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Young Greek women selling sex for the price of a sandwich, new study shows

Young Greek women selling sex for the price of a sandwich, new study shows

By Daniela Deane for The Washington Post

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink, a new study showed Friday.

The study, which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that Greek women now dominate the country’s prostitution industry, replacing Eastern European women, and that the sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest on offer in Europe.

“Some women just do it for a cheese pie, or a sandwich they need to eat because they are hungry,” Gregory Laxos, a sociology professor at the Panteion University in Athens, told the London Times newspaper. “Others [do it] to pay taxes, bills, for urgent expenses or a quick [drug] fix,” said Laxos, who conducted the three-year study.

When the economic crisis began in Greece, the going rate for sex with a prostitute was 50 euros ($53), the London newspaper quoted Laxos as saying. Now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session.

Laxos said the some 400 such desperate cases he found may be “nominal compared with the thousands of other sex workers operating nationwide, but they never existed as a trend until the financial crisis.” He said Greek women now account for 80 percent of the prostitution trade in Greece.

He said his wide-ranging study showed that the number of desperate young women — the ones offering the cheapest sex — appeared to be on the rise. “It doesn’t look like these numbers will fade,” he told the Times. “Rather they are growing at a steady and consistent pace.”

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