Friday, May 08, 2009

A dark world


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.

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…


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