I’m looking through the archives of all the human trafficking stories I have collected throughout the last 6 years. Many I haven’t even read yet. I’m performing statistical analyses on them. There are some very shocking and horrific stories, but also some cases that make me wonder. There are the ones who say that human trafficking doesn’t exist. That prostitution is a noble profession, and that all the prostitutes who say say it isn't are lying bitches. That the supposed victims only want to get a residence permit and then say they are victims of trafficking, or they are so jealous about their boyfriends having relationships with other prostitutes that they go to the police and file a complaint against him.
In between the mountain of trafficking stories I have found some very peculiar cases, which seem to support these claims in some cases.
I want to start with a very old story way back from 1997 from the newspaper 'De Volkskrant':
the link is over here
I'll provide a complete unofficial translation:
‘Russische hoeren gespitst op verblijfsstatus en uitkering’ [Russian whores focused on residence permit and welfare]So, that's a totally weird story. Six women who say they are forced? That cannot be a coincidence. I would say that Wladimir is a very bad man! After reading this story at first, I believe, hey, this Wladimir is really innocent. But now that I think about this longer, I do remember that there are cases of human traffickers being nice to one group of prostitutes, but treating another group badly. Perhaps this is the case here. Human traffickers treat different prostitutes differently. And perhaps Katia was one of the accomplices. She perhaps was one of the bad traffickers herself.
Mark van Driel – June 25 1997
Not in the Bloedstraat, not in de Enge Kerksteeg, but behind the Krasnapolsky near the koffieshop. That’s where her lucky window lies, thinks Katia Ivanva [fictive name]…
For more than three years Katia hasn’t been on de Wallen. The frail, dark blonde Russian woman (24) has married in the mean time, works as an accountant in the bread factory of her father and lives in Solnechnogorsk just outside Moscow. Amsterdam belongs to her past, until she unexpectedly was summoned as a witness in the trial against her former pimp Wladimir C., a 32-year old Russian who is suspected of women trafficking.
Katia is one of the thirteen young prostitutes who in 1993 filed testimonies at the police about Wladimir. A part is incriminating. Six women say that they have been lured under false pretenses to the Netherlands. Supposedly they were promised work as stripper, flower girl or waitress. Once in Amsterdam, with a large debt through the purchase of the airplane ticket and visa, they were forced to work behind the window.
The other seven women, among them Katia, says that they voluntarily - on the invitation of Wladimir - went to work on de Wallen. There was not a bit of coercion, but of a business deal. The former policeman arranged a temporary visa, accommodation and a window, and in exchange got 150 guilders per worked evening. The women most of them highly educated, were allowed to arrange their own working hours. They earned approximately six hundred guilders per night.
From the testimonies that the judge read aloud during the session, it turned out that also prostitutes whom accused Wladimir of exploitation, profited from some ‘labour standars’. Also these women traveled between their area of birth and de Wallen, without accompaniment of Wladimir.
The lawyer of Wladimir, mr. M. van Vuuren, believes the travel information and the telephone wiretaps of the police prove that the women worked in prostitution voluntarily. The Russian women lived in the house of Wladimir or came to visit there. Nowhere it turns out that they were beaten or exploited, he says. A girl even flew back to Russia without compensating for her ticket, without reprisals.
Van Vuuren suspects that the incriminating testimonies have been made up. He believes that the women wanted to profit from the arrangement which is meant to protect victims of human trafficking. According to chapter B 17 of the Vreemdelingcirculaire (circular letter for aliens) a woman can - in exchange of an incriminating testimony against a trafficker - get a residence permit that is valid during the period of the trial. Sometimes they also get welfare.
The Russian women made use of the deal to prevent their deportation when they were encountered without valid papers behind the window, thinks Van Vuuren. From the telephone wiretaps it turns out that the women discussed the arrangement mutually. With the temporary residence status and the welfare they supposedly kept on working.
The Public Prosecutor acknowledges that the women can profit from the B 17-arrangement. How often the measure was offered to the victims, is unknown. About abuse [of B-17] there isn’t information either. The abuse [of B-17] can only be prevented, says the spokesperson, by deporting the women and (letting) them be interrogated in the country of origin. That’s expensive and doesn’t happen often.
Katia Ivanova, the only prostitute who appeared in the courtroom to give evidence, confirmed the suspicions of the lawyer under oath. The girls lied about Wladimir to be allowed to stay in the Netherlands, she later says in a café. They later kept on working with welfare with another pimp.
Weren’t they afraid of Wladimir, who [the prostitutes] - because of the false accusations - could get into trouble? Katia laughs cheerfully. ‘Wladimir dangerous? He’s much too reliable for that. He doesn’t belong to the mafia, but earned a little bit extra with us. In the meantime he tried to set up an import and export firm; in fruit juice, motor oil, cars.’
Also lawyer Van Vuuren sees Wladimir as a starting, not very clever businessman. From the telephone wiretaps it turns out that often he had money problems. To make ends meet he took all kinds of moonlight jobs. Except of being a pimp he also was a paperboy and, shortly, re-stocker of the shelves.
Wladimir, who was arrested in Germany last year, is back in Moscow. The judge immediately set him free Friday after the session. The punishment which the Russian (possibly) gets next week, will because of that most certainly be lower that his detention of remand of ten months.
Punishment the Russian will get, thinks Van Vuuren. He predicts that the pimp will be duped by an ‘inaccurate formulation in the law’. The law speaks of human trafficking when a person bring women to the Netherlands and offers them work in prostitution. Even when the women work voluntarily behind the window you can speak of illicit traffic. Two partners of Wladimir were sentenced to nine and eighteen months in prison in 1994 because of that reason.
Katia responds with relieve to the release of her former pimp. She hopes that her testimony has helped, because she had to lie to be able to appear in Amsterdam. Her husband and parents know nothing about her past in prostitution. She always maintained that she has worked in the Netherlands as an accountant.
‘It was about money and adventure’, says Katia. ‘I was nineteen and wanted to make pleasure. And Amsterdam is safer for girls than Moscow. ‘She doesn’t have regrets , but feels some shame. But she has stopped on time, she knows. Contrary to a girlfriend. Who sits in Haarlem behind a window: divorced, child taken from her, on cocaine.
A lucky window doesn’t last forever, Katia realises when she stands for the closed curtains of her favourite window. She shivers, wants to leave quickly and seeks explanations for the ominous feelings that befall her. ‘The atmosphere is totally different. It stinks. Al those men, al the black women. It’s not like in the past. Or perhaps I have changed?’
The name Katia Ivanova is fictitious.
Another solution to this mysterious story is that indeed several women were promised the wrong jobs, but immediately after arriving accepted the indecent proposal to work in prostitution, were treated relatively well after that, and were happy with the situation. I know several cases about this happening. And what could have happened in this case is that after they left Wladimir they indeed wanted to have a residence permit and went to the police saying that they were tricked, which may not be a lie. Perhaps they were tricked initially, but collaborated with Wladimir after that.
I cannot make cheese of this story. But, it is still strange why women have to hand over money to men who don't do anything but receiving money. Why don't the women buy plane tickets for themselves and live in hotel rooms if they don't know a place to live? Why can't these women arrange these things for themselves?
But, I have found other very weird stories. The next story will be a story of how a girl falls in love with a man and within days after meeting him on TMF-chat works for him behind a window.