World Recession Harming Sex Tourism, Duh

Many refer to stripping, escorting, and other naked-girl jobs as "recession proof," but that couldn't be further from the truth: when one's disposable income dries up, your weekly allowance for Candi and her insatiable taste for Champagne (which she gets a kickback on) over at the Hustler Club will be the first thing to cut back on. Today, however, the New York Times learns about the flesh trade and the fact that, like all industries, the financial crisis magically affects it, too! They lead with Prague, one of the capitals of sex tourism.

Prague's setup is a little different: it's an "Internet brothel" where men can have sex with prostitutes for free, so long as they sign a release form that allows the copulation to be broadcast over their website, which they charge a fee for drooling voyeurs. In their case, subscriptions are down. Well, yeah—maybe their customers have discovered all the free porn on the Internet.

Big Sister is not the only brothel suffering the effects of a battered global economy. While the world’s oldest profession may also be one of its most recession-proof businesses, brothel owners in Europe and the United States say the global financial crisis is hurting a once lucrative industry.

Egbert Krumeich, the manager of Artemis, Berlin’s largest brothel, said that in November, usually peak season for the sex trade, revenues were down by 20 percent. In Reno, Nev., the famed Mustang Ranch recently laid off 30 percent of its staff, citing a decline in high-spending clients.

Going forward, the media should stop calling the flesh trade "recession proof," as it is not, and stop examining this marginal, sometimes illegal, group of workers as a canary-in-a-coal-mine prediction of Downturns to Come.