“Five euros only, just 5 euros,” whispered Maria, a young prostitute with sunken cheeks and bedraggled hair, as she pitched herself forward from the shadows of a graffiti-riddled alley in central Athens on a recent weeknight.
As a chill wind swept paper and trash across a grimy sidewalk, Angelos Tzortzinis, a Greek photographer, caught sight of Maria lowering her price to the equivalent of about $6.50. Maria, who would only give a pseudonym, had hoped to get some money for food — and for a cheap but dangerous new street drug that has emerged during Greece’s crisis, guaranteed to obliterate her sorrows, if only for a moment.
With the country heading into the fifth year of economic depression, and unemployment near 60 percent for young people, greater numbers of women and men are offering their bodies for next to nothing to get any scrap of money. According to the National Center for Social Research, the number of people selling sex has surged 150 percent in the last two years.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor