Too many illegal brothels in Athens

Prostitution is indeed on the rise in Athens, as are string of illegal brothels. Minister of the Interior Haris Kastanidis said on Friday that although Athens only has three legal brothels that are operating with proper licenses, there are dozens more that offer sex services illegally. He said that Athens municipal authorities in cooperation with the the Police have already closed down 71 of these so called “love-shacks” but as soon as one closes down, twenty others mushroom elsewhere. 

Kastanidis revealed that the exploiters of these -sex homes- (such as tenants, landlords, etc.) usually break their permit contracts but nonetheless continue to operate. As a consequence, municipal authorities have to carry out continuous checks. 

This is no surprise, since there has been a dramatic rise in prostitution by young foreign women in central Athens and 10 other areas in Attica prefecture, as well as an increase in an aggressive form of tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and hepatitis C and B. The Greek Health Ministry is stepping up its collaboration with other authoritative ministries, agencies and international organisations to deal with the problem, but it is nonetheless out of control. 

On his part Health and Social Solidarity Deputy Minister Michalis Timosidis had told a parliamentary inter-party committee on migration last month that an important tool in the effort to stem the problem was the “Street Work” Programme launched by staff of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO. Timosidis explained that, under the programme, specialised KEELPNO staff were visiting central parts of the city frequented by illegal migrants.

A dispatch from the state news agency said that the staff appeared to be earning the confidence of the migrants, as an increasing number are visiting the Street Work programmes to be informed on the health problems they face, without fear of deportation. Thus KEELPNO, in collaboration with NGOs, was recording the most frequent diseases and providing the initial health services to the migrants.


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