Dutch Sex Workers Pissed Off

Starting tomorrow night, the Dutch (and very Christian) broadcaster EO will start a series of documentaries about sex work in the Netherlands. Although nobody has seen the documentary yet, the host Jojanneke van den Berge has managed to seriously piss of sex workers themselves because of her lies, disrespectful attitude and anti-prostitution stance. A little background information: Jojanneke used to work for PowNed, the same bastards that shamed mayor Onno Hoes for being an adult with a sex life with other consenting adult. PowNed is known for it’s nasty tactics, but it seems Jojanneke has not changed her tune much since she left them.

I think the biggest mistake Jojanneke made was to think that sex workers would keep silence, she seems genuinely surprised to be hearing from them and has not managed to keep her composure. It used to be you could just make up stuff, lie about the red lights district and attempt to speak for those poor, voiceless girls. Sex workers who didn’t fit into the role of passive victim were simply ignored. But with twitter and other forms of social media, sex workers have a place to get their voices heard and they are noisy indeed! Jojanneke has attempted to fight back against those unruly whores and tried to silence them, but mainstream media is picking up on this story. Hella Dee, chairman of Sekswerk Nederland was invited to speak on a radio show where Jojanneke was a guest, but Jojanneke would not let her finish two sentences before interrupting and shouting over the real-life experience of an actual sex worker. She’s been unsuccessful in hiding the fact that she is anti-sex workers’ rights.

Apart from the “selling their bodies” rhetoric, “70% of sex workers are forced” lies and “20 men a day penises in vagina’s screaming and scrubbing under showers sperm filth dirty dark spaces” perverse erotica, Jojanneke has been crossing some ethical boundaries even non-activists cannot approve of. Jojanneke claims she has never talked to a happy hooker while in a conversation with a happy hooker. I know at least four genuinely happy, well-educated women who decided to get into sex work out of their own free will who have talked to Jojanneke, but Jojanneke continues to lie she’s never spoken to them. In the documentary sex workers are recorded by hidden camera’s without their permission, their faces are blurred but Felicia Anna (a sex worker from the red light district who has uncovered most of Jojanneke’s lies, has been a strong voice in the sex workers’ rights movement and is one of those mouthy whores Jojanneke detests) has stated that most of the women are still recognisable, which means these women are vulnerable of being victims of stigmatisation and discrimination. This documentary might actually be one of the biggest attacks on sex workers in the Netherlands in many years. We’ll have to see it before we can judge, but considering Jojannekes declared war on sex work and sex workers (“prostitution is idiotic”, “many sex workers are not capable of making rational choices” and “prostitution should be illegal”) no one is optimistic.

One good thing though: the rest of the country is starting to listen to Dutch sex workers. They are simply too loud, too active, too articulate and too many to continue ignoring. These are not voiceless victim girls, sex workers are adults who work and demand to be treated with respect. We should listen. Because they will not shut up, Jojanneke. Not anymore.

6 thoughts on “Dutch Sex Workers Pissed Off

  1. nina

    Super!! Im a happy sex worker and there’s always so much to fight for in this intolerant world. Relax and let’s have fun

  2. Lorraine Nencel

    I watched the first program and found it to be one of the best examples of unethical journalism. Besides the clear manipulative questions and edits that tell the story differently, the most unethical part was the fact she invalidated everything anyone said in an interview by voicing over her interpretations, making the client into a naive perv (while anyone who knows Tom, knows that he is very alert to the problems and possible signs of irregularities in the Red Light District)’ the sex workers except for one were guilt-ridden, victims of themselves or their circumstances. I find this unacceptable. There were one or two elements of merit, the telephone calls that she made to the banks that revealed the stigma towards sex workers and how it influences their financial possibilities. The second element which was eyeopening was the calculations made that showed how much one of the sex workers had to work to pay her monthly costs. If these were not manipulated pieces of information (which i hope they were not) then , they were worthwhile pieces of information. However, their value got lost in her use of them as proof that the legalization is not successful. From a sex worker rights position these excerpts are evidence of the problems that sex workers still face in their working conditions and can be used in the fight to improve their position.

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