How old are you?
‘24. But here I’m 21.’
And I guess in real life your name is not Cassandra?
‘No. It’s Claudia.’
Who knows about your job?
‘My closest friends and my mom. It’s not that I say, ‘hi I’m Claudia and I’m a …’
What do you call yourself? A sex worker?
‘I don’t know… I just call it… my job. I don’t think about it too much, to be honest. When I’m in here I leave myself outside the door.’
Here is Club Erotica, a small sex club, well hidden in the basement at the back of a building in a rather unattractive street, somewhere in Norebro, once a working class area, now trendy. They were still having lunch when I came in; two sex workers and the woman who opens the door to customers. I could hear them talking and laughing.
Now we are in one of the two rooms, consisting mostly of bed. And a mirror above it, on the ceiling.
Is this a job you wanted to do for a long time?
‘Noooo. This is not a childhood dream. It’s just something I do right now and the money is good. So why not.’
Are you saving for something?
‘No, right now it is just for fun. I managed to buy my apartment and I can do what I like. I don’t have to think about money all the time, like my friends. I like to have the freedom to be able to do what I want.’
Are they jealous maybe?
‘No… they don’t think about it too much.’
Claudia is blond, tall, has broad hips and a rather gummy smile. She reminds me of Phoebe, from Friends; even her voice is a bit similar.
‘If I were to tell somebody on the street that I do this job they wouldn’t like me,’ she says.
Do you understand that?
‘Yes, because people don’t know what it is. Before I started I also had a different image of places like this one: I thought there would be dirt everywhere and gross clients, alcoholics, and the girls working here would be awful, all the bad things. But look around, it’s clean, and the men who come here are normal.’
30 minutes of sex costs 1100 Kroner, about 150 Euros: her services are not cheap, but then nothing is cheap n Copenhagen.
Is it fun?
‘No, I don’t get anything out of it, except the money. It is just sex. It is simply not possible to get something out of it: this is sex with two people who don’t know each other and there is money involved. Although I have climaxed twice – so it can happen.
How did you start?
‘Because my best friend’s mom worked at the door here. She was very positive about the place, about the money, so I tried. That was 6 years ago, when I was just a girl, 18.’
What could you do after this?
‘Anything. I don’t have a dream, that’s why I’m still here I guess. I start 100 things and don’t finish them.’
In Denmark prostitution is legal, right? But you have be registered.
‘I am. I pay taxes. I pay the phone lady, the lady who opens the door. I also pay for the room. I can decide when I work and which clients to accept. ’
Many girls are forced, I say.
‘Danish girls do it because they want to do it, for the money. The others, the Eastern Europeans, are forced, I assume – and certainly the black ones, the Nigerian girls, who work near the station.’
Change of subject.
Do you feel European?
‘No,’ she says, very firmly.
Did you vote?
‘Yes. But I don’t care a lot about it. I cannot do much about anything, though I wish they would do something about this neighbourhood. Norebro and Copenhagen 10 yeas ago were the best in the world. Cosy, down to earth. Now it is like little Turkey. And everyone, the Danes, are leaving, because it’s terrible. These immigrants don’t respect women. Or have any respect for the country they have come to. They also come down here, the Muslims. Even during Ramadan. Even though it is against their belief. No, I don’t like them… there’s probably nothing wrong with Islam, but there is something wrong with the people. They are the reason there is so much war in the world.’
You remember the cartoonist? A Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the prophet Mohamed wearing a bomb in his turban. It set off a chain of negative, even violent responses in the Muslim world.
‘O yes. Westergaard. He’s used to making fun of everything… but not the Islam…’
Is it good that you can travel?
‘I considered moving to Spain, somewhere warm.’
You could! Tomorrow!
‘Well, I have a dog… and he’s not crazy about the heat. It’s a snow dog.’
Should Denmark adopt the Euro?
‘No, keep the Krone.’
You would like to keep things the way they are?
‘I would like to keep things they way they were 10 years ago. Now it’s getting worse and worse.’