Three years back, when Stella, 33, from Athens, Greece lost her job at a supermarket, she became homeless. With a 25% unemployment rate in the country, there were no jobs to be found anywhere.
Except in one place: brothels.
Stella is one among many girls that have turned sex work during Greece’s financial crisis.
“There is no reliable government data on homelessness or sex work—but the widespread assessment among nongovernmental organizations is that the number of people living on the streets and exchanging sex for money or goods has increased,” says Eva Cossé, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who conducted interviews on the ground in Athens last year.
In fact, the Greek Centre for Social Sciences and Panteon University estimates that how many people selling sexual services in Greece has soared by 150% since the country’s market fall in 2008.
It’s not the line of work these girls imagined for themselves when they interviewing for jobs or were studying in school. Selling their bodies for sex is the greatest last resort–but then again, it might appear to be the only real feasible method to survive when there aren’t any jobs and nowhere to go house to.