I like to add some history to my blog about prostitution in the Netherlands. It seems that throughout history nearly all prostitutes have been slaves, but only in the 1960s there seems to have been a revolution where the situation turned somewhat for the better.
From the book"Het Amsterdams Hoerdom - Prostitutie in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw" [The Whoredom of Amsterdam - Prostitution in the eighteenth and nineteenth century] (Lotte van der Pol, 1996).
First a short explanation: playhouses [speelhuizen in Dutch] are brothels where also music is played. The prostitution doesn't take place in the playhouses themselves. Most brothels weren't playhouses. But there was an overlap between different forms. Prostitutes often worked in different kind of brothels at the same time.
Lotte van der Pol also refers to the seventeenth century book written by an anonymous person: T'Amsterdamsch hoerdom. Behelzende de listen en streken, daar zich de hoeren en hoere-waardinnen van dienen; benevens der zelver maniere van leeven, dwaaze bygeloovigheden, en in 't algemeen alles 'tgeen by dese juffers in ghebruick is (1681). It contains a lot of information about prostitution in Amsterdam at that time, Lotte van der Pol considers it to be very reliable.
Page 34 (quote):
In the period of the late middle aged regulation there existed a word for pimp: in many keuren [~laws] ‘poytier’ exists in this meaning. In the early modern period a separate word for pimp is absent. During this period there is a clear unwillingness to view men as actively involved in the organization of prostitution: women, not men were viewed as the instigators of this evil. But also the type of the pimp seems to be rare in reality. In some occasions a ‘hoerenbeschermer’ [protector of prostitutes] appears before court, paid by kruishoeren [street prostitutes] to assist them in times of emergency. And in the eighteenth century some prostitutes have a man whom they call their ‘liefste’ [sweetheart], with whom they lived together and who lived of their earnings. In general no large and clear role was granted to him in prostitution during this period.Page 87 (quote):
Successful landladies had little problems finding a man, what turns out from the fact that whore-landlords were often younger, often many years younger than the landladies with whom they lived. The earnings of prostitution from a whorehouse were the business of the landlady; this form of procuration after all was women’s labour, just like keeping supervision over female personnel and the retail trade. (…) The role of the landlord was supposed to be limited to server of beverages and bouncer of difficult clients. That the landlord in fact lived of the earnings of his wife, and in a certain way this involved tainted money, was humiliating for the man. Men who were accused of being a whore-landlord, often testify before court that they knew nothing of it and were not involved in it, because the housekeeping and therefore the whore-housekeeping only concerned their wife.Page 120 (quote):
It regularly occurred that a woman left a whorehouse for a man who wanted to keep her as a mistress [he wanted to ‘maiteneren’ her in Dutch, like maitenee in French]. In most cases he had to ‘release’ [‘lossen’ in Dutch], that is to pay off her debts.Page 199 (quote):
The confession books in this period [1578-1650] paint a picture of prostitution which is small-scale and yet not much professionalized, and of prostitutes who operated fairly independently.Page 214 (quote):
Also orphans enjoyed special protection by the city. The mayors after all had the [in old Dutch] ‘supreme guardianship over widows and orphans’ and swore an oath at taking up office that they would shield and protect [in old Dutch] ‘the city’s gates, widows and orphans’. When a child was abandoned by the parents, the formula was used in which the [in old Dutch] ‘Gentlemen Mayors have accepted the child’ and that [in old Dutch] ‘on the order of the Gentlemen Mayors’ it was taken to the Aalmoezeniershuis [Chaplain’s house]. The government took the position of the parents and ‘debauching’ a girl from a orphanage was taken very seriously. The government was involved with the two municipal orphanages, the Burgerweeshuis [Civilian Orphanage] and the Aalmoezeniersweeshuis [Chaplain’s orphanage], where the children resided from the poorest families and the families least rooted in Amsterdam. (…)Page 223 (quote):
The protection of girls who still lived in an orphanage, seems to have been reasonably effective. The many poor and orphaned chaplain’s girls could have been an easy prey for prostitution, but judging from the confession books the whore-landladies left them alone, like they also didn’t want to burn their fingers on girls with a family in the city.
One of the most important instruments the government had at its disposal in her battle, was striking the industry in it’s capital. When the seventeenth century whorehouses were continuously ‘interrupted’ and routed, the prostitution businesses stayed small. Because of the high chance of raids and forced relocations it was not responsible to make investments; furthermore a large business escapes less from the attention of the law than a small one. When the playhouses came into fashion, around 1675, the government mostly left these businesses and their landlords alone. Only the prostitutes were arrested. This led to big businesses which operated very openly; this period therefore had been a bloom of prostitution.Page 223-224 (quote):
It was much more effective to hit the whore-landladies and landlords rather than the prostitutes. The large-scale arrests of prostitutes in playhouses in the last quarter of the seventeenth century hardly helped to decrease prostitution, especially when the girls were lightly punished and quickly returned to business. The organizers had more means at their disposal to withdraw from persecution than prostitutes, and the first did their utmost best to shift the risks to the last.Page 272 (quote):
Until 1670 it often occurred that a house where prostitutes lived, was more like a ‘dishonourable sleeping house’ than a brothel. Prostitutes were less personally committed to a landlady and prostitution was in general less professional in character. The prostitute therefore had more freedom and could more easily leave the life.Page 282 (quote):
In the better playhouses they were only admitted when they were beautifully dressed, but not rarely they had gotten themselves into debts at a whore-landlady for those clothes. This person therefore didn’t lose sight of them, and many prostitutes only went to the playhouses under the guidance of the landlady or her maid.Page 300-301 (quote):
The theme of debts runs like a red thread through the history of prostitution. Perhaps even more than dire poverty this comes forward as a reason to prostitute and as an obstruction to stop. This is also true for early modern Amsterdam. The whore-landlady had the connections which were necessary to acquire customers and could offer the protection to actually let them pay. But the most important capital was equipment. The landlady distinguished herself from the prostitute because she had money or credit. With that she could hire a house or acquire things like food and clothes, but it especially brought her into the position to lend a whore money or to take over her debt. A woman who was pregnant, could give birth in a whorehouse; a woman who was ill, could be nursed there; who was unemployed, could bridge the time there until a new employment. Sooner or later the bill had to be paid off later through prostitution.Page 301 (quote):
Debts were also built up at the beginning of a life as a whore, for the acquirement of clothes and adornment. Beautiful clothes were required as professional garment, but were for girls from the poorer sections of the population at the same time an important temptation to become a prostitute. Clothes were actually very expensive and the debts which were made this way, could only be paid off with big efforts.Page 302 (quote):
Many whores handed over all their earnings to pay off their debts or in order that the landlady would provide them clothes. (…) Especially young and novice prostitutes tell that they themselves earned little or nothing. Their inexperience will have played tricks on them; at the same time most money could be earned from novices.
For instance, in the years 1692-1694 the following amounts of debt were given [in the confession books]: 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 30, 40, 40 to 57 and 87 guilders. In half of the cases this was more than the annual pay of a housemaid. (…)Page 305 (quote):
The debts caused that the prostitutes were in the power of the whore-landladies, who - with debt included - then could also sell (‘lossen’) them off to another landlady or landlord. Aaltje van Arnhem, taken from the whore-basement of Anna Vlam in the Wijde Kapelsteeg, told that [in old Dutch] ‘companian last Sunday is released [‘lossen’] and then went to the whorehouse on the Zeedijk at Magteld [they probably mean Magteld as a madam]’. The court then asked [in old Dutch] ‘what is meant by saying to be released [‘gelost’]’, where Aaltje answered ‘that Magteld paid for her debt to the landlord and landlady.’ More often in these cases with these transactions the words ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ were used: the woman whom was released for 60 guilders [‘gelost’], was bought [‘gekogt’] a month earlier for 80 guilders. These were normal transactions to satisfy the demand for new faces. The female whore-contractors [hoerenbesteedsters] who didn’t keep women for themselves but who only mediated, received a commission for this which simply was added again to the debt of the girls.
The method of coercion to prostitute was nearly always the debt of the whore to the landlady, and lending money was obviously not punishable. According to Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom the women who were in the power of the landlady through debts never succeeded to get out on their own accord: they had to be able to flee, or else find a man who wanted to purchase their freedom, in the words of this book [in old Dutch] ‘that they can grab an idiot by the leg, who redeems the debt, and then fulfils all that is necessary, to have a stinking pisshole for themselve alone.’Page 305 (not a quote) !!!!:
The debts were recognized by the government.Page 306 (quote):
When in 1762 the German [Johann] Beckmann in all kinds of playhouses asked the girls about their dishonourable life, he got the standard answer that the girls migrated to family members in Amsterdam but that they had diseased and thereafter ended up in the hands of whore-landladies through debts [Kernkamp G.W., ‘Johan Beckmann’s dagboek van zijne reis door Nederland in 1762’, Bijdragen en Mededeelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 33 (1912), pp. 311-473]. This seems to have become a fixed point of excuse, but indeed the debts seem to have been viewed as something obvious in the eighteenth century.Page 307 (quote):
In prostitution clothes have played an important role. Especially through clothes and other adornment prostitutes have gotten into debt. Beautiful clothes belonged to the standard outfit, the labour capital of the prostitute. In the property inventories among the poorest groups of Delft in the eighteenth century, beautiful clothes were found among prostitutes. The clothes were an important bait to seduce women to prostitution. A girl from the common people possessed over a limited wardrobe, with until late in the eighteenth a simple brown or black skirt. She could never afford the beautiful clothes, cheerful colours and adornment of the women of the higher classes which she saw continuously; even a cheep imitation of this fashion was beyond her reach. Articles of clothes of any kind were too expensive but were also of a quality that was very endurable.Page 308 (quote):
The system of debts through clothes stayed in vogue until the end of the nineteenth century; supposedly this came to an end with the fabrics becoming cheaper and the rise of the confection-industry, which caused a greater variety of nice clothes coming within the reach of ordinary women.Page 312 (quote):
Such an expensive outfit seems only to have come into fashion with the development of the playhouses. Until 1680 only two times the acquirement of clothes was mentioned, from 1680 onwards this is mentioned many times.Page 314 (quote):
The tabbaards, samaren and fontanges [very strange Dutch words for some clothing!!!] attracted the most attention of contemporaries and the law, but because of the costs will likely not have belonged to the standard dress of the prostitute. Also Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom describes aside from those who pretend to be ladies, many ‘conventionally’ [burgerlijk] dressed whores, even dressed like woman farmers, so that many types of people were attracted.Page 326 (quote):
Within a whorehouse it seems that only one are a couple of clients a day or even per week were received. The organization and association with a client costs a lot of time in itself: often a woman had to be brought over, there was dancing, drinking and eating together, and sometimes the man slept over the whole night or dated the same girl for several days.Page 329 (quote):
Paedophilic wishes of clients stay in the dark, rarely prostitutes were rarely found who were younger than fifteen years. Child prostitution on any scale has not been there, although there are also stories, rumours and accusations which suspect that things like that did exist.Page 336 (quote):
The travel stories of the second half of that [seventeenth] century report that visitors on entry of a playhouse were given a bottle of wine of one guilder, whether one drinks it or not. A prostitute had the task to entice a man to drink and to drink as much on his cost herself; a good whore, who brings in lots of money in is able to [in old Dutch] ‘awfully drink’ according to Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom.Page 339-340 (quote):
The 6 to 8 guilders which an average prostitute must have earned per week, were approximately equal to the weekly income of a schooled labourer in Amsterdam and two or three times as much as a woman with equal labour could have earned. After reduction of board and contribution to the landlady she could have saved up a couple of guilders per week; yearly some 100 to 150 guilders, three to five times the annual pay of a housemaid. Many prostitutes had debts, and then the question remains if one saved money in this milieu. Het Amsterdamsch Hoerdom writes that the whores spend the earned money very easily, an observation that can also be found in nineteenth and twentieth century prostitution research.Page 351 (quote):
To give the guest what they came for – and what they had read about -, investments were made in the rent of spaces and musicians, in the acquisition of furniture, clothes and adornment. These investments have professionalized the prostitution business and thrown the prostitution into debt.From ‘Het Mysterie van de Verdwenen Bordelen’ [The mystery of the disappeared brothels]
A short explanation: Ottho Gerhard Heldring was a countryside reverend and founded the Heldring-foundations after a visit in 1847 to the only female prison in the Netherlands in Gouda (p. 103). He was shocked to see how young women were recruited for prostitution; the young women were in prison together with madams (p. 103). He opened Asyl Steenbeek in Zetten to shelter fallen women (not only prostitutes) (p. 110). The daily direction was under Petronella Voûte (p. 111). Heldring died in 1876 and in the beginning of 1877 he was followed by Hendrik Pierson (p. 129). On April 14th 1877 Asyl Steenbeek was destroyed in a fire which also killed Petronella Voûte (p. 123). It was rebuilt.
Page 117-118 (quote):
Fortunately for Heldring he knew less doubt in other respects - and more public support. Like this, he succeeded in 1859 to touch a tender spot by comparing the fate of prostitutes empathically with those of female slaves. (…) His brochure with the title the rhetorical question Is er nog slavernij in Nederland? [Is there still slavery in the Netherlands?] has since then gained a certain fame, not only because of the signal function, but also because of the political effect that it did reach this time. Once again it evolved around debt [in Dutch the word for debt and guilt is the same] and punishment, but this time in a totally different meaning.Page 152 (quote) [Hendrik Pierson responds to a law which obligated brothel keepers, in the presence of mayor or one of his servants, to announce to the women what kind of work they would be doing]:
‘The debt’, that was the sum which the prostitute usually owed to the female brothel keeper, the ‘punishment’ was the slave existence which she was condemned to because of that. Some five years before Jacob van Lennep let Klaasje Zevenster fall in such a trap, Heldring in the meantime - based on the ‘adventures and messages of asylists’ in Steenbeek - paints the dramatic scenario: young daughter is brought by procuress on the wrong path, cast off the parental home, ‘miss’ – not miss Voûte, but a Mama Canaille – takes care of her, puts her into ‘the finest outfits’, ‘the good woman lends everything’, but immediately it turns out that those ‘splendour of clothes’ are the first chain in the slave chain, not only is she now served to ‘the rich sophisticated lecher’, but also her debt increases steadily, because everything costs money, board and lodging, clothing and laundry, reparations and medical examination, everything two to three times the normal price, so that the repayment of debt, escaping the slave chain is impossible, or one of those rich sophisticated lechers had to buy her freedom, that mostly means being abused as a private slave, or another madam wants to take her over, after which there is bargaining over her like over a head of cattle, and she continues her slave existence in another brothel, and after a while another brothel again, right until she is becoming old and worn-out and has no value anymore and becomes discarded, and eventually wins her freedom, the freedom to suffer like a beggar woman or a vagrant. ‘That such a traffic in people exists (…) [(…) in book ‘Het mysterie….’] in the civilized Netherlands,’ concludes Heldring formally, ‘that is irresponsible.’
From his Steenbeek experience he knew which ‘magic power’ the brothel keeper ‘or even more the brothelkeepster’ exerted over a ‘pensionnaire’, to let her say what the mayor wants to hear. No, the only ones who could henceforth find ‘a support in the law’, that were the brothel keepers themselves. Their profession was now, unfortunately, lawfully recognized.Page 214-215 (quote):
At the suggestion of the medical practitioner A. Voûte it was decided that there should be started a detailed investigation into the nature and size of prostitution, and most importantly – for the first time in the nation – by the members of the city council [of Amsterdam] itself. Aside from Voûte and colleague-physician C.F.J. Blooker also Fabius and J.G. Schölvinck, two of the eleven initiators, and P. Nolting were appointed into the committee.From “Kuisheid voor mannen, vrijheid voor vrouwen” [chastity for men, freedom for women] by Petra de Vries (1997)
If even the establishment of the council committee is already remarkable, because of the ambitious method of working, her research report became all the more special. Figures provided by the police and register (of birth, death and marriages), were completed with information by the middernachtzendelingen [midnight missionaries]. Also some members of the committee set off themselves, dropping by in the brothels, armed with questionnaires in French, the mother language of most prostitutes working there. (…)
This way it took the committee more than a year, but her conclusion presented on January 20th 1897, was quite explicit. ‘The public houses of debauchery should disappear,’ was her unanimous verdict. The underlying line of reasoning was bunched into one emotionally trembling sentence: ‘that continuing the brothels means continuing the degrading traffic in women; continuing the aggravating temptation to the vilest forms of debauchery; continuing eventually the dependency bordering slavery, where the fellow [wo]men are brought and kept by the scum of society.’
It especially were the answers of prostitutes which made the biggest impression on the members of the committee. The labour circumstances in the brothels, with their dictatorial governesses, their lying placeurs and their fixed high prices for all kinds of things, were the sheerest exploitation; (…)
In the autumn of 1901 the policeman J. Balkenstein, a man who was sympathetic towards the work of the Middernachtzending [Midnight mission], went for a visit to the brothels of Amsterdam. This remarkable step was connected to the assignment he got from the Nationaal Comité [National Committee] to do research into ‘the nature and size’ of the problem of traffic in women and children. Under the cover of ‘client’ he held conversations with prostitutes, as policeman he followed the trails of certain suspected ‘employers’, ‘placeurs’ and ‘traffickers’, and he personally helped to set girls free from brothels where they had ended up against their will. He laid down the result of his efforts in a detailed report that can be viewed as a unique historical document about women trafficking around 1900. The research had a strong empirical character where clearly the hand of the policeman, used to objective descriptions of ‘cases’, could be recognized, and where without much ideological trimmings an answer came to the question which frustrated the abolitionists: how it was actually possible that deceived girls not immediately made a U-turn when they noticed they had ended up in a brothel. The report Balkenstein for instance showed how young, minor French girls through deception and false documents ended up in the luxurious brothel Maison Weinthal in Amsterdam, how the women were intimidated, how many of them in the so-called closed brothels practically rarely or never came outside and that some had no clothes to show themselves on street, how indifferently the police responded on violence against the women. Also what nowadays is called ‘trauma’ resounded, some women didn’t even know that something like a brothel existed before they ended up there; in one cases there was a girl that continuously ‘wept’ and with the help of other women knew literally to escape. A tried and tested method seems to have been to instil fear for the police into the woman, especially because her ‘documents’ were not in order. In connection with this several abolitionists later noticed the same female weakness: “Every woman, but especially an uncivilized one has a natural fright for ‘papers and documents’”From ‘Het rosse leven en sterven van de Zandstraat’ [Red Light living and dying of the Zandstraat] (M.J. Brusse, originally 1912, second edition of 1917, with illustrations)
The report by Balkenstein was because of delicacy towards the Dutch government, which had ‘granted such a loyal collaboration’, not published, but it nevertheless gained through the French and German translations large international fame. For the abolitionists the report was important for political propaganda, because it now definitively was demonstrated that in the whole of Europe there existed an ‘organized traffic’.
Short explanation: this is a very interesting book about the old Zandstraat of Rotterdam where much prostitution took place. Much information comes from an old major of the police and a detective who gives a tour. With the “Polder” they probably mean the area of the Zandstraat.
Page 9: [according to M.J. Brusse]
I have seen many old madam, who has trained who knows how many innocent girls, lisp about Juliaantje [crown princess of the Netherlands at that time] with tears in their eyes.Page 22:
And old major of the police told me about the past of den Polder:Page 26: [according to the major]
“In 77 I made my first walk in the Zandstraat, and since then I have walked there for years, but never suffered a blow or punch. Because there it was after all always pleasant. And when it was sometimes necessary, you could do with a big mouth a lot more than with a sabre or pen and ink for a booking.
But the miserable disgrace of pimps was totally unknown right then, and thus also the blackmail and the robbery!Page 29: [according to the major]
“But what’s the worst? – Yes, how did it go in earlier years? Then it especially were girls, who were too lazy to work, and from their own free will would rather work in de Zandstraat. Nowadays it is often those young day-maids and factory girls, which you didn’t have in my time. They are free in the evening, then go dancing in the Zandstraat, as if it isn’t a disgrace anymore for a middle class daughter. How many parents still follow the movements of their children stringently enough? How many children are still disturbed by that stringent supervision, by the hour of coming how in the evening? – Just as long until it’s too late, and they fall into the hands of these unscrupulous loafers, whose only goal is to train such girls, so that they will soon earn a living for them in disgrace...”Page 44-46 [according to the inspector]:
And the smart Polder characters are observant on the foolishness of many parents, who sometimes very quickly put the catch on the door, and for once don’t let their lawless daughter for one night, to her punishment! – You have those pimp-types, who make a system from that. At first they pose as the most honourable gallants, who want to start a “decent courtship”; speaking of wedding plans, like real “seducers”, of whom you read a lot in episode novels… But during dancing they make it later and later… Until father finally boiling over with anger roars from the upper window: “Jaan, well I’ll be darned, you just stay outside tonight!”Page 61-63 [according to the inspector]:
Thèn the loafer has his way… Accommodation enough for the night in all those lodgings and rendezvous of the Polder, for such cast off sheep and her protectors. Or if the girl doesn’t want it yet, you’ll have beer and a gentle mom there, who tenderly takes care of such a minor girl in her knipje [brothel], be it up there in a empty room. And mom, be it Belze Jeanette or Scheele Dien, promises it by selling her soul for it, that she will never betray the lost daughter, if Jaan then will “verkotst” [vomits out?] it to nobody, what she in case will see in mom’s little business and… experiences herself, in case.
But as a rule the chivalrous gallant proposes to do the things with each other, and in the meantime live in such a furnished little home on the Polder, while waiting for all the fiddling about to get married as soon as possible… That’s mostly the normal procedure. The boy at the moment doesn’t make one penny though – he is a stereotypical “loswerkman” [loose worker?] – but ah, there drops something off every once in while [?], when he is with his buddies…
Until the first consequences of living together come, which bind the girl even closer to her “guy”, and when he slowly starts with the drilling, to toughen up her feeling of shame, with the help usually of his own bad buddies, or with threats and violence. Because that’s the intention. It started for no other reason, than that she, the earlier the better, makes a living for him, and preferable a lot and nicely. For that purpose he drives his sweetheart on de Blaak; even follows her on the opposite side.... And if she doesn’t have enough guts, in the beginning; not shamelessly fulfils her task, which he trained her to do, then there will be hell to pay during the night… But as a rule the method has been put to the test, and within a week or something he can let her solicit the streets on or own; she regularly brings the tax home, which he imposed on her…
Than the Polder population has been supplemented with another smart prostitute. And ah, under the same leadership, under the familiar traffic with pickpockets, ladenlichter [I believe they mean people who steal from drawers], kwartjesvinders [quarter finders], thieves and burglars – where the guild of pimps goes along with, among things for pastime outside the Polder, when they walk schaailoos [???], because their girls are after all occupied on the home, - ah, in that criminal environment the transition from prostitution to robbing the clients is often just only one step.
If her “guy” sometimes is apprehended for an unfortunate blow [they mean criminal act] and mostly put away for years, well then she usually mourns and whines for a little while because of his misery and her want for cruel love violence, - but among the buddies there are enough to comfort her and maintain the business on an equal footing. But it’s just a phenomenon, that the buddies among each other – be it concealed then in the letters to the prison – take over the sweethearts during that period, for the ones who have to serve their time in prison once again. Every once in a while the girl stays loyal in as far that she doesn’t choose a steady substitute, but independently, or together with a girlfriend, goes living in a semi-furnished room, to run her own business until he is released again. Or that some madam temporarily “rents her a room”, as it is called since the ban on brothels, until her “guy” is released then again… But as a rule is the servile need for male “support” in the life so uncontrollable, that today or tomorrow she will take “temporary help” all along. And so grows the detestable pimphood – especially after the implementation of the proposal of – Van Staveren – even more alarmingly: and truly not only in the Polder! Because the abolition of brothels drives the women mostly into seeking “protection” with this kind of men.
(…) But those dirty guys complete wrap in such a girl, and sometimes it is like they are enchanted by those pimps.“Kind onder de hoeren – Herinneringen uit de rosse buurt van Amsterdam van 1913-1937” [child among the whores – Memories from the red light district of Amsterdam from 1913-1937] (Nel Hoenderdos, 1976)
“You have among them, of these loafers, mostly in the age between eighteen and twenty-four – you would send them your own daughter to hear her confession. Nicely dressed, decent face sometimes, very respectable in talking, if they want to. Because there are of all kinds of ranks in the Polder; of well-known families, real gentlemen, who are just lazing and debauching on the earnings of such a poor girl. And you don’t understand what that these young kids like about them; what these pimps have, where they become so crazy about, these girls. But the police keeps their eye on it, and as soon as we see these innocent girls talking with these pea jackets, they are warned and informed.
“Because such guys, those are the biggest danger. There are among them, of whom we know, that they have brought some five, six girls in a row from outside the Polder in prostitution. It’s a factory of prostitutes; and then those masses of prostitutes. But during recent time they are fortunately taken away from the destruction by the government… Ah, and for the girls themselves, when they eventually live together which such a pimp, then usually nothing can be done about it anymore. Then they are so completely spun in; sometimes by love, sometimes out of fear, mostly by both at the same time. Because it happens often enough, that they will complain about their distress at the vice police… A girl: black Sien, a young girl still, has even told, that that Macaroni demanded five guilders every evening, or she will get a beating without mercy. But that’s not enough yet. If she has sometimes been with gentlemen, with married ones especially, then he demands from Sientje, that she will extort money from them, for example some fifty guilders, - or else that he will visit their homes. And Sientje doesn’t want that, she’s too decent for that. But what must she do know? Because that Macaroni has her completely in his power. She doesn’t dare running away from him, so scared to death and still so very much in love they seem to be with such a guy.
And a wonderful means of these loafers to make the girls crazy: these are the dance houses, - “What’s the fuzz about a little dance?” – is what these day maids, those factory workers, ironers, and all these young kids think, who are free in the evening. Dancing is fun; is done at every opportunity, at every party and in all circles? – But the pernicious of dancing here is, that it lures girls of sometimes only fourteen or fifteen years into the Polder, among the Polder population, in a whirling and swaying with prostitutes, with seamen under influence, who expect nobody else than prostitutes; and with those cunning bird-watchers: the pimps! Because for every one of them dancing is after all not a goal: but only a means to the worst moral evil…”
Short explanation: Nel Hoenderdos grew up in the red light district of Amsterdam.
Those beautiful ladies, these whores had only little money. They received a lot but only an awful bit remained for themselves. They were on the half, that means that the whore madam, who rented or bought the room, immediately took half of the earnings already. Then they nearly all had a so-called protector who regularly claimed a large proportion of the remainder to try to cut a dash with it. This way these caged women, these white slaves had nearly nothing themselves.“Doden spreken niet – Veertig onopgeloste moorden” [The dead don’t speak – forty unsolved murders] (A.C. Baantjer, 1981) [Baantjer worked as an inspector in the RLD of Amsterdam since 1955 for 38 years]
Prostitution is a simple business with little exploitation costs and relatively high earnings. It should be expected, that many prostitutes should belong to the class of comfortable circumstances. Nothing is further from the truth. Most of them are penniless and live from one day to the next. They spend their money as quickly as they earn it. And often even quicker. Furthermore there are plenty of competitors. Shrewd madams/brothel keepsters and clever pimps are outstanding examples of profiteers. They manoeuvre the prostitutes, mostly in a position, where you cannot speak of independent exploitation. She is being exploited. Of the high earnings factually only little remains for the perpetrator of debauchery.Main