The Flesh is Weak, The Spirit even Weaker

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1 The Flesh is Weak, The Spirit even Weaker Prostitution Clients and Women Trafficking in the Netherlands Damián Zaitch & Richard Staring Erasmus University Rotterdam How Much? Human Trafficking and Prostitution Milan, 29 November 2007 A project financed by European Commission no. 2005/AGIS/185

2 Background Between and active prostitutes

3 Background Windows, street toleration zones, brothels, sex clubs, saunas, sex-farms, massage parlours, escort service, hotels, private houses, call internet, mobile and digtv

4 Background High percentage (40%-50%) of foreign women, many from Central and Eastern Europe

5 Background Victims of women trafficking years; mainly Eastern Europeans and Dutch Minors from NL, Thailand and Nigeria Small trafficking networks, ethnic homogeneous, kinship Very little research on clients in NL

6 Background Prostitution is not criminalised (only through public order, migration laws) October 2000 Legalisation of exploitation (adult, voluntary, with residence) permits and controls Criminalisation of human trafficking (involuntary, minors or cross-border) Clients are regarded as potential partners against women trafficking

7 Research Questions 1. What formal and informal social interventions exist on the supply and demand of trafficked women for prostitution? 2. What is the nature of the demand of trafficked women for prostitution in the Netherlands and what forces shape that demand? 3. What are the perceptions and practices of clients on women trafficking and what is their role in the expansion or reduction of the demand for trafficked women for prostitution?

8 Methods & Activities Explorative, descriptive, qualitative Data gathering & analysis 2006 Team with 2 senior and 4 junior researchers Four (4) sources:

9 Methods & Activities 1. Open interviews (46) 26 male clients 4 female prostitutes 16 experts (police, health officials, NGOs, sex industry) Standardised topic lists Recruitment of clients

10 Methods & Activities Internet (8) Personal networks (8) Experts / NGOs (2) During observation in brothel (1) Snowballing from all former (7) Sample few ethnic minorities, no street prostitution, many internet users, 24-61, good spread in residence, education and occupation

11 Methods & Activities 2. Observations 2 sex saunas (with interviewed clients) Police meetings & briefings Police routine controls on sex clubs and brothels Red light districts

12 Methods & Activities 3. Internet analysis of largest client site ( active members) Hookers.nl 243 messages by 118 different clients 4. Secondary sources

13 Factors shaping the demand Signs of displacement from legal (visible) to illegal (backstage) prostitution (high costs, illegal migrants) Signs of expansion of supply of, and demand for foreign prostitution (not measured) Some possible factors expanding and shaping the demand (clients and employers)

14 Factors shaping the demand 1. Explosive development of internet resources and channels for anonymous supply and demand of sexual services

15 Factors shaping the demand 2. Mobile telephony, full-package digital and interactive television new forms of soliciting and offering services

16 Factors shaping the demand 3. Popularity of Eastern European women amongst Dutch clients growing numbers, chain migration

17 Factors shaping the demand 4. Growing McSex-tourism to and from NL by cheaper flights and packages

18 Factors shaping the demand 5. More businessmen, passengers and seamen in transit, employees in transport services in NL

19 Factors shaping the demand 6. More female migration projects (both by feminisation of poverty or by raising expectations) meeting Fortress Europe illegality

20 Factors shaping the demand 7. New forms of sexualisation (pornification) of manwomen relations: advertisement, pop culture, consumption patterns, pseudo-prostitution

21 Factors shaping the demand 8. Paradoxically, demand for foreign women for prostitution is encouraged by further emancipation of Dutch women

22 Clients & woman trafficking Consumer demand operates indirectly, cannot be differentiated from the general demand for commercial sex Demand for more services for less money, exotic women, underage, but not for trafficked women per se From our data, clients prefer Fair transactions with motivated, healthy women Young adult women who do not have pimps or loverboys

23 Clients & woman trafficking Clients more blameful but potentially more critical than, for example, consumers of children carpets or blood diamonds However, most clients are able to remain uncritical and unconcerned 4 main issues explored in our data

24 Clients and their attitudes 1. Abstract recognition of voluntary vs forced prostitution All clients make the distinction But clients embrace a far stricter definition than the UN or Dutch one only minors and sexual slaves Clients are hardly concerned about the residence (legal or illegal) status of women Many underplay forced prostitution (small, exaggerated, neutralisation)

25 Clients and their attitudes 2. The recognition of individual responsibility (as exploiters) Some feel responsible and guilty, while others deny own responsibility Many neutralisation techniques Blaming the woman or the circumstances Othering other clients they are worse Buying their services is helping them Claiming not able to distinguish between voluntary and forced women Irresponsibilisation due to legalisation they should now guarantee traffic-free women

26 Clients and their attitudes 3. The concrete recognition of forced prostitutes Some feel responsible, but regret that they cannot recognise who is forced and who is not Illusion of intimacy, desire and fantasies obscures the recognition of victims Others refer to several indicators age, nationality, behavioural characteristics, attitude during encounter, degree of play, type of service offered, physical marks such as bruises, tattoos and timid expressions

27 Clients and their attitudes 4. Individual actions / strategies to deal with forced prostitution Some deploy action: Total withdrawal from prostitution Avoidance of trafficked women Helping (perceived) victims

28 3 types of clients 1. Unconcerned consumer Acknowledges the existence of trafficking and forced prostitution, but underplays or neutralises it Denies own responsibility, does not feel guilty Does not select women following WT indicators Supports repressive measures against women trafficking (operators and women) Rejects criminalisation of clients

29 3 types of clients 2. Blind conscious man Fully recognises the problem (conscious), but still tends to blame circumstances as main cause Feels guilty and takes responsibility for fuelling the demand for trafficked women, and tries to avoid them Neutralises own possible active behaviour on trafficking through 3 forms of denial: a) claims he cannot distinguish between voluntary and forced (blind), b) denies purchasing sex from trafficked prostitutes; and c) claims that own initiative is useless and dangerous Rejects criminalisation of clients

30 3. Moral crusader 3 types of clients Fully recognises the problem of forced prostitution Takes individual responsibility and feels guilty, blames traffickers and pimps Deploys strategies to recognise and select women, using some indicator for trafficking He takes action: stop visiting prostitutes, avoid forced prostitutes, or helping-saving the women with money, shelter, advice, or reporting to the police Some in love or with strong empathy with the women, he feels central to the women Favours more control on trafficking, but less criminalisation of the women

31 Some further lessons Clients differ substantially in their attitudes and practices policies and interventions should reflect this heterogeneity Clients hold very narrow definitions of women trafficking policies should aim to counter this Clients have problems to recognise trafficking interventions should provide tools / indicators through campaigns Law enforcement should control and tackle trafficking in illegal AND legal sector, and involve clients and women as partners or witnesses in trafficking cases, with full rights

32 Grazie!

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