If it closes, hundreds of prostitutes are likely to move to the centre.
Prague’s most extensive erotic club survival is still unsure. Deputy Mayor Pavel Vyhnánek has been trying to move the Showpark from Holešovice Market Hall for a long time, and negotiations with the city covering actions have been on deadlock due to a lawsuit.
The future of the Holešovice Showpark is expected to be finally decided by a lawsuit that Prague has been running for several years against Delta Center (current tenant of the market), which also includes Hall 18 with the Showpark. It still has a long-term lease, but Prague considers it invalid. The dispute is now pending before the Court of Appeal on 19 November 2019.
Every year, 160000 customers “pass-through” it in continuous services from 600 women. The Showpark was established in the mid-1990s, after an agreement to withdrew prostitutes from the streets of the metropolis. Now hundreds of “performers”, as they call themselves, are in a situation where they might figuratively find themselves on the streets.
“This is not a normal movement. The establishment of spare areas for operating with basic safety and security requirements imply two years of work in the Showpark. Less traffic could be settled within a year. These women, however, will not take unpaid leave for that time,” said the executive of Eroc, Zbyněk Matela, which operates the Showpark.
The crisis scenario for the quick closure of the Showpark looks like it will make some women go around Wenceslao Square, where the offer of these services has been decreasing in recent years. Others will try luck in private homes around the marketplace because there is a clientele, and some will move to new smaller businesses in the metropolis.
“When we started talking about the closing of the Showpark, we noticed a strong interest from property owners offering rental. Perhaps we will be forced to run a larger number of smaller businesses,” says Zbyněk Matela.
Experts warn that citizens’ initiative wants to ‘fight.’
People who have had services from these women, as well as independent experts in the field of addictology, warn. According to them, it is not only a private company problem but a public interest in a broader context.
“We will never escape the phenomenon of prostitution. But we can have it under control, which was the case in the 1990s. We have businesses where specific rules work and the accompanying aspects, such as drugs or violence, are much better handled. From a professional point of view, in terms of control, an operation of this type is the best option”, explains the expert and founder of DropIn Ph.D centres, Ivan Douda.
In support of the Showpak in Holešovice Market, even a civic initiative introduced by the actor and director Václav Čížkovský has emerged to fight it.