Over a billion euros were spent on sex in 2018 in Belgium, the National Bank of Belgium (BNB) has calculated, based on findings from a recent survey.
The survey took into account benefits from sex workers in brothels (clubs, massage parlours, etc.), on the street, and with paid escort services. Paid virtual sex, via webcams for example, was however not included in the assessment.
In 2018, Belgians spent 27% more on sex services, compared to 2008, according to BNB estimates. "The increase is largely due to a rise of population and inflation," BNB spokesperson said.
Just as in other businesses, sex workers are taken into account for the calculation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), De Tijd reports.
Since the 1990s, the UN recommends that governments take into account certain illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, in their GDP calculations. Since 2014, the EU also wants prostitution to be included.
The Brussels Times