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There is a story on these girls in the guardian. Interesting the stuff in that article and not in this one....|
"I was beaten on to the streets by my husband in my early 20s," Louise tells me when we meet in a tapas bar on Warmoesstraat, in the heart of the red-light area. "He told me unless I earned money for him he would leave me, and I had children and loved him, so I had to do it."
Louise has three children, and some or all have been in and out of foster care. It is difficult to get the exact story because Martine, who has four children, interjects with tales of losing her own offspring and the heartache that ensued. It could be that one tells the story for both, or they tell each other. But both have encountered violence, abuse and exploitation, and their early years in prostitution were hard. "We kept each other company," says Louise. "But Martine needs to carry on because there is not much money around."
Louise, who left prostitution two years ago due to arthritis ("I could not do sexual positions") tells me how things have changed for the worse since she entered the sex trade. "There are few Dutch women and no sense of community these days," she says. The legalisation of brothels in 2000 has not improved prostitutes' lives, in Martine's opinion. "There is no point working just for tax. That is why the girls are working from the internet and from home – you are less likely to be spotted by the taxman. The whole family used to live off your earnings and now the tax office comes up with crazy amounts you have to pay. It is better for the pimps and the foreigners, but not the Dutch girls. The vultures came in 2000. Organised criminals. They thought, ahah, it is legalised. Now we are OK."
When Louise began working, Martine was in hospital having her first child. "My mother came in and said, "You know Louise is [in prostitution]. I was in shock. I wanted to help her."
"Later on they needed a cleaner in the brothel and Martine took the job and the men asked her for business," says Louise. "So we started doing threesomes, and that was how we ended up working in the same house [window brothel] together."
The relatively rosy picture the twins paint of prostitution is perhaps because they have always looked after each other and, unlike the majority of other women, even saw punters together. Born into an ordinary middle class family with seven children in total, the twins enjoyed a happy childhood. But it all changed when Louise married a violent and controlling man.