Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crusader

Main

There is a new book out with several contributions:
Prostitution and Human Trafficking: Focus on Clients (2008, edited by: by Andrea Di Nicola, Andrea Cauduro, Marco Lombardi, Paolo Ruspini)

One of the contributions is:
The Flesh is Weak, the Spirit Even Weaker - Clients and Trafficked Women in the Netherlands (by Damián Zaitch and Richard Staring)

Actually I took part in that research, and, in that research punter-forums have been analyzed where obviously I took part in.

I'm described by Zaitch and Staring as a 'fanatic moral crusader and anti-women trafficking campaigner'. Thank you, couldn't they have used more neutral words. Like 'entrepreneur' instead of 'crusader'? Or 'driven'/'enthousiastic' instead of 'fanatic'? Crusader and fanatic sound so negative.

Perhaps they are right, I'm overdoing it.

They don't have a positive attitude about clients anyway. The clients are uninterested, often deny that there are problems in prostitution and if they (the clients) do admit that there are problems, they say they don't encounter those particular (forced) prostitutes or can(not) make the distinction (between forced and voluntary). And then there are the 'moral crusaders' like me who say how bad the others are.

Furthermore they draw the worrying conclusion that the fact that prostitution is now legal in the Netherlands creates a false sense of security among clients of prostitutes because the brothels are now supposed to be free of abuse because they are supervised. Which the brothels obviously are not (free of abuse).

Anyway, lately I was thinking how to visit a prostitute again (after my latest impulsive visit to one). I thought, perhaps I could visit one of the women who post on hookers.nl. They couldn't be forced aren't they?

Well, anyway, three years ago I was invited by one of the prostitutes (who also post on hookers.nl and with whom I also had discussions) to visit her at her home. She then lived with her (much older) husband who also operates an escort service. And I came. It was her idea, to him it was a surprise. They were friendly people. She wanted to show me that there are also good escort operators. I also spoke with another (much older) prostitute there, who grew up on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam (Red Light District).

We discussed with the four/five/six/seven (there were other people present, including children) of us how to separate the forced from the voluntary prostitutes. The other (older) prostitute who worked for the agency was of the opinion that if the prostitute wants to leave her pimp she could easily do that, just kill him in his sleep. In her opinion the women had a sadomasochistic relationship with their pimps. Own fault. Except maybe for the foreign women. She confirmed that most prostitutes have pimps, but they are not forced, she explained that pimps have multiple women in their stable and he turns them against each other. She was also a madam in the past. She said she was the Robin Hood because she gave the debt-bonded prostitutes free meals. But she was a nice lady anyway (she also believes in the paranormal).

A lively discussion arose. The woman who had invited me and I were of the opinion that forced prostitution was really a problem. The older woman believed it was not. The husband had his own opinions, he didn't believe it was really possible to separate forced from voluntary prostitution. The woman who invited me said that force and voluntariness lie very close to each other. She herself said that she enjoyed her work and that she enjoys sex.

That was a very special day.

Anyway, to come back to now; she came back on the hookers.nl forum under another name and now says that she was violently forced by her husband to work in prostitution for 9 year. She met him when she 15 years old. He was like a father for her, but he saw her as a money-well without a bottom. He persuaded her to break with her family and friends which caused her to be a puppet in his hands. If she didn't wanted to have sex with clients he beat and threatened her again and again. He almost killed her own self. She now says that she didn't enjoy her work and that she probably was a good actress because clients called her a 'girlfriend experience'. At the end she contemplated to kill her husband. She left him 2 years go.

I wish her good luck.

Well, for me that means that I'm now back again where I originally started.

Thinking back of it, I also chatted with another prostitute on hookers.nl a while back, who on the forum says that she has the coolest job in the world but personally said to me that clients treat her like a piece of meat with a hole in it, the nicer clients make the job nice. A view reflected by Sonia Rossi who wrote the book Fucking Berlin about her experiences in prostitution in the German capital. According to her, there are nice clients, but most are evil assholes who just grab, grope and put fingers in orifices without announcement. And it doesn't matter in what kind of establishment a prostitute works.

Beats me why many researched/interviewed prostitutes say they enjoy their work. Even many prostitutes on their own Dutch forum say that they describe the sex with their clients as pleasant. That's another paradox. Perhaps they see the glass as half full?

Perhaps it is better just to find a girlfriend or use my imagination (and my hand).

Friday, May 08, 2009

A dark world

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Now, an article about Thérèse van der Helm who works for the P&G292 (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 292), an information centre for prostitutes near the RLD in Amsterdam. Dark pictures again!, too easy. I'm really thinking about posting positive articles about prostitutes. Remember! Prostitution doesn't cause (post traumatic) stress (disorder). And my head is still made of concrete.

http://www.pg292.nl/pers.html
http://www.prostitutie.nl/scripts/thema/leesmeer1.php?id=124

Een duistere wereld vol geheimen [A dark World full of secrets]
over het veldwerk [about the fieldwork] GGD Vizier november 2008

by Claudia Plantinga

(...)

We walk through an alley and Therese greets the girls behind the windows. Every now and then she has a chat with them and informs if everything goes well. The alley is all window with many beautiful young dolled-up girls who stand behind it or sit on a bar stool.

Therese: Because we know many women now, they let us inside and we can keep an eye on their situation a little. We offer free services and they can go to us anonymously. We can enter almost everywhere. First it is NO!, and the door stays closed. When I call Doctor! The door does go open and we are allowed in.

Belly ache

Therese sees a girl that she doesn’t know and asks if we can come inside for a while. We are invited, although there’s lots of suspicion. Behind this window three young girls work who only speak Hungarian. One of the reasons that Betty, a Hungarian instructor, also comes along when the P&G team visits this alley. Therese gives safe sex information and information about the morning after pill. The new prostitutes get a package of condoms, sponges and information about the P&G. One of the girls still wants to ask some questions. We enter her work room.

Therese and Betty take place on the bed complete with large mirror and red lighting. The girl, 18 years old and very fragile, waveringly begins her story. She works for two weeks on de Wallen now and has lots of belly ache during her work. Therese keeps asking questions, with the help of Betty as interpreter. The girl tells that she works seven days a week and has on average ten to twenty clients per day. Therese tells that her body can’t handle that. She takes as an example that when you continuously receive punches on the same area on your arm, these also become very painful and swollen. She advises this girl to work less but she doesn’t want to know anything of this. To make the work less difficult for her Therese gives her advises with a dildo as example. She emphasizes that the girl is the boss of her body and not the client!

Three abortions

Therese wants to know why she works so much, if she has problems and if she works for somebody or is forced. The girl doesn’t really answer her questions. She tells that she works voluntarily and wants to go back once and for all to Hungary when it's Christmas. The money that she earns is for her mother. In passing she tells that she underwent three abortions in Hungary. Therese says that she readily wants to make an appointment with her and she agreed to it. We said goodbye to this bewildered girl. I feel very sorry for her.

Very thin

I also have the feeling that nobody trusts each other, a dark world full of secrets. The girls also certainly don’t show the back of their tongue. I’m deeply shocked about the situation where these girls are in. These really are girls and some I estimate to be younger than 18.

Every one of them beautiful but almost all very skinny and many with a bad set of teeth. According to Therese they live on junkfood, red bull and cola. The men who move slowly alongside the windows I don’t understand. What a strange world. I realize at the same time that it is also a matter of demand and supply…

Continue to work during pregnancy

Therese: In this alley work Hungarian women; they all have a pimp. Mostly they are victim of a criminal network where they are being forced to work in prostitution. In the Netherlands pimping is illegal by law. Therese continues her story: What I find very poignant is a prostitute who has become pregnant of a client. Now that she is too late for an abortion she keeps on working until the eight month of the pregnancy. There is no law which prohibits this. And after the delivery she gives the child away for adoption…

(...)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Like a doll

Main

It still is so easy to bash prostitutes. Not so difficult to paint a bleak picture. But still 'consensual' as always. This time a story by a former Czech prostitute (still Czech) who started when she was 19. She is gypsy. And wanted to make money in prostitution to pay back for some lost family land and a burnt-downfarm where here family lives. She wants to start a foundation against pimps. She also speaks about other Eastern European prostitutes. And I have a concrete head. Some Dutch language articles:

Article in De Pers
Als popje in Etalage [Like a doll in display window]
By Merel van Leeuwen
May 6th 2009

(...)

This 32-year old Czech woman consciously chose in the midst of the nineties for a life behind the window. She thought that she could fend for herself without a boyfriend or pimp, but was financially exploited by a Dutch man with whom she started a relationship. Only, she realized that much later.

Last year she stepped out of prostitution. Her professional life took place behind the windows of Mainz, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Alkmaar. She teaches herself to speak Dutch by watching Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden and other Dutch soaps. Still one year and then she has finished her education to become a haematologist. She is busy searching for a job and puts herself forward as a promoter of prostitutes on the Achterdam.

(…)

Maria managed to maintain herself between the girls in Amsterdam. She rented a room in the Gordijnensteeg and as one of the last women from Eastern Europe she acquires a temporary residence status without problems. For years she works as an independent entrepreneur and so-called white illegal, until she gets a residence permit in 2005. As one of the few in Amsterdam Maria had no pimp.

’I always had a big mouth about that they wouldn’t get me, but it did happen nevertheless, so stupid. On one evening a girl was robbed, after which a boy of the security offered me to look after my belongings. So I gave him my bag, with the car credentials, my keys, passport. At the end of the day I asked my belongings back. That will cost you a thousand guilders, he then said. Screw it, I thought and I left without my belongings. But yes, I must have them back. A day later I said I would pay after all. But then it was raised to a thousand guilders per item, and I started to pay. Another boy of the security heard the story and wanted to solve it for me, but then I had to pay five thousand guilders to the first boy. I didn’t have it, but he wanted to lend it to me. He said: I’ll help you. Do you feel it coming?’ Maria laughs.

The boy who ‘helps’ her; convinces her to move in with him in Hoofddorp and they start a relationship. Five years later she finds out that she has been terribly deceived. All the money she earned, she gave that to him. For their future, what he fooled her into believing. The couple bought two privéhuizen [brothels] from her money, in Leiden and Schiedam. Maria’s rescue is that her boyfriend, a Dutch kamper [former caravan dweller], ‘forgets’ to pay taxes, after which the police performs a raid in 2000 and arrests him.

’But I stayed loyal towards him. I kept my mouth shut towards the police, because he has also helped me. Very stupid, so crooked, because he was a bastard. But when I heard all the terrible stories of other girls, I found I wasn’t in such a bad position. He didn’t batter me, I had my own car, I could do what I liked. The first year in prison I even sent him 50 euros weekly.’ Maria laughs again.

(…)

Maria even calls the transition period between the guilder and the euro a golden period, because everybody wanted to rid themselves of their black market money. But because of the arrival of mainly Bulgarian girls the prices have dropped drastically last years. When previously the girls mutually agreed not to work under a certain price, the newcomers don’t bother about that at all and do it for less.

’Those girls from the countryside in Eastern Europe know that they don’t come here to work in the catering industry or as an au-pair. But prostitute here is still always a better life than on the countryside there. They see their pimp as their boyfriend. He arranges a house and does nice things with her, but such a girl pays tremendous amounts of money for that. They feel special, chosen by such a boy and feel a great loyalty towards him. But they don’t realize that they could be much better off without him.’

(…)

article in Noord Hollands Dagblad
Van peeskamer naar collegezaal [from window brothel to lecture hall]
February 13th 2009

(...)


Actually she wanted to persist for one other year. To ‘pezen’ [prostitute] for a while until she has finished her study haematology. But because of ‘personal circumstances’ – she didn’t want to reveal more – she stopped in Alkmaar with her work behind the windows. “In Utrecht there was no place anymore, Amsterdam I find it much too crowded with all these tourists. I tried it for a while in The Hague. Speaking about dangerous… I will nééver go their again.”