Behind the doors of ordinary-seeming flats, houses, hotels, a brutal form of modern slavery is taking place. And it’s happening worldwide. Vanessa Baird wonders why – and what can be done about it.
To be honest, I was not altogether sure what was meant by ‘go-go girl’. But I went – got the job and started straight away.
The hours were nine-to-five – the other nine, the other five. The pay wasn’t great, but I needed the money. I was living in Athens at the time and language-teaching opportunities had dried up as the long summer began. My rent was due in a few days’ time.
All I had to do, said the disco-bar owner – a balding Greek named Ringo – was talk to customers. That’s all. Talk to them and encourage them to buy drinks. And sometimes dance with them.
If I wanted to leave the establishment with a customer before the night was up, the latter would have to buy a bottle of champagne.
I didn’t see why I should want to do that.
I’ve been thinking about this interlude in my life quite a bit recently. And it fills me with horror.
Not because the experience was gruesome or exploitative, shameful or even regrettable – it was none of these. But because many of the young women who appear in the pages of this issue of the magazine did what I did: answered an ad in a paper and went for a job that might be a bit dodgy, because they needed the money.
Original article featured in NEW INTERNATIONAL September 2007, Issue 404.
Courtesy: New International