Amsterdam-style sex sell creates uproar in Czech capital

The launch of Amsterdam-style sex  in the center of Prague has created outcry and admissions of impotence from public authorities

Society
Chris Johnstone | 03.05.2012
The more tradition face of the Czech sex business

Prague residents in the center of the city are scandalized after an Amsterdam-style brothel where half naked women show their wares in windows opened up.

The business started in a street a stone’s throw from the famous Wenceslas Square, Ve Smečkách, already known for its gaudy strip clubs and bars, but clearly takes the sex business in a new direction in the Czech capital.

Outraged residents have complained, but according to Thursday's edition of the daily Právo have been told by the local Prague 1 council that the only law the new business seems to be breaking is the safety rules regarding the number of fire escapes.

“We are lacking the legislative means. After its opened, it’s possible to tackle the advertising of  sexual services to the public. Otherwise, it’s a private house and we have merely asked the town police to keep an eye out,” Prague 1 mayor Oldřich Lomecký(TOP 09) told the paper.

A permanent police presence has been placed near the new business, obviously meaning that it’s not available elsewhere, he added. A top police official said the owners of such business usually had extremely robust legal support, so police had to tread carefully when carrying out checks.

‘We are lacking the legislative means. After its opened, it’s possible to tackle the advertising of  sexual services to the public.’

The half naked women offer services at “surprisingly” cheap prices, according to the paper.  A strip in front of the client in the small booth with a curtain drawn across the window costs Kč 250 (around €8-9) with a half hour sex session at around Kč 600, the paper reported.

Recent Czech media reports described a sharp drop in the prices charged for sexual services as the economic squeeze is felt. They also reported a trend towards more discreet sexual services offered in private flats away from the center of the city with Czechs, not tourists, the main customers being targeted. But the Amsterdam -style window sex is clearly a departure from that trend, although police say Czechs and tourists alike seem to be attracted by the new offer.

While new to Prague, the Amsterdam-style sex sell is not a total novelty for the Czech Republic as a whole. Window sex shopping developed  for example in the northern border town of Dubí in the years following the following the fall of communism in 1989 with German sex tourists among the main targets for the flourishing business along the main road to and from the border.

Local authorities have combated the phenomenon with tough and strictly enforced byelaws, for example closing times of 10 pm, together with punitive fines which have forced many of the businesses to close.

The northern town of Chomutov has opted for a clampdown making use of cameras in its red light district. Images of the cars and drivers stopping to pick up prostitutes are posted to the addresses of local clients in the hope that wives  or girlfriends will be alerted.

But Prague 1 mayor Lomecký told Právo that he regarded both options as being problematic with a working group now being created to look into what solutions the local council could come up with for its new problem.

The head of the city police, Ludvík Klema, said one option might be a mass complaint by local residents about public and moral disturbance. That would, he warned, spark administrative proceedings which could take years to proceed through the courts. 

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