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Dancing With Monica on JMAN.tv - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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In 2010, director Anja Dalhoff met Monica, a Colombian prostitute in Copenhagen. Monica’s life has been one of hardship. Raped and abused a child, then trafficked to Spain, Japan, and Denmark to work as a prostitute, she had managed to escape the brothel where she had been beaten and held against her will. Throughout all her tribulations, Monica was armed with a tape recorder, and documented her everyday life for 25 years. Dancing with Monica beautifully weaves Monica’s own footage into her ongoing story – a story of hope, despair, and redemption. “My problem? I don’t fucking like being locked in!”, screams Monica as the madam and pimp try to lock her door. The pimp grabs her by the hair and hits her all over. He drags her across the room like a rag doll, before slamming the door and locking it behind him. “This work for me is shit. Because it’s humiliating, and sad.”

Monica was just a teenager when she was trafficked to Japan. She had run away from home, finding herself working in the sex industry in Colombia. “You’re so pretty, you’d make loads of money over there!”, she was told. But the reality was vastly different. “You realise that they’re selling you like a piece of meat.” She yearned to return to Colombia, to her mother, Blanca. She was rescued by a client, a married man, who paid off her debts to the pimps and allowed her to escape the violent and seedy life she had become embroiled in. But this was only to be the first of Monica’s trials.

A life as a prostitute has taken its toll on her. “This job has affected my soul. You end up suspicious, paranoid, cynical. It affects you in that you don’t want sex anymore. You don’t enjoy it, Don’t start touching me or try to be romantic because it makes me nervous!” With each move came hope of a better life, followed by crushing disappointment at the same cycle of violence and abuse.

Monica had always been looking for a man to care for her, to save her. But she’s close to giving up hope. “I’d like to have a man who dresses me, takes care of me. But a man doesn’t look at you with respect when he knows you’ve done these things. Nobody does. They’re looking at how many men you’ve fucked.

How many men’s dicks you’ve sucked off. There’s no forgiveness.”
But the last 25 years of adversity have made her a survivor, and she is not going to give up without a fight. “I have spent my whole life waiting for someone to come and fix my life. And I realised that I can do it too. And that I have to fight for myself. Because I know that the strength is inside me.”

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