How Prostitution Became Legal in Austria

During the middle ages, prostitution wasn’t fully accepted, yet plenty of women were selling sex. The general public frowned on the practice, but it thrived regardless of that and was even tolerated. In the year 1276, Habsburg Rudolph even said that nobody should insult these “gelüstigen Frauen”. He probably visited a brothel and had some sweet booty from time to time.

Strip Club Maxim Wien

But there were very few problems with prostitutes, to begin with. They paid taxes regularly and didn’t go to town during Lent and on Sundays. It was almost impossible to force prostitution out because it was an integral part of society. The authorities at that time saw it as a necessary evil and accepted it.

Soon enough, the Viennese police department suggested that prostitutes should the Viennese police department came up with the suggestion that prostitutes should be registered and go through medical checkups twice every week. They would get the necessary health certificates and would be allowed to work legally. After that, Anton Ritter von Le Monnier, the head of the Viennese police force was the hero who made prostitution legal. He reformed Austria’s prostitution laws to everyone’s excitement.

From then on out, any woman could be a legal prostitute, as long as she had the health certificates for it. No prostitute would be prosecuted by the police, so brothels didn’t have to be hidden either. Soon enough, a newspaper article that was published in 1874, wrote that 6,424 Austrian women have registered as prostitutes. However, 12 000 women were still providing services under “free love”. Not long after that, male prostitution was also legalized in 1989.

The First Brothels

The very first person to mention the existence of brothels in public was Duke Albrecht all (1365-1379). During that time, many council members wished to launch a charitable foundation for the women who wished to abandon their “sinful ways”. However, these council members were actually the first people to launch brothels. They made it even better by supporting a nunnery from the taxes, which was quite ingenious. Those women who wanted to sell sex could do so freely and those who wanted a way out, could come clean one day after another.

adults only

The Present Situation

Prostitution in Austria is freer than ever before. The only restrictions prostitutes have to face are the need to register themselves and that they have to comply with a set of health regulations. This much didn’t change over the past hundred years. However, they cannot welcome guests younger than 18 years, because that would open them up for prosecution.

Austria’s sex industry is thriving indeed, but you won’t find red light districts like you would in Amsterdam. The Brothels are distributed throughout the cities. They are pretty much out of sight if you’re not looking for them.

In the year of 2007, there were exactly 1,352 female and 21 male prostitutes registered in the city of Vienna. That number has definitely grown to 3000 or even 6000 by now. Especially with more people migrating into the country than ever.

Quick Info: You have plenty of police licensed brothels to visit when you’re in Vienna, find them all on this list!

Sex Trafficking

One of the greatest problems with Austria providing such a beneficial environment for prostitution is that it also opens opportunities for sex-trafficking. Many Austrian citizens exploit the prostitution laws, only to bring in unsuspecting immigrants for sex work. They invite women from Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Nigeria, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia with the promise of getting unskilled jobs as nannies or waitresses. However, they are often coerced into prostitution when they arrive.

You can’t really tell if a woman entered Austria with the explicit intent of doing sex work, or they were forced to do so. They are often forced into a slavery-like dependency. Many of them have entered the country illegally and are afraid that they’ll be turned over to the authorities and get deported out of the country.


If you want to experience the wonders of paid sex, Vienna is among the very best places to do so. It has a lot of amazing brothels for you to enjoy and even more, girls to enjoy it with, without having to think about the law, even for a second.

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