What I thought I knew about my sister

My sister and I were never really close, we grew up and apart as completely different people. Yes of course I loved her, but I never understood why she chose a life in prostitution.

For 15 years my sister had “worked” in prostitution. She started online, working for an escort company but after a year or so she stood behind the windows in several different cities in the Netherlands. I couldn’t imagine my younger sister willingly sleeping with multiple men a day, just to make some money. Why would she choose to surround herself with people who obviously didn’t care about her. After she started “working” behind the window I never saw her again.

I know prostitution in the Netherlands is legal but why would my own sister willingly sleep with multiple men a day?

Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal, but I would never mention my sister. Because if I started talking about her I would not be able to avoid what she did for a living. So for a while I pretended she did not exist. A couple of times I had walked past the windows in the Red Light District with a horrible feeling in my stomach. There were many different types of women and for some reason when I saw a foreign girl I would have immediate compassion for her, a feeling that I didn’t have for my sister. I thought that foreign girls didn’t have a choice and probably had a pimp that forced them to do it. You know, that image the movies create for us, that is what I believed.

How could my sister,  a Dutch woman be so naive.

About three years ago my sister finally came back home. What I thought I knew about her was not the truth at all. She was forced to sell her body behind the windows. She was treated like a slave, she didn’t even have the freedom to take a day off unless she was really sick an unable to walk. She was beaten and verbally abused on a daily basis. The first couple of months after she returned were horrifying… She didn’t have the ability to leave the house. We barely picked up the phone because her pimp would call and threatened to kill us all.

My sister is my hero

Now looking back I have a completely different perspective. I wish I would have known earlier about the situation she was forced into. My sister was not a naive girl, she wasn’t just a girl seeking attention from strange men. As a family we have suffered a lot but we have also healed together. I now see my sister as a fighter, there is no way I could have survived what she went through. I admire the incredible courage it took for her to escape from her pimp. Now my sister’s dream is to help women who have gone through similar situations.

What I would like people to know who are reading this, is that the world behind the windows is a lot different  then what we think. What would you do, if it was your sister?

This post is also available in: Engels