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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”



Sex workers problems in Greece
Eliza Kolovou, Greece

[The Guardian article Eliza is referring to was posted to SEX-WORK on 3
July, 2003 and can be viewed at the following URL:
- Mod]

About Guardian's artikel from 03-08-2003 [entitled] "Olympic City Aims to
License Its Brothels":

This law in Greece it's unconstitutional and can't make things work
because you can't find a place in Athens which is 200 metre [away] from
churches, schools youth centers public squares public buildings etc.

At the 4th and 5th of August 2003 Mrs Bakoyani and Mrs Valsamaki tried to
close the brothels -which in more than 40 years exists in Athens - against
the Greek law who says that you can't close any bussines or houses during
1st to 31 of August because August it's vacation month.

Eliza Kolovou
Sex-workers Vice Secretary, Greece

[Eliza has included below a selection/description of Greek law regarding
sex-work. They are available as a pdf file on the following website:
- Mod]

2. Description of laws

2a. Sex work (pimping and procuring, brothel keeping)
There is no law prohibiting sex work, all women working in the sex
industry are required to be registered and the state provides the terms
and conditions under which sex work can be practised. Non-registered sex
worker are considered to be guilty of an illegal act. Sanctions also exist
against a man who is supported by sex work. The minimum age for women to
sell sexual services is under the new law '18 years of age'. To sell
sexual services when one is under the age of 18 is forbidden according to
the law.

According to the law 2734/1999, brothel sex work is the only place where
sex worker should practice their profession although this law was not
operational due to bureaucracy.
(EUROPAP 2000-2001, September 2001)

The requirements for one to issue this certification are the following:
- To be over 18 years old (Majority age for Greece)
- Not be under any marital status (married, divorced or widowed)
- Not to suffer from any infectious or sexually transmitted diseases.
According to a relevant Decision of the Greek Ministry of Health
(B1/61/10-2-2000), Sexually Transmitted Diseases are: Syphilis,
gonorrhoea, HIV, herpes of genitals in full progress, virus of Nicolas
Favre, Chlamydeous Trochomatis, Hemophilia Durcei and Tuberculosis.
- Not to suffer from any mental illness or use drugs
- Not convicted for:
a. Murder in a 1st degree
b. Seduction of a minor
c. Facilitate a third person to debauchery
d. Pimping
e. Burglary
f. Extortion
g. Arm possession
h. Drugs



This certification is issued by the Prefect of their residence and is
valid only for the specific perfectorate and for three (3) years period.
The certification can be renewed if the person fulfils the above
Regarding the foreign sex workers, basic requirement for issuing this
certification is residence pass. If the residence pass is issued for less
than three (3) years, the certification for practicing sex work is issued
Sex workers, who have the certification for practicing sex work, are
obliged to have health booklet issued by the same authority as the

To be able to work in the sex industry, a person should provide a
certification for practicing sex work, which is valid for three years. To
obtain such a certificate, certain conditions have to be met. It is also
possible for migrants [during the last 10-15 years, migrants are coming
into Greece more and more, and the flow of migrants is still growing] to
work in a brothel. The basic requirements for issuing this certification
is the stay permit. If the stay permit is issued for less than three
years, the certification for practicing sex work is issued accordingly.
(Information derived from EUROPAP 2000-2001- Greece)

According to the Greek Law it is a criminal offence to facilitate or to
promote sex work. The protection of sex workers in any form will be
punished with a maximum of 2 years imprisonment plus a fine.

Article 3, section 4
It is prohibited to let out property to a person without a license for
offering paid sexual services, or a person without a license for using
this building for the purpose of sex work. The building must at all times
fulfil the requirements of the law regarding the letting out of property
for the purpose of sex work.
Each person providing sexual services in return for payment, having sexual
contact with others, bearing in mind the knowledge that she is suffering
from any infectious disease, will be punished with imprisonment up to one
year or even more if other facts will be taken into consideration. The
same punishment will be given to by any other person that is involved in
the above mentioned transaction.
Every person who disturbs the public order by indecent exposure, by verbal
indecencies or by certain movements for the purpose of engaging in sex
work will be punished with imprisonment up to three months.

Article 4, section 1
Those who are renting property in order to provide paid sexual services
are required to have a license for the use of the property in the sex

Article 4, section 2
The number of the persons who provide paid sexual services in a licensed
property is defined by the law with a maximum of three, including the
person who is licensed for renting the property. In addition, the sex
workers can offer their services only in one brothel and the local police
should be notified of this.

Article 4, section 4
Anyone employed to work as a servant-maid in a brothel, is not allowed to
provide sexual services in return for payment. Any violation of the law is
resulting in the punishment maximum of 2 years imprisonment plus a fine.

Other regulations regarding sex work

It is obligatory for the sex workers to have public insurance (Law voted
January 1999) thus they are eligible to all its benefits such as pension,
etc, as long as they are under regular medical examinations.

349, 350 Pimping
According to Criminal Law 349, 350, pimping is punished by imprisonment. A
man whose income derives form sex workers is also punished by
Facilitate a third person to debauchery 348
Criminal action. Also punished by imprisonment.

351 Sex work network
Criminal action, punished by imprisonment in case one:
Employs or drags/tricks a minor to sex work even if this is voluntarily
Forces a woman to sex work
Forces a woman to work in a brothel taking advantage of her as a sex

Sex worker's reactions

The Law for sex work has been voted by the Greek Parliament in 1999, but
hasn't been implemented yet. The main reason is the strong reactions of
Sex worker such as:
- Remonstrate against the Ministry of Public Order
- Demonstrate
- Massive gatherings during the electoral period (March 2000). As a result
the Minister of Public Order tied up to the revision of the Law.



The association of Sex workers sent a letter to the Minister of Public
Order with certain proposals on the revision. According to this letter,
the Law for Sex work apply only to the register sex workers, making no
reference to non-register ones, & illegal sex work networks. The Ministry
of Public Health announced that many of the proposals have been accepted.
Some of them are:
a. Facilitate a third person to debauchery should not be an obstacle for
issuing certification for practicing sex work. Sex workers are an easy
target for such accusation
b. According to the law, a sex worker who has been convicted in first
degree is not allowed to issue certification for practicing sex work. For
the rest of the Greek citizens, such prohibition happens only if the
conviction is unappeasable.
c. The certification for practicing sex work to be issued only for sex
workers from the European Union, decreasing competition with those from
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The Ministry of Public Order
rejected this proposal due to the matter of discrimination
d. The distance of 200m not to be valid for private schools, hospitals,
libraries, squares cause in these cases it's difficult to find a working
place. Also, this distance should be in straight line and not in circle.
e. To be able to employ a man as an assistant this happens quite often.
This proposal has been accepted.

2b. Trafficking

323 Slave trade
According to Criminal Law 323, slave trade is punished as well as slave
transportation, even if the person's purpose wasn't to trade them for own
Transporting slaves is not punished if its purpose was to free them.

2c. Health Laws that refer to sex work

Law (L1193/1981)'Protection against Venereal Disease': This law covers the
definition of the woman practicing sex work; medical investigation; the
premises of the persons practicing sex work; the registration of a sex
worker; the terms and conditions for the withdrawal of a sex worker's
license, etc.

The purpose of the law is to have everyone registered; both Greek sex
worker and migrant sex workers. In order to register, one needs to have a
health bill, which means that one is declared free of suffering from any
psychological conditions, that one does not have a criminal record and is
not using any drugs.

Everybody who is paid for offering sexual services without a license for
practicing this profession or without the regular medical check ups as are
defined by the Greek law will be punished by a maximum of 2 years
imprisonment plus a fine.

Infectious Diseases

According to the new act 2734/99, all sex workers are obliged to abstain
from their job when diagnosed as suffering from any infectious disease(s).
Sex workers suffering from tuberculosis of the lungs (not the skin) should
also abstain from their job. In this case, the period that the sex workers
are not allowed to work should be determined with the greatest concern for

Article 2, section 1
Those who are licensed to practice the profession of sex work are obliged
to undergo a medical check up every fortnight.

Medical Tests
Medical Authorities of the Prefecture that has issued the certification
are "responsible" for a line up of obligatory medical tests a sex worker
must do. A Ministerial Decision dictates these tests (as well as their
frequency). These tests are:
- Checking for Gonococcus, trichomonades, fungus, and fortnightly
- Checking for Syphilis once a month
- HIV test once a trimester
- Test for Tuberculosis, chlamydeous and Pap test once a year
The above Decision also suggests vaccination for Hepatitis B
Note: Hepatitis B & C are not specified as sexually transmitted diseases
and the infection by one of them is not impediment for issuing
certification for practicing sex work.

All the above tests are free of charge in Prefecture Hospitals & Venereal
Diseases Clinics under the responsibility of the Authority that has issued
the certificate.
In case of a positive outcome, the sex worker must be medically supervised
until full elimination of the disease.
Medical Treatment is also free of charge in state hospitals. In case that
the sex worker chooses to visit a non-state Hospital/Doctor, there will be
expenses. Permission by the Medical Authorities of the Prefecture is
needed. The completion of the cure is certified by a state hospital only.
During the Treatment, practicing sex work is prohibited.
According to the Law 1193/1981 for Venereal Diseases, a person who is
aware of suffering by an infectious disease and do not follow any medical
instructions to stop its expanding is punished (article 458).

Article 2, section 3
Every sex worker should, in case of sickness, undergo treatment until
complete recovery is made according to the judgment of a professional
doctor. Any violation of law is resulting in punishment with a maximum of
2 years imprisonment plus a fine.

2d. Migration

Alien Law
For the first time, the Greek legislation system has reference to
migrants. Regarding the foreign sex workers, the basic requirement for
issuing this certification is the stay permit. If the stay permit is
issued for less than three (3) years, the certification for practicing sex
work is issued accordingly.
Currently, approximately 50 migrants have obtained the working license in
the sex industry, obviously all of them they have a permission to stay to
Greece. After the introduction of the new law, an increase in the number
of applicants has been observed, regarding mainly migrants from Albania
and Germany. Only three of the applicants were rejected for obtaining the
working license because they had no permission to stay in Greece. The
migrant sex workers must be able to supply the Greek authorities with
papers of their criminal record in order to obtain the working license in
the sex industry. When they have obtained the permit to stay in Greece
they can re-apply for the license to become employed in the sex industry.
The license to work in the sex industry remains in force for as long as
they have the permit to stay in the country. A more accurate estimate on
how many migrants have applied for a working license can be given at the
end of this year. The number of non-registered migrant sex workers in
Greece is estimated around 20.000. It is important to underline that the
state is currently working out a complimentary act for the sex workers
regarding trafficking and which also deals with the general concern of
underage sex work in Greece.

Comments: Most of the migrants enter Greece in an illegal way, crossing
the borders in sites that are not well guarded, or hidden in containers
that are transported across the border. It is obvious that under these
circumstances it is rather difficult to obtain the permit to stay in

2e. Public Order (national and local level)

Brothel sex work
According to the Greek law 2734/1999 regarding the brothel legislation
only the local authorities are entitled to issue the license for brothel
keeping and the actual number of brothel licenses per area depends on the
needs of the whole region, i.e. army camps, seaports etc. Furthermore, it
is not possible to sign a written contract between the club owners and the
sex workers that is legally valid in Greece.
Each person who works in the sex industry by running or working in a
brothel should fulfil the following requirements:
- to be in the possession of a working license in the sex industry;
- to be in the possession of a license in order to settle in a property
and use it as a brothel;
- possess written consent of the owner of the property to be employed.
- In case of working in a flat, the written consent of all owners or all
tenants of the building is requested.

It is prohibited for someone to settle in a building that is preserved for
historical, traditional or architectural qualities. The brothel can be
used as a working place only and can not be used as a permanent residence
of the employees.
The license is effective only for a maximum of two years; only one license
per person is granted for a brothel.