Honestly, TBD and I could not have picked a worse time to leave the country. In the first week of March our plane to Brisbane will take us across the world and far away from the Netherlands, where things are happening right now. The Christian party is quite small but, thanks to a series of events, found herself in a temporary position of power and she is abusing it to attack Dutch whores. She has found disgusting and disappointing allies in some of our sane and social parties, whose motivation isn’t fully clear to me. They’ve been proposing laws to criminalise clients and close down more licensed workplaces, and just this week there’s talk of a ‘pimp-ban’ that would make it illegal for accountants, drivers or security to work for a sex worker. To be clear: exploitation and forced prostitution are of course already illegal in the Netherlands. This law would target anyone involved with a non-licensed sex worker, even when she won’t admit that he is forcing her. Again, to be clear: current laws are vague and adequately discriminatory to facilitate a human trafficking sentence when a sex workers’ boyfriend cheats on her, but this new law would make it possible for authorities to go after him even if he’s faithful and she doesn’t want to see him punished. Jojanneke v/d Berge and the Christian broadcaster EO made a documentary attacking prostitution and spreading even more lies and misinformation. It was a shameful collaboration with that same Christian party again, who have used the documentary to influence public opinion and attempt to push through new anti-sex work laws.
But there is a bright side to all of this: the anti’s don’t know when to stop. They get so excited they start to lose control and this has caused sane people in the Netherlands to question their claims. In a bizarre twist, Jojanneke and her fundamentalist anti-prostitution friends have started a pro-sex workers’ rights movement, they have urged journalists and other professionals to speak up and debunk the bullshit because they took it too far.
I’m on the phone with radio, newspapers and television broadcasters on an almost weekly basis, Sekswerk Nederland is constantly being contacted, I’m meeting with politicians and policy makers, the Netherlands is buzzing.
The Dutch sexual health organisation Rutgers WPF published a thoroughly sane, well informed article promoting human rights for sex workers and objecting the biased anti-prostitution documentary by Jojanneke and the proposed laws of CU and Gert-Jan Segers.
Dutch sex workers have united in Proud, an organisation promoting sex workers’ rights. Sekswerk Nederland has close connections to Proud and I personally know several people who are involved, and these people are so cool. Their home is the Prostitutie Informatie Centrum in Amsterdam, where you’re always welcome for good coffee and a snack. Mariska Majoor is a hero.
My other hero Asha ten Broeke, who wrote an amazing book debuking sexist crap and I’ve been such a fangirl ever since, wrote a big article for the newspaper Volkskrant about sex workers’ rights. Seriously, Jojanneke got paid two years (from our tax money by the way, EO is public broadcasting) and failed miserably, give Asha a few months and she hits the nail right on the head. It’s a perfect article and she gets everything right. I am SO happy.
And Marieke Ridder, from Soa Aids Nederland and the Aids foundarion, published another great article in the other big newspaper NRC, arguing against criminalisation of sex work from a health perspective.
Whoa this is such an exciting time for sex workers’ rights!