For some years now we’ve been following Felicia – a window prostitute who works in Amsterdam – and Mark van der Beer – her Dutch boyfriend/ fiancee. They both like to stay anonymous and use pseudonyms. Felicia’s says the following about herself: “Real Romanian prostitute in the Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth about prostitution and sex work”. She’s also a Member of PROUD, a Dutch interest group for sex workers. Mark also knows quite a lot about prostitution in the Netherlands.
For a long time we have been fascinated by their lives, thoughts and the things they have to deal with, with all the goings-on in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. We became really curious and wanted to know more about them so we decided to send them a request for an interview. You can read our exclusive interview with them here below.
Update: Since May 2017, Mark has joined our Red Light District tour company and nowadays he also hosts our walking tours in the Red Light District. Would you like to have him as your tour guide? Please contact us – and we’ll arrange it!
Quick Subject Navigation:
How Did They Meet? | Dating A Prostitute | Getting Into Prostitution In The Netherlands | What Is It Like To Be A Window Prostitute In The Netherlands? | Sex Work And Relationships | Working Hours | What Do Prostitutes Tell Their Partner When They Get Home? | Do Prostitutes Still Have Sex When They Get Home From Work? | Amsterdam Red Light District Prices | Services In Amsterdam’s Red Light District | What Do Window Prostitutes In Amsterdam Offer? | Salary Of A Prostitute in Amsterdam | What If Your Boyfriend Would Get Into Prostitution? | Career Of A Window Prostitute In The Netherlands | Ambition | Dreams & Possibilities | Prostitution & Anonymity | How About Becoming A Brothel Owner? | Dutch Authorities And Prostitution | Safety In the Window Brothels of Amsterdam | What About Violence? | Window Prostitution And Politics In Amsterdam | How To Improve Prostitution In The Netherlands | Have You Ever Worked Together In A Window Brothel?
Me: I’m interested in knowing more about your personal life, so how did you guys meet each other?
Felicia: He was my customer!
Me: Really?! Haha!
Mark: Yeah I went in as a customer, it was four years ago in the summer. It was the first time that I ever went to a prostitute so I was looking around and saw this really nice girl and I walked around for a couple of more days, you know, what customers do. You don’t want to have the feeling that you go in with one girl and you come out and come around the corner and you see a prettier girl and go like; Oh my god, I should have gone with her! So I walked around for three days and the first day I think I saw her already and I walked around a little bit more and I thought about it a little more, thinking that I’m not really sure if I want to do this.
Second day I went back and walked around and I thought; ok, maybe I’m going to do this. The third day I was kind of like; I want to do this but I want to go to that girl that I remembered from the first day. So I walked around and around and around, and then I saw her and thought; yeah I think that’s the girl that I saw! So I went inside and the first time was kind of normal. Kind of the typical thing.
Felicia: And then he said maybe I’ll come back, perhaps next week.
Mark: And the next day I was back again, haha! And, let’s see, the second time when I visited we started to talk after I paid the 50 Euros. I came in at around twelve o’clock and I think we then talked till five o’clock in the morning! So that was money well spent! haha…
Me: Haha, bad business deal for you Felicia, but of course eventually you got him!
Mark: Then I went back two more times and after that we went to her place and since then I’ve never left! So that’s how we met. Funny story!
Me: So then you dated for a while?
Mark: Actually it went very quickly, within one or two weeks we were actually living together.
Felicia: Yeah, we were at my place a couple of times and he came back.
Me: How long were you living in the Netherlands at that point?
Felicia: Two years, two and a half.
Me: So in 2010 you came here?
Me: So why did you decide to leave Romania?
Felicia: I wanted something more, like my friends. It’s not like if you live in Romania that you are starving because you don’t have work to pay for food. I had a normal job, I made around 300 Euros a month. For me that was pretty good, an average salary. Compared to prices here in Holland this is of course nothing but over there you could rent a pretty nice apartment for 50 – 100 Euros. I had money for going out and buying stuff, everything, But at one point I just wanted more. I’ve always had the dream of buying my own house but without taking out a mortgage for it because I was always scared of what would happen if I’d lose my job and couldn’t make payment on the mortgage and lose the house. So then I thought about this, something where I can basically make more money.
Me: And how did you make the decision to come to the Netherlands specifically? Did you hear it from friends?
Felicia: Yes, from a friend of mine who was working here. So that’s how I came here.
Me: Did you first come here to explore Amsterdam and see how it was or did you directly started working?
Felicia: The first week I stayed with some friends and after the first week I started working in Alkmaar for three weeks, I believe. Back then you needed much more papers than you need right now.
Mark: That’s because at that moment people from Romania and Bulgaria were not allowed to work in the European Union without papers. That only started in 2014. In 2010 you needed a working permit to stay here.
Felicia: After I worked in Alkmaar for three weeks I moved to Amsterdam and since then I’m still here.
Me: And how was it to start the first day or week in this business in the Netherlands? Because this was the first time you got into prostitution, right?
Felicia: Yes. It was weird because I basically came here with the idea of trying it and see if I could do it. At that point I could’ve easily have gone home back to my regular job and don’t lose anything. The first couple of days of course were weird but then you know it is kind of a weird feeling but at the end of the night you count your money and see how much you’ve made it’s satisfying. My first night for instance… I was really nervous but I made like 800 Euros. So I was like; that’s really good! Haha.
Me: Yeah, thats almost three times more than in Romania.
Mark: In one night!
Felicia: A couple of hours actually… I don’t know, you get used to it after a while.
Me: So you met each-other via a window brothel and you were still okay with her doing the job while having a relationship, Mark?
Felicia: In the beginning, no! Haha…
Mark: Well it’s actually kind of funny… I had a girlfriend before and I used to be really jealous with my ex-girlfriend when she was a little to close with another guy. But I think because I’ve been there as customer and I understand the platonic kind of relationship that it is with a customer it is really different than having sex with your boy or girlfriend which is really intimate. Because I was a customer I can understand that there is really nothing between her and her customers. That was a big reason why it was easier for me to accept it. At this point I really don’t have a problem with her job, I would however have a problem if she started an affair with someone! Everybody would.
Felicia: Yeah, but in the beginning you were kind of like; yeah now you should change your job, get another job. I was up for it but it had to be good and steady job. But because we were in the beginning of a relationship I didn’t want to give up everything that I had for something that wasn’t 100% certain.
Mark: But I was also thinking of the long term you know. You don’t want to be doing this job forever till your fifty or something.
Felicia: My god no!
Mark: So it’s not the work itself. You work in the nights and I think that that is really hard work doing it years on end. It also effects your social life when you do nightshift. So for instance we only have one off day in the weekend where we can do stuff, watch a movie or something. Friday night drinks are never an option.
Me: So you work six days a week Felicia?
Me: Ok, and never during the daytime?
Felicia: No, too much light, hahaha… To be honest, I don’t want it. There is less work because there are less customers during the daytime and I would have to start at 10 in the morning and work till 7 or 8 o’clock in the evening. During dayshifts you have to work longer hours to make the same amount of money. And then I go home at 8 o’clock and what can I do? Nothing!
When I work in the night I start at 12 o’clock and am home at 5 o’clock. The next day I sleep till 12 or 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Then I have till 11 o’clock in the evening to do whatever I want. I feel like when you work during the day you are there constantly.
Me: A lot of people share details about work when they when get home. What do you share when you get home?
Felicia: We are pretty open about that because I always have a lot of funny stuff to tell him!
Mark: I always tell her to write more about it on her blog about the funny stuff, it’s hilarious. Of course a lot of things she does are not so interesting, yeah I had a guy and he wanted a blowjob. That’s not very interesting, I already know that. It’s more the extreme cases like a guy who wanted her to step on his balls or something like that. Weird stuff! Or just the crazy stuff that happens on the red light district every day.
Felicia: A lot of stuff happens.
Mark: I do IT (Information Technology) for instance, I’m also not going to talk about the lines of code I wrote. That’s not interesting, I only also only talk about the out of the ordinary stuff.
Felicia: Or when I had a fight or argument with somebody who pissed me off.
Mark: In those cases she’ll blow off a little steam, when she had a bad night. You also try to help and offer some support like I don’t know, tomorrow it will be better!
Felicia: Basically the same as every couple.
Me: By the way, most of my questions are questions that we get from people who take our Red Light District tours. A frequent question we get is; When prostitutes come home, do they still feel like having sex?
Mark: She comes home at 5 o’clock in the morning and I start working at 9 in the morning so usually when she comes home I’m asleep. In the weekends I try to stay awake when I can so I see her when she comes home. But when you’ve worked the whole night you’re kind of tired after that.
Felicia: I just want to go to sleep.
Me: Ok, that makes sense.
Felicia: Yes because even when I have a bad night (not many customers) I’m still really tired. Even more tired than when I’ve had a good night! Just standing there and waiting is more exhaustive than being busy.
Me: And do you always stick to the agreed time with a customer or are you flexible?
Felicia: No, I always stick to my rule: 15 minutes for 50 Euros. But the pricing depends, from some people I’ll ask a 100 Euros, others 50. It depends on how you see the customer, if you can take more money from him, why not? And of course it depends on what they want, not everybody wants everything. I have people who come to me just to talk. I have my own customers like that and with them it depends on how long they want to stay.
Me: And what are the things that you don’t offer?
Felicia: Oh there are many things haha!
Mark: Haha, anything without a condom.
Felicia: I do everything with a condom, even hand jobs. I don’t kiss, I don’t allow oral sex on me.
Me: Threesomes with men or women?
Felicia: I have my own window so I’m not next to other girls, yes others girls but from different businesses and different windows. I used to do threesomes when I was working next to my best girlfriends, but now? No. But it really depends, a few weeks ago I had a couple of guys who just wanted to come in, sit down and talk for 5 minutes and then they left. So I take those two.
Me: And you don’t allow couples?
Felicia: Yes I do, sometimes. But that also depends on what they want. If they want me to go down on her or stuff like that, no. Because I don’t do that. I’ve had really bad experiences with couples so I prefer not to.
Me: Quite often when we walk in the Red Light District we wonder why there aren’t signs on the windows stating what the ladies offer? Is there a specific reason for that?
Mark: I think it has to do with the fact that they always negotiate with someone, I think.
Me: We often get emails from people asking us where they should go to for certain services, like anal sex for instance.
Felicia: Yeah, but then they should just go around and ask.
Me: Yeah, sure.
Felicia: Because maybe you know what she does but then you show up and you don’t like the way she looks.
Mark: I think it also depends a little bit. If you have like a guy with a huge penis and he wants to do anal sex I think the girl will be like; not with you. Or she would do it, but then the guy would have to pay very well to be able to do it. I think it’s based on that idea, for 50 Euros a girl might not do a guy but for a 100 Euros she would. It gives the girls options.
Felicia: Every girl can decide for herself what she does for the 50 Euros.
Mark: There are no standard rates for anything.
Felicia: Everybody can ask what they want.
Mark: It leaves a lot of room for the girls to negotiate. If they’d leave their prices up there everybody would go; ok, that one is more expensive so I go to the other girl. You’d get a lot of price competition. With the standard price of 50 Euros everybody has kind of an equal chance and beyond that they can all negotiate.
Me: Lately Amsterdam is becoming more popular. Does this also mean that the last year for instance your revenue has increased?
Felicia: Actually the work for us has gotten a lot worse.
Me: And whats the reason for that you think?
Felicia: I still think it’s the economic crisis, because in 2010 when I started to work here I easily made a thousand Euros per night without really that much effort. But now? Not really. If you make a thousand Euro a night you’re really lucky. Only then you can say that you had a really good night. Back then I had english guys coming in who they didn’t ask the price. They gave you the money and after they asked you if they could pay you more to stay five minutes longer. They were paying a 100, 150 of 200 Euros extra. But now?!
Mark: I also think that a different kind of tourist is coming to Amsterdam.
Felicia: I don’t see it that way. I still see the same kind of people everyday. At one point you had a period where there were a lot of muslim people, Arabic, for some kind of reason. But I didn’t really see those before a lot, or maybe I didn’t pay attention. Now you start to see more what kind of people are walking by because you are more in the window itself. Before you were just working a lot more. I never sat in the window for half an hour to look at the people who were walking by but now you can really see more. I don’t think there are different people.
Mark: But it’s kind of interesting because brothel owners are saying that it’s becoming more quiet. There are more tourists if you look at the numbers but the brothel owners say; look at this street it’s completely empty at night. I think there are different types of people, maybe older people and couples. They’ve heard about the Red Light District and for years they didn’t want to go to Amsterdam. Maybe it helped a little that the government closed down some window brothels and some coffee Shops, get a little bit more of a friendly family face. That is what the city government wanted: to attract a different type of tourist.
Felicia: Some people see it like that, I don’t. I just think that people have no money.
Mark: I think it’s a combination of everything.
Felicia: Because in the weekend if you’re outside even around 12 o’clock there are SO many people. There are really a lot of people but they all say that they don’t have money. They are here for one week and have only a limited budget to spend. They can spend 50 to a 100 Euros everyday which isn’t enough to also visit us. They can’t afford it. A couple of years ago they went to five or six girls in a row because they had the money to spend.
Me: And where do most of your customers come from?
Felicia: Most of them are tourists. I work a lot with English people and Italians. They are the type of guys who pay but don’t pay you more money because they don’t have it. They just pay the 50 Euro standard price, but they are nice people and quick. That’s why I like working with them.
Me: And the British? In Amsterdam, they are quite known for drinking a lot and yelling a lot. Are they also like that in the window brothel?
Felicia: No, not at all! If I had to chose between a drunk English guy or a drunk Dutch guy, I’d go for the English one.
Mark: It’s really funny because most of the times the English have a very bad reputation. We live close to the Red Light District and 9 out of 10 times the people who make trouble and scream at night are drunk Dutch people, not English. The English do get drunk as fuck but for some kind of reason they know that they are drunk. And they are more funny.
Felicia: The difference is when I have a drunk english guy and after 5 minutes he can’t get it up he’ll just leave because he’s like; I’m embarrassing myself. They understand that we’re both wasting our time so they just leave. When I have a Dutch guy for example I would get in trouble with him. Because he would blame me that I’m not doing my job good enough and that’s why he can’t get a hard on. I also prefer not to work with really drunk people. Couple of beers ok. I one time took in a really drunk guy and it took him 10 minutes to just take his shoes off. Haha!
Me: How often do you get tested for sexually transmitted diseases?
Felicia: I do everything safely, every time I take off the condom I check it if it is not broken. I check it when I go home and regularly with my personal doctor.
Me: But like few times a year or month?
Felicia: Not a few times a month, no. You actually have to wait more than a week to get your results. I heard stories before from other girls who say they check themselves everyday but you can’t. You have to wait for more than a week for the results so thats…
Mark: Thats really stupid, haha!
Me: What if your fiancé would also become a sex worker? Would you be okay with that?
Felicia: I don’t think he can do it!
Felicia: To be totally honest…
Mark: …But the question is; if I would!?
Felicia: Yeah, but I know that he can’t. You know they did an experiment once, putting a couple of guys inside some window brothels. After a day those guys felt really bad because they couldn’t take the stress, waiting times or the jokes. You know, some people think everybody can do this job but it’s not really like that. I saw girls who just couldn’t do it. They can’t take the stress or just don’t have the patience for it.
Me: What’s the average time ladies spend working in a window brothel? One year, two years?
Felicia: Depends on how smart they are. And it also depends on what year you started because if you started a few years ago then the work was really good so you could save up a lot of money and stop. If you start to right now then I don’t know.
Mark: But average?
Felicia: I really don’t know. From when I started 6 years ago there aren’t that many left. A few came back.
Mark: I think the average duration is around 4 to 5 years if I remember correctly. It also makes kind of sense to me because there are some women that really work for a long time like 10 to 15 years and there are some girls who do it for 2 years. It’s really difficult to say.
Felicia: Pretty much about how smart you are. One of my best friends from Bulgaria decided to spend as little money as possible and save everything that she made. She worked for 4,5 years and she quit now.
Me: And whats your ambition? How long do you want to work here?
Felicia: Not for long, I started to get to the point where I feel like I can’t do it anymore.
Me: Is it getting boring?
Felicia: No it’s not that. There are days when its just not worth it anymore to do this job for the amount of money. You still make more money than when you do another job but it’s not as high as it should be or used to be.
Mark: You basically make two times average income, something like that?
Felicia: Before I was making like 50, 60 or even 70,000 a month and now you go down to 10,000.
Me: So, I don’t need to know exactly what you earn, but now you’re saying that you’re monthly income is less than 10,000 Euros?
Mark: I think it’s closer to 4000 or 5000. It went down a lot. Before she made many times more money than currently.
Felicia: So that’s why you start to get to the point where its not worth it anymore.
Me: And are you considering other things? A nine to five job or starting another business for yourself?
Felicia: I pretty much want to go back to my home country, I don’t want to stay in Amsterdam. Before I wanted to stay but these days not anymore. I’m starting to see a lot of things here that I don’t really like so I want to go home, and start something for myself over there.
Me: Do you already have an idea?
Felicia: No, not really!
Felicia: It is really difficult. I would like to open my own gym for example but there are already so many gyms in my city it’s not really a good idea. I have to come up with something original.
Mark: I think every working girl has this idea of starting her own business. Start a beauty salon, start a hair salon, start a nail salon, haha.
Felicia: A beauty salon would be nice but I think I don’t have the patience to do that. I would have to go back to school to learn that and that is too much at this point.
Me: I also wanted to know why you guys use a pseudonym on the internet? I get why Felicia uses a pseudonym but why does Mark use one?
Mark: Because my parents don’t know that my girlfriend does this kind of work. We talked about this for a long time. My parents are Dutch so you would suppose that they would be very open about this. But I talked with a lot of other sex workers and how they experience these things and we basically came to the conclusion that even though Dutch people think that we are very open people in reality, when it comes to sex work, we are not as open as we think.
Felicia: Not at all actually.
Mark: Yeah, we are actually pretty close minded. I’ve started to see more openness about sex workers in other countries than in Holland, really interesting.
Felicia: Also in my specific case when I have a Dutch customer they always ask how I can do this job when I have partner?! Customers from other countries always understand that it is just a job, why not. It’s like porn for them. They always ask me how he can let me do that, and I’m like; he doesn’t own me!
Mark: A lot of people say that; how can you let your girlfriend do this?! I don’t let my girlfriend do anything! I don’t own her or tell her what to do. Even if I would say like you can’t do this it’s not like I can really stop her from doing it. I respect her enough to make her own decisions. If I would demand from her to stop, then who is forcing who here?
Felicia: After school I immediately got a job so I’ve always been an independent person. I always wanted to have my own money. People always said; why don’t you get a rich boyfriend then you don’t have to work and you have a lot of money! I had that and did that, no thank you. I like to have my own money, I don’t want to ask anybody for it. I like to fight for myself, that’s just who I am.
Me: So you don’t have the ambition to become like say, a brothel owner?
Felicia: No not really. I thought about it before…
Mark: …Because then she would still be stuck in a business that everybody kind of frowns upon. If it was more of an accepted business then maybe she would do it.
Felicia: And also with my current work theres a lot of pressure and stress so for my next job I don’t want more of that. With all the city rules these days and other things it would only increase the pressure on me.
Me: And how often are you checked by the authorities?
Felicia: I was checked a few months ago I believe, and before that one time four years ago. The people who came to see me were surprised that the last check was four years ago.
Me: And what kind of check was it?
Felicia: They checked my ID card and permits and held a five minute talk with me. But the five minute talk is nothing special just regular questions.
Mark: I also think the reason why she hadn’t been checked for so long is because she always starts working at a late time. Usually they come early in the evening, Felicia starts her shift at 12o’clock in the evening. So they’ll almost always miss her. When I look at the numbers on how many times they do checkups on sex workers in window brothels just for Amsterdam they do 2500 checks per year. Thats really a lot. You don’t even have 300 windows in Amsterdam.
Me: Have you ever been checked by the Dutch tax authorities?
Felicia: Yes, one time I had a fight with them so they never came back haha.
Me: How did that play out?
Felicia: They wanted to check my wallet and my bag and those kind of things and I didn’t let them because it’s private stuff. If you come with a warning in advance than it’s ok you can check everything that you want. But if you don’t do that you can just ask my bookkeeper. Thats why I pay him.
Mark: But they also just don’t have the right to go trough all your personal belongings.
Felicia: I heard from other girls that they wanted to search their trashcans for the number of condoms they used and I’m like; come on!
Mark: But also they don’t count them because if they take out the condoms and count then they still could’ve been just three customers. On one customer you might use three different condoms.
Felicia: And then they are like no that is not how it is and I’m like yes thats the way it is. If I give a blowjob and after I put lubricant on it I don’t put it in my mouth again! I take it off and put on a new one. Or if somebody touches one by mistake I take it off and put on a new one. Or I put it on and it doesn’t stay put because it doesn’t roll completely down.
Mark: It’s pointless to count the amount of condoms.
Felicia: But it’s good for them because it means more money!
Mark: Or they really believe that you do that much, I don’t know.
Felicia: Or they don’t care.
Me: Is it mandatory to have condoms in the window brothels? And do you have to buy them yourself?
Felicia: Yes it’s mandatory and you have to buy them yourself. Everything you need you have to buy yourself. Condoms, lube etc.
Me: And if you stand in the window do you bring a different outfit every night?
Felicia: No, before I bought so many costumes. I think I spent like 4000 Euros on costumes, I kept trying everything. But in the end I had like four bags of costumes at home but I kept wearing one. For four years I’ve worked with the same one because I was making a lot of money in that outfit. When I put on something else I made less. These days I don’t buy anymore new outfits.
Mark: But it also depends because there are some other girls who, if they don’t have enough customers, change their outfit every two hours. The girls who constantly have work don’t change their outfit and it’s also a way to recognise them. It could actually be bad for business if you keep changing your outfit. Lets say a guy was looking around and he sees a nice girl with that costume and he comes back an hour later and doesn’t recognise her?
Felicia: I just see it as a waste of money.
Me: You’ve been doing this job for six years now, have you ever witnessed or experienced violence? A violent customer?
Felicia: No, not really. I can take care of myself. Of course I get into trouble sometimes but I always manage, I never need the police.
Mark: But nobody ever beat you or something?
Felicia: No, I wouldn’t try it. I always think like, I’m not going to wait till somebody hits me, I hit first! That seems to work haha.
Mark: I think that is the same for most of the girls. I talked the other day to one of the brothel owners and we always kind of talk about how the outside world perceives these women as very fragile. It’s like they have no idea who these women are. Seriously, if you knew these women you would know not to mess with them! You are going to be the one that gets beaten up! It’s not the other way around. There is one girl, you know who I’m talking about Felicia, and I think her boyfriend actually needs help not the other way around. In reality you don’t want to mess with these girls. The way they are portrayed in the media is just not how they are in real life.
Felicia: You learn to be tuff with this job. You learn to not let anyone walk over you. Sometimes people say I’m very mean or I’m very aggressive. If you are like that with me I will respond in the same way. If you treat me nice I will be really nice with you but if you start to mess with me then I can not be nice, but that is normal I think. When somebody starts talking shit about me I will respond in the same manner.
Mark: The other night out the blue these two tipsy Norwegian guys started talking to me about their experience with a sex worker. One started to talk about the fact that one of the girls was squeezing his balls so hard that it started to hurt. I asked which girl he went to and he pointed at her! As soon as the girl saw that she was like; oh, Norway come here! And the guy was like noooo and started to run away! I think there are more times where the customers needs protection from the girls haha! Wasn’t there ia sign saying “don’t beat the customers” in your old workplace Felicia? haha
Felicia: haha yeah we had that one in the house rules because it happened a couple of times!
Me: And in your brothel window do you have something like a panic button?
Felicia: I have three actually haha! I have one next to my door, one next to my bed and I have a silent alarm close to my bed.
Me: And you have never used them before?
Felicia: No, I don’t really need it.
Me: A lot of people these days talk about human trafficking and forced prostitution. Felicia, if you were the mayor of Amsterdam what would you do to improve the situation?
Felicia: Oh, thats a good question! Many people say to me that I always only talk about the nice parts of sex work but that is not true. I never said that there aren’t problems, there are. Bad stuff happens on the Red Light District, we are aware of that. But whats happening right now with current policies is that they do not want to improve those problems they just want to push them away because they don’t really care. If you close down the windows you kick out the girl that possibly needs help. You’re not really helping her at all that way. The pimp will not say; oh the window brothel is closed, you can go home now! In the real world it doesn’t work like that.
Mark: Now you have to work illegally! But the government doesn’t want you to work illegally! It’s crazy.
Felicia: The biggest problem is exploitation of girls. All the programs are intended for helping girls get out of prostitution but there are no information sites on how to successfully work as a sex worker. If you look online you can’t find any information. The City of Amsterdam has like one dedicated page at the end of a twenty page sites and it’s only in Dutch so good luck with that.
Me: So the first thing you would do is offer more information?
Felicia: Yes, more information and more help. For example, if a girl from another country comes here, lets say Romania, she’d need at least 10.000 Euros to be able to start. Before you start to work you need a house and before you can start to work you need to register. It’s already really difficult when your working to find an apartment in Amsterdam. So when you don’t even have a job it’s even more difficult because companies require that you’ve had a steady income for at least three months. But girls who’ve just arrived don’t have that because they want to start working. It’s really stupid. I was earning around 300 Euros a month and it took me a really long time to save up the 10.000 Euros. And even I had it I’m here and then what? With other businesses you have employment agencies who can help you with moving from one country to the other and help you with housing. In this industry you have nothing, not even information.
Mark: And then the authorities are surprised that some people take advantage of people in this type of situation. Of course if you don’t offer even the basic help criminals will fill that void. Thats whats happening. The media portrays it as women being forced into prostitution against their will but that is simply not the case 9 out of 10 times. The girls want to do this job but they need help in getting here and getting set up and the government isn’t offering it.
Felicia: I while ago I actually met a girl when she walked in asking how to get started. She was already living in Amsterdam for 1,5 month, she came from another country, but she simply didn’t know where to go what to do or how to begin, anything. Until she found me and I helped her. I don’t want to say how many emails I get from Dutch girls who want to start who are in their own country and they don’t even know.
Mark: They spend three million Euros a year on an exit programs. It’s not like I’m saying they shouldn’t help these women, but there are like 341 women that they help each year of which 50 to 60% fall back into prostitution again. When you are spending that much money on an exit program maybe you should use a part of those funds to also help girls enter prostitution so you can prevent human trafficking before it happens.
Felicia: They will never do that. It is is never going to happen because most people will see that as the government promoting prostitution!
Mark: The only thing they are focusing on is prostitution itself which is already to late because then they are already among the criminals. It starts before that. They should close less windows so that less girls are forced to go into the underground. They closed down 40% of the legal businesses in the Netherlands so of course girls are going to work illegally. Thats only logical. They are closing down 300 windows in Utrecht, they are closing down 50 windows in Groningen and they are talking about closing windows in Den Haag and then they act surprised when illegal prostitution is becoming a big problem.
Felicia: You don’t need too much brains to understand that.
Me: One of our tour guides would like to know if you guys ever worked together?
Mark: Haha, a colleague of Felicia had a guy one time and he wanted to pay a lot of money just to watch people having sex. I said to Felicia, if you ever have a customer like that, call me! I would absolutely do it. The guy wanted to pay her like 3000 Euros for 10 minutes. But she couldn’t find a guy who wanted to basically fuck her for free. She was screaming outside on the street for somebody to come in and fuck her haha.
Me: Is there anything you guys would like to add to this interview?
Felicia and Mark: No, not really!
Me: You talked about going back to Romania, Felicia. Would you consider going with her, Mark?
Mark: Yeah! I go where she goes!