Prostitutes gather in Davos for annual meeting of global elite – where demand for sexual services rockets during economic summit
- Prostitutes report a surge in business during the annual gathering of leaders
- Escorts are booked into delegates’ hotels alongside business executives
- Sex workers dress in business attire and rub shoulders with the global elite
The global elite tackling the world’s greatest problems – including gender inequality -at the Davos summit are fuelling a surge in prostitution in the Swiss resort town.
Demand for sex work skyrockets each year at the meeting of world leaders and business tycoons who jet in from all around the world to rub shoulders with each other.
Escorts are booked into the same hotels as high-powered bosses and their employees during the five-day summit, which started on January 16.
One sex worker named Liana said she dresses in business attire so she doesn’t stand out among the executives, despite prostitution being legal in Switzerland.
Salome Balthus (pictured), a sex worker and writer, is staying at a hotel near Davos during the summit
She told Bild she regularly sees an American who visits Switzerland multiple times a year and is among the 2,700 conference attendees.
Liana charges around €700 ($760) for an hour and €2,300 ($2,500) for the whole night, plus travel expenses.
The manager of one escort service in Aargau, 100 miles away from the summit, says she has already received 11 bookings and 25 inquiries – and expects many more to follow this week.
She told 20 Minuten: ‘Some also book escorts for themselves and their employees to party in the hotel suite.’
Salome Balthus, a sex worker and writer, posted on Twitter: ‘Date in Switzerland during #WWF means looking at the gun muzzles of security guards in the hotel corridor at 2 a.m. – and then sharing the giveaway chocolates from the restaurant with them and gossiping about the rich… #Davos #WEF.’
Demand for sex work skyrockets each year at the meeting of world leaders and business tycoons
The 36-year-old is staying at a hotel near Davos throughout the summit but refused to reveal who the influential clients are.
She cautioned: ‘Believe me, you don’t want to get into litigation with them.’
In 2020, an investigation by The Times found at least 100 prostitutes travel to Davos for the summit according to a Swiss police officer.
One official driver for the forum said he picked up one sex worker who claimed she had been forced by her ‘boss’ to sleep with an older client at a delegates’ hotel.
Among the topics up for discussion at this year’s summit are the Ukraine war, global inflation rates, climate change and inequality.
Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska will give a rare international address today at the annual gathering.
The Covid-19 pandemic torpedoed the event for the past two years but a springtime version was held eight months ago.
Alain Berset, president of Switzerland, Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission and World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab, pose together today
Dozens of sessions on Tuesday will focus on issues as diverse as gender parity, the return of manufacturing, the green transition, efforts to end tuberculosis and the intersection of food, water and energy, which will feature actor Idris Elba.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are also among the speakers.
Nearly 600 chief executives and more than 50 heads of state or government are expected but it is never clear how much concrete action emerges from the elite event.
The elite gathering is regularly skewered by critics who argue that attendees are too out-of-touch or too profit- or power-minded to address the needs of common people and the planet.
Throughout the week, critics and activists will be waiting outside the Davos conference centre to try to hold decision-makers and business leaders to account.
It started on Sunday, when dozens of climate activists, some with clown makeup, braved snowfall to wave banners and chant slogans at the end of the Davos Promenade, a thoroughfare now lined with storefront logos of corporate titans like Accenture, Microsoft, Salesforce, Meta, as well as country ‘houses’ that promote national interests.
Greenpeace International also blasted use of corporate jets that ferry in bigwigs, saying such carbon-spewing transportation smacks of hypocrisy for an event touting its push for a greener world.
It said over 1,000 private-jet flights arrived and departed airports serving Davos in May.
Forum president Borge Brende acknowledged on Sunday that some government leaders and chief executives fly in that way.
‘I think what is more important than that is to make sure we have agreements on how we, overall, move and push the envelope when it comes to the green agenda,’ he said.