Pauw, Radio 1 and Big.nl about RichMeetBeautiful and escort
On September 27th 2017 a lot of discussion took place around the advertisements of RichMeetBeautiful. The website provides a platform on which a Sugarbaby (beautiful young woman) and Sugiardaddy (rich older man) can meet and reach an arrangement. To attract nice Subarbaby's, RichMeetBeautiful decided to advertentie near universities in Belgium and The Netherlands. This caused a lot of fuss. Human rights organizations and various political parties are concerned about the safety of women who can register here. The site is registered as a datingservice and not as an escortservice, so there is no guarantee for safety. Rudi Vervoort, Brussels Prime Minister banned the advertisements. "It's a filthy publicity campaign that promotes dissolution among young people and student prostitution.”, according to the Prime Minister. Several newspapers published articles about the fuss, including Telegraaf.
Various media decided to pay attention to the subject and interviewed human rights organizations, politicians and owner Marike of high class escortservice Society Service. Nieuwssite Big.nl asked Marike some questions. The original article was in Dutch and can be read on the website van Big.nl. A translation can be found below.
A datingsite for suggardaddy's: is that really so terrible?
The site ‘Rich Meet Beautiful’ is advertising in several Dutch university students to attract students looking to make some extra money by offering their availability to 'sugardaddy's'. The site already caused a lot of fuss in Belgium, but also in The Netherlands the common opinion about the advertisements is negative. 'Objectionable' and even 'dangerous' are the responses from different sources. But is it really that terrible? BIG investigated.
‘Prostitution propaganda’, according to CDA politician Madeleine van Toorenburg. “It's completely objectionable to lure young women into prostitution, because that's what this is. A fancy form of loverboys." Human rights organizations also expressed their concernes. The Center against Child- and Human trafficking (CKM) is concerned about the safety of the women. CoMensha, the nationwide coordination center against human trafficking feels the website looks more like an escortservice than a dating website, and should present itself as such.
We call Marike van der Velden, owner of high class escort agency Society Service. She's brief about the fuss around the website. A clever PR-stunt is what she calls it, but "not very chique". The commotion over the message advertised, which says it's a great way to get out of your student loans, is nonsense according to her. "Personally, I think it's a bit silly to take the moral high ground by saying you think this is not done. Doing so also suggests, the ladies looking to become a sugarbaby, are not smart enough to make up their own mind. They are all mature ladies, more than capable to make their own choices, including how they feel about something like this."
There's nothing wrong with the website according to her. "It brings together two needs that are as old as who knows." Neither does she agree to the criticism the website should be seen as an escortservice, as there are great differences between an escortservice and the way this website works. "At an escortservice the lady does not select her own clients, we do this for her. On this website, two parties get to know each other to see if their needs match up. The business nature is very different from an escortservice." She does not see Rich Meet Beautiful as a competitor. "The relationship between client and escort is really very different."
Having said that, Van der Velden does point out some dangers for women applying to Rich Meet Beautiful. There is no check on the type of men who join the website as well. Warning the ladies for possible hazards would therefore seem like a good idea. She also points out an additional 'hazard'. "I seriously doubt if the sugarbaby's declare the money and gifts they receive as income. At the end of the day this income is taxable and should be declared as income. The ladies should keep this in mind. But to blur out it's not safe at all is nonsense.”
Radio 1 - Dit is de dag: Recruiting escorts amongst students
During the early evening, Marike joined Radio 1 at their radio show "Dit is de dag" (this is the day). Dit is de Dag is a solid program with the opinionated Tijs van den Brink. With a debate each working date, he is a presenter who discusses opinions and actualities. The fuss around RichMeetBeautiful was discussed. Listen to the fragment here. The announcement of the show reads:
Undue worries about recruiting students for sugardaddy's?
The Netherlands is concerned about internetcompany Rich Meet Beautiful. They are recruiting young students, called sugar baby's, to meet with older, wealthy men (sugar daddy's), for a financial compensation. The company tried recruiting students at universities in Belgium and has similar plans for The Netherlands. According to Frank Noteboom, director of Center against Child- and Human trafficking, this vulnerable group of students should be protected. 'We see several sex ads promoting 18 year olds, who are much younger in reality. It's often a third party, a human trailer who stimulates you to get out of debt this way.' Marike van der Velden, owner of high class escort agency Society Service is also against human trafficking and points out the responsibility of such internet companies. 'There is little control over who can join the website. However, there are many platforms which can be abused for incorrect purposes.'
BNN VARA - Pauw: Datingsite Rich Meet Beautiful
During the late evening, Marike joined BNN VARA for their television show Pauw. Pauw is a Dutch talkshow of channel VARA, presented by Jeroen Pauw. The announcement of the show reads:
Kees van der Staaij and Marike van der Velden about datingsite Rich Meet Beautiful
The datingsite Rich Meet Beautiful wants to recruit students for their website with billboards near Dutch universities. The site matches rich men to young ladies. The billboards have been prohibited in many Belgian cities. In The Netherlands, several politicians are against the datingservice. At Pauw Marike van der Velden, owner of a successful escort agency and Kees van der Staaij, chairman of the SGP, with each their own point of view.
The show is in Dutch. In short, the discussion points are the following. Kees van der Staaij is a religious politician who is against legalizing prostitution. According to him, sex is something which should only be consumed within a marriage and not used as merchandise. In his opinion, the prostitution industry contains to much abuse and damages vulnerable women. Marike van der Velden is a Dutch female entrepreneur and owner of an high class escortservice. According to her, an adult is free to live her life as she wants and do with her body as she pleases. Women who are at least 18 are capable of making a careful decision. Plenty of sex workers and entrepreneurs in this industry enjoy their work and stigmatizing the industry only makes them vulnerable.