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    Economic crises pushed people into prostitution

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The various societal crises affecting Belgium and Europe as a whole have had a strong impact on prostitution, Espace P…, a non-profit association that assists sex workers, noted on Thursday. The sector has gone through various migratory waves these last decades, it said, while the economic crisis in the late 2000s also had an impact on sex workers, some of whom are women who are forced to work in the sex industry to survive financially.

    Espace P… plans many activities in connection with the 30th anniversary of its creation.

    The association, which is present in Wallonia and Brussels, notes that the economic and migrant crises, and armed conflicts that have wracked Europe in the past 30 years have had a marked effect on the sector.

    “There have been many different waves of migrant men and women, which was already the case after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with women coming from Eastern Europe,” recalls Espace P… Coordinator Cécile Cheront. The war in Kosovo later led to an influx of Albanians, which went hand in hand with the arrival of mafias and human trafficking. Today it’s mainly Bulgarians and Romanians who practice this occupation.

    The economic crisis of the late 2000s pushed other groups of people into the sex trade and, in such cases, the objective is making ends meet, particularly for people who are unemployed or isolated with children or on low salaries, notes Cheront.

    Then there is the development linked to the Internet, which has become uncontrollable and affects the student environment.

    Over the years, the non-profit has observed the growth of “whorephobia”, the body of perceptions or actions aimed at disqualifying sex-related professions and those who practice them. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, it plans various actions to denounce this situation. These include an exploratory march through Brussels on 17 December, on the occasion of the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers.

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times