NEWS

Brothel ban ‘to benefit mafia’

The national prostitutes’ union yesterday charged that, by making it practically impossible for licensed brothels to operate legally, the government has effectively sided with criminal gangs exploiting thousands of sex slaves. Under legislation that both the previous and the current government have refused to soften, brothels must maintain a minimum 200-meter distance from schools, churches, youth centers and other buildings that are ubiquitous in the densely built-up center of Athens. «Effectively, this makes prostitution illegal, while giving a boost to illegal international sex-trafficking,» Grigoris Vallianatos, spokesman for the Movement of Greek Prostitutes (KEGE), told a press conference. «The 2,000 legal prostitutes will automatically enter the category of the 17,000 sex slaves in prostitution gangs controlled by the mafia… [The government] stands by the mafia’s decisions.» Ahead of the August Olympics, Athens municipal authorities have launched a crackdown on licensed brothels that fall foul of the draconian law.