“I have done this job for the past twenty years and never experienced such a disaster,” one woman told newspaper Le Matin. “My cleaning lady gets paid more than me.”
The woman, referred to as Marina, said at one point she was earning some 5,000 francs ($5,539) a day. Now she has days where she does not see a single customer.
The crisis has been caused by the large numbers of young women coming in for short periods of time from abroad. Women of many nationalities can simply apply online for a three-month visa, enabling them to get into the country relatively easily.
“Not all the registered girls are active,” police chief, Frédéric Buchs, told Le Matin.
In 2004, the police recorded approximately 800 prostitutes at work in the city of Geneva. Last year, this figure had risen to more than 4,000.
But there are not enough clients to go round on the sidewalks, in the brothel and inside the massage parlours, of which Geneva boasts over 100.
According to Marina, it has also become too dangerous to work at night.
Some of the new girls have been charging as low as 20 to 30 francs ($22-33) for services, which has meant that customers are now asking the older workers to reduce their usual prices or asking for the girls to do more for the money.
“I don’t know where it will all end,” a 40-year-old Brazilian prostitute told Le Matin.