She thought she was a terrible wife and mother

Financial burdens
A day or ten ago I first met her: a young Eastern-European woman, who had only just started working as a prostitute. She reacted warmly and spontaneously when I introduced myself to her. We chatted companionably, and I told her that she could always call me if there were issues. Last weekend, she called me in somewhat of a panic, asking if I could lend her 200 euros. She could not pay the €1600 rent that was due for her little appartment. If she did not pay it the next day, the renter had threatened to evict her, and then she would be left to the streets. I told her we did not just lend money like that, and that I wanted to talk to her about her situation.

If she’s only just started and she can’t pay the rent to start with, how is she going to do that in the future? She probably pays around €3000 for her place behind the window. Add another €1600, and she would come to €4600 in fixed expenses. Add money for health insurance, and the appartment she needs to rent in her own country, and costs to look after her child, and then we’re talking about more than €5000 euros every month.

A terrible wife and mother
The week after that, I did not manage to get hold of her and I didn’t see her. I was scared she left, and asked myself how things would work out for her in the future. But last Friday, I got a phone call from a colleague, who told me she had stationed herself at a different place. A few minutes later I stood in front of her window with my colleague. With a surprised face, she opened the door for us, and we quickly came to the heart of the matter. She found it difficult that she hadn’t been able to call me back because she did not have money to charge her phone. I explained that we didn’t help financially like this, and in the end, this kind of help would also not help her.
She told me that, in addition to the rent for the appartment, she also did not have money for her child. She said everything she did was for nothing now! She found it dreadful that she needed to do this work, and thought she was a terrible wife and mother.

Respect
In those circumstances, it is always so special to be able to tell someone that that you have so much respect for them. I told her that I respected her for sacrificing herself for her child, so that her child has a better future than she does. I do not know if there were other options, and if this was really the best choice she could make. But, I did know that right across from us, there stood a girl that felt very lost and alone. I encouraged her and we made an appointment to discuss her future the next week. We would discuss her situation, in order to be able to see the big picture and help her reach her purpose in life step-by-step.

Psalm 91
A little later, we went back to her, and we gave her the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers in her own language. This is a gripping, moving tale, based on a biblical account about God’s love for us. We also brought her a Bible in her own language, and read Psalm 91 to her out loud. There are two verses about what we may do in this Psalm: to know the Lord, trust Him, and take refuge in Him. All the other verses speak about what He does for us when we take those steps.
Tears streamed down her cheeks when we prayed for her, and after the “Amen”, I had a crying girl in my arms. “You’re like a father to me”, she said.
And that is exactly what I’m privileged to do in the red light district: to bring Gods’ father heart there.


Dear readers,
There are many others like this young woman in the red light district, Every woman with her own story. We visit them, and stand together with them, ‪#‎sidebyside‬, so that we can bring them to their true destinations in life. These women also need your help to come to this place of love and purpose.





Street prostitution
8 March it was international women's day, and on that day I was in Romania. With others, we went to the streets to give flowers to the women standing on the streets' edge day by day, selling their bodies to be able to care for their children, their families or themselves. It was a beautiful experience, and we had many good conversations. These women feel shamed by the whole society around them.

They experience the daily or nightly reality of being stared at by strangers, abused by men who enact their lusts on them, and having fingers pointed at them by their judging environment. Their children are bullied about their mother's job, both at school and on the streets. These women all told me the same story, but each in their unique way. They were emotional, but shrugged it off, asking how else they could find money. Many times, tears fell from their eyes.




I could tell the women that I respected them for who they were, for how they did not give up in difficult situations, and how they sacrificed their own bodies for their families or their children. Some of them could not accept that they were God's beloved daughters. Others found it difficult to go to church, because they also felt the judgement of other Christians there. A woman reacted a few days later, saying she would like to go to church with us coming Sunday. We bought her the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.






Two Roma communities
The 9th of March, we visited two Roma communities and a jail for women. I have visited the Roma multiple times, but this Wednesday morning, I have to admit it was a shock.

I did not dare take pictures, nor did I want to, and these have been taken from the internet, but definitely give an accurate portrayal of what I have seen. Six grownups and children lived together in a room of approximately four square metres. In the room, there was one small stove on which people did the cooking, and that needed to give enough warmth for the place. There wasn't a table, and the whole village needed to get by with one toilet. The roof leaked, but there was nothing available to repair it. There was an old fridge, covered in rust on all sides, that no longer worked and was used as a cupboard, and a surface to accommodate extra mess. Oh yes, and half of a pigs' head. In this one room, people live and sleep. The children experience everything, also when the father use force to make his wife perform her wifely “duty”.

They grow up with the example that men may have sex with their wives at all times. This idea, they internalise from their environment, and so you see girls of around thirteen, or a bit older, walking around with pregnant stomachs. Sixty percent of the women walks the street at evening and at night,  selling themselves for money. I really wonder how men can use these women. They don't have good clothes, and they cannot wash themselves properly. Many are sick and have only a few teeth left. They can only sell their body for a very meagre sum, and so they need a lot of clients to earn their keep.

In this area, I could also give a few women flowers, and there was a beautiful box of chocolates for them. And for a fleeting moment, I could see kind, soft expressions on the tired and hardened faces of these women when I told them just how much I respected them.

I will tell you more about the second village in a later newsletter.

That afternoon, I spoke to a group of women in the women's prison. I was not just encouraging them with the words that I spoke, but these women also encouraged me. We had an especially meaningful and open conversation on an equal level, from fellow-human to fellow-human. In many jails the prisoners live in a cell that is too small for them. There can be twenty-one people who cannot stand up and move around at the same time, so people sit on their beds often. There may only be warm water for an hour a day. That means that there is a schedule for the shower, and that people shouldn't shower too long, because the others are waiting impatiently. When they get their washing back, it is still wet, and they have to hang that to dry on the beds in the small room.

They had planned an hour for my visit, but thankfully, that became one and a half. We could pray and share together. What especially touched me was that the majority of the group didn't complain. Instead, they were learning to trust in God through their circumstances. I was able to encourage them that they need not give up on their dreams; these hadn't been broken or become unattainable. We also spoke about the harsh labels that the outside world gave them, but that Jesus had come to take those labels away from them, just as he had done with Zaccheus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10). I look forward to the next meeting with these women.

Thursday and Friday we had a conference, which our organisation had initiated, regarding the situation of Romanian prostitutes. Different organisations from Romanian, Dutch, or mixed backgrounds came together to start an umbrella organisation in Romania, which will create a nation-wide network. It was amazing to sit together and discuss our ideas and plans. We discussed many aspects of help: education, prevention, return to family, homes, finances, work, psychological aid, and more. We did this for the Romanian women who work in the West, but also for those who sell themselves on the streets in Romania itself.

Saturday I spoke to a few youthgroups in Alba Lulia, and Sunday I spoke in a church in Oradea, and after in Floresti. In summary, it was a full week in which I had many deep encounters, and I was often travelling from one place to the next.

photo made by Jane Lasonder
Are you touched by this story?
Contact me and find out how you can help.
It may look impossible, but we can do it together.

Working together, side by side.

We're not giving up, and we trust you aren't either!

Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet

Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Window owner said all women working for him want a normal job.

She’s probably around twenty-five or thirty years old, and if you look at her standing behind the window, she exudes confidence. Her pose says, “I do this because I like it and because I chose it. I get a reasonable pay, and this way I ensure a good future for my child.”

For a long time, we just had a little bit of contact with her - basically just friendly chats. Until the time when she turned the other way when we were talking to her. We could not see her face, but we could see her tears in the mirror. Her boyfriend had beat her, and yes the police had been there, but she had stayed brave and told them that he could occasionally get upset if things didn’t go as he wanted them to.

After that, we started to get to know each other at a deeper level, and then she came to our office. Piece by piece, thread by thread, she told us her story. When she was alone, she had things under reasonable control. Now she has a boyfriend and they have a child together, she has a lot of problems.

Her boyfriend is not bad for her. He is not the pimp that brought her into prostitution by force, and keeps her there by force; the pimp who takes money from her and looks for clients for her. But as she says herself, “He [my boyfriend] is lazy and still doesn’t have the papers he needs.” He does not speak English or Dutch yet, and so has no prospects for work here in the Netherlands. When I last spoke to him, I told him that it wasn’t normal that he lets his girlfriend work for him.


They hop from apartments to hotels to friend’s places, as they don’t have money to rent anything. She stopped working as a prostitute a few times, but because she wasn’t prepared, she had to keep going back to her old life.

Every time we speak and pray for her, she says she feels lighter. We gave her the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers in her own language. Every time we see her, she’s read a little more of it. This afternoon, she also stood there, looking so brave and determined toward the outside world. Until she saw me. Then she immediately became vulnerable. She told me softly that there were problems again.

We set up another of our many meetings at the office, to help her make sense of her situation and to help her find the right help, and also to help us give part of that help. Many people who come to visit the red light districts – for whatever reason – only see the outside, both literally and figuratively. But who knows that girl who feels so lost and doesn’t know what to do? Who knows that girl who only has one dream – to be able to live with her child and just be a mother?

We made prostitution legal, and of course, everyone says they’re against human trafficking, and everyone thinks we need to change things and we need to stop sex slavery. But our government makes us believe that once the trafficking stops, what remains is clean prostitution: Prostitutes who have knowingly chosen to stand behind those windows and have sex with so many men. But do we really know the women behind those self-assured masks? Do we know the reasons why they decided to engage in this work? Even if that is to look after their children, that does not mean it is their dream job!

At the office, I’ve had some pretty intense conversations over the past few weeks. One was with a woman whose so-called boyfriend tried to kick her baby out of her pregnant body. Another woman has been through so much in her past that she doesn’t even know what has or has not happened to her anymore. Even now, she is still being twisted around and manipulated, through kind words, anger or threats, depending on the situation. It could be your cousin, daughter or sister. Try to imagine that there are throngs of people walking past her window, amusing themselves by the way she stands there provocatively in order to get her clients. You would know that it would never have been a dream for her to stand there like that, so confidently showcasing her flesh to the world.

Clean (or fair’) prostitution doesn’t exist. There is always a reason.

Recently, a girl told me that she hadn’t chosen prostitution, but prostitution chose her. For years on end, she had been sexually abused as a child, and prostitution was the logical next step’ in her life. Free choice? No way! She’s been molded into a prostitute, step by step.

Dear readers, if we had jobs for these ladies, and apartments for them, then many women would quit. Just recently, one of the window owners told the government that if those in charge wouldn’t talk so much, but would actually do something and create jobs for these women, he would lose all the women who are renting windows from him.

Are you touched by this story?
Please contact me, and find out how you can help.



Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Will I Ever Find Healing?

An Unexpected Chat

Will I ever find healing for all my wounds, pain, frustrations, disappointments, sadness and anger and lead a normal life, together with my child?
She’d popped into our office unexpectedly and, holding a cup of coffee, we got talking. With a regular break to go outside for a cig to deal with the stress. The tears were blinking in her eyes.
She’d come over here a few years ago to work as a prostitute to earn money for her little son, but the result was that everyone was benefitting from her. And on top of that, the Tax Revenue Service also wanted to see money. Finally, she couldn’t cope anymore being abused on a daily basis and so she quit. She found a job in which she’s also being exploited, but it is far better than standing in a window all day and having sex with anonymous men who want outrageous things. This company gave her a zero-hours contract and she has to work an enormous amount of overtime that hasn’t been paid out. She is also entitled to a considerable number of off-days but isn’t allowed to make use of them. With the lean hourly wages she’s just able to manage financially. But then, her intrusive question pops up: “Will I ever find healing and lead a normal life with my child?” followed by a beautiful, heart-to-heart emotional and long conversation. With an open heart she asks Jesus to enter into her life and together we read out Psalm 91 in her mother tongue, the language of her heart. After every two, three verses she sobs out loud leaning on my shoulder.

So Broken From the Inside

On the street, I get in touch with a young Eastern European women. Every time she opens the door for me, whereas – at the same time – she finds it so hard to talk with me. When I look in your eyes, she once told me, it is as if I’m looking into my father’s eyes. At the moment she can’t talk about her past, because it is too intensive for her. Also outside her working hours she still can’t. When I tell her that I pray for her daily, the tears swell up in her eyes. And as I leave, she keeps on hugging me tightly. And then she’s all by herself without the perspective of a way out.
She was deeply touched by the book written by Francine Rivers, “Redeeming Love”, that I was able to give her. The book is in her own language and every page touches her heart. “As if the book tells my own story”.
We are incredibly happy with this book that we could offer the women in several languages already.  A book about healing, acceptance, real love and hope. But what appeals the most to the women is that God doesn’t reject them but accepts them fully and loves them unconditionally.
When seeing the women in the windows, you see their laughing faces that want you make believe they are so thrilled to do this job. Looking forward to their next client to have a great time together. But believe me, nothing is more besides the truth.

In self-conflict

Recently, I talked with two young ladies who both left the prostitution branch. They told me about their emotions and hopelessness. They see no future,  only bleakness. When asking what dreams they cherish, I first hear there are only nightmares.  But of course, what I mean is what they would like in the future and then the answer is a normal life. A man who really cares about them and loves them.
Children and a job, perhaps a cleaning job or so. At the same time, they don’t trust any man and is the hate deep: An enormous self-conflict.


A Busy But Beautiful Month

In this time of the year, it is tough for many women. They can’t be home for Christmas, to their relatives or children. Others simply don’t have the money for it and keep on working during Christmas. This is why, this month, we’re always visibly present in the streets.
Sinterklaas and two Petes were on the street for an afternoon and an evening and brought the ladies some tasteful goodies. On Friday night, there was a Sinterklaas party with a great number of women present. It was a very successful action and evening in a cosy atmosphere.


350 Christmas Boxes

On December 17 we has be celebrated Christmas in our office and sayed goodbay to Hannie van der Weerd, who worked for and with us in the last six years. In the week before we will hand over a Christmas box to every woman. This action was realised in cooperation with the Wijk en Aalburg churches. A privilege to work together like this. Logistically speaking, it will be quite a task to give one to every woman, but we are looking forward to it.

Dear people,
  • We are grateful for all the support in the last year!
  • So many people were so faithful in their monthly gift.
  • So many people who surprised us with a spontaneous gift.
  • So many people praying for us and for the women.
  • So many who were active, one way or the other.
  • So many men standing in the streets, each with a flag surrounding the Red Light District, inspired by Isiaiah 61:10 and sometimes even in the pouring rain.

May the women look to you again for help in 2016?
For everyone is December an expensive month, and this also goes for us as a foundation. Therefore is it my candid question if you would like to help us this month with an extra support.

Merry Christmas and a blessed new year

Foto: Jane Lasonder
Jacqueline en Frits Rouvoet
Postbus 12274

1100 AG Amsterdam
+31 6 54985459 
                  +31 20 2602118                   

Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Meeting God in the Middle of the Red Light

Behind the window at night, all alone
A few weeks back I was on the streets at night with my daughter Petra Rouvoet. We had already had a number of nice chats and new introductions and then passed a window of which the door opened immediately when the woman saw Petra. I knew her face but had never really talked with her. She closed the door behind us and the curtains closed immediately. We had a nice conversation and enthusiastically she told us about her father, mother and daughter. She showed us their pictures on her mobile phone. It is remarkable when a woman, who usually wants to remain anonymous, grants us an insight into her private life. During one of the previous days she had been working in her father’s garden. He couldn’t do it anymore. She had spent a fair part of the day sitting on her knees to get rid of the weeds between the paving tiles and this resulted in a very painful back. Uncomfortable, but she was very willing to do this for her father. The garden was his pride and she loved to maintain it.

I experienced God’s love lifting me up

As she was telling this, an image came to my mind of how she was kneeling on the ground, sitting beside other people and taking care of them, helping them to rise up again. I shared this with her and it moved her deeply. She wanted so much to other people but that is difficult when circumstances are hard. I asked her if we could pray for her and she appreciated this very much. In turns, Petra and I prayed for her  and she was touched by God’s love in a special way. When she ‘landed’ a bit again, she had no words about how extraordinary, how beautiful, special and marvellous this meeting with God had been. She had experienced how He had lifted her up and how close He was. “I often pray to God if He wants to help me,” she told. And I would love to help others, too.
We discussed for a short time that God wasn’t only there to help her when needed, but also that He wanted to be part of her life and He wanted to talk with her from heart to heart. Once more we could pray for her. In the meantime, she had sat down on her stool and I prayed over her that she had the chance to sit on God’s lap, close to His heart. Immediately she fell against Petra, with her head on Petra’s heart. Very peacefully, she rested there for five minutes and when she opened her eyes, she told us God had appeared to her in a number of unpleasant events in the past and that she had experienced his healing on a very deep level. God had also been very clear to her that she needn’t be afraid to step out. That evening, she hadn’t received any client and dropped by a colleague who asked her why she was so radiant.



Meeting God in the Middle of the Red Light
Had she met a nice bloke and fallen in love? Her mother, too, saw a change as she had become so gentle and had such a lovely radiance. The next day, she dropped in at our office and we heard more about her circumstances and life. She also told us she still had a contract that had to be paid off and I calculated an estimation of € 750.00. That night I asked a group of men that were present if they could ask their communities to gather this amount? To my surprise, I got a phone call early the very next morning. It was from one of the wives of the men that had been here. She had € 720.00 in cash and would love to give this to this woman to help her quit the prostitution sector.

Hordes of people goggling at the women

Two days later, she was in our office again for a meeting with one of our social workers. When, following the meeting, she had arrived at the railway station to get on the train to the town where she live and something happened in her head, she told us later on. Something stronger than her drew her back to the Red Light District  and that very night she stood behind a window once again. But she did contact us immediately about what she had done. And, it goes without saying, we dropped in for a minute. She told us about the battle inside: “Stay, go, sit and work”. Rationally she knew she didn’t want this, but the stronger one in her had her in his control and kept her there. She couldn’t resist. At a certain moment I told her I had one more question and then we would leave. My question was: “Why did you call us? Did you really think we’d come her and pray for you with a good night with plenty of clients? She hadn’t expected this. She was still struggling with the fact that she still had to pay for the room plus some other related issues. Of course, we told her that money wasn’t a problem and that an amount had been received for her. First, she didn’t want us to pay for her, but then I was able to remind her of God telling her that she needn’t be afraid to step out and that He had already provided for her. And she’s been doing very well. Her last debt has been paid, she found a fine congregation and perhaps even will start with a regular job.
The last week on the street was another one with many  remarkable conversations and with you I am looking forward to what God is going to do. You may be part of this by joining in prayer, in intercession, and by supporting us with a gift so we will be able to help others.

Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet



Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Standing in de shop window, day in, day out. It’s so cheerless

Two young Eastern European girls, only in their early twenties, who share their window during the night. Usually, we exchange a few words at the door, but now could go in and had remarkably open conversation. Their opinion about men was disconcerting:
“Men are only able to lie and cheat for their own pleasure. They have no respect for women, not even for their own wives. Men don’t think with their brains but with their cocks and sex is the only thing they can think of.”
And as I look outside the window and watch the stream of men pass by, laughing, amused about everything they see behind the windows… I’m not too sure what I should say. The reality outside and in front of their window makes truth side with them, that very moment. I think we’ve been talking for more than half an hour and there and then I felt ashamed I am a man. Their dream of marrying, having a family has really been torn to pieces by every man making use of their services.

I wonder what would go on in such a man’s mind if it were his own daughter 
or granddaughter standing behind that window, lonely and courageous in her lingerie. 
Would he then also goggle at her body and join his group laughingly? 
Would he try and make pictures of her, or try and cut down on the price of her services?

Or would he enter in and ask her if she’d like to dress and come with him because this was no life for her? Most of the times, I hear the response that ‘my daughter would never want to be a prostitute, end up behind a window, or work in some club. No girl on this globe has ever dreamed of becoming a prostitute and no career test pointed out ‘prostitute’. No single parent assumes that his or her daughter is thrilled to work behind a window with a stream of men walking by as if they’re picking a piece of meat at the Tesco’s.


MEN, ARISE!



During the months of September, October and November 2015, we’re organising an outreach every Friday evening. Our aim is to stand around the Red Light District with Christian men holding large, red flags. At the same time, teams of one man and one woman walk through the Amsterdam Red Light District as a statement, both to the natural as to the spiritual world, against prostitution.

Foto: Jane Lasonder
Jacqueline en Frits Rouvoet
Postbus 12274
1100 AG Amsterdam

+31 6 54985459 
                  +31 20 2602118                   




Renewed Encounter

September 2, 2011, I wrote the following story:

Yesterday, I wrote about a Hungarian woman who had entered into deep depths due to health problems. Today, we just arrived in time at her window; an Amsterdam council prostitution team had just come into her room and the window-owner was there, too. It turned out she wasn’t allowed to work because, for example, she didn’t run a business of her own. She was told to leave the window on short notice. No more actions were carried out, because of her difficult situation, but she’d always be welcome for asking help. The window-owner threw her out at once, even though he’d been was wrong in not checking her registration at the Chamber of Commerce. When she left the room she saw us and her first thought was: “Now I’ll be safe.


She went with us and then we listened to the whole story. It turned out she had been sold by her husband and had worked in Vienna first. There she was able to get disconnected from her pimp and went to Amsterdam and tried to earn her children back by prostituting herself.
When she saw me, she was in a shock, she was exhausted and down, and thought she was hallucinating because I’m the spitting image of her father, who’d died eight years before. She felt terribly dirty and realised her father must be mad with her and would reject her if he knew she’d be working here. In these days, she saw me several times. I noticed her, too, and was fed up with the idea I couldn’t talk with her because of the language barrier.
That very Thursday someone had joined me because of another Hungarian lady who interpreted for us and so we took a walk on De Wallen, also to meet this girl. Yesterday, you were able to read about this emotional encounter. After our visit, she went home, much lighter in the heart than when she’d arrived. This feeling had stayed with her all night, despite little sleep and many tears. After she’d started working this morning, she had only had one client who kept on watching her and kept mumbling ‘no’. After some ten minutes, he put down the money, turned around and left without touching her. Shortly after, she received notice she wasn’t allowed to work anymore and came with us.

At the office, she told us she hated herself so much for what she did and just before meeting us she’d planned to end her own life. She didn’t even dare to look at herself in the mirror – something we did manage together. It was a mixture of crying fits and joy. She doesn’t want to go back to these windows, wherever they may be. She wants to burn her lingerie and without knowing what further steps to be taken, slowly the conviction is growing that another life is possible. Now our first aim is to find ways to reunite her with her children. We have no idea how to fix things financially, but one thing is for sure: we won’t let it happen that such a wonderful person has to back to that sort of life.
It was a beautiful moment when I told her that her father, whom she had a close relationship with, would never reject her and immediately take her with him. That he could be proud of his daughter who – in incredibly hard circumstances – wanted to be a good mum: we noticed these words enter into her heart.
In the end she asked me if she could call me Apa, which is Hungarian for father. Of course, I was honoured!

In the in-between years I only saw her occasionally. She got into a relationship and so she could leave the red light district. She could register on that address and after receiving benefits for a while, she found a job. Her relationship fell apart, but now she lives on her own and step by step she recaptures her own life.

Last week on my way to the office, our paths crossed again. We had a long conversation and she asked for some help, because despite everything in the natural is going all right in a sense, spiritually she’s on a bumpy road. She can hardly sleep, because every night the same nightmares visit her and this already makes her afraid to go to sleep. She doesn’t want to live anymore and sees no future for herself. She appreciated the moment we prayed together and told us that every night she looks at a picture she’d made of a painting hanging in our office. Eventually together we invited Jesus into her circumstances and she rendered her life to Him.

Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet


Translated by a volunteer under the auspices 
of Limwierde Taaldiensten for Bright Fame. www.limwierde.nl 

All her anger was geared towards me

Last Tuesday, I returned to our street office after more than seven weeks in Italy. I was greeted enthusiastically by one of the ladies we baptized halfway through July. She had missed me and Jacqueline immensely and it was great to catch up with her. That afternoon I went out on the street with her, and it was amazing to see how she, as someone shaped by similar stories, related to her former colleagues.


That Tuesday morning, there was also another woman who entered our office. A few weeks ago, she had also stopped working as a prostitute, and just before I left Italy, I had asked her forgiveness, as a man, for everything we as men had done to her. Collectively, we have misused the situations they’re in and their bodies for our own pleasure. This had touched her enormously, and was a special moment. 


Now she came to me and said that she wanted a word with me. A few years ago, she had also tried to stop working as a prostitute, but then it was impossible for her to find other employment, and gaining social benefits was also not feasible. Going back to her country was, in her circumstances, also impossible. So sadly, after a few weeks she had to return to prostitution. This was a very bitter disappointment for her. Her whole life, she had tried to improve her circumstances, and each time this had backfired, and now it had backfired again. Misfortune and failure seemed to follow her.


All those years behind the window, she had completely ignored me and she had unleashed all her anger about everything that had happened in her life on me. And then it was I who came to her and asked her for forgiveness for everything men had done to her, when I was only trying to help her. I hadn't done anything to hurt her myself. This caused massive impact, releasing a huge amount of emotions.

Frits,” she said, “go on, claim this area, claim these girls and don't give up. Do not let yourself be led by how they react to you, but be there for them.”


This time, her prospects look positive, and step by step, she can start a new life and reach the place where she belongs.


Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet


Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Your sister, daughter or mother: standing there
Today and in the recent days, I’ve had so many honest and open conversations with quite a number of women. Yes, there is a crisis and so it is on De Wallen. Little turnover is made by the ladies, causing them to get into great trouble. 

Here are a few quotes from last week:
·                 “It seems we are monkeys behind the windows. In the zoo, at least people pay for what they see. Those monkeys don’t need to look after themselves.
·                 For three long weeks, I’m working just to pay the rent of my room without leaving a penny for the rent of my flat, or for the care of my family and/or children.
  • Our team member Tanja Blokland writes in her blog that a woman told her: It is one big lie over here. Everyone is walking around with a fake smile, and when you’re asking how they’re doing, they say ‘Ah, well, doing fine!’, but you now they’re not. Everyone knows what’s going on around here. What do you mean … ‘it’s going fine’? If things were going fine, one wouldn’t be standing here. I’m being honest. I hate this job, but what else can I do? I can’t speak Dutch properly, so I can’t find a regular job around here. I’ve got two children that need education. Never, never ever will I tell them this is how earn my money. It will always remain a secret to them.”

The full blog (in Dutch) can be read if you click this link.

Today as well, I’ve been listening to the story of that one person for the umpteenth time and have been hearing that one story, seen so many tears shed, so often that she wasn’t able to talk. And so much pain, disappointments, frustration and sadness welling up. The anger and hate are incredible. Regularly, I get to hear that after a woman quit the business, she’s happy with the domestic life she settled in, but that inside of her, she’s entered a big black hole, or – when she is looking towards the future, there’s only blackness. Nightmares and flashbacks haunt her and many still feel dirty and experience they can’t take part in ordinary life.
When having stepped out of prostitution, they are often chased by debts and the tax revenue services. Prostitution has been legalised and as a society we accepted this without having a clue what this would do to a woman. Indeed, if things had gone fine with you in your life, you wouldn’t be standing there in your tiny lingerie but you were living your dream instead of dreaming behind a window.
Imagine she were your daughter or sister standing there!
A relatively small group of articulated women that indicate to have chosen for prostitution and think they have a wonderful profession, just nullifies compared to the inconceivably huge group of women that are there by circumstances and are not being heard because they don’t have a voice.
For this group we raise our voices and need your support. We don’t force anyone to leave the prostitution, but want to stand next to the women – shoulder to shoulder – that want to be freed from prostitution. Your shoulder is needed, too!
Would you like to know how? Call me, or write me.
With this, you can support us and thus the women with a financial gift to help that particular individual to make her dream come true.

General gifts may be deposited to NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 
in the name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE

Your gift is tax-deductible

You may become friends through our Bright Fame website. You will receive a book of choice by Maria Genova or Jane Lasonder.

Gifts to support my personal work can be deposited – specified as “Human Trafficking” – to NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 in the name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE


Would you like to keep up with our work, then follow us on twitter or on Facebook.





Flashes from the Amsterdam Red Light Entertainment Park

She must be way in her fifties, I guess. Occasionally we have some small talk when she feels like it. Last Wednesday, her door opened at once when she noticed us and told us she’d had it all together. Of course she realises that the younger girls around her welcome clients sooner than she does. And the last couple of weeks it’s been hard for all the girls to make their money. This goes for her even harder.
She’d been working in a factory for years, but was replaced by younger employees and in order to keep on feeding her six children, she had to do something about that and decided to work as a prostitute. Now they’ve grown up, gone their own ways but do not care about their mother anymore. Some of them know what she does for a living and why, but refuse to give any help to this woman. Of course, I am only hearing her side of the story, but when I see her standing there looking at me, completely shattered, crying and knocked-out, it touches me. We prayed together, she cried on my shoulder for a while and we invited her to our office to look into her situation.
The same afternoon, we also met a young lady in the streets we’ve known from earlier times. She was shining and told us she’d been able to manage everything: The social benefits, a training period and also a certificate of Dutch in da pocket. She hoped to find a job soon. I told her I was incredibly proud of her and invited her to come in for a coffee one day.

It was remarkable to see that a woman I’d never been able to get in touch with had a good relationship with my colleague I’d teamed up with on the street that afternoon. Earlier, she’d been given the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers in her own language and she’d just finished reading our gift. It had touched her deeply and she asked if we had more books for her.

Another special encounter was with a young Eastern-European girl that I knew from the windows. I saw her walking down the street, tapped her shoulder and asked her how she was doing. She told me she was pretty annoyed because she’d been standing behind the window, didn’t earn a penny as a massive flow of tourists passed her window but did try to make pictures of her and her colleagues. She was going home to smoke a joint. I invited her with the words “Hey, join me and let us drink something together”. And with a broad smile she accepted the invitation and so, just moments later, we sat along the canal with a bottle of drink. We talked for a long while – she talked about her life and talked about mine. When she finally left, she thought the day did have a good turn after all. For next week, we agreed to have a breakfast together at Dwaze Zaken.

It is bizarre to see how the flow of tourists has multiplied over the last two months. It was already a news item Amsterdam is running over with tourists, but what has been walking around  – especially on De Wallen – is beyond imagination. Groups of eighty people or more are no exception. Walking slowly by, observing, laughing and taking pictures, this stream just goes on and on. Here and there, a group enters into a pub. One of the owners of a window thought it was no good for De Wallen and the Red Light District had turned into an entertainment park. That afternoon, a prostitute had exactly framed the same words.
What I thought really beautiful was a woman, who is still in the business, told me she didn’t so much come into our office for help, but every time she’d been in she’d received something to go on with. It was cool to hear, but also to see it happen in her. Open conversations on both sides. Not the helper opposite the requester, but together on our way, learning, shoulder to shoulder.

Each day I am learning from these strong women.


Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Our journey to Romania
From April 14 up to and including April 25, I was in Romania together with Petra Rouvoet. During the first days, we visited several projects that are eager to do something for the girls that are stepping out of the prostitution sector, or are already doing so. Many organisations contact me with the request for prevention and what they might be able to do for the prostitutes. They all see the problem of many girls having disappeared at a certain moment. Establishing an information sharing network in Romania, that knows where the good shelters are and knows where the right aftercare can be given, so these women may receive restoration of their psychological symptoms, is a good development. Many of these women suffer from nightmares, flashbacks and take showers for hours and hours because they keep on feeling dirty. Their dreams have been shattered, because one can’t marry when one hates men.
During these days, we had the opportunity to good conversations and even received information we didn’t have before – and might just be an extraordinary possibility for a number of women that would like to return to Romania. Other organisations were not aware of this opportunity and this is why it is crucial to team up. Both in The Netherlands and in the countries of origin. Especially the small villages often devoid of essential information.

Speaking in Pantelimon
Petra shares about her life
That Sunday, both in the morning and in the afternoon I spoke in the meeting of a small church close to Bucharest. Petra shared about her life and many of the attendants were touched. It is special how this congregation received the Word and is willing to put it into practise. We agreed on organising a mini-conference for the next time. Many of the church members live in great poverty. Children of whom the father, mother or even both are jailed and now are raised by an aunt or by grandparents.
There is such a great need, but it is so good to see how this poor congregation deals with it and how there truly is a family bond among these church members. I have a high regard for the church leader who gave up his job and now avails himself fulltime for the congregation. He would be delighted to get in touch with a (Dutch) church for a bit of support.


At the left: Minister T.H.E. Angel Tilvař and next to him Emil
 Constantinescu, former President of Romania
EFN Conference
On Monday, the European Freedom Network Conference (EFN Conference) was opened. It was good to meet and to share with other organisations from many other European countries. Some among us took part in a meeting in the Romanian Parliament and this day was chaired by T.H.E. Angel Tilvař, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and opened by a speech from Emil Constantinescu, the former President of Romania. An interesting day, during which several organisations were able to speak in plain language towards, among others, the Romanian government.

A path among the addicted
On Tuesday, I had the chance to join Victory Outreach Bucharest on a street outreach to encourage and give food to the homeless and the addicted. The situations I faced are so poignant! Men and women on a mattress, just on the street against a façade. Swollen hands and several people walking barefoot. Both young and old, without the hope for a future.


Bruce Lee, the Sewage King
Joining in de Sewage
At a certain point I was invited to join a journey into the sewage to meet Bruce Lee, who is known as the Sewage King. I had to swallow something when I heard we would enter the sewage system but, on the other hand, I did want to meet this man. I had heard of him already, had become curious and wanted to get to know him personally.
Three days after his birth, his mother took him to an orphanage and him there. After the fall of Ceausescu he ended up in the streets. He became an experienced street fighter, addicted and homeless. After a while, he began dealing drugs, but he also started to care for all those children he saw on the streets. They were left behind by their parents, or they didn’t have parents at all, because they were in jail. Close to the Gara de Nord train station he started a shelter beneath the streets in the sewage system. I descended some three metres and had to duck immediately to be able to pass a low beam. I was warned for the needles that might be lying there. A bit further, I had to get on my knees to continue into the sewage.

The entrance into the sewage system
I think it was about 1.5 metres broad and there was just about enough space to be able to walk. On both sides, broad sewer pipes with hot water streaming through and so it was smothery and the smell of the streets was intense. Something to get quite used to! On these pipes, the many addicted had sat down, among some who were very young, I think about ten, twelve years of age. It is indescribable how walked among these people as many were injecting themselves with drugs. I did notice it was very quiet there. Bruce Lee is the undoubted leader. Whoever makes a mess in whatever way is expelled from the group. Toward the end, after having gone through my knees once more, I found Bruce Lee. We spoke for about an hour. He was very open and answered all my questions. A young lass, about six year’s old was playing around him and then went to sleep on a pipe. Two lads, under fifteen years of age, came standing close to him just to feel an arm around them for a moment. I touched me deeply, I must admit. Yes, he deals in drugs, but he does take the care of these people on his shoulders. 

Government doesn’t do a thing for them and neither do the inhabitants look after them. He told how it always had been his childhood dream to help others. He also told me he believed in God and that it was his task to do this. He earned my respect that with his background and circumstances, he does something there no-one else does. He makes a difference for a great number of people there, although I’d love see him quit the dealing in drugs. Together we prayed and agreed we’d meet again. A special meeting with a special person. Dear people, please for Bruce Lee that he truly will have an encounter with Jesus. Then he will be someone with a huge impact in this area.
More information on Bruce Lee can be found under the following links: impressive pictures and a short documentary.

On Friday morning, I was given the opportunity to speak during the Open Meeting at Victory Outreach. It is so meaningful to bring the message of hope to those who don’t own anything. Afterwards, during lunch, we had some good conversations with a number of them and prayed with them. That day, I met Pastor Lucas who started up this work a few years ago. What a beautiful person! With his wife, he stands among these people, muddling in the mud with so little means. No beautiful words, but love in action. It was cool to listen to the testimonies of ex-addicts that already now join the street outreach.
Walking around there, it is so comprehensible that girls choose to enter into prostitution. Last year, I talked with some girls who offered themselves to me to spend the night with them. Hoping for a few quid so they could spend them on their children. I can image that young lads go out stealing and join the criminal forces. I will consent in this, but then… I didn’t grow up in their circumstances.
The morning I wrote this blog, I stumbled upon a “Loesje Poster” with the text: 

ECONOMY – MOST PEOPLE FIND DIVIDING THE HARDEST CALCULATION”.

I want to invite you to think hard about this before we start judging others.

Dear people,
Your help is constantly needed. Do you have the courage to share with those in need?
General gifts can be deposited into NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 under the name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE.
Become friends via the Bright Fame website. Then you’ll receive a book of your own choice by either Maria Genova or Jane Lasonder.
Gifts to support my work can be deposited under the mentioning of human trafficking into NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE.

If you´d like to keep up with our work, then follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.




Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.


dry and dead! … or his life?

Ezekiel 37


This morning (March 29, 2015), I spoke in the Christian Congregation in Huizen. The night before, during a party at a good friend’s house, I’d been asked to speak, and at once this piece from Ezekiel 37, about the dry bones, came to my mind. So, that morning I talked about all these dry and dead parts and situations in our lives. Afterwards I had the opportunity to pray for several people and then it is so wonderful to see how God heals and sets free. Situations in people’s lives I didn’t know of, but God did. And finding the right words and speak them out and see how God breaks through in the life of that one person who’s been searching and wrestling for so long to survive. But God didn’t mean us to survive, but to live[i]. Where situations may put us down, and life seems to pass us by, He wants to come in with His life. It’s not about drawing a thick line under the past and just keep on trying to get on with your life that tackles you time and again, or that your past passes you for the umpteenth time, but you really need to come into a process of healing and restoration, because you invite Him into your situation, and when you ask Him to come there you’ll find Him there, too. Then you will always be able to get out of that situation to the place He had meant you to be. To receive His life and restoration and to pass it on.

On the way back to Amsterdam, I was driving along the A1 and the reversible lane near Muiden had just opened. Quickly, I decided to get onto it and the wonderful feeling one gets when one can move on and on the adjacent lanes everyone is just so slow… It really gives a kick, “Yesss….this is great, look at me just going like that!”. Do you know that feeling or am I the only one? I think we all recognise this in a certain way.
Immediately, there was the thought of those moments I had picked the wrong lane, or right after I passed by, the reversible lane opened – and everyone else passed me by with that yes-feeling. How angry, irritated or helpless I had sometimes felt at such moments. I really wanted to drive there, too, but there I was, in a traffic jam and completely stuck. I simply had to wait and wonder how long this would take. At times I had self-pity and hoped that a way would be cleared for me so I had a free passage. I think many of you will recognise this helpless feeling – and again I’m not the only one.

Reaching out your hand to someone else’s
In the years at the Wallen, I’ve met many women who – each in their own way – told me they had a feeling life passed them by. They were stuck on a road with a feeling they were standing still. Powerlessness, anger, disappointment, frustration and sadness often dominated. And sometimes they’d almost even given up hope, after a life full of survivals, that someone would turn up to clear the road to the real life. As I am writing this, a text message comes in on my cell phone: “Frits, the devil is coming to get me. Shit! Everyone is angry with me!” and the question that follows: “I think everyone is angry with me?” Of course, I immediately contacted her. We had a chat and made an appointment. Her life has been hell for many years and life seems to pass by, but when she can’t believe, I will do so for her and when she can’t fight anymore, I will.
Last week, a young Eastern European woman told me: “After having talked with you, I can get on for a while. It lifts me up beyond my circumstances.”
This is what we want to bring into the Red Light District: His life to those who can’t or don’t want to live anymore.
Do you happen to need this life? Invite Him into your pain and grief. He wants to come into your disappointments that block you so often. Listen to this song. And of course, you’re invited to contact me any time.


Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.itiny.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

Red Light: the Amsterdam attraction, but the hurt is the women’s.
Every time she saw me, she tried to get me in as a client



On Monday, March 16th, at 10 am, I had an appointment with her. After she hadn’t turned up at the time we had agreed upon, I phoned her and she proved to be still in bed. A quarter of an hour later, she called back, telling me she’d be around within ten minutes, but these turned out as Eastern European minutes and, thus, hey amply doubled. Somewhere in 2013, I got to know her in the Red Light; there she worked in the evenings and during the nights. Every time we passed her window, she tried to seduce me to become interested in having sex with her. And every time we explained to her that we weren’t interested in her body, or in having sex with her, but that we were genuinely interested in her as a person. She even offered, when business was real low, that we could amuse ourselves with her for a while, as friends. But after some time, she realised we were serious about her and occasionally we had some nice chats.
Last year, before the Summer, she told us she’d go back to her own country and not return again. We always hope this is truly the matter, because in many cases it is known they start working somewhere else. We absolutely grant them to be home with their family. But all at once, this February, she was back. Disappointed because she had to work again for a while as she couldn’t find a job back home.

Tax debt
Soon after, she asked me what to do with her taxes, because she had received a considerable tax demand. This morning, we quickly looked into it and I called the Tax Office. It caused quite a shock. We will surely pass the hundred thousand Euros. No taxes had been paid over 2012 up to and including 2014,

whereas she had been  paying an accountant, but the tax declaration had never been received by the office. This means that, on a short term, we will meet with the tax officer and receive a full overview. To many girls this means: “No news is good news”. In general, the girls aren’t able to read tax office letters, as they are in Dutch. We often see accountants circling around the prostitutes make it into a mess.

Tears about her wedding pictures

That morning, this lady also told me more about her life and showed pictures of her family and her wedding. As we looked at these pictures together, tears welled up in her eyes and she sat there, crying in silence. So clearly she saw the difference with how happy she looked in her gorgeous wedding dress and how she felt right now. Why exactly she left him didn’t get clear to me, but presently she works as a prostitute so she can take care of her two children. She’d love to quit this and to be with her children. Soon we will take a look into the possibilities, but first we’ll have a meeting with the tax revenue services.

Romania

Last week, I spent a couple of days in Romania. The main reason I was there was to talk with a lady of whom I think she might be a good contact. We expressed our mutual expectations and decided to move on together step by step. Besides, she had organised an interview that will be broadcast nationwide in Romania. We also had a good meeting with someone we already knew from last year. Now she works in a rescue for women and does a weekly street outreach to meet with prostitutes. It was good to see how she continued after we met last year and how she settled in.


In the evening, we went onto the street twice, for a short moment and had contact with a 25-year-old woman, a mother of two young children. As a gipsy, she simply won’t be found suitable for a job. The vacancies that are available will in the first place go to the Romanians. She finds it awful to work on the streets in the evenings, risking recognition and being a mum during daytime. We had quite a long talk with her and she was visibly touched when I gave her money for her children. Tears were in her eyes, starting to roll as my colleague gave her a hug.
Too quickly, we have made up our judgments on all these women, but behind all these so-called laughing faces, quite some hidden stories lie; stories hardly anyone shows interest for.

Recently, a woman who had stepped out in Amsterdam told me: “Frits, we are the Amsterdam tourist attraction. Everyone is profiting from us and thinks we all like this, but no-one really know us.”


Gifts may be deposited to NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 
in the name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE
(Your gift is tax-deductible! J J J )




Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet
This newsletter was translated by www.limwierde.nl/?page_id=137&lang=en_US
as a gift to Frits Rouvoet.
You are most welcome to visit the website for business opportunities.

Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.itiny.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.
The men have had their time for sensation and adventure – so now it’s time for justice!

In The Netherlands, the TV documentary Jojanneke in de prostitutie caused a great deal of controversy in the past few weeks. Even before the documentary was broadcast, proponents and those with an interest in and around the prostitution sector were able to tell that quite some misinformation was going to be broadcast.
And so, the first night, it hit the bull’s eye. So many things were tweeted and people elbowed each other out of the way by mutually confirming how one-sided the whole picture was being painted. Prostitutes who shared their story were called great actresses, just like the pimp who had been brought in view unrecognisably.
For those that didn’t see the series, this is the link. Certainly worth watching and – also when having done so already – to watch it again. In case this raised questions, or you’ve become interested in a presentation in your church, school or congregation, please contact us viafrits@fritsrouvoet.nl .
To us, the documentary offered a recognisable picture. Moreover, a number of prostitutes and a window owner told us the documentary showed a lot about the real life on De Wallen.
I hope this documentary will cause a public debate and that we will no longer accept girls and young women having to work in this degrading way. And that for those who claim they love the job so much, the abuses will be taken away, so they may continue their work as a free prostitute.
In the past few weeks I spoke with several girls and young women:
§  One of them told me how she – as a fourteen-year-old – had to spend the night with a client through an unlicensed escort service. The lady of the house was away with the children for a night and her hubby had ordered an underage girl. She told me how it was to lie down on the wife’s side of the bed and to watch a photograph of a happy family on the bedside table.
§  Another one told how she had been abused since her twelfth, had to work and to shanghai other girls. This all happened before her sixteenth birthday.
§  A woman presently in her thirties still remembers how awful it was to see an almost eighty-year-old man naked behind her in a mirror.
Last week we all could read about a sixteen-year-old girl who recently had had to receive eighty clients in a Valkenburg (upon river Geul) hotel room in a short period.[i] I find it awful to hear about people feeling sorry for these pitiful men who must be in a stew whether the police will knock at their doors. It would disrupt families. I really do pity the wives and children of these men, but in my opinion, they themselves are responsible for disrupting the relationships with their wives and children by taking risks. Recently, a man told me that the excitement and adventure were part of visiting a prostitute. The option of his wife being able to discover it was part of the excitement.
And here we are talking about an underage girl whose pimp was waiting on her in the toilet room. When a client wishes to have a wash he must notice… wouldn’t this ring a bell that things might not just be okay? What girl doing this out of free will has her boyfriend sitting on the toilet?
These men have had their time for sensation and adventure – so now it’s time for justice!
Prostitution facilitates human trafficking and if we don’t stop the first, we won’t be able to stop the latter. You may wonder how it will work out for that single free and happy prostitute? They might do well to unite and not just only on Twitter by criticising and be set against everything in unison. For example, a trade union that stands for the interests of this group and think along to fight the abuses – and in this cooperates with all parties standing around the prostitution sector.
In case of willingness to congratulate us with our tenth anniversary, we would of course appreciate that – especially if you think of surprising us with a present.
Hint:

A Euro for every anniversary: € 10.= per person. Via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail I have a reach of 5,500 people; this times ten is an amount we could use very well.

Gifts may be deposited to NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12 
in the name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE
Your gift is tax-deductible
Jacqueline and Frits Rouvoet






Translated for Blood & Fire by www.limwierde.itiny.nl We provide translation, editing, language training and teaching. Please, visit our website.

I can only think of one thing which is: “I hate men and will never ever get married.”
On February 22, I wrote the following:
“A client told her he also had a nineteen-year-old daughter.”
Dear people, sometimes I wish you were all able to walk along with me and hear and see. We daily hear such hard and sad stories. This afternoon, too.
In our office, I’ve been talking with a nineteen-year-old girl. She was so exhausted. She couldn’t grasp that she had a 42-year-old man as a client this week, the same age as her father. The man told her he also had a nineteen-year-old daughter. He was proud of her, how well she was doing at school and in her sports.

“How can this be, Frits,” she said, “that he is doing this with me and moments later he will be sitting at the table with his own daughter?”
She let it happen, as much as possible with her eyes closed.
She visited a friend, an ample four months ago, who persuaded her to try it out as a prostitute. She doesn’t understand how stupid she must have been then. About three weeks ago, I met her for the first time and already then she told me how hard she found talking with her parents now. Because there was this huge secret between them. That time, she told so much, she kept on talking. Every now and then some tears, mingled with her make-up shed down her cheeks. Last Monday, we had a very long talk in our office. But afterwards I didn’t manage to get hold of her by phone and didn’t see her anymore.
This afternoon, I’ve been past her window at least four times, together with Eus Ekelmans. And that last time, she just went outside. We had a long conversation in our office, the three of us. She told us that our recent conversations had made her make her mind up and decide to fly home the Monday after. She hoped she would be able to draw a thick line under this period and to pick up life again back home. But there was a lot of fear in her, too. On a regular basis, she dreamt of her clients and when dreaming, she also talked. She was so afraid her mother was going to hear this. She also spent long times under the shower, trying to get rinse away that dirty feeling, but she never succeeded. Sometimes, when someone walked by, wearing a particular smell, it immediately reminded her of that one client. (What do you mean by clean prostitution?)

We prayed together, I sat next to her and she put her head on my shoulder. When we had kept quiet for a while, I think she would have fallen asleep, just like that. We agreed we would see her again the next day, otherwise next Monday. And in future, we will regularly keep in touch.
As I wrote before I saw her again in the Amsterdam Red Light District and we often have a good contact. Only recently I heard more from her. Her mother had been needing surgery, at a high cost. As a Romanian family, they would never be able to gather so much money under normal circumstances. The mother really needed this operation, otherwise her life would soon be over. As a daughter, she decided to work in the prostitution sector for eight months, via a friend, and so earn the money together. At a certain moment, her mother was able to undergo surgery, and is a healthy woman again. But she also found out how her daughter had grasped the money together – and now she’s working for a new house, a car and for her brother’s education. She’s been behind the windows for over two years and the other day she asked me: “Frits, am I a normal person? Is there any chance I can lead a normal life? I once had a dream, but it’s gone now. I wanted to marry, have children and a common life as a family. But now, I hate men this much that I know I will never ever get married.”
It is such a contrast to the girl when standing behind the window. A sturdy, confident prostitute. Just turned 21, she is a normal girl with normal dreams in an abnormal situation.



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