Thursday, April 13, 2006

Statistics (part 2)

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Okay, I counted prostitutes on a forum (hookers.nl), more than 3000. The information I gathered is not reliable, but I did learn a great deal. Prostitutes lie about their countries of origin and their age.

I want to reveal more of what I saw/read/analyzed (whatever).

I tried to use that information and compare that with statistics from the Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel [Foundation Against Women Trafficking] who publish statistics about victims of human trafficking. I hoped I could use those statistics and use those to identify women who are trafficked. For instance, when you know an age-distribution of both groups of prostitutes (trafficked and not-trafficked), you can say something about the chance a certain prostitute with a certain age is trafficked.

Of all prostitutes in the Netherlands the average age seems to be close to thirty (28/29). I have created a rough age distribution which I derived from internet-sources (hookers.nl, but also some website where prostitutes advertise). Obviously, you never find prostitutes who say they are younger than 18, but sometimes the clients suspects it. The number of child prostitutes is unknown. An estimate in 1998 yielded, 1000-1500. (which means that app. 5 percent of the prostitutes are minor).

But I ignore the minors for now (according to various sources, most of them are trafficked). For my hookers.nl-count I yielded an age distribution (I sampled 761 prostitutes with an age), and I used another one using an escort-site[it’s a porn site, no link, counted 641 prostitutes], I placed these number next to each other:
age 18-24: 33% 27%
age 24-30: 34% 33%
age 30-40: 22% 28%
age >40: 10% 12%

The average age is something like, 28-29. It must be noted though that the Red Thread says in their report "Rechten van prostituees....." (2006) that older women are a minority and that they only encounter 'newcomers' during their fieldwork (page 34).

Compare the numbers to the age distribution of victims of human trafficking in 2005:
10-15:1 (0,25%)
15-18:23 (5,67%)
18-24:167 (41,1%)
24-30:150 (36,9%)
30-40:50 (12,3%)
>40:15 (3,7%)

The only problem is that this age distribution refers to ages at the moment the victims were reported to the Foundation Against Trafficking In Women. That means that in reality the victims in the field could be slightly younger. On the other hand the group of victims who have been exploited for a longer period are represented more strongly among the victims in the field compared to those who are exploited for a shorter period. And that could mean the victims in the field are slightly older!! I have even run a small "simulation" (using real data from real victims) and the funny thing is that the age distribution of the victims in the field is very similar to the age distribution of the victims who have just broken free from the culprits! I think this is because the chance a victim breaks free is the same for every victim at every moment. Therefore I assume that the age distribution of victims shown by the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women in a particular year is representative to victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands at any given moment of that year.

When you project the age-distribution of victims on the age-distribution of prostitutes in general, and when you use the conservative estimate that 10% of the prostitutes are trafficked and that 5% are minor, you’ll get numbers like:
between 13-16% of the prostitutes aged between 18 and 24 are trafficked,
between 11-12% of the prostitutes aged between 24 and 30 are trafficked,
between 5-7% of the prostitutes between 30 and 40 are trafficked, and
between 3-4% for prostitutes older than 40 are trafficked.
That would mean that the chance a prostitute are trafficked drops steadily when a prostitute is older. All these numbers are obviously very very rough. It gives you more of an idea.

I noticed that many Latin American prostitutes are quite old. Many are way older than 30, the average age is above 30. There’s a big group of Latin American prostitutes in the Netherlands, but yet, Latin American women rarely show up on the statistics of the STV. Could this mean that Latin American women are rarely the victim of human trafficking? Unknown. So much to learn. But..... there's a Brazilian report which observes that the Netherlands is the second most popular country of destination for victims of trafficking from Brazil to abroad.
See: Study on trafficking in women, children and adolescents for commercial sexual exploitation in Brazil (look on page 107)

Then there’s the Dutch group of prostitutes. This group is large. Half of the prostitutes described on hookers.nl is supposed to be Dutch. That seems a bit too many to me. It’s possible many of those are foreigners who have worked in the Netherland for quite a while, they speak the Dutch language so well, that the client believes she’s Dutch.

Dutch women are a minority in Window Prostitution, I estimate that 30% of the window prostitutes are Dutch. I’ve checked if this is true. I’ve read many accounts that Dutch women are rare in window prostitution. Take for example the observations of TAMPEP:
TAMPEP 2000-2002 (study about prostitutes in Europe, includes details about window prostitutes in the Netherlands) They have done much fieldwork among window prostitutes in the Netherlands, especially in Alkmaar, The Hague, Nijmegen an Arnhem. According to them, 90-95% of the window prostitutes are foreign. But, those number are from a couple of years ago, and it’s possible that the percentage of Dutch women simply has increased. But other observers confirm what I see on hookers.nl. (There's actually a simple solution: TAMPEP prefers to work with migrant prostitutes and carefully select areas where more than 90% are foreign!!!) Toos Heemskerk of the Scharlaken Koord said to Andries Knevel in a television interview in 2003, 60% of the prostitutes on de Wallen in Amsterdam come from abroad, which indicates that 40% are Dutch.

In all the other sectors of prostitution the Dutch women dominate. Most of the women who work indoors are Dutch, as well as on the streets in their homes, and in the escort. 85% of all the prostitutes who work in their own homes are Dutch.

Also many Dutch prostitutes are quite old. The average age is close to 30. The age-distribution of Dutch window prostitutes and Dutch women who work in clubs and in “privĂ©-huizen” is approximately the same. The same is true for all the prostitutes as a whole, that means of all prostitutes the age distribution for window-prostitutes and club-prostitutes is very similar. That was puzzling to me at first, because all the indications are that human trafficking occurs a lot more in window prostitution, but yet, while victims of trafficking are usually the younger women, the average age of window prostitutes is not lower!!

It’s very uncertain how much human trafficking there is among Dutch prostitutes. The statistics are contradictory. Depending on which statistics you look at, between 5 and 27% of all victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands are Dutch. See contradictory statistics in one single report:
Third report of the Dutch National Rapporteur
(compare table 4.2 on page 83 with table 3.1 on page 55)

In 2005 23% of the victims registered at the STV (see http://www.mensenhandel.nl/) are Dutch.

What I know from literature and hear-say is that indeed, many of the Dutch window- and street prostitutes have been introduced into prostitution by bad boyfriends, but have left their pimp a long time ago, and now work on their own. If you put all the loverboy-stories in a row (I looked at 50 stories) it is striking to see that many (50%) of the Dutch victims of human trafficking work in window prostitution and much less so in clubs (20% in clubs, 20% on the street, 5% as an escort and 5% in a private home). Funny thing is that there are many more Dutch prostitutes in clubs than in window prostitution. Therefore it might be true that there's relatively much less trafficking among Dutch prostitutes in clubs than in window prostitution. But eye-witness reports say that also in clubs there are some Dutch women who work for a pimp, their boyfriend or husband. The Dutch women who work in their homes are usually very old, and many are way older that 40. I guess pimping is rare among these women. (however, one prostitute told me otherwise) Also many Dutch street prostitutes are old. Too bad is that nearly all of these women are diehard drug addicts. I would be a shame to abuse these women.

If it's true that half of the Dutch victims of human trafficking works in window prostitution then it should be possible to calculate the total number of Dutch victims when you know the number in window prostitution. Bovenkerk estimates that during a weekend there are some 50 Dutch women on de Wallen who are forced by pimps. There's also window prostitution apart from de Wallen, so I multiply the 50 by 4, and then you'll get 200 in the whole of window prostitution. Multiply that number again by 2 to estimate the number of Dutch victims in the whole of prostitution and you'll get some 400 Dutch victims at any moment.

Escort prostitutes seem to be young. Average age, 25. Half of them are Dutch.

The Eastern European prostitutes are the youngest group together with the African women, 25 years on average. Many seem to be coming from Poland and the Czech Republic. It surprised me that only a relatively small group comes from countries like Bulgaria or Rumania (because they are so prominent on the lists of victims of human trafficking). Albanian prostitutes are rare in the Netherlands. But I only recently realised that many of the so-called Italian and Greece prostitutes could actually be from this region (the Balkans). But, those Italian and Greece prostitutes are slightly older than the East-European prostitutes.

The “Spanish” prostitutes are old, so I suspect that these are Latin American women.

Many victims of human trafficking come from Eastern Europe, especially from the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. But it surprised me that the most dominant group of Eastern European prostitutes are from Poland and the Czech Republic, countries which rarely show up on the statistics of victims of human trafficking. Could it be that??? Well, it’s possible that trafficking is rare among these women. But, this contradicts eye-witness reports. Many reports say that nearly Eastern European prostitutes are controlled by criminal pimps, are being watched like a hawk, and have no freedom of movement (why I believe this? read my post about Eastern European prostitutes). It would be best for clients to avoid these women. But, it must be said that Polish women are older than the Balkan women, close to the average age of Dutch women.

The African prostitutes seem to be a small group now (judging from the reviews on the website hookers.nl). They are very prominent on the Oudekerksplein on de Wallen. There seem to have been many more in the Netherlands in the past, but it’s possible that they have moved underground. There seem to be many illegal brothels in de Bijlmer (in Amsterdam) where a lot African women work. African women are very prominent on the lists of the STV. More than a quarter of the victims of human trafficking seem to be African. If it's true that the total percentage of African prostitutes has dropped while the percentage of victims of human trafficking who are African has remained stable, this seems to suggest a drop in human trafficking overall. However, there are more recent figures from TAMPEP (see the TAMPEP 7 report from 2007, on page 66), which state that 15% of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are African, and that means no drop in African prostitutes.

The Asian prostitutes are mostly from Thailand and are close to 30 on average.

I’m very proud to present some statistics about Eastern European prostitutes and their nationalities. But…. I stress that many prostitutes (especially when illegal) lie about their country of origin. I counted 304 Eastern European prostitutes who revealed a nationality towards the client.

Funny is that these numbers are very similar to those found by EUROPAP in 1998/1999. It’s actually the only time that prostitutes in the Netherlands have been mapped in such a way. They simply asked 26 aid workers of the GGD about characteristics of prostitutes who they offered information about venereal diseases. 19 responded, and gave information about 18 cities. They could fill in a maximum of three countries per region in the world (continent) were prostitutes mainly came from. They added up those countries named. The similarity between their statistics and mine gives some credibility to my statistics.

Central- and East European prostitutes, Hookers.nl (2005, okay I have to be honest here. Upon further inspection lots of data of prostitutes I gathered during that year from this website is from earlier years, dating back to 2002. But most is from 2004-2005.)
N=304 (aside from these 304 women, 277 were just called “East-European” by the clients)
99 (33%) Poland
45 (15%) Czech Republic
36 (12%) Russia
28 (9%) Bulgaria
27 (9%) Hungary
16 (5%) Lithuania
14 (5%) Ukraine
12 (4%) Rumania
11 (4%) (Former) Yugoslavia
8 (3%) Slovakia
3 (1%) Albania
2 (0,7%) Latvia
2 (0,7%) Estonia
1 (0.3%) Armenia

Central- and East European prostitutes, EUROPAP (1999)
N=52
14 (27%) Poland
11 (21%) Czech Republic
6 (12%) Russia
4 (8%) Ukraine
3 (6%) Bulgaria
3 (6%) Hungary
3 (6%) Rumania
2 (4%) Slovakia
1 (2%) Bosnia
1 (2%) Lithuania
1 (2%) Albania
1 (2%) Yugoslavia

There are 27 prostitutes on hookers.nl who call themselves Italian and 25 who call themselves Greek. They probably all are prostitutes from the Balkans, I presume Bulgaria and Rumania. They are slightly older than the others however. And that means the Bulgarian and Rumanians groups are twice as large as my numbers may suspect. Funny thing is that those “Italian” and “Greek” also show up on the list of EUROPAP. The “Spanish” prostitutes probably are Latin American women.

Western prostitutes (hookers.nl 2005)
N=340
140 (41%) Germany
63 (19%) Belgium
45 (13%) Spain
27 (8%) Italy
25 (7%) Greece
19 (6%) France
6 (2%) Portugal
3 (1%) Austria
3 (1%) Denmark
2 (1%) Finland
1 (0,3%) Sweden
1 (0,3%) Scotland
1 (0,3%) Ireland
1 (0,3%) Wales
1 (0,3%) Switzerland
1 (0,3%) Australia
1 (0,3%) United States

EU countries (EUROPAP 1999):
N=18
5 (28%) Germany
3 (17%) Belgium
3 (17%) Italy
3 (17%) Greece
1 (6%) Sweden
1 (6%) Spain
1 (6%) France
1 (6%) Portugal

Latin America (hookers.nl, I left out the Surinamese and Antillean prostitutes, they are mostly Dutch anyway)
N=239 (aside from these women, 460 were just called “Latin” by the clients)
72 (30%) Dominican Republic
67 (28%) Brazil
43 (18%) Colombia
29 (12%) Venezuela
7 (3%) Jamaica
6 (3%) Cuba
3 (1%) Ecuador
3 (1%) Puerto Rico
3 (1%) Mexico
3 (1%) Costa Rica
2 (1%) Argentina
1 (0,4%) Panama

Latin America (EUROPAP 1999)
N=39
12 (31%) Dominican Republic
10 (26%) Colombia
9 (23%) Brazil
3 (8%) Venezuela
2 (5%) Ecuador
1 (3%) Argentina
1 (3%) Nicaragua
1 (3%) Jamaica

Africa (south of the Sahara, hookers.nl 2005)
N=30 (aside from these women, 81 were just called “African” by the clients)
14 (47%) Ghana
6 (20%) Nigeria
2 (7%) Gambia
2 (7%) Liberia
2 (7%) South Africa
2 (7%) Sierra Leone
1 (3%) Cameroon
1 (3%) Cape Verde

Africa (south of the Sahara, EUROPAP 1999)
N=26
12 (46%) Ghana
7 (27%) Nigeria
4 (15%) Liberia
1 (4%) Senegal
1 (4%) Sierra Leone
1 (4%) Sudan

Asia (hookers.nl 2005, removed Indonesia, they are Dutch, most of them)
N=151 (aside from these women, 191 were just called ‘other-Asian’ by the clients)
131 (87%) Thailand
9 (6%) China
6 (4%) Philippines
1 (1%) Japan
1 (1%) Vietnam
1 (1%) India
1 (1%) Pakistan
1 (1%) Taiwan

Asia (EUROPAP 1999)
N=9
6 (66%) Thailand
2 (22%) Philippines
1 (11%) Vietnam

North Africa (hookers.nl 2005)
N=51
42 (82%) Morocco
5 (10%) Tunisia
3 (6%) Egypt
1 (2%) Algeria

North Africa (EUROPAP 1999)
N=7
5 (71%) Morocco
1 (14%) Algeria
1 (14%) Tunisia

And what have I learned??!! Very much, but all these fuzzy statistics raise more questions than they answer. But my greatest discovery is that many prostitutes are actually relatively old. And above all, the nationalities which are so prominent on the lists of victims of human trafficking, are relatively small compared to other groups. That means that probably most prostitutes fortunately are not a victim of human trafficking.

But I still have the problem that I don’t know as a client which brothel is okay.

There's also a part I

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Voluntary prostitution

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Well, I have been pondering about prostitution (with the help of others). And I have expanded my horizons. I’ve discovered I have a very narrow view about the issue forced/voluntary in prostitution. At first, I counted being forced in prostitution by circumstances (like poverty) as “voluntary” prostitution. Besides, we are essentially all “forced” to work to make a living. We don’t say a nurse is forced to do her job. And if you view prostitution just as “work”, we don’t say that a prostitute is “forced”, even when she hates her job.

But.... I imagine myself visiting a prostitute who hates men and hates the world. I really don’t like the idea to have sex with such a person. I would have the feeling I’m sexually abusing such a person, because as a matter of fact, she does plainly needs my money.

And that means that prostitution is just not another job. And that means that prostitution forced by circumstances also should by counted as forced prostitution, just like human trafficking.

Only in the situation that the person who is the prostitute has no problems with his/her occupation, it’s okay to have sex with that person.

But on the other hand..... without money you can’t live......

For the prostitute, the situation must be very difficult. On one hand, he/she hates these the clients, on the other hand, he/she wants to have many clients to make enough money.

Also many prostitutes who are trafficked on the one hand hate their clients, but they are happy when they visit her, because when they don’t have enough clients, the pimp will become very angry and beat them up (one client told me that a prostitute told him that).

For many prostitutes the world must be a living hell.

We live in a complex world.

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