Elisa (26) had a dream: working as a prostitute at the Red Light District: “Once I was there, I couldn’t survive without cocaine.”
Dick van de Bos on 25 March 2022. From www.revive.nl
Elisa grew up in Bulgaria in a poor family. When she was fifteen, she was working as a waitress and would’ve never thought one day she would become a prostitute. But that changed when she met a boy who had bad intentions with her. “Before I knew it, I was left at a hotel to work as a prostitute.”
Elisa explains that she didn’t grow up in a bad family, but was still solely dependent on herself. Her mother barely taught her anything about how to take care of yourself. So, when she met a guy in a club at eighteen, she didn’t think he had bad intentions. “It happened in Bulgaria and he asked me if I would like to join him for his sister’s birthday party in Greece. Once we were on our way, he took me to a hotel and said: ‘Wait here.’ Then, a woman from the Albanian mafia came in to sign me up for prostitution work.” Elisa didn’t want to and went to the police. She managed to escape.
Nevertheless, she started thinking about the job and decided to visit the huge sexclub ‘Sunny Beach’ in Bulgaria. A place filled with youngsters, alcohol, drugs and sex. “I came up to the bartender and said: ‘I really need money, can I work here?’ That was not a problem and that’s how I ended up at this strip club. Once I was living in that world, I started dreaming of Amsterdam, the place where prostitution is hot and happening. I thought: ‘if I only work there for three months, I will be rich and I will not need to work anymore.’
This plan became more specific. So in 2014, Elisa headed to Amsterdam and opened her own room, after doing kinky-prostitution in The Hague at home, first. In Amsterdam at the Molensteeg, she had her own window. Soon, Frits Rouvoet from the Bright Fame foundation passed by. “He would visit me with some very nice people, who would offer to pray for me. He knew I was just there to become wealthy and that I didn’t want to quit. Still, he believed in me. ‘You’re a good woman with a beautiful future’. With that, he meant I would get a life outside of prostitution.”
The interview takes place at the office of the Bright Fame foundation, where Frits joins us. “What I saw was a woman without direction in her life, who didn’t know how to live. But I also saw a woman with great potential and dreams. She’s a woman who has a lot to give.” Elisa also joined Frits and his team once in a while to go sailing.
The job was stressful for Elisa, she says. In the beginning she was anti-drugs, but that started to change. “In the beginning, I would even confront women about it. I would say: ‘Drugs is bad for you.’ But they always laughed and said I would feel differently in a couple of years. That turned out to be true. Without drugs, it is very difficult to do this kind of work. That is because you have to be friendly and happy to attract clients. But without drugs, you feel down and it’s hard to act like that. That’s why I started to use hash and cocaine, daily. I would buy it off the dealers who are everywhere here. At some point, it became very tough. Every day is the same and depression grows because of the drugs and the hard work. I really ended up in the dumps.”
Up until Elisa met a guy, two years ago, with whom she had a connection and started working together. He gave her the opportunity to quit prostitution. His family was nice, but he did not turn out the be nice. He was paranoid and would hit Elisa for the smallest things.
Only last week she fled from him and knocked on Frits Rouvoet’s door. “I remembered those ‘Godly-people’, who were always so good to me. On the other hand, I was very embarrassed because I hadn’t made contact with him in such a long time. And now that I needed him, I show up.
But when I called Frits, he immediately answered, and he offered for me to stay at his house. It helped me bridge the gap and now I’m leaving to Bulgaria at the end of this week. We will closely keep in touch to make sure I end up well.” Frits is also helping her with her debts and investigating the options. Elisa prays a lot with Frits and the team. Also the movie ‘Redeeming love’, based on the story of Hosea who marries a prostitute, touches her.
“I already believed in God, but I can truly see how God is helping me through the team and Frits. At this moment, my life is a mess, but I am hopeful for the work God is about to do.”