Open letter from the prostitutes of Yser
Brussels, 14th of May 2014
This letter was sent to Yvan Mayeur, mayor of Brussels, several media and shared on internet.
Since the 28th of March, we are piled on a corner of pavement. The bus stop has been covered in ketchup and chocolate to prevent us from sitting down. We are standing all day, in the sun, in the blue zone. If we cross the border, a police officer shouts at us, nicely, on the megaphone: “Cross back the border!” We are led by the whistle. Before that, we were spread in many little streets, there was a balance: with passers-by, the neighbourhood’s agents, the shopkeepers… Now, we receive insults from every one, as if it was legitimate to be aggressive towards us.
We have received on the 28th of March a new plan for the tolerance zone of prostitution for the district of Alhambra in Brussels. It is an administrative local regulation and not a law. Nothing in the Belgian law has been established regarding prostitution. This regulation has for consequences that we are all gathered Porte d’Anvers (Door of Antwerp) because the other locations proposed as “zone of tolerance” are not appropriate. This has led to an absurd and intolerable situation for us, prostitutes, for potential clients and for passers-by, for example at the exit of the underground.
You probably do not have any idea of who we are. Many of us have children, partners or are married. A prostitute is not by definition an alcoholic, a drug user, or a victim of a trafficking gang. Some of us have university diploma. We do not do this by pleasure, contrary to popular belief. Many of us would have the pavement for homes if prostitution didn’t exist. And we do not do anything wrong, we satisfy some needs, we are not against the law.
We regret: to be exposed to the view of everyone, as in a market; to be publicly humiliated; the establishment of a hostile and very tense climate; discrimination from many police officers who do not respect the limits of their job; a lack of consultation from the authorities; the non-respect of our human rights; that this precarious situation increase the dangers of our work; the fact that we are not let to do our work at ease, which has strong consequences on our daily life; that our situation is worse than before and no alternative has been offered to us.
We have decided to write this letter because our words are not shared anywhere. Though we are the first concerned, we are barely considered as human beings in this affair.
Us, prostitutes of Yser, Brussels.
Open letter from the prostitutes of Yser.
The signatories prefer to remain anonymous. An interview is possible if the interview remains anonymous and that the contact is taken through ASBL “Entre 2”.
firstname.lastname@example.org – 20 boulevard d’Anvers, 1000 Bruxellees.
The association ASBL “Intimate diary of a neighbourhood” has offered technical support to the prostitutes who wanted to write this letter. The association aims to support women in expressing themselves, especially women who are marginalised in the society in which they live.
Lien orginal en Francais et Flamand: http://journalintimedequartier.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/lettre-ouverte-par-les-prostituees-dyser/