The global elites at the Davos summit are contributing to the spike in prostitution in this Swiss resort city. Demand for sex work has skyrocketed every year at the gathering of world leaders and business moguls, who fly in from all over the world to rub shoulders.
The escorts are booked in the same hotels as the powerful bosses and their staffers for the five-day summit, starting Jan. 16. One female escort, named Lianne, said she dresses business-like to avoid standing out among executives, even though prostitution is legal in Switzerland.
She told Bild that she often meets an American, who visits Switzerland several times a year, and is one of 2,700 attendees at conference.
Liana charges about 700 euros ($760) per hour, and 2300 euros ($2,500) per entire evening, including transport costs.
The manager of one of the escort services, based in Aargau, 100 miles away from the peak, says he has received 11 bookings so far, with 25 requests, and he expects several more this week. She told 20 Minuten: “Some are even booking escorts for themselves and their staff for parties at the hotel suites.”
Salome Balthus, a sex worker and author, posted on Twitter: “Dating in Switzerland at #WEF means staring down the gun barrels of the hotel guards at 2am in the hallway, then sharing giveaway chocolates at a restaurant with them, gossiping about rich people… #Davos #WEF.
The 36-year-old has been staying in a nearby Davos hotel during the entire summit, but has refused to disclose which powerful clients she serves. She warned: Believe me, you do not want to be in a court case with them.
In 2020, a Times investigation found that, according to one Swiss police official, at least 100 prostitutes had traveled to Davos for the summit.
An official driver at the Forum said she picked up one sex worker, who claimed that she had been forced by her supervisor to sleep with a former client in the delegate hotel.
Among the topics discussed at this year’s summit were war in Ukraine, the world’s inflation rates, climate change, and inequality.
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska is set to make a rare international speech at this year’s annual meeting today. The Covid-19 pandemic has derailed the event the last couple of years, with a spring edition taking place just eight months ago.
Dozens of sessions on Tuesday will address issues as varied as gender equality, manufacturing, green transition, efforts to end TB, and the intersection between food, water, and energy, with actors Idris Elba set to appear.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Chinas vice premier Liu He are also among speakers.
Nearly 600 CEOs are expected, as well as more than 50 heads of state or government, but how much concrete action will come out of this high-level gathering is never quite clear.
The elite gathering is routinely derided by critics, who claim the participants are either too detached from or too driven by profits or power to deal with the needs of ordinary people and the planet.
Throughout the week, critics and activists will wait outside the Davos Conference Center in an effort to call out the decision-makers and corporate executives.
It started Sunday, when dozens of climate activists, some wearing clown makeup, braved the snowfall to wave signs and shout slogans on the Davos promenade, a thoroughfare now lined with the storefront logos of corporate titans such as Accenture, Microsoft, Salesforce, Meta, and the state houses promoting the nation’s interests.
Images: Uwe Hauth/Wikimedia Commons