A new study has shown that young women in austerity-hit Greece are literally selling sex for the price of a sandwich.
According to The Independent the study gathered data on over 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece – they found that most Eastern European women working in the sex trade had been replaced by local Greek women, who now make up 80 per cent of sex workers.
The study also discovered that prostitutes in Greece were offering some of the cheapest prices in Europe.
Gregory Laxos, the sociology professor who undertook the three-year study, told the London Times:
Some women just do it for a cheese pie, or a sandwich they need to eat because they are hungry. Others [do it] to pay taxes, bills, for urgent expenses or a quick [drug] fix.
At the start of the economic crisis the average rate a prostitute would charge for sex was 50 Euros (£35), but according to Laxos the going rate can be as low as two Euros (£1.40).
He says the study highlights the desperation among young Greek women in the current climate, adding: “It doesn’t look like these numbers will fade. Rather they are growing at a steady and consistent pace.”
And while prostitution is legal in Greece, it has very few licensed brothels, meaning an estimated 18,500 sex workers operate on the streets – and the study showed that most of the women turning to the sex trade are aged between 17 and 20.
Laxos says his study ‘reflects a society in denial about the changes taking place’ in Greece, adding: “State authorities must finally act rather than continuing to remain indifferent,” he warned.