Councilman for legislation Lukáš Manhart, who is preparing for the municipality a draft law on the regulation of prostitution, estimates that in the Prague metropolis, there are a hundred brothels and around a thousand private facilities. Police keep a record of 53 sexy clubs, four strip bars and 13 gay clubs.
Most establishments with erotic programmes and sexual services are in the city centre – near Wenceslas Square, in the Ve Smečkách Street, or around King’s Road, as well as in the Jilská Street or around Uhelný trh (Coal Market).
Tantra Salons Offer Massages in Addition to Sex
There are larger companies with dozens of employees in the centre, which are visited mainly by foreign clients. Smaller clubs, which Czechs rather attend, are in marginal districts. In Prague 1-5 alone, there are 48 erotic establishments. New trends in recent years are tantra salons offering special erotic massages and other services at extra cost.
In addition to clubs, there are hundreds of private facilities in the capital city. The Association for Pleasure Without Risk, which focuses on health prevention, counselling and therapeutic services for people providing sexual services, has a database of about 400 contacts to private facilities but visits only about five of them.
Private Facilities May Well Be In An Apartment at the Neighbours
“Private facilities are more difficult to be approached. The first contact is by telephone; the numbers change frequently, and it is not easy to gain clients’ trust over the phone. In private facilities, fewer women are working than in clubs, just one or two. But there are also private facilities similar to several apartments in the house, or they are on multiple floors, and the environment is more like a smaller club. There is a bar, for example,” field worker of the association, Jana Polaková, said. Private establishments are not marked from the outside but are in common areas, so they are hard for police and social workers to find.
Unlike other years in Prague, the number of women who prostitute themselves on the street is reduced. “They are concentrated around the Charles Square. Every night you can meet ten or fifteen women there,” Manhart says. Currently, there is no Czech legislation that would define and edit the “oldest profession”.
When It Rains, Prostitutes Hide
The amount of prostitutes on the streets also depends on meteorological conditions or tourism. Street prostitutes have taken to the other part of the city, especially the Charles Square, where they offer themselves, for example, around the New Town Hall or at the Church of St Ignatius. You can also see them in Odborů Street, and sometimes in Myslíkova Street.
“Wenceslas Square is no longer the centre of the street prostitutes, as was the case 20 years ago; but also today they sometimes appear there. They are mainly prostitutes and foreigners from outside Prague, mainly Bulgarians,” a spokeswoman for Prague 1, Veronika Blažková, said. In Prague, about a hundred women are working on the street. For example, in Vienna, where street prostitution is not prohibited, it is up to six hundred people. The public houses are also connected with barkers and people offering erotic ads. On Wenceslas Square and its surroundings, there are around 20 barkers per night. These are mostly Africans or Russian-speaking foreigners. “Earlier, it used to be worse with them in the centre – usually there were five times more of them,” Blažková said. But today, erotic establishments rely more on internet advertising, put up leaflets, or use advertisements in the media.
Lovers of Black People in Prague Have Come Into Their Own
About 80 percent of women working in brothels in Prague are Czech. “Among foreigners, we can include Slovaks and women from the former Soviet Union. The uniqueness of Prague is women from Africa, mostly from Nigeria or Ghana. On the street, we can especially find women from Bulgaria,” Poláková said.
The social composition of women working in the sex industry in Prague is different. Most women have a high school diploma, but there are also university graduates (about five percent) or women with primary education (about a quarter). “On the street, there may not be only socially disadvantaged women. Of course, we can see their drug users, but they are also in clubs or private facilities, just more hidden,” Poláková said.
The average age of prostitutes in Prague is around 29 years old. The common motive that leads them into the sex industry is the need to financially provide for their family (single mothers), repay debts, or earn a certain standard. For many women, it’s then hard to leave the sex industry and find another job. “Even though the work in the sex industry makes them tired, they find it hard to leave the business and start working in another area,” Poláková adds.
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