Prostitute standing in doorway, adjusting stiletto, close-up

Prostitution on increase … to ‘help pay exorbitant Lisbon rents’

Lisbon landlords are purportedly “taking advantage of exorbitant prices charged for rent” these days to run unlicensed brothels and enjoy free sex into the bargain.

An investigation by Diário de Notícias claims there are “many people falling into prostitution to pay for accommodation” – more people, says the paper, “than during the period of the troika”. It’s mostly going on ‘during office hours’ to keep activity under the wire.

Landlords ‘control’ their tenants’ clientele, ensuring visits take place during lunchtimes and the afternoon.

“After this time, visits are prohibited – neighbours might become suspicious”, DN continues.

It’s a form of prostitution that involves “no announcements over the internet, or in newspapers” and the landlord pimp pockets at least €6000 euros a month.

The story explains that the women involved charge their clients around €100 per visit, 50% of which apparently goes to the landlord.

“They accept this situation because at least it means they don’t need to pay rent”, Inês Fontinha in charge of an association “accompanying and rehabilitating prostitutes”, explains.

For Fontinha, the ruse is “a new phenomenon. A phenomenon that has an obvious reason: the capital’s exorbitant rents which are impelling more women into prostitution”.

The answer? Fontinha definitely wants more help from the city council in the form of social habitation.

Empty buildings, which the capital has in abundance, could be used to this end instead of the policy of selling them off to the highest bidders.

Fontinha claims there are also “houses available for situations of social emergency” which the council simply doesn’t offer these women even though it’s quite obvious that “housing right now is the main cause for their entry into prostitution”.

In tandem with DN’s report, came an interview by TSF radio with the secretary-general of the Portuguese platform for women’s rights.

Ana Sofia Fernandes said hopes are to change the law that has decriminalised prostitution in order to “prosecute clients”.