In collecting data about sex work it is quite common to ask the workers why they have decided to become a sex worker. In every answer to this question, money is a common denominator. [i] All authors agree that a financial incentive plays a major part in the decision to opt for sex work. (For example Van Wijk, 2010 en Vanwesenbeeck, 1994)[ii]  In this section we will see that the money argument takes two shapes: money to pay for extra’s and money for survival. This difference may also serve to distinguish between two types of sex workers as in fact one of the interviewees of the Dutch team mentioned: the ones who work out of necessity and the ones who work for the good life. We will see that migrants are often part of the first category and that even migrants themselves use this distinction to describe themselves. [iii]

In the question about the reason for entering sex work the debate on freedom to choose lurks in the background. Did the women enter voluntarily or not? Some scholars question the voluntariness of deciding to become a sex worker. When asked, very few people in other professions will say they work voluntarily. Pheterson (2004) stresses the fact that ‘voluntary’ prostitution should perhaps be reframed, not as a free choice out of the blue, but as a decision to choose this possibility among a smaller or larger number of other viable options. In this decision making certain specific characteristics of sex work may play a role: the fact that you don’t need formal training, the low threshold to start working in a particular sex facility, the variety of people at the work place, and the freedom to choose your working hours. We will argue in this section that the decision to enter and to stay in sex work is a dynamic process, in which the whole range of ‘reasons’ between extreme coercion and self-consciously enjoying sex with clients, can occur in the career in one single woman we interviewed.

Money and survival

The relation between sex work and migration is a central theme of this report. It is exceedingly complex and riddled with prejudice, misunderstanding and ignorance. In this and the following sections we hope to shed light on some of these complexities. After interpreting our data and surveying the literature we conclude that 1) sex work is one of the major ‘entry occupations’ for new immigrants; similar in this respect (but not al respects) to agriculture, the construction industry, restaurants, domestic work, and the cleaning industry. (Roessingh and Amesar, 2011) that migrant nature of sex work profoundly shapes the work conditions, income position, labor rights and experience of sex workers.

In the discourse about migrants it is widely assumed that poor women from other countries enter sex work as a form of survival. Wesenbeeck (1994), for example, seems to acknowledge this. ‘More than in the western world, severe economic necessity in a situation, characterized by very few societal opportunities seems to be the prime motivation for women in the non-western world to enter prostitution’. (Van Wesenbeeck, I., Prostitutes’ Well-Being and Risk, page 29). This has led authors such as van Wesenbeeck to frame coercion more broadly as ‘forced by circumstance’. [iv]

Some migrants also construed themselves as ‘the poor migrant who only tries to survive’.  (Andrijasevic, cited in Stempvoort, 2008). Jansen (2007) explain this as a way to alleviate the feelings of  shame. They may  be sex workers, but they are ‘good’ sex workers. They frown upon colleagues who are outgoing and pleasure seeking. So the idea of the good sex worker who is forced by circumstance is reproduced, even by sex workers themselves. For instance Latin American sex workers successfully assume the role of  the good mother because they are always described as survivors, quiet women, ‘good mothers’ who keep themselves aloof from criminals and pimps. [v] In this respect Janssen (2007) refers to the cult of motherhood in Latin American culture as marianismo.

Even moderate anti-prostitution feminists and religious fundamentalists condone prostitution as the only alternative for a woman not to die of hunger or for not having to see her children die of hunger. In other words, it may be acceptable as a kind of survival.[vi] The problem however is that some women engage in prostitution to get some luxury, to achieve some financial independence or to become part of the world of entertainment. Lim et al  (1998) note that the search for a more materialistic lifestyle is also in South East Asia, a motive for migration for sex work from rural areas to urban areas. [vii] In that case she becomes  ‘the bad woman’. [viii]

A problem with the ‘survival’ and ‘forced by circumstances’ argument arises – as will be the case with quite a lot of sex workers – when sex workers indicate that they have more opportunities than just sex work. Bernstein (2009) remarks that policy makers are baffled when they learn that middle class women with more options in life than prostitution choose for the profession. Greenwald (1958) was one of the first to describe the fun seeking, middle class call girl. But as their psychoanalyst he also found that they had severe personality disorders. According to him the answer could be found in the ‘personality’ of the prostitute. This was an incentive to look for abnormal psychology in the prostitute. In the second half of the twentieth century ‘the prostitute’ was construed along lines of psychoanalysis and anthropology, which was done in the Netherlands by Groothuyse (1973) and Wong (1961) [ix]. The upshot was that a promiscuous lifestyle was a psychological/ anthropological condition.[x]

These psychoanalytical explanations were criticized during the sexual revolution when promiscuous behaviour was no longer restricted to the sex industry. In the eighties when some feminists stressed the downside of the sexual revolution, sexual abuse became an issue. It was discovered that some prostitutes had a history of childhood sexual abuse. (Wesenbeeck, 1994). At first the decision to enter sex work was explained as counter-phobic behaviour in which the subject compulsively repeats traumatic experience. Later on sex work was considered as a reaction on the labeling as a victim. To this was added growing up in a broken family as one of the factors conducive to a career in prostitution. But although there were some indications that the incidence of childhood sexual abuse and a history in a broken home was higher in the personal histories of sex workers than in those of the general population, it offered no explanation for the fact that women and men without a history of abuse also entered the profession.The argument of a broken home is still used in the case of victims of lover boys.[xi] But now, in the year 2012, a minority of the general population of young adults in the Netherlands will not come from a broken home.[xii] At the time this discussion reigned in the prostitution debate nobody wondered whether the migrant sex workers who at the time came from poor countries, also had a background of abuse and broken homes. Some of them had, but there has been no systematic research in this matter. (Altink, 1995) [xiii]

The lack of training requirements may also contribute to the decision to enter the trade. The independence and the freedom to choose the working hours are also often mentioned. (Groen, 1987[xiv], Forum DVP Kinky.nl)  Additional reasons catalogued in the literature (Wesenbeeck. 1994  in Stempvoort, 2008, Blaak, 1998) are the need for male attention, a craving for adventure and rebellion against the environment. One of the women interviewed by the Dutch team said that curiosity was one of her reasons to enter the trade. Wagenaar in his earlier interviews with Dutch sex workers repeatedly encountered women who said that curiosity or the possibility to earn extra money were the reasons for entering sex work. Regioplan (2006) also states those extra reasons as a search for excitement and to ‘have a good time’.

The process of entering sex work

Pheterson (2004) does the suggestion to frame the matter of voluntary/ involuntary prostitution in terms of decision making. But in most publications about sex work little attention is paid to this process. It may be difficult to reconstruct this afterwards with the interviewees. Even those studies (Jansen, 2007, Westerik, 2009) that are based on life stories provide very little information about this process. Jansen mentions the ambivalence: the shame but also the prospect of money. Both Jansen en Westerik mention network of friends and relatives who already work in prostitution. The testimonies of trafficked women or victims of  loverboys  mostly tell cases of women who were forced into prostitution by a third party: a boyfriend or an organization. (Ziverte, 2004, Mosterd, 2008-, Werson, 2010) . By looking at the literature and our fieldwork, we identified the following factors in the decision making process.

–          Coercion

–          A romantic relationship

–          Comparison with other job opportunities

–          Role models or other involvement in the sex trade.

–          Previous sexual experiences

Coercion

Three of the women we interviewed were downright forced into sex work by a (group of) pimps. One woman we interviewed was already active as a sex worker but was forced, according to her, by Roma men to leave her country and to work in Austria. A fifth woman, described the boyfriend who suggested her entry in sex work afterwards as a pimp.

When business slowed down and I could make less money in Hungary, I took up on offer to work in Austria, in Graz. Two gypsies served as intermediaries. When we were on our way they offered me something to drink. The two men forced me to take XTC. They would hurt me if I refused. I took the XTC and I took another XTC and I took some more XTC. Eventually I passed out. When I came round I found I was tied up. They beat me up and forced me to work for them. They took all my money. (Source: Interviews)

Drugs as an explanation often occurs in the literature. (Ziverte, 2004). The woman who is talking above was reluctant to talk about this episode. We don’t hear anything about the kind of promises she was made, the way of transportation and her interaction with the traffickers. The lack of information about the interaction with the ‘partner’ is also present in the stories of the women who are brought into prostitution by a romantic involvement.

A romantic relationship

Some women fall in love with a man who then manipulates or forces them into prostitution. Mostly they are emotionally dependent on this person. In the Netherlands these men are called ‘loverboys’. Much has been said and written about these loverboys. The most common stories about this phenomenon follow a particular pattern: a young woman or a girl, who does not get enough attention from their – usually divorced parents – and who has a low self esteem, falls in love with a guy who gives her presents and makes her feel important is, is isolated from her family and friends and then groomed for sex work. (Bovenkerk et al, 2004). [xv] A generation ago such men were called pimps. Wagenaar recorded a similar story of romantic involvement turning ugly in an interview with a 45 year old woman who now worked as a sex shop manager. There are two written testimonies in Dutch about this phenomenon: Mosterd (2008) and Genova. [xvi]The latter is a testimony of a woman who lived with a loverboy but was not brought into prostitution herself and the other (Mosterd, 2008 ) was exposed as a fraud. [xvii]

Four  women interviewed by the Dutch team entered prostitution because of a relationship. Only two of them identified themselves as  a victim of trafficking. But one does not decide overnight to support the ambitions of a partner with prostitution. One of them was quite brief.

 At the time I got involved with a Moroccan boyfriend. He suggested that I could make money in prostitution. So that is how I started when I was 18 in a club in Antwerp. I did quit for a few months but then I went back into the work. I still had the same partner and I still lived in Belgium.  But during the last eight years I only work because I want to. I have left that partner. (Source: interviews) [xix]

The second case was a woman from Eastern Europe. She described herself as a wild teenager who just wanted to have some fun. She came from a happy family. Her parents were teachers who were at first relatively well off, but suffered severe financial problems after the collapse of the economies and the currencies in Eastern Europe in the nineties. She fell in love with  a man who promised her a good life in Germany. She was over 18 and her parents could not keep her at home. Her mother gave her some leaflets of La Strada, a ngo which warns women for traffickers in Eastern Europe, but to no avail. She was forced at gunpoint to work for this network in the streets and had to supplement the turnover at night in hotels. The Dutch police had already discovered she was a victim of a network of traffickers who posed  as boyfriends. The telephones of this network were tapped and that’s how the Dutch police discovered the two men were about to kill her (and a fellow victim). The Dutch police intervened and literally saved her and her friend.

The third case was a woman from Bulgaria. She had a Bulgarian boyfriend. Afterwards she described him as a pimp. ‘But that is normal in Bulgaria, everybody has a pimp there’. He thought she could make more money in Greece. So she went to Greece, which was not a big step because she lived near the Greece border. Because of some problem with the papers, her pimp went with her to the Netherlands. There she was discovered by the police and she filed a report. Now she works for herself.

A fourth case, again a woman from Bulgaria did not describe her relation with her husband as a relation of pimping. She already knew him before she entered sex work in Bulgaria. He ‘helped’ her with her sex work. Now she lives with him in the Netherlands and ‘because he can’t find a job in the Netherlands’, she supports him.

A sixth woman stated that she was glad to be able to help her partner financially. ‘That is a trait of character of mine, when I have money, I help.’

A 7th  woman felt that her job would always boyfriends to ask her money. So now she had a relationship with a guy who expected her to pay for him.

Two respondents had experienced an abusive relationship before entering prostitution. They were physically abused but these men also plundered their bank accounts and contracted debts on their names.

Comparison with other job opportunities

Like other people looking for a livelihood, they compare their different options, what is feasible with their education, how much money are they going make and what is their job satisfaction in other jobs. When there is a dramatic change in a personal life, as was the case with three women in our sample, long term solutions like getting an education and applying for all sorts of jobs may not be perceived an optimal solution. Two interviewees had to become a breadwinner overnight when their partner fell ill. Two of the migrants we interviewed came to the Netherlands to live with a Dutch partner. The relationships went wrong and she tried to stay on her own in the Netherlands, but could not find a job. Three interviewees – all Dutch- financed their studies with sex work.

Eight of our respondents entered the trade because they got fired from other jobs, or because a company went bust. One of these eight said before he could work at a labour agency, but could not meet the requirements of these organizations any more.

We know that 18 respondents had another job or studied next to sex work. Two respondents had unemployment benefit. This may be the case with more respondents, but in general sex workers are reluctant to talk about this, for fear of being accused of fraud. Eight respondents started their professional career with sex work. Among them were four migrants, two Dutch women who started when very young, one male and one woman who had been homeless before she entered the sex trade. 33 of them had had other jobs before entering sex work.

Three respondents indicated that they were not financially dependent on the job. One of the male migrant sex workers worked as a cleaner beside the sex work. During the interview the respondent asked if it was normal to be forced to work for 12 hours a day and to earn about two euro for a few hours. He did not want to state specifics but the interviewer had the impression he was exploited as a cleaner. Another male migrant sex worker was vague about his main activity: stealing or sex work.

Three of the migrants we interviewed had experience as sex worker in their home countries. Three respondents had worked in other European countries, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Austria and Spain. One Dutch/Maroccan woman started to work in Belgium and moved to the Netherlands afterwards.

Quite a few of our respondents were well educated: three had a university degree, one an unfinished university education, four of them had completed a hbo (college training), one woman had not finished this course, one had an incomplete mbo, two had not finished their high school and eight respondents had had a professional training. One migrant had an unifinished training for a paramedical profession. Two respondents were drop-outs from high school and of others we don’t know.

On the forum of Kinky.nl, where women exchange experiences, some participants state that it is more relaxed to do sex work as an extra, because they don’t have to rely on the income from prostitution, and don’t feel stressed when there is a lack of clients.

However our findings may be biased because we had to select migrants who spoke Dutch or English which is a necessary condition for having a job in outside the sex industry. Regioplan (2006) encountered 7 sex workers among 343 who were students. Regioplan did not interview many migrants, but if you take them into account you may get a different picture. De Rode Draad had in 2003 and 2008 special projects for Latin American and Thai women. (Verslag Latina project, 2003 en Uitbuiting in Thaise salons, 2008) De Rode Draad had the impression that many women in these groups are dependent on the work for housing (living on the job) and that they did not master the Dutch language enough to have an opportunity on the regular labour market. The Rode Draad even encountered illiteracy in these groups.

Role models

Like the  three migrants who decided  to enter sex work after having been a while in the Netherlands, eight interviewees had seen and talked to other women who made money as a sex worker before they decided to work as a sex worker themselves. One woman had seen her mother going to work.  Another worked as a cleaner in a brothel and decided to exchange this low paid job for a better-paid job in the same facility. Another had a history as pole-dancer and one woman got the idea while working for an erotic web store. One woman had a training as sports teacher and was already familiar with massage. Looking for a job, she arrived at a parlour for erotic massage. Two migrants saw sex workers in the streets of Greece and Spain and decided to take up the job as well. Two students had seen other students doing it. One had experience in webcam and one woman had met the daughter of a brothelmanager who took her to her father’s business. Three women were familiar with sex work because they lived near a Red Light District or a brothel.

Previous sexual experiences

Previous sexual experience may play a role in the decision to enter the trade. The male interviewee started after he was abused by a catholic priest as a teenager, and decided to ask money the next time. Another male sex worker explained his ‘survival’ work as a logical step after having experienced sexual abuse as a child. The same held good for two of the female respondents,

The woman who had experienced an extreme form of force and violence, decided to re- enter prostitution, to repair her sexuality:

After five years I decided to start working again. I wanted to find out how it was like to work  for myself, without being forced.  I had promised myself that if I would not like it, I would stop immediately. The first weeks were strange but I also enjoyed experiencing the other side of prostitution. Now I could decide which customer to take. I only took on nice men. I also enjoyed it myself. I also refused some clients, which I even did when I was already in the room with them and I suddenly did not like the guy. I felt more and more sure of myself. I was having a good time, I could wear nice clothes, I became friends with the other women. Until then I had difficulties relating with men. But because of this work I got a lot of attention from them. My self-esteem was boosted. At first I thought it is my own fault that I was forced in prostitution. In the books you can read sex work is harmful for your self-esteem. But for me  voluntary sex work meant quite the contrary.(Source: interview)

In her case we see a career between two extremes: force and  self-consciously working as a sex worker. After two years she stopped. It took her five years to reconsider sex work. This may be also be the case with another interviewee, a woman who is now over 50 and enjoyed her job, but in passing remarked that she was married at the age of fourteen.  And as the insider noticed: enjoyment of sex may also be a motive.

 In the place where I work now, the women are enjoying the sex. A number of them ended up here after going a few times to swinger’s clubs. They are all rather old and have another job on the side. Quite a few combine it with taking care of the elderly in their homes. In the weekend they go with their partners to a swinger’s party and on weekdays to come to get exciting sex.These women may forget that it is a commercial thing. One of them enjoyed the contact so much that she forgot to ask for payment. (Source: insider diary)

 

By the way, on the above mentioned Kinky forum there are also some women who state that they receive men out of sexual necessity. We don’t know in the case of migrants if the kind of sexual services that is expected of them in the countries of destination is part of their image of sex work. In for example India and Indonesia, certain sexual activities, like oral sex, threesomes and masturbation, are taboo, while this is considered  a standard service in the western World. (Rhebergen, 1999) [i] There also seems to be some difference of opinion in the Thai and Chinese massage parlours, about what exactly is considered a sexual service. (Rode Draad, 2008)  For instance, not all Thai women consider a hand job a sexual act.

Four female respondents had experiences with swinger- like activities. One of them described herself as being only interested in sex with complete strangers. Another had during a visit to a sauna ‘a message from the universe, instructing me what to do in the future’.

Decision-making by migrants

Whenever labour migration is discussed it is often conceived as a simple movement from poor to rich countries. This is called the equilibrium model, which means that people from the poorest countries make a rational choice to go to richer countries. But that is not always the case. The labour migrants in western Europe don’t always come from the poorest countries like Mozambique or Bangladesh. Neither do all migrants belong to the poorest groups in their home countries, they are usually people who can dispose of a little money to pay the middlemen and the journey

The equilibrium model does not take macro economical processes into account, which are stressed in the historical structural approach to migration. [i]In this view migration is the result of the macroeconomical processes that lead to an accumulation of capital which forces large groups of people to follow the money and to relinquish traditional ways of subsistence.[ii] This may happen when the economy is reformed to cater for the international market. [iii]  The migration scholar Wood studies migration on the level of the household and the experience of migration on an individual level. One of the defining factors in this process is the availability of role models of people who have already migrated and have returned with money. (J.Wood, cited in Asian Pacific Development Centre, 1989) [iv] They are the first in a chain of migration of friends, family members etcetera. This model seems the most appropriate model for the women we spoke with in the course of the research. [v] This also explains the choice of the country of destination. The newcomers use the networks and the information of migrants who have arrived earlier. [vi]

Why do migrants sex workers choose to work in the Netherlands and not in another Western European country? The decision to come to the Netherlands seems in our sample to be largely a matter of chance: they already knew women from their own country who worked here. Another factor mentioned by one interviewee may have been the easily accessible information about places to work in the Netherlands on the internet. They did not explicitly state a positive reason to choose for the Netherlands, unlike the migrants in for instance London, who saw an additional advantage in the opportunity to learn English. (Mai, 2012) [vii]  We know that one of our respondents opted for Brussels, because she had learned French at school. Another had heard that Germany and The Netherlands are the best countries for sex work. One of the migrants is already 25 years active as sex worker in the Netherlands. Another arrived in 2000, 2 in 2001, one in 2007, and three in 2008.

Migrants often have a different concept of being breadwinner than citizens of the welfare states of western and northern Europe. It is generally not part of the life cycle expectance of the latter to financially support parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews and cousins. Supporting extended families in the country of origin may play a part in keeping the women in sex work. (Rode Draad,2008, Janssen, 2007). The majority of the Latin-American sex workers that Janssen (2007) interviewed is breadwinner and has financial responsibilities for children, brothers and sisters and parents. One Bulgarian woman tried to send money home but she admitted that her family could not live of that; the other one had not sent money for some time. Two women (one migrant) entered the profession because due to an illness their partner could not be the breadwinner any more. They felt they had to provide for the families. From only three women we know that they didn’t have children. Two women were in the process of leaving their partners.

We don’t know how long migrants took in deciding to become a labour migrant. It may be very difficult to reconstruct, if at all possible. We have some data on the time it took women to decide to become a sex worker. At least four interviewees, one of them the woman mentioned above,  took a long time to consider the option of sex work. Two a few years, two more than a few months, and some of the women said they had been toying with the idea for years. One woman waited two months till she took on a second client. Another one just stayed a while in a club as an onlooker, before she decided to join the team. One of them said she was hesitant because she was weighing the consequences of her family finding out about her. One of the migrants started immediately after she saw the windows. The same held good for a Dutch woman in dire financial need.

Janssen (2007) mentions shame as a major reason to hesitate before entering the trade, but we haven’t seen any examples of this in our sample. The reasons to re- enter or to keep on working may also vary in time.

This article consists of some pages written as an annex to the International Comparitive Prostition Policy Research, Wagenaar en Altink, 2013

Sources


[i] Asian Pacific Development Centre, Causes Mechanism and Consequences, Selected Papers from the Planning Meeting on International Migration of Women, Kuala Lumpur, 1989

 

 

[ii] The case of Thailand may illustrate this. Since the fifties of the last century Thailand opted for industrialization. The necessary capital for this came  from the agricultural sector. Its excess produce was sold on the international markets. This money was invested in the cities and in infrastructure so that the goods could be shipped from the villages to the international markets In order to stay ahead of international competition the prices of commodities were kept low. This meant that no money was invested in rural areas. This policy backfired however in the seventies, because the production could not be increase without a restructuring of the primary sector. Only by engaging very cheap labour Thailand could keep up the production in line with the international markets. This policy caused the rise of the middle classes in the cities, while the rural areas where populated by underpaid workers.

For the production for the international markets the scale of production had to increase. Small scale production by women  had to be replaced  by large scale production by men. This had the effect that the small scale rice production to which both men and women contributed, was disrupted. Women lowered in status and lost their work. They migrated to the cities where quite a few found employment in the sex industry. Others went abroad.

 

 

[iii] In de jaren zeventig trokken veel Thaise mensen naar de OPEC landen. Daarna vertrok men naar de Aziatische landen waar de economie groeide: Taiwan, Singapore en Maleisië. Nog later kwam Europa als bestemming in beeld. Halverwege de jaren tachtig neemt het aantal Thaise vrouwen dat in Europa gaat werken af. Onder invloed van het sekstoerisme uit Japan, is de Japanse connectie ontwikkeld. Japan is nu het belangrijkste ontvangende land voor vrouwen uit Thailand.

 

 

[iv] Asian Pacific Development Centre, Causes Mechanism and Consequences, Selected Papers from the Planning Meeting on International Migration of Women, Kuala Lumpur, 1989

 

 

[v] Agustin (2006) beweert dat er nauwelijks aandacht is voor migratie van vrouwen. Zo publiceerde het CPB onlangs een studie over Chinezen in Nederland waarin geen woord werd geschreven over de nieuwe generatie vrouwelijke Chinese migranten die in Nederland in de salons werken. (Wijberts, M.; Huynk, Vogels, W., (red), Chinese Nederlanders, van horeca naar hogeschool, SCP, Den Haag, 2011. Maar zodra het over migratie voor prostitutie gaat, heeft men het vrijwel uitsluitend over vrouwelijke migranten.

 

 

[vi] Dit veronderstelt echter wel dat iemand of een groepje vrouwen de eersten moeten zijn. Er zijn dus ‘generaties’ migranten uit bepaalde landen/regio’s. In de annex is beschreven hoe een onbekend aantal vrouwen van de ‘eerste generatie’ via kanalen van mensenhandelaren in West-Europa is terecht gekomen, maar latere ‘generaties’ grotendeels zelfstandiger, met een beroep op een persoonlijk vrienden/familienetwerk in West-Europa is beland. (Janssen, 2007, Brussa, 2004, De Rode Draad 2008 (Thaise massagesalons), Mai, ) Een toename van zelfstandige migratie zien we ook bij de Oost- Europese landen die in de jaren negentig een belangrijk waren als landen van herkomst. Zo zijn ook de Polen, Tsjechië en de Baltische Landen  uit de top 5 van landen van herkomst van slachtoffers van mensenhandel verdwenen. (Rapportages 2012 Comensha.,

 

 

[vii] Mai, Nick, Embodied Cosmopolitism, The subjective mobility of migrants working in the global sex industry, London, 2012.

 

 


[i] Rhebergen, D., Anak-Anak Jalan Diponegoro,  Female Street Workers in Surabaya, Indonesia, Amsterdam, 1999. (proefschrift?), Uitgave VU, Feministische Antropologie, deel 11.

[i] Though we chose to use the word sex worker when we describe the workers in present day situations, we sometimes have to use the word prostitute in this section, as ‘sex worker’ would be a gross anachronism.

[ii] Vanwesenbeeck, I, van, Prostitutes’ well- being and risk’, Amsterdam, 1994

[iii] Strangely enough there seems to be a difference in interpretation what it means to do it for the money.  When researchers (Van Wijk et al 2010) say a woman is in it just for financial gain they seem to imply that they are out on cash and don’t care about professional pride and job satisfaction.  This may be applicable to other occupations as well.  It is more bewildering when clients on Hookers.nl say ‘she only works for the money’, using the phrase as a code to indicate that the woman described is trafficked or is exploited by a pimp.  In other words she does in fact work for money, but not for her own money.

[iv] This is an echo of the nineteenth century notion of the prostitute as a victim of  class differences  and (international) capitalism.

[v] Report of a meeting of  Latin American Sex workers with lawyers and Rode Draad,  2 maart 1997, the archives of the Rode Draad.

[vi] The following examples illustrate these imageries have real influences on policy making In a meeting in Deventer where a Christian organization was present (2008) and during a Raadsinfo meeting, where another Christian volunteer organization was present, (2009) the Christian outreachers showed some understanding for the mostly Latin American women who presented ‘sad stories’ that they had no other option to feed their children than by means of prostitution. A variant of the idea as sex work as the only option for survival is the idea that drug addicts can only finance their habit by sex work. In order to reduce the harm they incur with their lifestyles, the so called tippelzones  (street prostitution toleration zones) came into being. From 2000 on the Borough Council (Deelraad) Delfshaven Rotterdam advocated the institution of licenses, so that the women who worked for money and not for drugs would be excluded from this institution. The first group was refeerd to in Council debates and official documents as ‘broodhoeren’, freely translated as bread whores), (AD 3 nov 2003) This pejorative expression: bread whores’ was adopted by other towns with tippelzones. By way of persprcctive, the survival argument in which sex work is the only option due to force of circumstance is hardly- if ever- applied to male drug addicts, nor is it applied to male migrants.

[vii] Lim, L.L., (ed). The Sex Sector, The economic and social bases of prostitution in South East Asia, Genieva, (ILO), 1998

[viii] When (Christian) moralism became a dominant force in the fight against 19the century regulation of prostitution the idea of prostitutes as victims of capitalism was forgotten.  The idea of the fallen woman  replaced the earlier imagery  from the eighties of the nineteenth century onwards. This state of a fallen woman was considered a transient state. But that changed, due to the invention of ‘the common prostitute as a legal category  in England’. (Walkowitz, 1982) This meant the consolidation of the stigma in a category that was not only one of deviant sexuality but also one of social exclusion. In the Dutch language this has been epitomized in the saying: ‘once a whore, always a whore’. In this view prostitution is not an activity but a personality trait..The fallen woman had succumbed to materialism and glamour, to all the dangers of modern life, to ‘uithuizigheid en pretzucht’. (Kompagnie, Bossenbroek,  De Vries 1997,  Koenders, 1996) A hundred years later, in the 1980s, this idea was challenged by sex worker’s rights organizations who called themselves sex workers, to stress to activity instead of the personality.

[ix] Wong Lun Hing, F., J., H., Prostitutie, Utrecht, 1961, Groothuyse, J.W., Het menselijk tekort van de pooier, Amsterdam, 1973

[x] Bij de beschrijving van de prostituee als slachtoffer heeft men snel de neiging een vorm van reductionisme toe te passen. Bij prostitutie van Nederlandse vrouwen uit zich dat in een psychologisme. Prostituees worden beschreven als vrouwen die door hun eigen geschiedenis in de moeilijkheden zijn gekomen: een verkeerde partnerkeuze, een gebroken gezinssituatie, een incestverleden of een gebrek aan opleidingsmogelijkheden. Met andere woorden, hun verleden of psychische make-up is bepalend voor de beroepskeuze. Meestal verwijst men daarbij naar jeugdtrauma’s.

[xi] Bunschoten en Hesselink, geciteerd in Twentse Courant, 15-6-2002

[xii] Wetenschappers die zich geïnspireerd wisten door de Franse filosoof Foucault (Mahood, Walkowitz, Guy, Nencel en Janssen) hebben vaak gewezen op zogeheten ‘constructie’ van de persoon van de prostituee als slachtoffer op individueel vlak.

[xiii] Altink, Sietske, Stolen Lives, Londen 1995. One of the interviewed woman was a victim of childhood marriage.

[xiv] Groen, M, Tien Vrouwen over het Vak, Amsterdam, 1987

[xv] Bovenkerk, F., ‘Loverboys’, of  Modern Pooiesrchap in Amsterdam, Utrecht, 2004

[xvi] Genova, M., Man  is stoer, vrouw is hoer, 12 jaar getrouwd met een loverboy, uitg Conserve, 2010

[xvii] Mosterd, Maria, Echte mannen eten geen kaas, vier jaar in handen van een loverboy,  Amsterdam,2008

Korterink, H.J.,Echte mannen eten wel kaas, Amsterdam, 2010

[xviii] One of the members of the Dutch team has met the family.

[xix] This was confirmed by the policemen we met later on.

[xx] Rhebergen, D., Anak-Anak Jalan Diponegoro,  Female Street Workers in Surabaya, Indonesia, Amsterdam, 1999. (proefschrift?), Uitgave VU, Feministische Antropologie, deel 11.

[xxi] Asian Pacific Development Centre, Causes Mechanism and Consequences, Selected Papers from the Planning Meeting on International Migration of Women, Kuala Lumpur, 1989

[xxii] The case of Thailand may illustrate this. Since the fifties of the last century Thailand opted for industrialization. The necessary capital for this came  from the agricultural sector. Its excess produce was sold on the international markets. This money was invested in the cities and in infrastructure so that the goods could be shipped from the villages to the international markets In order to stay ahead of international competition the prices of commodities were kept low. This meant that no money was invested in rural areas. This policy backfired however in the seventies, because the production could not be increase without a restructuring of the primary sector. Only by engaging very cheap labour Thailand could keep up the production in line with the international markets. This policy caused the rise of the middle classes in the cities, while the rural areas where populated by underpaid workers.

For the production for the international markets the scale of production had to increase. Small scale production by women  had to be replaced  by large scale production by men. This had the effect that the small scale rice production to which both men and women contributed, was disrupted. Women lowered in status and lost their work. They migrated to the cities where quite a few found employment in the sex industry. Others went abroad.

[xxiii] In de jaren zeventig trokken veel Thaise mensen naar de OPEC landen. Daarna vertrok men naar de Aziatische landen waar de economie groeide: Taiwan, Singapore en Maleisië. Nog later kwam Europa als bestemming in beeld. Halverwege de jaren tachtig neemt het aantal Thaise vrouwen dat in Europa gaat werken af. Onder invloed van het sekstoerisme uit Japan, is de Japanse connectie ontwikkeld. Japan is nu het belangrijkste ontvangende land voor vrouwen uit Thailand.

[xxiv] Asian Pacific Development Centre, Causes Mechanism and Consequences, Selected Papers from the Planning Meeting on International Migration of Women, Kuala Lumpur, 1989

[xxv] Agustin (2006) beweert dat er nauwelijks aandacht is voor migratie van vrouwen. Zo publiceerde het CPB onlangs een studie over Chinezen in Nederland waarin geen woord werd geschreven over de nieuwe generatie vrouwelijke Chinese migranten die in Nederland in de salons werken. (Wijberts, M.; Huynk, Vogels, W., (red), Chinese Nederlanders, van horeca naar hogeschool, SCP, Den Haag, 2011. Maar zodra het over migratie voor prostitutie gaat, heeft men het vrijwel uitsluitend over vrouwelijke migranten.

[xxvi] Dit veronderstelt echter wel dat iemand of een groepje vrouwen de eersten moeten zijn. Er zijn dus ‘generaties’ migranten uit bepaalde landen/regio’s. In de annex is beschreven hoe een onbekend aantal vrouwen van de ‘eerste generatie’ via kanalen van mensenhandelaren in West-Europa is terecht gekomen, maar latere ‘generaties’ grotendeels zelfstandiger, met een beroep op een persoonlijk vrienden/familienetwerk in West-Europa is beland. (Janssen, 2007, Brussa, 2004, De Rode Draad 2008 (Thaise massagesalons), Mai, ) Een toename van zelfstandige migratie zien we ook bij de Oost- Europese landen die in de jaren negentig een belangrijk waren als landen van herkomst. Zo zijn ook de Polen, Tsjechië en de Baltische Landen  uit de top 5 van landen van herkomst van slachtoffers van mensenhandel verdwenen. (Rapportages 2012 Comensha.,

[xxvii] Mai, Nick, Embodied Cosmopolitism, The subjective mobility of migrants working in the global sex industry, London, 2012.