Venesco - part 1

Publications for Venesco: Association of Dutch escort agencies

At the end of March 2020, shortly after the first regulations regarding COVID-19, a number of Dutch high class escort agencies contacted each other, which subsequently resulted in a cooperation initiative. The reason for this cooperation was the shared dissatisfaction with the way in which the high class escort industry was imposed a long-term emergency ordinance. The members of the association are operators of leading, professional and regulated escort companies in the so-called high class segment of the industry. In total they mediate for about 200 escorts who execute more than ten thousand bookings annually.

Om onze standpunten en stemmen richting de politiek niet alleen inzake de coronamaatregelen maar ook in toekomstige kwesties meer kracht bij te zetten, is besloten dit officieuze collectief om te zetten naar een officiële vereniging; de Vereniging van Nederlandse Escortbedrijven, ofwel: VENESCO. Uiteraard is Society Service lid van deze vereniging en eigenaresse Marike is het eerste (half) jaar woordvoerster voor de vereniging. In deze hoedanigheid kwam zij een aantal keer in het nieuws namens de vereniging. U kunt de publicaties van de vereniging omtrent een spoedige herstart van escortbedrijven hier terugvinden.

In order to strengthen our positions and voices towards politics not only on the corona measures but also in future issues, it was decided to convert this unofficial collective into an official association; the Vereniging van Nederlandse Escortbedrijven, or: VENESCO. This Dutch name translates into Association of Dutch escort agencies. Naturally, Society Service is a member of this association and owner Marike is the spokeswoman for the association for the first (half) year. In this capacity she was in the news a number of times on behalf of the association. Below you can view the publications, which are translated into English where possible.

11 June 2020: Beau talkshow

You can view this episode of the talkshow here.

12 June: Algemeen Dagblad Rotterdam

On June 12, the large Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad published an article on their website about the objections that sex workers have against the long-term emergency ordinance. Marike van der Velden of the Association of Dutch Escort Companies was interviewed for this. You can find a translation of the article below.

Sex workers want to go back to work, right now: ‘Why are massage parlors allowed to reopen and we are not?’

With the show jumping and dressage festival CHIO on the agenda, it would have been a great summer. Instead, escort companies and sex clubs in Rotterdam are frustrated. "Why are massage parlors allowed to open and we are not?"

Luis Fortes of club Cinderella is feeling hurt when he walks on the Mathenesserweg in Rotterdam. Ladies are recruiting customers in front of massage parlors, while his nightclub must remain closed until September. Don't tell him the argument that this is simply necessary to stop the spread of the corona virus. “Sex work has gone underground, so there is no longer any control over the spread of corona through paid sex. Or do you really think there are no ladies and gentlemen who are receiving customers at home?"

Not only clubs suffer from the temporary ban on paid sex, but also escort agencies. Owner Marike van der Velden of a high-class escort agency in Rotterdam speaks of a downright drama. “When we heard in May that contact professions could go back to work, we were very excited. Until we heard that this does not apply to our industry: our escorts have been bored at home for months with no income. While it could have been such a good summer, with the CHIO and a large cardiologists congress."

In an attempt to change the government's thoughts, the Association of Dutch Escort Companies (Venesco) issued an urgent letter on Friday. Club Cinderella is not a member of this as a club, but does support the call. The escort agencies have drawn up a protocol on how to start up safely. The most striking is that the number of contacts per escort is currently limited to one per week. "At least reasonable, right?" Says Van der Velden in her capacity as spokesperson of Venesco. “A hairdresser and masseur treat perhaps fifty clients a week. With them, the risk of the virus spreading is much greater."

Fortes of Club Cinderella thinks that the cabinet is using the corona crisis to kill the sex industry. “Even before the corona crisis, there was a discussion about closing the Red Light District. Only: that is an expensive matter. By keeping things closed long enough, companies automatically go bankrupt and no one needs to be bought out. They take it for granted that you also kill the rest of the clubs in the country." Van der Velden partially agrees. "In Rotterdam the municipality is always happy to help, but I know stories from other municipalities where they would rather see sex workers leave."

Don't get Fortes and Van der Velden wrong, they don't want sex workers or their clients to be at risk. But, they argue, there are plenty of options for making love safely: from the usual RIVM measures to measuring the temperature of the client at the door and wearing latex gloves and mouth masks by both the sex worker and the customer. Plus contactless payment, not to mention.

The cabinet does not want to ease the corona measures for sex workers until September 1, simultaneously with those for coffee shops, among other things. The cabinet may discuss on Friday whether this can be done earlier. The outcome will then be announced next week. Fortes hopes for the best. “If that doesn't happen, I'm heading for bankruptcy. And even if I survive financially, it will still be difficult: many girls have already left for work in Belgium and Germany, where the clubs are already allowed to open."