It’s not the same as Amsterdam, and it’s much different from flipping through the Yellow Pages (do people still do that) here in New York for an attractive “escort service.” Spain does things differently, especially outside Els Alamus (in Catalonia). If you want to find some temporary companionship, look for the yellow fluorescent vests … at least, that’s what The Telegraph says.
The prostitutes have gotten a bit lazy about this, and the police are cracking down. A 2004 law requires that pedestrians on major highways wear “high visibility garments,” The Telegraph reports. That means all walkers – including street-walkers. The story continues:
A spokesman for the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra said: “In the past couple of months the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: for not wearing the reflective jacket and for creating danger on the public highway.”
Some believe that the town of Els Alamus is anti-hooker, as the bright-vest enforcement wave comes on the heels of a measure to ban “offering sex for sale in public urban areas.” In Spain, prostitution isn’t illegal, but it is a distinctly entrepreneurial affair: one can’t profit from another person’s sex work (basically, you can’t pimp, but you can work for yourself).
So, what can the hookers do instead of hit the streets? How about get a room?
[photo by indi.ca via Flickr]
The bar girls in Patpong, a destination for so-called “sex travelers,” have a basic rule: three inches (duh), three minutes (duh), 3,000 baht (that’s around $87).This year, they can add another “3” to it, one third. That’s roughly how far tourism revenues are expected to fall in Thailand this year. A projected 35 percent drop means less business and less income in what is largely recognized as one of the most disreputable parts of the world.
Recessions are felt at every level. One local bar girl took a pay cut from $232 a month to $174. She had little choice, as customers are scarce. Regular customers are trimming back on their carnal habits, and foreign guests have fallen by around 20 percent.
And, it’s not just Thailand.
The Czech Republic, which has a fairly accepting attitude toward prostitution – 14 percent of check men have admitted to this sort of frolic – has seen up to half of the brothels outside Prague close in the past year. There have been layoffs, as well … even in Nevada. The famous Mustang Ranch in Reno has had to lay of 30 percent (another “3”!) of its workforce, thanks to high-rollers who aren’t spending as liberally.
As with more traditional destinations, travel deals are emerging, such as $111 for as much as you can consume in an hour at one location in Hanover, Germany. A club in Berlin is a bit more generous, with $98 for six hours – in addition to access to the sauna, solarium and a (food) buffet.
I’ll pass on the “stimulus package” joke. Too easy.
A magnifying class will be held over Vancouver from February 12 to February 28 for the Winter Olympics, and Vancouver’s prostitutes want to put their best feet forward. To prepare for the influx of business and – media onslaught – Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE) is helping the city’s sex worker population understand what to expect.
The Canadian agency is putting together a brochure that will help the local working girls understand how to handle requests for photos and interviews – and a general sense of what their rights are when dealing with society’s true vermin (the press). In addition to the pamphlet, PACE will hold a discussion session to bolster the printed lessons.
Congratulations, reporters: even hookers aren’t comfortable around you.
Want more Olympics coverage?
Amsterdam doesn’t want some businesses to grow. It seems unusual in a recession (and yes, the Netherlands is feeling it, too), but I guess the situation isn’t so dire that they can’t be picky over there. So, the locals are fighting the business of naked people with the business of art – which clearly has no history of portraying the uncovered human form (feel free to chortle).
The city of Amsterdam has teamed up with a housing corporation. Together, they are acquiring rooms formerly used as brothels and renting them out as studios to artists. This ground-level contribution to the arts is inspiring. While it’s nice to see an established artist get a hefty grant to pursue a specific vision, the measure taken in Amsterdam gives emerging artists (and even those less established) a shot at success.
Of course, some people didn’t find out in time.
A few prostitute clients have come up to doors that are now art studios, seeking their former flames.
Some working girls aren’t thrilled about this development, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Since we’re dealing with Europe, you know there has to be a union involved … and the hookers have one. They say that there’s a history of prostitutes and artists living side-by-side, “like they did in Paris in the 19th century.” Further, ladies of the night have inspired their new neighbors, with the most famous probably being Pablo Picasso‘s “Ladies of Avignon.”
Given the plunge in the global art market, one thing is certain: people will continue to get screwed in these apartments.