Police interventions

During my consults for my STI checks and also when police steps by, they usually remind me to call or visit the police when I have serious troubles with a client. However in the cases I did, the situation only got worse. I’ll write some of my experiences with the police of the Netherlands. These are long stories, but I’ll keep it short.

– My first experience was when I dialled the emergency number as a child, because my parents had an aggressive fight. The police came and wanted to arrest one, but my other family member refused to file a report because of religious reasons. After a long talk they left. In that time I stayed most of my time in a residential treatment center, because I was depressed at that time. They never believed me that I had serious damaging ongoing problems in my family – simply because my parents denied these things.. The police didn’t tried to inform that center and didn’t looked after us anymore.

 
– Several years ago I accidentally got information of someone who admitted that he abused teen girls sexually and that he is still doing it. He told that after confrontation of other people. I informed the police on the phone, but they dismissed it. They asked me things like ‘Well, maybe you are the person who are abusing these kids? How could we know?’ Because of that attitude I let go of that case after that. But recently I heard some other people want to go to the police – I wish them good luck…

 
– There is a human trafficking case reported of whom the reporter got victimized by the police, due their actions. You can read the story in Dutch, by clicking here. I know that this story is not a fake story.

 
– Together with a family member I put charges against a different family member because of domestic abuse. After several months they came to the conclusion that the crime was too old to be persecuted. They admitted that if you have been physically abused as a six years old, you still have to put charges of that within five years. This would have mean I had to put charges of that before I was 11 years old. Despite the fact I was dependent of that person. (Note: recently there has a new law applied that minors can still put such charges after they became 18. However this law came too late for us unfortunately.)

 
– Last year I put charges against a client because of sexual assault. Although I had a friendly cop in the beginning, they still started to question whether I could have been really sexually assaulted – simply because I am a prostitute… They also failed to do a medical examination, even despite the fact that I went to the police office almost right after it happened. After a couple of months I was informed that I had to come back to the office and do everything over again. The report was made by the wrong department. And this case is still ongoing and there are even more issues going on here..

 

These are some of my police experiences. According to my experiences with the Dutch police, they have a 100% failure rate so far. Besides that it is not uncommon that police interventions make the situations only worse for the victim. And they seriously wonder why prostitutes rarely contact the police…

I understand that you as a reader would love to hear the other side of these stories. I can’t write that here in full, therefore I encourage you to look for other stories of sex workers. There are many more stories like mine, but rarely you’ll find success stories which includes police interventions. If I have a pimp against my will, then I’m quite sure that it would be better for me to avoid the police. I don’t trust health professionals that much either. I think it would be best to inform coworkers and try to deal with it myself.

I want to add here that I sometimes had good conversations with individual law enforcemt agents, but they are always dependent on their coworkers and as well. So I don’t trust them in full either.

 

If you are a journalist who would love to investigate this issues more, then please contact me! If we get in touch with each other and I trust you, then I’ll be able to share some documents which backups my stories. Thank you.

Connecting with your opponents

There are many organizations out there focused on prostitution, human trafficking or both. Their views differ quite a lot. Some are fully pro sex workers rights, while others want to abolish prostitution entirely. Some of my coworkers are surprised when I say that I want to be in touch with all of these organizations. If someone asks me: “Even those really horrible ones?” I’ll say: yes, even those ones.

Frequently I end up talking with someone who thinks prostitution should be illegal, or at least visiting sex workers. I still remember some chats I had with the people who think that sex work is just as any other job, but also with those who thinks I shouldn’t have the right to do my job. In some cases it can be quite challenging to not become defensive. Especially when the other person does become defensive him- or herself.

In all the conversations I did try to look for someone’s motive. Why does he or she cares? Is their any pain? Is there any (religious) core belief? Or any related personal experiences? Trying to figure out anything which may affect someone’s view and beliefs on prostitution. When succeeding, especially when we respect each other, I have the most interesting conversations. It keeps me critical on my own views, but I also find out what we both have in common. Usually both me and the other person are quite passionate about our goals. And for the people I see more often, I would lie if I say I wouldn’t love anyone of them – despite their different views.

To the people who wants to see prostitution to be abolished I ask: what do you think you would achieve by doing so? For the group sex workers who likes this job it doesn’t seems to be a good idea at all. But let’s focus on a different group: those who rather do a different kind of job. Perhaps they have a long history of abuse and neglect or a history of sex trafficking. Or they may have a transgender background and therefore some of them don’t get accepted by society. What would abolition of sex work do any good to them? Yes, it may give a moral sign -that we wouldn’t want this in our country- if that’s your goal. But I’m afraid that many prostitutes would end up much worse. Maybe they become homeless, without a job or a job they dislike even more. And if they have better alternatives, why wouldn’t they make use of that now already?

As a prostitute myself, I don’t really love my job. I sometimes do have fun moments with my clients, but most of the days are not that much of fun. But at the other hand, it’s by far not the most worse job I can imagine. So I never got convinced that abolition of prostitution would be helpful to me or my coworkers. However, I’m always willing to listen to new arguments. And I hope other people will do that as well.

Dutch elections 2017

D66-1

 

Elections! I personally like to talk and read about politics. And if you care about prostitution policies, then it’s a good idea to read about the different political views on sex work. In about a week we can vote in the Netherlands on 28 different parties. Each party has it’s own views and beliefs on prostitution. Most parties have their views included in their program book.

So I’ve ordered as much programs as possible to receive in a physical form. I still like to read these on paper. The largest program is of D66 which contains 256 pages. Other programs are much smaller. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed in obtaining every program on paper, so I’m reading the other ones online.
img_cda_tk2017_1
As I mentioned the views on prostitution differs quite a lot. Some programs says that prostitution is equal to human trafficking (CDA). Other Christian parties such as SGP and ChristenUnie have familiar views and ideas. One with the most liberal views on sex work is D66. They acknowledge that prostitution is a job and that prostitutes should have equal rights then other non-sex work related job. They of course also say that sex work and human trafficking are two different things. Many political parties have views that are somewhere in between. But you can also look what each party has said during the recent new law proposal on prostitution here (external link). That information is in Dutch, but may be helpful as well.

In the end prostitution is just one of the topics of each program. This election is also about immigration policies, financial issues, health care costs and for me also very important: animal rights. Not many parties do consider that as an important issue. So I’ll probably vote on Partij voor de Dieren (party for the animals) for that reason. I hope other parties will invest more time and energy on that in the future as well. It’s sad that there is a different party needed for that in this country.

img_tk2017_g1

Finding my home

Today I was thinking about how it feels to ‘be home’. I grew most of my teenage years in several residential settings. And as a kid I grew up in an abusive atmosphere where we most of the time tried to adjust en try to keep one of our family calm, to prevent that he became more abusive then he already was. Therefore I don’t think I really ever had sort of positive feelings of ‘being home’.

Despite the negative things at home, I did had the privilege to see and learn many countries and cultures as a child. One of the beautiful trips I made was to Egypt. I was amazed by the beauty of the historic and big buildings. But at the same time I was amazed at their culture of today. It is so much different then ours, but yet interesting and beautiful.

As a kid I also made some trips to the United States. I loved the beautiful nature and national parks and I also enjoyed the many Disney theme parks. However, these are not my most dearest memories of the States. I still remember the several strangers who asked me how I was doing and who didn’t accepted my ‘fine’ answer right away. Because of the way they looked and asked me wouldn’t make me surprise if they would intervene if they could. They noticed that there was something wrong with me. No stranger in my own country, Egypt or in any other country I visited in Europe, ever noticed and let me know that they were seeing that there was something wrong. It gave me a strange, but good feeling which I haven’t forgot.

I usually find it a bit difficult to leave beautiful places and people. Especially when I’m not sure if I will see them/it ever again. But these experiences were really worth it. And I’m wondering, are these kinds of feelings a bit of what home should feel like?

As a teenager I grew up in several residential treatment programs. I got depressed and that got out of control. Most of the time I enjoyed being in a big group of other teenagers, varying from about 10 to 30 others. It was never really quiet and I enjoyed the presence of all the others. Looking back it wasn’t really a good thing that these groups were mixed genders. There were also a lot of problems on the groups. Letting boys and girls live together (apart from family) is already questionable whether that is healthy and responsible idea. But putting (sexually) traumatized girls and (sexually) traumatized) boys together is a real bad idea. I also hear a lot of stories of other girls who had some serious negative sexual experiences with guys on such groups. Apart from that, I have been close to some other girls from time to time. This was on a friendly and non-sexual way, and they have been very valuable to me. With a few of them I still even have contact with today.

At the other hand the more things I see and the more people I met, the more I have to say goodbye to. I soon discovered that new beginnings and meeting new people, also means new endings. I realize that every new person I meet, means that I also have to say a final farewell to one day. Often the first “hello” and the last “goodbye” is on the same day. But it becomes more difficult when you know someone longer and really love that person. Even a marriage cannot prevent a last goodbye. Maybe there is really a place known as heaven. I personally hope there is and that I will see all the people and animals I love back again. But that scenario isn’t something I can be sure of at this time.

During my work as a prostitute I had some clients who where frequent visitors. Some said I was very good at some specific sexual act, while others said they were in love with me. But one of the most interesting reasons I heard was that he wanted a place to be himself and also want to talk. Often those men had difficult issues at home from what I’ve heard from them. So they visited me to find something that they didn’t had at home. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just talking now about a small group of my clients. But looking for some sort of attention or love from just a streetwalker as me, it was interesting. Most of my clients on the streets just want to have quick sex.

Through all my experiences I think I can say what it is like to ‘be home’. Or at least what it means to me. To me it’s being with people who loves each other and where is respect, freedom and desire to share important things to each other on a frequent basis. The hard thing of all this is that you have to miss each other from while to while and even have to say a final goodbye one day. It makes it even more harder if these people are living apart in all kind of places. But I guess to me that ‘being home’ is not restricted to some kind of physical place. Although I do sometimes miss the times of being with my grandparents on the county where I woke up when the roosters crowed in the morning. Unfortunately I had to say my final goodbye already to them. Maybe the memories of loved ones at a specific place is a part of ‘a home’ as well?

So I’m really curious, what means ‘being at home’ to you? Is it just your physical home or is at about people? Or both? Or did I missed something important? I’d love to hear from you!

Christianity & prostitution: an introduction

Being a Christian, a prostitute and at the same time enjoying being a passionate active church member can be quite a challenge. In the time of being a Christian and a church member I learned quite a lot about sexuality. I also followed some ministry classes about things as healing and deliverance. I’ve learned some very interesting and new views on sexuality, which you can also find some of it here (external link).

So having sex with someone is -not surprisingly- considered to be exclusive have place within marriage, between one man and one women. (The question whether marriages should always be with 2 people or only with the opposite sex, is a different topic which I will maybe come back on later.)

What I’ve learned in short is that having sex with someone creates a connection from soul to soul. As the Bible say with becoming one in a marriage, it is as explained as really becoming one through the act of sexual intercourse. One of the things a marriage protects people is that they not impulsively become one with someone else. Because it is believed that the connection is unbreakable except by either death or through the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.
It’s also that reason why in the Old Testament the death penalty was required, because at that time it was the only solution to break that connection between the rapist and the victim. Otherwise their souls would ‘stick to each other’ till one of them dies.
If this is the first time you hear or read about this, it probably sounds crazy to you. But trust me, if you learn more about this subject and their explanations – it really makes sense in some way.

It’s really an interesting view. It made me understand why (some) Christians do believe sexuality should be exclusively have space in marriages only. If it’s true what they say, as a prostitute I should be have quite a lot of connections and souls sticking to me. That’s really an awful thought. Many -actually all of the- clients I had were not the people I would want to be connected with in any way, except for business/commercial reasons. So if these Christians have it right, then I’m urgently in need of help.

Apart from the belief that being sexual active outside wedlock is harmful, often churches and Christians belief that sexual activity outside wedlock is harmful on a psychological level as well. According to the Bible we are created to be a child of God and have all kinds of non-sexual relationships with other people besides your husband or wive and even with animals. Just to love and to take care of each other, just as our relationship with God should be. Therefore it’s not surprising that many Christians are looking after me and my coworkers with the purpose to save and love us. In my own experience they really seem to be the most loving of all the people who help or support us. However, the problem is that many coworkers don’t want to be saved or have any help at all.

So we have the weird situation in which a group of people are driven by a passion to save us and love us because of our assumed pain and problems. And at the other side there are many sex workers who seemingly don’t have any problems with it. So, who is right? I guess this answer depends quite a lot on what you believe.

However I never think that God wants people to dictate or judge people on their jobs. It’s fine to share any concerns and thoughts on it, as long as people want to hear it. If you choose to approach us, then please be aware of what we believe and how we see you. It’s weird and inappropriate to act as a teacher or as a savior, if we don’t see you that way. Imagine that a stranger is coming to you and talking to you, assuming that you are his spiritual father or teacher, how would that look like? From my own experiences, I can tell you: that feels really strange and I don’t take that person serious. At the other hand if I talked several times with someone and like what they say to me – it can happen that I will see that person as my teacher or as a mother figure for example. In that situation it becomes different – then it could be all right to tell more of your views and concerns.

For my Christian coworkers I advice to be cautious to who and how you tell your job as a prostitute, if you want to share it at all. There is a risk that others may either be too concerned or see you as very sinful.

To be continued…

P.S.: If you have experiences with Christian organizations as a prostitute and have some interesting stories, then I’d love to hear from you! To me it does not matter whether you’re from the U.S., Europe or from somewhere else. Also if you’re a Christian yourself and have some additional thoughts on this, I would love to hear from you as well. I will never publish names of people without their permission. Also I will always be respectful in communications, even if you have different beliefs. You can contact me here.

Transphobia is affecting Holland as well

Update: HVO-Querido rectified their article as requested. This rectification can be found by clicking here. This means that the information below is outdated and is still available for educational purposes only.

After the stigmatizing name of Boys Project in Belgium, I received a message that in Holland there is happening a familier thing. Again, a health organization HVO-Querido (including P&G292) is abusing the stigma of transsexuals to fight for a different stigma. As you can read in Dutch here.

screenshot_hvo_2017_001

Therefore I sent this letter below in response to that. I will keep you updated on this if there changes anything.

hvo-klacht-2017-nr2

Translation:

Through a connection of mine I was notified about your online article called “Sekswerkers op Canal Parade” of February 17, 2017.

After reading this article I noticed that you stigmatize transgenders and also abuse (possibly unknowingly) the stigma on transgender to fight your own stigma. That’s the reason I file this complaint to your health organization and I would like to explain this below.

Since a long time transgenders (people of whom their physical gender didn’t match their inner gender at birth) are being stigmatized. Very often their gender identity is not being recognized or are seen as a ‘third gender’, instead of being a women or men.

During my work experiences on one of the locations I work, there are frequently tours offered to tourists in a red light district. Very frequently the tour guides hear from these tourists don’t see the sexworkers with a transgender background are not seen as women – while they actually really are women.

Apart from that I also hear my own clients often ask me ‘what I am’. When I ask to be more specific they usually answer ask of I’m a women or a man, or something like that. Clients often say that transgenders are not women or at least not entirely. They often also behave like they have the right to know whether a sexworker has a transgender background. Often it seems to be rude or inappropiate to ask if a (cis) women had for example a breast surgery or had their womb removed. However, when it comes to a transgender history then “it is OK” and “normal” to ask these questions and to know that. Even if they can’t see or notice it in any other way.

Knowing the situation and facts, it´s inappropiate and wrong to call transgenders and men under one term – without (cis) women. This strongly suggests that transgender are not (entirely) women. Of course it’s fine to have a boat just for men (possibly with transvestites), but without transgenders. Or to have a boat for everyone, including women.

I hope your organization will rectify your article and will no langer stigmatize transgenders. Thank you.

‘Legalized pimping’

Not rarely people ask me whether I have a pimp. Usually I ask them their definition of a pimp before I answer that question – and I think that’s really important question.

One of the Google results of the definition of pimping/trafficking describes it as follow: “…the facilitation or provision of a prostitute or sex worker in the arrangement of a sex act with a customer.”

Some people and laws say that human trafficking in the context of prostitution is any help, support or promoting sexwork. It really depends on whom you ask.

Of course there are serious human trafficking issues – most of us know the horrible stories. The obvious cases where there is a violent pimp. Thankfully most countries (if not all) treats these cases as a severe crime. There is no discussion going on about that.
But the question remains: where is the line between human trafficking and free will?

Many coworkers choose for this profession, because the other options they have don’t pay enough for their families. Or they can’t find any other job, because they don’t have working permit in the country. It also happens that some transgender women get rejected by society and that they have found this job instead. Some say they didn’t had a choice. But if that’s true, will that also be a form of human trafficking or at least a form of abuse? Some say also yes to that question.

Next situation: at the moment I ask a person to help me to find some clients in exchange of money. Is that human trafficking? Even if I can end that business relationship without any trouble? Many countries considers this as human trafficking. But why? Technically it’s not different then a business partner in a different industry.

And what about the pornography industry or being a camgirl? I can legally work as a camgirl without any of this issue. Even people and companies are allowed to promote this, assist and help you becoming a camgirl. All legal and is (as far as I know) never considered as human trafficking by itself. So what makes this different?

What about those who are not financially needing this job, but still choice for this job merely for the excitement? We don’t need to forget this group either.

And what about the Dutch IRS…? They collect almost half of the earnings of prostitutes.

I guess the views, laws and regulations on prostitution and human trafficking are based on morals. Which would mean that society makes a distinction on the definition of human trafficking, whether or not sex is involved. So, what do you think? What are your morals and views on human trafficking and prostitution?
And to get back to the question whether I have a pimp, my answer would be: it depends on your definition of a pimp.

Why I loved being abused

As usual a family member of mine went crazy. A time earlier he ran after me while threatening to make pictures of me while I was nude. A different moment he hit us or said how worthless I or the rest of us were. Seeing his dark eyes full of hate made me feel horrified. When I got the chance, I went back to my bed and get some rest. While thinking on what happened, I feel a cold chill coming from the inside of me. What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with him? Why don’t he wants us?  

I never received these answers, but when I was younger I did found my angels. When I was sad or hurt, I could get in touch with them. I craved so much for love and acceptance and I received that from them. My angels, my friends.

 

One a day after I got home from school, I went on the internet as I usually did. I went on a chatbox of a website that was about a cartoon, primarily aimed at younger girls like me. So often there were a lot of girls on there and a very few boys as well. However after I while I got in touch with some older men. We talked a bit and introduced ourselves, so it didn’t took long before we knew each other’s age and location.

  

‘How are you, honey?’ asked one of the guys. I had a bad day and didn’t felt so well, but I just pretended that I was fine. He said the same. It didn’t took long before he got curious how I looked in real life. I described it and told me that I must be beautiful. I couldn’t remember in my entire life that someone ever told me that. I got really touched by those words and was very willingly to show him pics of me, as he asked to do so.

  

My cravings to be loved and to be beautiful was always there. And I finally found people who were willing and able to give me that. After I while I did sexual acts in return for their attention. That made me feel miserable and disgusted, but I was willing to do that for them in return. I didn’t wanted to lose them. 

  

For me being paid for sex is like hearing again men telling me that I’m beautiful and that I’m able to be loved and enjoyed. Although I never enjoy any of the sexual acts I perform or execute, I do still enjoy the positive attention. 

 

The people who know my story always react negative to the men who abused me when I was a child by using my bad circumstances. And of course it’s illegal to use a child that way. But when I tell people the other abuse I endured as a child, I wonder why people usually don’t get upset by that. Was my family member not equally or even more bad than the people who used me? And what about the health professionals I talked to, didn’t they had to do more to build some trust? Or shouldn’t I had more rights as a child to decide what was best for me?

Transphobic beliefs at health organizations

At one day when I was in the office of my activism work, I was shocked to find some cards of Boysproject. It’s one of the organizations which claims to help men and transgender sexworkers. You may wonder what is wrong about it, but their ‘help’ to transgender prostitutes is highly stigmatizing.

If you don’t know what transgenders are: transgenders are people who have from inside the experience and feelings (gender identity) of being a different gender then their physical gender at birth. They often choose to dress accordingly to their gender identity and many take medical treatments as well to correct their bodies to their gender identity.

During their life time transgenders usually suffer great rejection, abuse and discrimination. At homes, schools and not rarely even health organizations. If you do a Google search on transgenders, it is not hard to find these stories. Therefore it usually takes a lot of courage to reveal your true self to others.

However some of these women choose to start working in prostitution. One of the common reasons is to earn enough money for their transition, but also because they experienced too much discrimination and rejection within other jobs. Or they are dealing with so much rejection and abuse that they are craving for acceptance of their gender identity and their bodies. All these reasons may attract them into any form of sexwork.

So, how are health organizations or health professionals aiming at men and transgenders supposed to help that group? We’re not talking about cross-dressing men here, but about women with a transgender background. As a matter of fact they stigmatize and (indirectly) deny their gender identity again, the exact same reason why they started with sexwork in the first place.

So if you are a health professional, please only focus on transgenders if you don’t work with men or if you’re also working with women. It’s not that hard to understand. Transgenders are just as women as other women.

Sexworkers hunting

If you’re working as a sexworker, you probably have been visited by some Christians once in a while. I never see them among the streetwalkers, but I have seen them on the streets where the windows are. They usually step by and want to talk with you. Sometimes they even offer you a present. However they may not leave right away, when you ask for it. Or they may come back a lot of times. Also, the way they ask the questions or what they tell, can be (or at least feel) really offensive.

Sexworkers / prostitutes who chose this job voluntarily, may actually feel proud of their job. They could be proud of being meaningful to their clients. Or they could also be proud of their independency. There may be quite a few reasons why sexworkers are proud of their job. Imagine that you have a job you are proud of, and maybe even a job you like. And then imagine something tells you that someone else forces you to do that job. Even when you deny that, that person persists. The person tells you that you don’t know any better or that you are brainwashed. I bet the first time that happens to you, you will just laugh. But when that happens over and over again, you probably will feel annoyed or offended. Especially when a big group of people believes it, including some big media. After all, no one listens to you – because people believe you’re brainwashed…. Well, you get the clue. This is not the best way to make friends with a sexworker / prostitute who wants her job.

 

The thing is that many Christians genuinely believe that prostitutes are very often victims of sex trafficking, being under high pressure and that they could be brainwashed. But these cases seem not to occur much, but for these few cases this approach might help them. I don’t know about that. But many sex trafficking victims aren’t under these extreme circumstances. As for the rest, there are many people who I know who did choose to become a prostitute. And for them, such approach simply isn’t appropriate. By the way, this also count for some health professionals who get in touch with prostitutes.

 

However when I would be one of the Christians who believe that prostitutes are mainly victims who are in immediate danger, I would probably do the same thing. Going to the sexworkers and offer help. When I have that view and understanding in mind, I don’t feel so much offended as I otherwise would.

 

It probably helps for me that I have a Christian background. Although I think I’m agnostic now, in the past I worked several days a week for a church. I did that several years. Plus my mother is a kind and passionate Christian. So I know that religion quite well. It’s interesting to see that most Christian organizations that reach out to prostitutes are the ones with similar Christian views I once had. My church that I’ve joined in the past had connections (and still haves) with the Bethel church in Redding, CA. If you know that church, then you will now have an idea of what I mean. My faith changed as I had issues with it. As someone with a transsexual background and for someone who started working again as a prostitute, it did bring some conflicts. Conflicts with both the church and my own faith. Apart from that I also had issues with the animal slaughtering and offers in the Old Testament, but that’s off-topic.

 

To be honest I both love and really dislike the behavior these Christians show at the same time. So I dislike them often for their approaches to sexworkers, their immature behavior and lack of knowledge towards LGBT people. Also for a few other things I don’t want to share right now. But I love them for their patience, love and offerings they are willing to make towards others. I have seen Christians taking people they barely know into their families for years, because that person needed and wanted that. One time it was a young adult who was offered a place into a family and she was treated, loved and cuddled almost like it was their own child. Actually in one of my Ministry Team trainings I received, it was sometimes even recommended/indicated to do so. Of course these cases were not the standard. Nevertheless they generally will treat you as a human being, as a brother or sister (how they see and call it). That’s also how they usually would talk about you behind your back. Not like a client or some kind of visitor. I don’t think you will ever find so much amount of compassion, dedication and patience in secular health organizations. I think they deserve credit for that part. To be honest, I still know a few Christians from that period who are really close to my heart.

 

I personally hope that churches will be more open to hear our sides and vice versa. If churches understand that sexwork and human trafficking are two different things, they may even have the potential to offer better support/care to sexworkers then the secular social workers do.

 

Idealistically, I hope that there will become health organizations runned by sexworkers themselves, for themselves.