Sex Work

In Greece, sex work is not considered a profession but it is a legal ‘activity’. The legislation on sex work in Greece is linked to employment conditions. Health screenings are mandatory in order to obtain a license to work as a sex worker. This legislation applies to any person who wants to work in the sex industry (nationals, EU citizens or migrants) with the exception of minors (< 18 years old) and married women.

In Greece, sex work is only legal in brothels, although street prostitution is very common. The brothels are supposed to be 200m from schools and churches; and they can only be located in residential areas if all the residents agree. Pimping, aiding persons to work as sex workers, child pornography, smuggling and trafficking in humans are illegal.

 The “Permit of Residence in Specified Quarters in order to Exercise Prostitution” and the “certificate of profession” are the general foundations which enable a person to work legally as a sex worker. The professional license is valid for three years and only within the borders of the prefecture that issued it. For foreigners whose residence permit is valid for less than three years, the license is valid for the same period as the residence permit.

Self-employed sex workers have to pay taxes as self-employed persons.

Another fact which is worth it to mention is the fact that male sex workers selling sex to homosexual clients (Article 347 PC on “indency against nature”) are punished while male sex work with consenting female clients is implied to be legal, since there is no punishment for it.

Sex work in Greece is not illegal, but not recognized as a profession either. Therefore, sex workers do not enjoy the protection of labour laws and are not considered to be employees.

Is prohibited: Article 5 defines the criminal penalties for those who violate the laws.

Prosecuted is any person

·   working as a sex worker without a professional certificate

·   working as a sex worker without a health examination

·   working as a sex worker in an unlicensed brothel

·   working as a sex worker in a licensed brothel without a license to work in that establishment

·    allowing someone to work in a brothel without a license to work in that establishment

·   hiring to work or working as service personnel in a brothel without the proper license

·   refusing to undergo or interrupting the necessary treatment recommended by the health examination

·   renting or making available a lodging for a brothel to a person without a professional license or a lodging that cannot be operating as a brothel because of its local position.

Article 350 PC punishes pimping.

According to the Greek Law it is a criminal offence to facilitate or to promote sex work.

Persons violating article 5, have to face a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine.

The penalty for pimping is a sentence of six months to three years in prison.

The protection of sex workers in any form will be punished with a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine.


Is legal: Article 1 provides for the already mentioned professional license to persons. The qualifications to get the certificate fulfills everybody, who

·   is above 18 years of age

·   is not married

·   if foreigner is legally residing in Greece

·   does not suffer from sexually transmitted or other infectious diseases, from a list provided by the Ministry of Health and welfare

·   does not suffer from any mental illness or drug addictions and

·   has not been irrevocably convicted for homicide, seduction of minors, pimping, pandering, child pornography, trafficking in human beings, child prostitution, robbery, blackmail, or for the violation of the laws on weapons and drugs.

Article 2 provides for the health checks. There is a mandatory fortnightly examination of licensed sex workers’ health, carried out by state hospitals, with the results reported on the sex workers health booklet. Should a sex worker be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted or other infectious disease, s/he will receive free treatment, during which s/he should abstain from work.

Article 3 provides for the operating license of brothels.

Anyone who holds a professional license and has the written authorization of the owner/s of the lodging, can get the operating license. The lodging cannot be used also as a home.

The operating license is valid for two years and is renewable for two years as long as the requirements are fulfilled.