When it comes to prostitution in Poland, the term is commonly associated with activities such as escort agencies, strip clubs, and street sex in certain areas of cities or along major roads. Reports from various institutions dealing with the issue suggest that about 20,000 people are involved in paid prostitution on a regular basis, if we limit our focus to these places.
Even the most experienced experts find it difficult to provide an accurate estimate of the number of Polish citizens who regularly or occasionally provide escort and sexual services for monetary or material compensation. The Internet has caused a significant change in social behavior over the past few decades.
It’s uncertain how much of the behavior on Internet forums, erotic chat rooms, social media sites, escort apps, and pornographic content platforms that allow for real-time ordering of services can be considered or contains aspects of prostitution. In addition, sponsorship advertisements and questionable job opportunities for young women abroad further complicate the issue.
According to information from the police and volunteers involved in the problem, the total number of prostitutes in Poland may reach several hundred thousand, taking into account all modern communication channels.
↳ PRO TIP: Do you like traveling? Then before you buy any ticket or book an attraction, check if it's available in this worldwide Viator Database. You may save a lot of money and time. No need to thank me :)
↳ Make sure you read this one too. This article explains surprising facts about why men all over the world love Polish women so much:: The Allure of Polish Girls – Why Do Man Fall In Love in Seconds?
Definition of Prostitution in Poland
Prostitution is not explicitly prohibited by Polish law, and there is no legal definition of this activity. The Polish dictionary defines prostitution as „engaging in sexual intercourse for financial gain”, which is also supported by jurisprudence and doctrine.
However, forced prostitution is considered a criminal offense, and according to Article 203 of the Penal Code, those who force or coerce others into prostitution by using unlawful threats, deception, or taking advantage of their dependence or critical situation can be sentenced to one to ten years in prison.
- You may also like this article: Death Sentence in Poland – The Dark Chapter of Last Execution in 1988
In addition, acts related to the exploitation of prostitution, such as pimping, procuring, and peddling, are criminalized under Article 204 of the Criminal Code and are punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment. If the victim of such behavior is a minor, defined as a person under the age of 18, the perpetrator can face one to ten years in prison.
Scale of Prostitution in Poland
The underground pimping industry in Poland is thriving, with the latest figures from the Central Statistical Office estimating that the market for security and pimping services generates over PLN 700 million annually. If the income of prostitutes is included, this figure doubles. It is estimated that the sex industry contributes between 0.04 and 0.05 GDP to the economy, and its expansion is supported by the Internet and various open and closed services.
- You may also read: The Most Popular Jobs in Poland and Salary You Can Expect
According to a report by Sedlak&Sedlak, the average hourly wage for a Polish prostitute was PLN 209.82, while male prostitutes earned slightly more at PLN 209.91 per hour. The average rate for a night’s work was PLN 2,060, with sexual services in Baltic resorts commanding the highest prices, often exceeding PLN 400. By comparison, two years ago the hourly rate was lower, averaging PLN 183, with a nightly rate of PLN 1,732.
Current Legal Status of Prostitution in Poland
Is it legal? In Poland, engaging in prostitution is not considered an illegal act under the 1997 Penal Code. However, the law prohibits those who use force, unlawful threats, deception, or exploit a relationship of dependence or critical situation to force another person into prostitution.
Such offenders may be sentenced to between one- and ten-years’ imprisonment under article 203.
Article 204 of the Criminal Code states that persons who induce or lure others to engage in prostitution outside the country for financial gain, such as pimps and procurers, may be sentenced to up to three years’ imprisonment. If the person involved is a minor, those who incite them to engage in such activities can face up to ten years in prison.
The legal consequences for prostitution-related offenses in Poland are relatively lenient, especially in cases of profiting from adult prostitution, and convictions are rare.
The main reasons for this are often the silence and fear of the victims, the lack of witnesses, the difficulty of proving accusations, and the increasing social acceptance of prostitution – over 70 percent of men and 50 percent of women are in favor of legalizing it.
Poland has ratified the UN Convention on Trafficking in Persons and the Exploitation of Prostitution, which bans legal brothels that openly offer paid sex services, registers prostitutes, and seeks to combat pimping and procuring. However, prostitution is often associated with violence, persecution, and human trafficking, which is a form of modern-day slavery.
Sponsorship and Other Forms of Prostitution
Official statistics provide limited information about prostitution, often focusing only on the financial aspects of those involved in the industry and the income generated by the broader market of erotic services.
While these statistics show a positive trend of decreasing income from prostitution, with the total value of the Polish „sex business” decreasing from PLN 10 billion at the beginning of the 21st century to pimps earning an estimated PLN 720 million in 2015, researchers such as Prof. Zbigniew Izdebski argue that these figures should not be taken as a sign of progress.
This is because traditional prostitution is facing increasing competition from a wide range of internet and mobile services that blur the line between paid prostitution and free sexual encounters.
In addition, the phenomenon of „sponsorship„, in which young women receive financial support from men in exchange for sexual favors, may affect as many as 20% of young women in Poland, according to some researchers.
How Much It Cost in Poland?
During the summer season, hormones and love lead to an increase in demand for paid sexual services, with rates ranging from PLN 150 to PLN 200 per hour, depending on the region. The youngest prostitutes, aged 18-25, tend to earn the most, about 119 PLN more than their older counterparts.
However, these rates are gross, and net earnings are lower because prostitutes are usually required to share their profits with their pimps or guardians, usually at a rate of 50%. For criminals, profiting from the prostitution of others can be a lucrative busines, with efficient and attractive prostitutes serving up to 10 or more clients per day.
Police officers involved in this business stress that pimping often goes unnoticed until a pimp commits an act of violence against his charge, or other crimes, such as drug offenses, come to light. Sometimes the prostitutes themselves rebel against the low wages paid to their handlers.
On Cameras and On the Streets
Prostitution is a complex phenomenon with a wide range of variations. At one end of the spectrum are sex slaves who are coerced into the trade.
At the other end of the spectrum are women who make a conscious choice to engage in prostitution and view it as a freelance job. There are even luxury escort girls who accompany businessmen during negotiations and earn several thousand dollars per night.
These women see themselves as having nothing in common with the street prostitutes, who are forced to work under a pimp and receive very little compensation. Historically, there have always been different levels within the prostitution industry, ranging from street girls, who are the lowest in the hierarchy, to courtesans, mistresses, and high-end escorts.
Prostitution is not always paid with money. Some receive clothing, gadgets, rent, or expensive gifts. It is difficult to define the boundaries of prostitution, according to Professor Zbigniew Izdebski, because it is hard to determine whether a woman who sleeps with her boss for a promotion is prostituted or not.
E-prostitution or camgirl is a new phenomenon in which women work in front of a webcam and earn money through erotic conversations, undressing, and masturbation. They can arrange private chats with some viewers and earn several thousand a month without having physical contact with men. They can also decide how far they want to go and may not consider what they are doing as prostitution.