly give us, when we can't make any money because he closed down our windows?

But I got really furious when I asked him what happened with the girls that lost their workplace already. After all, they already closed down 117 windows thus far, more than half of the windows they want to close down. But according to the mayor that would only be a small group of girls.
Is Van der Laan claiming with this, that from the 117 windows he closed down, there were hardly any women working behind those windows? If that would be the case, than why did he close those windows down using the excuse of forced prostitution as a reason? After all, if there are hardly any women working there, it would hardly be worth to spend so much money on buying those buildings.

Fact is of course that he doesn't know, he's just lying. He doesn't know, because he never comes to talk with us. He doesn't know that there are girls fighting every night to get a window to work in, and that will only get worse if more windows close down. And in the end this simply results in the fact that those women will start to work illegal on the street, because they still need to pay their bills.

Van der Laan tried to shove us away with a promise that he would close down less windows. But why would we settle for less windows, if he already closed down 117 windows? We don't just want him immediately to stop closing down windows, but also open up more windows, because there simply isn't enough place at the moment.
And above all, the only reason why he's closing down less windows, is because he doesn't have the money anymore. Because other political parties were smart enough to block him from using more taxpayers money for his project. But that still leaves the option for Van der Laan to finance his project with private investors, and that's exactly what he's been doing. 

Just one small problem, Van der Laan is now 24 million euro short for his budget of 108 million euro, and he's got trouble finding more investors. So it's not true that he wants to close down less windows, he can't buy any more windows! If it was up to him, he'd close each and every window that was scheduled to close down. But his problem is that other political parties blocked his finances from city hall, and he can't find anymore investors. So again he's pretending to do something very nice for us, while in fact we have to thank others for this.

Eberhard van der Laan said: "Trust the mayor and the new city council. The war is over."
But trust is something that must be earned, and is not something that is just given. Beyond that, what reason has he given us to trust him? He was responsible for closing down 117 windows, and it's his plan to close down 94 more windows. Is that something that would give us any reason to trust him?
He's trying to pretend like he's got a new policy, but reality is that it's the new city council that is steering him in that direction, and he's heavily resisting it. He's taking granted for the work of other political parties, and claims it as his, while all he has done for us was claiming that 400 of us get raped on a daily base, and bully our brothel owners with enormous amounts of rules, hoping one will make a mistake, and he can buy the building for a cheap price.

No Mr. Van der Laan, like I said to you: The time of nice words is over, we want action and changes. And with changes we don't mean less windows, because that could also be considered a change. But I want a change in your policy. Because you pretend to be having a different policy, but reality is that this is not due to yourself, but is gratitude of the new city council. Your policy has remained the same, you're just pretending to have a new policy, to disguise your actions.
The war will be over when you give yourself in, mr. Van der Laan, and until that time I will bring down a world of trouble and political pressure on you, until you either give in, or your time is up. Either way, you're in trouble, because you really pissed us off!

P.s. Elma Verhey, I would never be available for any interviews? Than watch me at 1:38:45 of this video:



Also AT5 has a nice video about it here.

Dutch version
3 Responses
  1. Thomas Says:

    It's so good to see sex workers standing up for their rights. With all the attention this has generated, I think this will be impossible for the politicians to ignore (although I understand your skepticism towards the mayor). Fantastic work in organizing this demonstration! I think this will be a huge inspiration to sex workers all over the world. You are my hero!


  2. Cliente X Says:

    Hmmm. If it is a war, then this means that the mayor is ur ENEMY. So explain me how ur enemy is going to hear u.


  3. samsoulencore@free.fr Says:

    But what the hell is going on in Holland ? This is the most clever country I know, because of its great tolerance. I always tell people that Dutch people is very smart and understood that it is a big mistake to forbid things that are all the same gonna keep on existing. After banning, it is indeed still here, but practised in very bad conditions. Look in France : marijuana is illegal but there are more consumers as in Holland, and the mafia is the big winner of the legal ban ! And concerning prostitution : houses of tolerance was closed a few decades, and laws have been made to try to make prostitutes out of the streets, but prostitution has by far not disappeared and is practised in hidden places & in much less safe conditions, sometimes very nasty conditions. Their health is not controlled and moreover they don't pay taxes, and once again mafia networks are the big winner of the ban.

    PRostitution is better in dedicated places & districts, that is a fact.
    Not only the RLD should NOT be closed, but it should be a model for France and other countries where the hypocrisy endangers people's health and lives.

    Vive le quartier rouge libre !
    Long life to the Free Red District !


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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.