Posted on: April 15, 2020
Prostitutes working from home is a concern for the municipality of Amsterdam now that erotic venues are closed due to the coronavirus. Mayor Halsema is investigating whether erotic sites can be blocked.
50-year-old Marloes has been a prostitute for 25 years in various clubs in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. She is not registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a freelancer and cannot claim special assistance from the Dutch government. “I fall outside any scheme,” says Marloes (her working name). “But I also have my fixed costs. Money is written from my account every month, for example for my car, which I pay monthly. I have children who have to eat and send money to my family abroad.”
Amsterdam’s most narrow alley with nine window brothels.
Her income has drastically decreased since all erotic venues in the Netherlands had to be closed. She estimates she earns about 25% of her normal income and now has to invite customers to her home. Her children, who are already studying, know what work she has.
She doesn’t advertise, she says. “I have a regular customer base. Those customers approach me. The need for prostitutes is greater than the fear. That’s what you’re human for. Of course, she’s also afraid of contracting the coronavirus, she says. “I first let my customers take a shower at my home. Then it is clean on the outside. I make sure there is no saliva contact: no kissing and always safe.
A lot of customers are also afraid themselves.”
Window brothels in De Wallen.
She currently has about eight customers a week. A number of appointments are also in her agenda for next week. “In the beginning, when the coronavirus had just arrived, it was a lot quieter. When Prime Minister Rutte had been on television, I only had one customer. People were very shocked.”
Others prostitutes also work from home now, she says. “I know more prostitutes who work from home or rent a place somewhere or work as an escort and also go to customers myself.” She doesn’t see that as dangerous. “My limits and requirements, like showering are made clear from the start. I make it a fun game: I do not stand aside, it’s showering together. You try to make it fun. At home it’s already straightforward.”
Amsterdam has approximately 4,000 to 7,000 prostitutes. “The largest group is at home. It is estimated that about 25% is working from home,”says Heleen Driessen, confidential counsellor for Prostitution and Health Center P&G292.
“The sex workers still need money. For rent or for their family. A Bulgarian prostitute recently said: “I just have to send money to my family, because they really have nothing.” She now works from home.
Mayor Femke Halsema announced in a committee of the city council on Thursday that she is investigating whether erotic sites can be blocked, due to the risk of infection for prostitutes. Sites like Kinky, SexJobs and Planet Romeo are still online with their ads. Halsema tempered expectations; such a blockage would not be simple.
The inside of a window brothel from MyRedLight.
Male escort Lyle Muns (26) of MyRedLight does not work himself, but he does see a group that continues to work.
“They are prostitutes who are not registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and are undocumented. These are people who are in financial distress if they do not work, because they cannot claim the special assistance.”
He is concerned about the risks. “If they continue to work, there is a risk of infection. In addition, prostitutes who normally work in clubs or behind the windows are used to safety. The brothel operator is nearby and comes immediately when the panic button in the room is pressed. That safety disappears.” But it is also a question of supply and demand. Lyle Muns: “It works both ways. There are also customers who want to meet. ”