Prostitutes in the idyllic city of Salzburg, Austria, will soon receive checks for more $US2,000 each after a state law that required them to undergo medical checks didn’t pass a court review, the local newspaper Heute first reported.
Prostitution and brothels are legal in Austria, but subject to strict laws including regular medical exams for workers.
In the western province of Salzburg, the Social Democratic party government has required since 2010 that prostitutes pay for their own medical visits, which cost €35 ($44.50) each. But the new Austrian People’s Party majority ruled that as these visits were a requirement introduced by the government, they should have been covered by the state. The decision resulted in a €1 million ($1.3 million) bill of compensation.
It all started when the owner of the local brothel Babylon, Richard Schweiger, approached the provincial government asking for more flexible visits for his staff. Sex workers are required to get checked every week. The inquiry discovered a lack of legal basis for enforcing the law, and that let Schweiger request compensation for expenses incurred between 2010 and 2014.
He demanded €200,000 ($250,000), but the figure is set to go up. Speaking to The Local newspaper, the provincial financial officer Christian Stöckl commented: “fees were introduced illegally; and so we will have to pay back this money upon request. When we have to pay back charges levied over the past three years, a sum between 800,000 and one million Euros ($1 million-$1.3 million) is the result.”
In Salzburg there are about 600 registered prostitutes, each of whom could request up to €1,670 ($2,100) for compensation.
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