28 July 2017
Is it just the tip of the iceberg?
Almost a week after Dag Allemaal revealed the large number of foreign prostitutes in Flemish rural communities, the Courts in East and West Flanders held a large-scale control campaign in bars and private homes. It is clear that the action was inspired directly by the report even if the government does not wish to confirm this fact. Perhaps the criticism by Patsy Sörensen was effective. According to her, the fight against trafficking is no longer a real priority for the police. Instead, all resources are being routed to combat terrorism.
The numbers is the case are impressive. In West Flanders alone, 37 bars, 10 private houses, 2 massage salons and 1 hotel were searched. In that hotel -Bascule in Roeselare all rooms were occupied by prostitutes. Most of the 128 people were checked. Most of them were foreigners from Poland, Romania or Nigeria. Some of the ladies were brought illegally into the country and had not been paying any taxes on their activities. And those activities are quite intense, the agents noted during the check as the mobile phones of the prostitutes continued to ring.
The detectives found the addresses through a simple search of the website www.redlights.be. "The action is not aimed at the women themselves, who mostly do the work for financial reasons, but it is aimed against those who exploit them,” said a spokesman for the Bruges parquet.
It would seem the action has only revealed the tip of the iceberg. According to our source, an insider from the prostitution environment who wants to remain anonymous for their safety - it is mostly South American prostitutes who are in trouble.” In the 1990s, you had a lot of women from the East block," they told Dag Allemaal. "But today, on specialized ads sites, I see hundreds of women from Colombia, Brazil or Venezuela. They are often received privately in nonchalant terraced houses or villas, sometimes four at a time. And they do everything, but they are unprotected and without freedom."
The activities proved quite intense. When the officers were on the spot, the prostitutes remained dysfunctional
Patsy Sörensen, founder of aid organization Payoke, confirmed: "In remote places, the traffickers have those girls in their grip. Often their identity papers are taken away. Only after years can they buy out. But the police services that deal with the fight against trafficking in women are unfortunately not top of mind. The terrorist threat has priority and evicted prostitution is apparently not”