Opinion: Victimizing the victim

POSTED: 08/13/14 11:03 PM

The Amigoe in Curacao carried a remarkable story yesterday that sounds all too familiar. It is about a 31-year-old exotic dancer who “escaped” from a nightclub in San Nicolas. On further reading, it appears that the exotic dancer is actually a prostitute. Otherwise, why would she have to undergo a medical test for her work permit?

That aside, the Amigoe published a picture of the woman with a black bar over her eyes as if she is a serial killer on the run, and it also released her full name.

The nightclub owner on the other hand is not identified by name and the name of his brothel also remains a mystery. Maybe he advertises a lot in the Amigoe – who knows?

The anonymous nightclub owner describes the so-called escapee as “aggressive and dangerous.” For good measure the female Amigoe-reporter wrote down that the woman was hitting customers and that she quarreled with other working girls.

The reporter included in the article that the brothel owner (conveniently identified as a bar owner) calls on the population to be on the lookout for the woman. A spokeswoman for the police notes that the woman is not “missing” but that she is “wanted.” Why?

Because the woman did not meet the requirements for her work permit (she did not show up to undergo a medical test). To top it off, this policewoman told the reporter that the woman had a contract to work a certain amount of hours for the brothel. Because she left, she is not sticking to her contract. To cut a long story short: the woman has no work permit and is therefore illegal on the island.

And that is the reason for the Amigoe to let itself be used for a witch hunt? Why does the paper not wonder about the working conditions at this brothel in San Nicholas? Why does the police not investigate possible trafficking in women by this conveniently anonymous so-called bar owner?

This is the world upside down, but the practice is not completely alien to St. Maarten either. We have the story of an off duty cop with a sentence to his name for chasing “escaped” prostitutes, apparently at the request of a brothel owner. Some years ago, another local newspaper published the pictures of five prostitutes that had run away from a brothel, depicting them as escaped criminals that were badly wanted.

These examples show that there is no love lost between girls of easy virtue, their at times shady employers and some media outlets. Aruba has now written the latest chapter of this sad history. Instead of focusing on the dark side of prostitution, the Amigoe has shown a taste for victimizing the victim.

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