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I wonder if the police are not friends of the mafia

An interview with Jana from Bliss without Risk about sex work, trafficking and the important role customers can play in escaping traffickers

SWR: Jana, please tell us a bit about you.

I grew up with my grandmother but she kicked me out of the home for some stupidity. I had job but nowhere to live. I met a man and he offered that I could go work as a sex worker. I was not eager for this job but I felt ok about it. I did not want to be a sex worker in Prague because I knew too many people there. So he sold me to a family in Ash, near the German border. My position was not so bad. I had accommodation and some basic meals but they made me tidy the whole house. I made 800 crown in sex work and only got to keep 200. I didn’t use condoms. I was not forced to work without them, but it was my own un-professionalism. I didn’t know that I should work with condoms. And, I didn’t know how to say “take condom” in German - the majority of my customers were Germans.

“In the end, he sold me back again to the same family”

I always wondered why the clients asked for me more than for other girls. Now I understand: in German, condom is “gummi” and German clients are among sex workers called “without gummi”.
When I was allowed to go home I didn’t want to go back to Ash. I contacted the man who sold me but in the end, he sold me back again to the same family. So I told the family, I’m done, I’m going home. There were plenty of other girls.

They let me go, they did not want to keep a girl who would cause them trouble. I do not have a bad relationship to them after all this. Ah, no! I do not feel like revenge. The personal relationship was not bad. I was friends with their daughter. She helped me to tidy up the house. It was more like a family relationship.

“I went with them to the flat and got beaten and had to go to work with bruises all over”

Nine to ten months later, I ended up working under this terrible small bastard pimp Rudi. I knew him through the family from Ash and he was connected to the mafia that controlled a lot of street prostitution. After four months, I moved from Rudi to Mirek. Mirek told me there are these good guys, go with them and I went with them to the flat and got beaten and had to go to work with bruises all over.

That’s when I decided that I didn’t need to work for these stupid bastards. One girl told me, go to this other street where you can work for yourself. She and her boyfriend were actually clients; they hired me to do a three-some. She saw how I had been beaten and she said “Why are you here, you could be free-lance?” The girl was an ex-sex worker. She told me to go to this street and she said if anyone threatens you, just lie and tell them you are working for me! I wasn’t really working for her of course, it was just a friendship. This woman, she showed me that I could be free. It was the most important information for me.

“You return once or twice from work and the third time you don’t come back”

I then worked on my own for 3-4 years with some interruptions. Free-lancing was hard work. My whole sex-worker career lasted 7 years. Free or not, I no longer like to do this work. I wouldn’t do sex work now unless I were in big financial trouble. Now you have my curriculum vitae!

SWR: Is there any advice you would give to people in the sex trade who are trafficked or being abused?

Jana: I think the best strategy is to agree with everything. To obey. To look like a passive obeying women. Not to resist but then to escape at the first good opportunity. A customer can be the best help to escape.

I know another woman who was helped to escape by a customer, too. Customer is the best because this is the person with whom you have contact. A pimp can’t control that. He knows just the license plate of the car. You return once or twice from work and the third time you don’t come back. You can offer the customer sex without paying to get you out. Of course, you also have to be a psychologist and know whom to ask for help.

“I wonder if the police are not friends of the Mafia” 

SWR: What about the police, why not go straight to them for help instead?

Jana: (Laughter) Hmph. It depends how much the given policeman is corrupted by the mafia. Would it have been possible for me to go to the police? I’m not so sure. When the police would come to control my id card, I was scared to tell them ‘Get me out from under them’ … you never know if they are not corrupted too and then things could be worse for you. Especially in Prague, there are certain districts where things have not changed and I wonder if the police are not friends of the Mafia.

SWR: Do you have any advice for other sex workers?

Jana: Tell them to be free-lance. It is not necessary to feed all the people around you.