Prostitution in Greece: Sex for a Sandwich?

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The economic meltdown in Greece has hogged the headlines in Europe for most of the last decade with the focus mainly being on how the country’s financial crisis would impact on the stability of the Euro and the wider EU.

High levels of personal debt, the strict austerity measures introduced in 2012 and rising numbers of migrants and refugees entering the country have all played a part in creating a new landscape for prostitution.

Prior to the debt crisis, prostitution in Greece (similar to many European counties) was dominated by Eastern European women with the going rate for a full service costing around €50.

Since average wages have been slashed by 50% and unemployment reaching a record high of almost 30%, more and more Greek nationals are turning to the world’s oldest profession to help support themselves and their families.

In fact, prostitution is estimated to have risen by around 150% with almost four in five prostitutes now being of Greek descent.

That’s a huge increase.

Here we examine some of the quirks of prostitution in Greece, as well as some notorious headlines, such as women selling sex for the price of a sandwich…

Legal Prostitution

Sex work is not illegal in Greece though selling it on the streets is.

It is estimated that the country has around 800 brothels although only a few hundred of these are operating with a license. Authorities believe that around 20,000 prostitutes are operating in the capital city alone with just 1,000 of these carrying the required permit to work.

prostitution greece

Prostitution in Greece is legal but there are many illegal brothels in the cities. Image via Flickr.

The permit to work, designed to enforce strict safety and anti-trafficking legislation carries a bizarre stipulation – women must be unmarried.

Though it is not illegal for married women to work as prostitutes it does prevent them from carrying the required paperwork to operate in the established brothels.

As a result, many women who are turning to prostitution to supplement a family income are forced to work on the streets.

The Cost of Sex in Greece

The increase in the number of prostitutes working in Greece, particularly in Athens, has caused disruption to the balance of supply and demand.

As a result, women are increasingly being forced to charge less and less in order to maintain an edge over their competition.

The average cost of a full service with a prostitute in Greece has fallen, from €50 (pre-2009) to an average of €15. It’s important to remember that the 70% reduction in price is an average with reports of at least 400-500 sex workers in Athens charging as little as €2 – enough, simply, to get something to eat.

Whilst the reduction in rates offers bargain buys for foreign punters, the rates are merely reflecting a nationwide decrease in spending power.

greek prostitutes cheap euro

The cost of sex in Greece is cheaper than much of Western Europe. Image via Pixabay.

By comparison Greece’s price of sex is considerably lower than the European average; currently, one hour with a prostitute will cost you €180 (average across Northern, Western, Southern and Eastern Europe).

The Hidden Cost of Cheap Sex in Greece

The additional pressure on the girls is to perform more risk acts to earn money.

This can include unprotected sex (known as bareback, natural or raw) as well as accommodating more unusual requests.

This combination of a rise in unprotected sex along with the lack of proper licensing in order to maintain regular health checks on these workers has resulted in a 200% increase in the rate of HIV infection.

Greece’s authorities (for reasons best known to themselves) took an unusual approach to try and combat the rise in HIV, publicly releasing details of those prostitutes known to be infected.

Not only did this naming and shaming put women at risk but further stigmatised the profession. The result has been a natural reluctance on the part of many prostitutes to get tested in order to avoid being subject to the same treatment.

athens prostitution naming shaming

Highly stigmatised anyway, public naming and shaming of hookers has done little to prevent infection rates. Image via Flickr.

Prostitution in Greece: The Take Home

There is an abundance of sex workers available in Greece offering services at cut price rates who perform a wide variety of acts for their money.

However, the rise of HIV is cause for the adherence to the practice of safe sex. Anyone willing to pay extra for ‘natural’ services runs a very high and real risk of being infected by HIV.

Paying for Safe Sex in Greece

The bottom line is that men who want to use the services of a prostitute in Greece should do so via the official channels.

Athens and Thessalonika are the two largest concentrations of brothels in the country.

Sex at a brothel is more expensive than on the streets but is still cheaper than Greece’s European neighbours. You are looking at around €10 to €20 for a 15-20 minute session with a brothel sex worker.

Brothels are mainly single storey studios run independently (usually by a woman) that operate a walk-up policy. Though English is widely spoken, even the most rural brothel madams will be able to give you a price for ‘normal’ service (covered blow job with sex). Fylis Street in Athens has plenty of these studios (or transit hotels where you pay for a room by the hour).

You can also access studio brothels that are larger and more upmarket than the independents that offer a little more than just a quickie. Think GFE with a more attractive Greek woman. More expensive than the basic brothels, you will pay around €40 for a standard service but this can be doubled if you want ‘all the trimmings’.

athens brothel

With no signs, brothels (studios) in Athens are hard to find so you need to ask around. Image via Flickr.

As well as brothels and studios, you can certainly expect to get a happy ending at a lot of massage parlours, particularly in the capital.

Don’t assume that all parlours will do this but some will even provide more than just a rub and tug. As with studios, the price here is more expensive than you would find on the streets and in a brothel but you should get a good massage with manual relief for an hour at around €40.

If you are still looking for options for sex in Greece then there are escort agencies that provide high class call girls for outcall appointments at many locations around the country. Charging premium rates, the girls who work for escort agencies are usually of a high quality and offer a good range of services but charge a minimum of €100, more typically €150 for an hour.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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