Radio Netherlands Worldwide

SSO Login

More login possibilities:

Close
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
Home
Wednesday 30 July  
Joey, hooker in Utrecht
Ashleigh Elson's picture
Map
Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands

What's it like to be a hooker?

Published on : 21 January 2008 - 11:14am | By Ashleigh Elson (photo (c) ANP)
More about:

Joey - it's not her real name - is in her thirties. She has short blonde hair, blue eyes and a great body, of course. She’s been a prostitute for six years. It's a legal profession now in the Netherlands.

'Joey' rents a room in the central Dutch city of Utrecht - in the local Red Light district, which is not a district really - it's actually a row of houseboats, lined up along a canal.

When Joey's 'on the job' she has her curtains closed. But as RNW’s Ashleigh Elson rode her little pink bike up to the boats, she found Joey standing in her open door, with her hand on her hip, soliciting customers.

Listen to the interview

 

Ashleigh's first question to Joey: what’s the correct terminology for what you do?

“For me it’s all the same, it doesn’t matter what kind of word you use. It’s a hooker and it’ll stay a hooker [hahaha]. But you have hookers and hookers. A real hooker, of course, is a girl who f**ks everybody aroud for no money…”

How does it work?

“You rent this room for seven days a week; you work two shifts: day time and night time. I rent it during the day and have to pay 500 euros.”

Do you set your own prices for the customers or is that determined by whoever owns the place?

“Everyone decides their own prices. It’s mostly 50 euros, but a lot of girls charge extra for touching or taking off their bra.”

And does 'it' have a certain time duration?

“Between ten and 15 minutes.”

Is that the average time it takes for a guy to get in and out?

“Sometimes, it takes a little bit longer, sometimes a little bit less. But if you go for the ten minutes, then most of the time, people don’t come back, so I’ll [work it] for the full 15 minutes.”

Do you pretty much get to choose what you do and what you don’t do?

“Everybody decides for themselves what they do. What I think is very important is doing everything safe.”

Can you describe your room for me?

“I must say the room looks quite terrible. I got it just a week ago and I want to make it look a little bit nicer, but there’s a bed in it, which I guess is the most important thing [hahaha]. And there's a toilet, a bath and I want to buy a television so you can put the porn channel on it. And if it’s not so busy on the streets, then I can watch TV.”

Is this pretty standard? You haven’t got a double bed really, it’s like a single bed…

“Yes, the office put it in, but the only thing you have to bring yourself are some sheets and towels, condoms and that kind of thing, which you have to buy yourself.”

Do you have incredibly high laundry bills? You must have to wash a lot of sheets…

“Every two days, I take it home with me and when I come back the next time, I put it in my locker. I just wash it with my own laundry [hahaha].”

So, for you this is totally normal. It doesn’t make you uncomfortable at all…

“Not anymore, no. At first, it did. I sometimes used to cry too. Now, it depends. If I come into my room first I have to transform into 'Joey', forget everything and then it’s OK. But when I’m free, then everything goes like pfffffff [makes a breeze-like sound].”

In Amsterdam, they’re closing down a third of the prostitution 'windows'. Are you worried that the same thing will happen in Utrecht?

“No, I’m not worried, because the problem in Amsterdam is the licences: there’s criminal money involved, whereas here, everything is legal and everyone pays taxes.”

Do you pay taxes?

“Yep, I’m not happy about it, but I have to.”

Even though it’s all cash?

“I have my bookkeeping over here, which I keep in my locker. If tax people come to inspect, I have to show them. So that’s why I’m not afraid that this is going to get closed down, because it’s all well organised here.”

Is there a friendship between the girls who work here, or is it all competitive?

“To be honest, I’m not here to make friends. I’m just doing my job.”

Do you like the job?

“I do it for the money.”

So is the money pretty good then?

“If you do your job well, yes, then you can make nice money, but when it comes to fun, no.”

So why did you get into it?

“Problems. It’s a difficult question to answer, but it was necessary. The alternative would have been even more problems. I’m now in the business and want to save a bit of money and then stop.”

What do you want to do when you stop?

“I used to have my nail salon, before that I was a hairdresser. I want to make money and start a shop of my own, everything in one. I have my diplomas, so I can start when I’m ready [finished, ed.] with this.”

Do you have a family outside of this?

“I have a son and a boyfriend, and that’s very difficult, the combination with this job. Particularly for my son, who’s 16. He knows. I told him, because it’s better that he hears it from me than from someone else.”

What does he think about it?

“He’s not happy about it, but he knows why I’m doing it. But I can’t wait for the day that I say goodbye."

How long do you think it’s going to be?

“I think one year and then it’s the end, a happy end…”

 

* * *

Listen to the full report on prostitution in the Netherlands, broadcast as part of Curious Orange in January 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Related content

Discussion

ronnie 12 June 2014 - 8:42am / usa

I think for this interview bargaining sex work can be productive and don't worry be happy!

m.R. 17 February 2013 - 3:31pm / Belgium

Cool interview!
For those who are interested in more news of red light district, check this site: http://amsterdamredlightdistricttour.com/news_

Really cool!

Anonymous 6 February 2013 - 2:47pm

.

Peter-hovenaar 2 March 2012 - 1:19pm / Netherlands

I have seen a youtube movie i think this short clip will be a additional feature to this artical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A--gjbah_Sg

Andei Yudin 19 May 2011 - 4:44pm / russia

I guess,most of prostututes in your country,if not almost all,are already not Dutch in origin.They come from underdeveloped countries,such as african,asian,latinamerican ones,ukraine,russia etc.Stop telling rubbish about all that "forced prostitution",it's not true in almost all cases.Persons who send women to your country to work as prostitutes are engaged in the business,they spend their money and they don't want their business to be persecuted by your police.Only one complaint to the police can ruin all their business.So they are not at all interested in forcing women to prostitution.Forcing women to prostitution at a large scale is possible only if your police receives money from those persons who force women to prostitution.That closing the prostitute "windows" is aimed at lifting the prices.All that noise about "forced prostitution" is occasionally done by your police and some other officials in media to get more money from prostitutes and their souteneurs.

Post new comment

Please be reminded all comments must be in English, short and to the point - guideline 250 words. Abusive and inappropriate comments will be removed.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

RNW on Facebook

RNW Player

Video highlights

Ladies on the move
RNW is keen on featuring inspiring women in our target countries, women who...
What about men?
In many countries, men don't stick around to raise their children. This is...