A while ago this video was making its way around the Internet and I was sent the link a few times.
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I am fascinated by the change in expressions from the bystanders in a matter of seconds. When the girls first start dancing, the bystander’s expressions are those of amusement and intrigue. When the final words go up on the screen, there is a bewildered confusion on their faces that would allude to the fact that this information is something that never crossed their minds.
Prostitution is currently legal in Amsterdam. The original thought behind the decision was that legalizing prostitution would help to control it. If it is illegal, it will go underground and we won’t be able to help them. There is a lot of disagreement as to whether or not this works, and both sides have valid arguments.There are more than 25,000 girls in the Netherlands who work in prostitution. Even if they originally enter if by their own free will (which is rare), chances are they will get caught up in exploitation and are not free to leave.
Prostitution is usually a result of economic issues, which is why Not For Sale is creating alternative options for women and children who would otherwise be forced to sell their bodies for sex in order to feed their families or send money back home. Every week the Not For Sale Amsterdam staff walk the same streets in the red light district giving out homemade soup. Because of this new venture, they are able to notice who is new and have conversations with the girls behind the windows, learning where they are coming from and why they are there. They approach the women with respect and have normal conversations with them, usually getting a chance to explain what Not For Sale does. I would also be willing to bet that this is one of the few times these women are being talked to as equals, shown love, and not judged.
The men who are often responsible for the trafficking victims use psychological games and co-dependent relationships to coerced girls to start working in prostitution. This leads to grave dangers; girls quickly learn to disassociate with their customers, causing harmful psychological damage and identity issues. How can you trust men, have a normal relationship, or raise children after enduring something like this? The physical harm, emotional trauma, and psychological damage after this is something most people cannot begin to imagine.
Most of the men who purchase sex are married. I believe that many are under the impression that these girls want to be there, have come to Amsterdam by choice to make money, and enjoy their jobs. The ignorance that goes into this thought process is astounding to me. What on earth would make you think that anybody would choose this life for themselves? What kind of denial must you be in to think that someone wants to spend their day in a ‘profession’ that consists of standing half naked in a window, sleeping with hundreds of men in order to make money, being starved and beaten when you don’t get enough customers?
To all the men who purchase sex- that is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, and I can guarantee you that they are not there because they want to be. If there was no demand, there would be no need for a supply of thousands of women who have been trafficked to Amsterdam, who have shut down and have been stripped of their dignity and respect. Ashton Kutchner is right; real men don’t buy sex.
Want to learn more? Check out ‘A Crime so Monstrous’ by E. Benjamin Skinner, or ‘Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery’ by Siddharth Kara