One third of the sex businesses and registered sex workers disappeared after the COVID pandemic

The Der Standard published a few days ago a long article about illegal apartment prostitution in Vienna and also showed interesting facts about the pre- and post-COVID sex scene in the city. In this article, we summarize the article’s facts and also mention warnings about the high risk of being an illegal prostitute in the Austrian capital.

An example of illegal prostitution in Vienna – Hungarian sex worker provides sex a few days a week, from an apartment

The article starts with an example of illegal apartment prostitution, where a Hungarian woman rents an apartment for a few weekdays and provides sex for eight clients a day. Because most of her clients have families, she accepts them during the early afternoon hours.

This solution is quite convenient for her; she has her own life in Budapest and she offers sex in Vienna when she wants.

She already has clientele, so her calendar is filled up upfront and she can freely reject the shadier men of her own will.

The Der Standard also mentions the fact, which we have already highlighted many times, that providing sex from apartments in Vienna is not just illegal, but can be very dangerous to women.

The situation drastically changed with the COVID pandemic

Illegal prostitution boomed since the pandemic; the local Police authorities had only 40 cases in 2019, but 867 in 2021. In 2023, they had 614 cases and this year, until May, 328 cases. Before COVID, there were around 800 red-light businesses in Austria; currently, there are about 550. The number of registered sex workers in the country dropped from 8,000 to 5,000.

While a lot of brothels closed their doors because of COVID, illegal apartment prostitution also caused significant loss of business. A lot of missing sex workers from the stats might work illegally from apartments because, in many cases, it is more lucrative for them. They often don’t pay taxes, don’t have a license from the police, regular health checks, and they also don’t need to pay the costs of a legal business.

The newspaper mentions the winners of this situation: the ad portals where the girls are advertising their illegal services. The market leader Booksusi, for example, closed with 107,000 euros in 2019, while this amount increased to 1.2 million euros in the 2022 financial year.


Booksusi can be dangerous for the clients as well, read our article how the women can cheat the customers using this ad portal:

It is not worth working illegally

As the newspaper shows in its articles, the fines for sex workers can range from 200 to 1,000 euros, and for the apartment landlord or owner, between 400 and 1,000 euros. The police investigate reports found online, and undercover officers conduct checks after making contact.

However, these fines can be paid relatively easily and show no real retentiveness for illegal sex workers. There are other aspects of illegal work, which can cause much more difficulties and threats than fines from the authorities.

Working alone in the night scene, and especially illegally, makes the women extra vulnerable. Most of the clients know that these girls literally don’t have help in case of argument and brutality.

The reasons are clear: no one wants to get in trouble with the authorities because of the illegal work, so the sex workers can trust only in the clients’ honesty and self-restraint.

And this trust is very unstable; every year a lot of cases become known to authorities, where sex workers were attacked or even killed.

And these are just the most serious cases; there are many more unreported cases where the girls are forced to provide unwanted services or they are beaten, kicked, or insulted otherwise.

Read this article to know more about the disadvantages and dangers of illegal sex work in Vienna:

There are a lot of safe brothels in Vienna

Vienna has a very diverse sex scene and this is true for the brothels as well. There are different kinds of places which are continuously looking for new talents. Sauna clubs and classic nightclubs are considered the safest brothels in the city; however, the sauna club business model does not fit everyone.

The high-class nightclubs, however, have high-quality clientele, professional management and staff, and they are located in the best spots of the city. These places have security guards which deter shady clients, and the rooms are equipped with alarm systems so the girls can ask for help in case of emergency.

The sex workers can also earn good money and build up a loyal client base as well. As a plus, these places often offer escort services in Vienna, which can be another income for the women.


Don’t hesitate to read our article about the best brothels in the city by clicking on the button below:

Posted in