Karina and her mother live together in a small flat. Most weeks, their food money runs out and they are forced to go hungry for several days. The one thing they have is their love for each other. But tragedy strikes when Karina's mother develops crippling stomach pains, and she is sent away to the hospital. Thirteen-year-old Karina finds herself left home alone, raising herself for over a year. Finally, following her mother's death from cancer, she is sent to live with her father - an abusive man who walked out the day Karina was born and whom she has never met before. Unable to bear his abuse, she runs away. She flees to Amsterdam where she finds herself among the bars and brothels of the city. She takes up work in the notorious red light district - forced to sell her body in order to support herself. Motherless is her story. It is a tale of hardship and endurance, but, above all, of extraordinary strength and courage.
Karina Schaapman is a Dutch Labour Party member of the council in Amsterdam. Married with three children, she lives in Amsterdam.