Monday

20th Jan 2020

Romanian sex workers most prevalent in EU

Sex workers from new EU states have become ever more visible across the union following the last two rounds of enlargement and a parallel crackdown on non-EU irregular migrants.

The findings, put forward in a recent report by Amsterdam-based Tampep - the European Network for HIV/STI Prevention and Health Promotion among Migrant Sex Workers - show that individuals from Romania (12%) and Bulgaria (7%) currently make up over a fifth of all prostitutes in the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The two waves of enlargement have changed the demographics of the sector (Photo: European Commission)

Sex workers from Poland (4%), Hungary (4%) and Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (on 3% each) are also a growing part of the sector.

The figures stand in contrast to 2006 when Russia and Ukraine topped the league table.

Prostitutes from Nigeria, Brazil, Belarus and Thailand continue to feature prominently in the survey then as now, however.

"The most significant factor [behind the changes] seems to be the enlargement of the EU, as people from the new EU countries no longer require visas to be able to travel within its borders, while stricter conditions for getting visas apply to non-EU citizens," the Tampep report says.

"The extremely high level of migration flow from central and eastern Europe, almost 70 percent, is testament to the great economic and social inequalities that prompt this movement."

Focusing in on some of the figures, the Tampep survey found that impoverished ethnic minorities often do the most dangerous kind of work: In Romania, more than half of all street prostitutes are Roma. In the Baltic states, the same is true of ethnic Russians.

The Tampep report shows striking differences in the EU sex industry across the east/west divide.

In most western countries, such as Denmark (65%), Finland (69%), Germany (65%), Greece (73%), Italy (90%), Spain (90%), Austria (78%), Belgium (60%), France (61%) and the Netherlands (60%), the vast majority of prostitutes are migrants.

But in former Communist countries the reverse is true, with, for example 98 percent of sex workers in Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, 90 percent in Lithuania and 66 percent in Poland being of national origin.

In some western countries, the change in demographic in the years following EU enlargement is startling.

Denmark went from 50 percent migrant workers to 65 percent in the past few years. Italy went from 80 percent to 90 percent and Spain jumped from 70 percent to 90 percent.

MEPs mark Violence Against Women day with urgent call

According to liberal MEP Anna Júlia Donáth, "violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations existing today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, and shame surrounding it."

Feature

Malmo, a segregated city - separating fact from fiction

Despite the neighbourhood's beautiful name, the reputation of Rosengård (Rose Garden) does not so much evoke images of roses as headlines of crime and social challenges. This area of Malmö has been struggling with its notorious, mythical, image for years.

NGO reveals German firms fail to meet UN human rights rule

A new report reveals that the biggest companies in Germany fail to manage measures to protect their employees and supply-chain from human rights abuses - ahead of the government deadline for introducing tough new regulation.

NGOs expose rights abuses in EU supermarket supply chains

A new report from Oxfam reveals that many of the people producing the food on sale in European supermarkets are victims of poverty pay, harsh working conditions, gender discrimination, and human rights abuses.

Automation threat to jobs will hit EU unevenly

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential "to displace some workers from their tasks, even causing some jobs to disappear entirely", affecting the work nature of millions of jobs in Europe, according to a new report.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us