Portugal: Quarteira protesting prostitution


Prostitution in Quarteira has been steadily rising over the past years, mainly due to the influx of immigrant women from Eastern Europe, Brazil and Africa. At the moment there are 80 street prostitutes in Quarteira, according to AIDS Support Movement.

“I have been working on street projects in contact with prostitutes for seven years and have noticed the rise in the number of prostitutes, mostly foreign ones” said a psychologist who is part of the AIDS Support Movement.

Most prostitutes start working on ‘Sic Street’, connecting Quarteira to Vilamoura, at dusk. They sell their services for as little as €20 and many times must settle for less as the interested parties haggle and the harsh competition forces them to accept the cheaper price.

Their clientele is extremely varied; labourers, doctors, lawyers, tourists, students and even the elderly drive down the street at an idle speed to satisfy their urge, explained the psychologist who has been helping women protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases for the past seven years.

Quarteira’s prostitutes classify Portuguese men as ‘good’ customers, not only because they pay on the spot, but also because they are not as aggressive as foreign citizens. For example, Romanian prostitutes do not want to sell themselves to men from their own country, especially when they are drunk, as they can become violent.

The AIDS Support Movement distributes condoms and information pamphlets teaching prostitutes how to put on a condom even if the client does not want to use one: “We teach them to put the condom on with their mouth, without the customer noticing they are putting it on” said the psychologist, stressing that it is vital that prostitutes protect themselves from contracting diseases as well as stopping their spread.

In 2007 there were 80 prostitutes working in Quarteira, 78 women and two transsexuals, 65% of them were foreign.

Many of them come to work on the famous street, famous because it was once part of a special report by SIC, thus the name ‘Sic Street’, for the summer season in the Algarve and when winter arrives only the local prostitutes remain, most of them working to feed their drug habit. Foreigners, on the other hand, work the street to sustain their families in their homeland.



Edition: 974



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