Ten reasons why we emphasise the need for legislative reform on sex work in Greece:
1. Law 2734/1999 makes reference to “prostitution” and not to sex work. The distinction reflects the legislator’s perception that persons engaged in this profession do not have the same rights and obligations as any other working person in any field of work.
2. The current legal framework prohibits sex work on the street, in hotels, online or on the premises of the sex worker or of the person receiving the services – ignoring the actual circumstances of the sex work, thus pushing sex workers to illegality and failing to control the profession in order to protect public health.
3. According to the same law, sex workers must be unmarried, widowed or divorced – in any case not married, a provision that directly challenges equal rights to family and work.
4. The professional certificate is valid for a period of only three years, a time limitation that does not apply to any other profession.
5. Sex workers are required to submit to medical examination every 15 days for sexually transmitted diseases. Excessively frequent periodicity does not provide additional safeguards to protect public health, but is instead a disincentive for sex workers to work legally.
6. In practice, the legislator makes it virtually impossible for legal sex work to take place in places within the city, as it is not permitted in buildings within a radius of less than 200 metres from churches, schools, kindergartens, nurseries, day-care centres, nursing homes, youth centres, sports centres, boarding schools, libraries and charitable institutions, as well as from squares and playgrounds.
7. The law prohibits group partnership and in cases where rotational work is allowed, the consent of the owner of the premises is required.
8. Issuing a second licence in the same house or in the same block of flats is prohibited. For the establishment in a block of flats the consent of both the owners and the occupants of the block is required.
9. Provision is made for municipalities to determine the number of establishment licenses, a provision that does not exist for other professions.
10. Finally, the law includes the unduly restrictive provision that it is a condition of employment that auxiliary-service personnel must be over 50 years of age and with a requirement to undergo frequent medical examinations.
While the law safeguards the persons receiving sex work services (clients), it is easy to see how the legislative framework deregulates and disempowers the very people who should be at the centre of attention, i.e. the sex workers themselves, who are in a state of vulnerability.
We call on the Greek State and all parties involved to take the side of the obvious, the side of equality, protection of rights and the fight against the discrimination that sex workers suffer on a daily basis, and to undertake an immediate revision of Law 2734/1999 “Prostitute Persons and Other Provisions”.