Thursday, May 07, 2009

Like a doll


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.”

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