A charity promoting safe conditions for sex workers has confirmed that five prostitutes in Prague are now legally allowed to work with disabled men
Prostitution is a grey area in the Czech Republic. Technically, it’s legal – but organised prostitution is not. Meaning that individuals can engage in sex work – but brothels and pimps are breaking the law (although hundreds of both continue to exist across the country).
But until now, individual sex workers haven’t been allowed to legally work with disabled individuals – providing sexual ‘assistance’ and pleasure to those otherwise unable to get it.
But all of that changed this week, when local NGO, Bliss Without Risk, confirmed that it had completed the training of five full time sex workers. The sex workers in question all signed an ethical code and learned how to ensure that their clients are communicating their needs and desires effectively, along with receiving training in special sexual aids and working on establishing an equal power balance with their customers. They were also trained in leading one-to-one consultations with disabled people´s relatives.
‘The sexual assistants have been chosen carefully,’ says Lucie Šídová, director of Bliss Without Risk. ‘They decided to do the work themselves. They have long-lasting experience with men and with the work with human body.’
The Interior Ministry confirmed that it was legal for the five individuals in question to provide sexual assistance, but only as long as they follow the prescribed rules – and as long as Bliss Without Risk doesn’t directly profit from the project.
As it stands, sexual assistance is legal in Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands, as long as a comprehensive training programme is completed. Nevertheless, it’s still considered taboo, and few sexual assistants are willing to speak out.
‘Disabled people are still people: they have fantasies, expectations, desires and frustrations,’ explains Jacques Arnoud – a 54 year old father of three, who works as a sexual assistant in Switzerland. ‘Is it acceptable that the mother of a young man with Downs syndrome has to help him masturbate every week? There are some people who disapprove of my work as a sexual assistant and refuse to be treated by me. But others think that the work is good. People who stigmatise us should be honest enough to go and find out more about sexual assistance and have some empathy.’