Prostitution is something that’s always going to be present no matter what country you are visiting. While it may be harder to find in some countries than others, there are always ways of getting around the laws and of keeping the operations secretive. However there is some prostitution in Europe that is legal, and in these countries it is possible to use prostitutes completely legally. Prostitution in Europe is legal in eight countries: Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands and Turkey. Meanwhile the laws against prostitution in Europe are enforced to varying degrees across the rest of Europe meaning that it’s more possible to find prostitution in some countries than others.
For instance in Bulgaria despite laws against prostitution, Westerners walking around the tourist regions at night can expect to get lots of offers from prostitutes and this can actually be quite off putting as they tend to not like taking no for an answer. Meanwhile in other ‘party’ areas such as Magaluf it is also relatively easy to find prostitution in Europe. Somewhere like England on the other hand has much stricter rules and it is more difficult to find prostitution in Europe though there is certainly an industry running there. For instance it is not completely unusual to see a prostitute on the streets of London, there are many ‘escort’ services some of which provide ‘extra’ benefits, and it is possible to find massages with ‘happy endings’ even by looking online.
In the countries where prostitution in Europe is viewed more liberally this generates a lot of tourism known as ‘sex tourism’. In the case of Amsterdam this is not always necessarily in order to use the prostitutes – but sometimes to enjoy a range of other attractions. For instance in Amsterdam the prostitution windows in the red light district – which display women like products in a shop window – are a huge attraction simply because most countries have nothing like that. Meanwhile Amsterdam also offers live sex shows, glory holes, more riské strip shows.
An interesting question arises when discussing legal prostitution in Europe and opinions are divided on whether it is something to be lauded. As prostitution in Europe is available even in the countries where it is not illegal, it is often believed that making it legal would be a better way to at least control and govern the prostitution that does occur rather than driving it underground. Where prostitution in Europe is legal, the prostitutes in question are subject to STI tests and screened for drugs, whereas illegal prostitution in Europe has no such benefits and often the prostitution goes hand in hand with a range of other crimes. There is also the belief that legal prostitution can help to prevent other crimes such as rape as those who have difficulty controlling their sexual appetite at least have an outlet. While there is no easy answer, legal prostitution in Europe does provide a model for how this could work in other countries.