krakow_brothel

“I pay for sex. So what? The girls here like me, I treat them better than their own men and we have fun. A lot of guys who visit Krakow are at the same thing. People need to get over themselves.” Uncomfortable words, but how surprised should we be that a tourist hotspot like Krakow is also on the sex tourism trail?

Shamelessly candid Mike, a 42-year- old plumber from Liverpool, is a self- proclaimed sex tourist. His eyes light up with expert acumen as he describes his favourite brothel on ul. Długa.

“It’s not exactly high end, but I don’t like that kind of thing anyway, I pay 200 złoty for an hour and have a little fun. Okay, the girls aren’t stunners, but they mind themselves more than the girls at home, and age better. It gets a lot of foot traffic – being on a main street – and there’s a big sign over the door. Any idiot can find a brothel in Krakow, they’re everywhere.”

He’s right, they are everywhere. Flashing neon come-ons are a common feature on streets just minutes from the Market Square. Signs spell out lewd services for passers by, some I have seen pause momentarily before deciding on a whimsical indulgence.

And there is a wide selection. Just around the corner from Mike’s favourite on ul. Długa, another venue advertises a sauna, a solarium and a glory hole among its attractions.

You might be forgiven for mistaking this openness as a sign of legality. It is not. Polish law allows streetwalkers and escorts to trade independently, but prohibits the establishment of brothels and the practice of pimping.

Head out from the Old Town on any major route and you will quickly find a ‘massage’ joint that hints heavily at other services, or openly advertises them.

Krakow is full of brothels that barely bother to put up the window dressing to make their premises appear legal. Escort agencies are allowed to put clients in touch with prostitutes, and charge a fee for this service, on the condition that the escorts are not working together on the premises.

But many of Krakow’s brothels, which usually have girls working in the building, prefer the guise of sauna, solarium or massage parlour. Presumably the word ‘agency’ just isn’t sexy enough.

The city’s law enforcement agencies seem to be turning a blind eye. This provides plenty of entertainment for sex tourists, but also brings darker problems ranging from protection rackets to human trafficking. According to a recent report on prostitution in Poland, local and foreign sex workers claim they have to pay protection money to organised criminals and corrupt police officers.

La Strada, an international anti- trafficking organisation, says that it is much harder to reach sex workers operating in brothels than those on the street. These may be women who have been trafficked into Poland against their will, or underage girls. Kept in flats, they become invisible to everyone but their clients and their pimps.

A Google search will quickly turn up ‘legal’ online escort agencies listing girls in every Polish city, along with prices and comments from satisfied customers. These women operate out of private apartments and their prices are generally the same as those in brothels.

But if brothels are being allowed to operate almost openly in Krakow, how likely is it that the authorities are rigorously checking up on the legitimacy of online escort agencies? How many of these women, some offering services for as little as 12 euro, are actually operating under pimps or madams?

While the authorities would like you to believe that all is well in Poland’s semi- legal sex industry, statistics paint another picture. Poland has a high number of migrant sex workers – the average estimate is 33 per cent – many of whom are from Ukraine, which has the highest HIV infection rate in Europe. And these numbers are not made up of heroin addicts or gay men, the hardest hit are young female sex workers.

Despite the threat of infection and subsequent trips to the clinic, or worse, Mike the sex tourist protests he is always careful and is defiant in the face of criticism. Defiant that is, until I mention the fact that brothels are illegal in Poland.

“Illegal? You’re joking! Seriously? Get into any taxi and they’ll take you to a brothel, walk down the street and you’ll find one… You’re having me on.”

It does seem like a joke – the whole messy charade of payoffs and neon lights. Neon lights that seem to shine with the presupposition of legality. But then, presuppositions are dangerous things.

The Facts

  • Prostitution is legal in Po- land, but operating brothels, pimping, coercive prostitution, the prostitution of minors and living off someone else’s prostitution are all prohibited.
  • Prostitutes operating in illegal ‘escort agencies’ or ‘massage parlours’ are breaking the law, those operating independently are not.
  • Prostitutes in Poland do not have to pay tax.
  • NGOs estimate there are over 18,000 prostitutes in Poland and 15 per cent of these are male.
  • A 2009 US Human Rights Report says the police estimate there are 3,300 sex workers in the country.

  33 Responses to “‘Any Idiot Can Find a Brothel in Krakow’”

  1. Although this trade caters for tourist, it is also well supported by Polish men from this good Catholic country, who are quite prepared to believe that many of these often exploited workers, are freely choosing this activity which clearly isn’t always the case.

  2. Poland is still a backward country full of backward men.I’m sick of the hypocrits that go to church then sleep with hookers on the way back. They’re the same men who judge me on nights out because I don’t believe in god. Losers.

    • BRAVO!!!

    • It’s because being a true Christian is very hard. In fact, it opposes the human needs and requirements. You need to become semi-God to be a true and consistent practitioner. That’s why you don’t believe in God, because you are seeing these people who are fake believers. Once you meet true believers, you’ll recognize GOD. Wish you luck ;-)

    • Jason, i’ve been selling a propert in England now for 12 weeks it is a cash buyer no chain,i sold a property in Poland it took 3 day’s, hows that for being backward ignorant idiot.

  3. If the country is so backward than maybe Jason should just p*ss off back to the “advanced” country he came from. Which by the way is?

    Cheers

  4. OZ, maybe you should go there… if you can find time between praying and banging hookers…

  5. OZ!!! … what a laugh! I have cousins there, so know what ‘heights of civilisation’ have been reached – i.e. just about at the attitudes and culture of the stone age now (after all, somebody has to dig out the minerals to sell to the Chinese, don’t they).

  6. Clever cousins….back on your knees mate.

  7. wow i had not made up my mind to go to the euros beforehand but after reading this i definitely will. this was a great advertisement for the polish red light trade. before i was afraid i would be arrested, now i know the cops turn a blind eye. thanks for the help. i’ll be sure to tell my friends too any more interesting point on poland and its people and culture?

    • Is that last comment ironic or merely pitiable?

      • perhaps pitiable for my poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. definitely ironic in my seemingly new awareness of a developing countries sex industry. sex sells not only for the prostitutes but for the journalists also. just another cog in the machine, another opinion in a world flooded with self-righteous assertions fuelled endlessly by the constant stimulation of alcohol simulating original thinking.

  8. Poland is not a developing country….

    • are you proposing that it is a regressing country?so by way of argument i would beg to differ as it is moving forward rather quickly with an ever-increasing percentage of the population freeing themselves from the old ways of thinking that you so care to chastise in your first comments. we must all develop or we will become stagnant like still water.
      perhaps prostitution is beneficial in allowing men to release primal urges with ‘consenting and finanacial beneficiaries saving the children and other unsuspecting vulnerable persons becoming destroyed victims of sexual aggression.
      i myself do not frequent escorts or the like but i can empathise with those who do. in all relationships in life there is give and take- be it financial or emotional.

  9. Mate, do you know what calling a country ‘developing’ means? Wikipedia…. Your other points are just well….stupid..and pretty sexist…do you even know which side of the fence you care to plonk your fat ass on?

    • ah the great wikipedia!!!!! do not limit your horizons to what you have been told. i see no fences anywhere. i do not wave flags. so i am fat and i am stupid but we are mates…. all is good. the troll shall now depart. hugs and kisses… sounds like you need em. maybe you should come to poland too but i think you have had bad experience with the backward types as you call them.

  10. You actually believe that prostitution hinders rape and child abuse and that men are slaves to sexual aggression…..I hope you’re Catholic, then you should bring all your shit to Poland and stay there…suit you just fine.

    • i believe that alcohol is more the cause of those problems than prostitution. would you see that outlawed? i think you could not survive in this world without it

  11. [...] ‘Any Idiot Can Find a Brothel in Krakow’ » Krakow PostMay 11, 2012 … Polish law allows streetwalkers and escorts to trade independently, but prohibits the establishment of brothels and the practice of pimping. [...]

  12. The more a conservative country is about sex the more brothel flourish as sex is such as a natural thing that not even church can stop it.

    • Dear Billy no doubt sex is a natural thing but doing sex like sex worker is not natural. If you look at the interviews of sex workers you will find that no sex worker enjoys sex while working as sex worker because they are not doing it with love or by heart. Sex with your partner , with your husband is the natural and most beautiful thing and is natural.

  13. Polish girls are the most beautiful, hardworking, faithful, loving and caring girls in whole Europe. This thing hurts when you hear that such nice girls have been forced to work as sex workers obviously by men or sometimes by circumstances. 18000 sex workers in whole Poland in not a big issue. If we work together we can save all these 18000 and can move them from Hell to Heaven. They just need love and respect. Trust me no ,money, no status nothing else.

    • I agree to the first part, but to put them on their knees by “saving them from Hell to Heaven” may have a different result ;-).

    • you are deluding yourself if you think they all need “saving” many are not forced at all,trafficking is an
      issue,but exaggerated.

  14. I am Australian born but come from a polish family, i have been to Kraków many times since 1990 and from my perspective this is very much a developing country on the up and up. When you have a developing economy, you will always have crime and protitution, Kraków is much better than it was in this respect and i see it becoming less corrupt every time i go there. In Australia, about two thirds of the country has made brothels illegal but in the major cities there, brothel are really easy to find. Australia is seen by alot of the world to be way more developed and less corrupt by the way. Religion has little to with anything discussed here but nevertheless people always find a way to argue about it.

  15. Almost the same in Bulgaria haha

  16. good article

  17. Szanowny Taniec Osoba / Lover,

    Link poniżej, jest napisane / graficzne / wideo o różnych tematach dotyczących Polskich Tańców. (To powinno otworzyć się teraz!) Powinien je znaleźć interesujące. (Jeśli masz jakieś pytania dotyczące prac, warsztaty, lub wideo (które w tej chwili są na osobnej płycie CD) prosimy o kontakt.)

    Dear Dance Person/Lover,

    The following link, below, contains written/ graphical/videos about various topics dealing with Polish Dances. (It should open now!) You should find them interesting. (If you have any questions about the works, workshops, or videos (which at this time are on a separate CD) feel free to contact me.)

    http://jason.chuang.ca/social-dance/mazur-mazurka/

    r cwieka

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