Funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS was drastically cut in recent years.

Magda is harsh in herself and frequently calls herself and other sex workers “stupid”.

Magda and Natalia work independently in their own lodgings - they can “set their own rules” and refuse clients. Even now I turn off the lights, when the moment comes,” Magda says.

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Before she started selling her body, however, her life was not without its difficulties.

Her husband died shortly after their wedding and Magda was soon admitted to a clinic due to a nervous breakdown. Then realized she was without money and already felt used so she started working for herself. The daughter of her flatmate rushes towards her and hugs her legs again.

” Bulgaria, in contrast to countries like Germany, has no rules regulating sex work: it is neither legalized, nor criminalized, although pimping, trafficking and forced prostitution are criminalized. In some Western countries, the police protect them, here institutions don’t care,” Rayna explains.

In the past, the Health and Social Development Foundation had a medical doctor working in a mobile cabinet which visited sex workers.

A small group of people are standing nearby- two feminine boys aged about 18 who gave me a suspicious look, and a girl of about 20. A few nights ago the four flatmates had group sex with a client. It’s so disgusting to see what such a person desires; he wanted the boys to do some very disgusting things. I just couldn’t bear it and went out, it was ridiculous.” Magda has three children, the oldest one being aged 22 and none of them knows what their mother, who visits them every weekend, is doing in the capital.

“I was so disgusted by him,” Magda confesses, after we sit in the café. “One of the reasons why I’m still doing this is my desire to buy an apartment for my children.

Bulgaria is an EU-member state, so there is no need to obtain special documents.

The two women claim the business in Western Europe is dominated by “various Eastern Europeans.” About a week after our first meeting, before sitting in a café, we go to see their new place from the outside. A little girl is very happy to see Magda and hugs her legs. A neighbor standing nearby is staring at the group that is chatting cheerfully.

Natalia and Magda knew each other through their families long before they became sex workers.

Magda, who has been selling her body for 15 years, tells me how surprised she was when one day she saw Natalia at a bus station.

Natalia had come to prostitute herself there for the first time.