Saturday, December 1, 2007

Whom to trust? (2003) and Hope: Diana's Story (2007); by Fouchina Catherina

Both books are published by Oogstpublicaties in connection with Scarlet Cord located in Amsterdam. Both tell the stories of two women who have left prostitution. Grace (Whom to Trust) comes from Nigeria, whereas Diana comes from Eastern Europe. Both leave their country of origin in order to escape poor situations back home (Grace leaves poverty and a relatively hopeless future whereas Diana leaves a bad marriage and a lack of custody of her children). Neither was entirely certain that prostitution was what they were getting into; more so, once in the Netherlands, both needed to stay and work to pay off the debts incurred to get them there. Both their stories are plausible; yet, there is something about them that feels fake or over-edited. Having read words from other prostitutes makes it feel like something is missing in these books, although I am not certain what. Perhaps I am merely recognizing in them the motive found on the inside cover of hope: "This organization does not promote, support, or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution." Such a statement, although honourable, does not necessarily reflect the brokenness of the world around us nor necessarily provide a means to protect further the women in the story. Nor does it have a place for women that are still in prostitution - and not yet able to leave even if they can see the damage of it.

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