Last year’s pandemic hit hard not only the official service sector but also the illegal one. Prostitution nd the drug trade were badly affected. This is according to data newly published by Eurostat for the Czech Republic. “Czech households spent only CZK 4.71 billion on prostitution last year. They spent CZK 9.41 billion on drugs. Thus, compared to 2019, spending on prostitution fell by 1.52 billion crowns,” Trinity Bank’s chief economist Lukáš Kovanda told CNN Prima NEWS.
People spent 763 million crowns less on drugs in 2019. The last time this spending was less was in 2002, when it was 3.63 billion crowns. “But after accounting for inflation, last year’s spending is the lowest since at least 1995, since Eurostat has been publishing the time series,” Kovanda explained.
50% of prostitutes are single mothers
The decline in interest in the services of prostitutes is mainly due to the pandemic closures of their establishments. Customers themselves have also been more cautious. “They were afraid of contracting the disease – both themselves and of passing it on to their family members,” Kovanda continued. Closed restaurants and pubs, as well as the expansion of home offices, also made the situation more difficult for customers. “They found it more difficult to find justification in front of their loved ones for leaving home,” the economist added.
The final problem was the closing of borders and the departure of workers from Ukraine or the Balkans back to their home countries. Indeed, they too are among the prostitutes’ frequent clientele. “About 10,000 women and girls in the Czech Republic make a living from selling their bodies. Often these are single mothers,” Kovanda said, adding that they represent roughly half of the prostitutes.
In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Czechs spent CZK 6.28 billion on the services of prostitutes, so each of them collected on average about CZK 52 000 per month, while last year it was CZK 39 000.
“However, to this amount, we need to add the earnings from foreign clientele and subtract any ‘pimp’ services. It should also be taken into account that a certain, but relatively insignificant, amount of expenditure goes to homosexual prostitution,” the economist said.
Spending on drugs and narcotics was also at an all-time low last year. “They amounted to only CZK 9.4 billion. After taking into account the inflationary depreciation of the Czech currency, this is again the lowest figure in the entire history of monitoring since 1995,” Kovanda added. The sale of narcotics has also been hampered by the closure of the borders through which drugs are smuggled. The closure of clubs and bars where these substances are distributed and consumed also contributed to the decline.