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Sex Tourism Blights Georgian Black Sea Resort

Locals say their complaints are ignored.
By IWPR Georgia

The Georgian resort of Gonio has been taken over by the sex trade, and complaints by residents have gone largely unheard.

The Black Sea village has attracted large numbers of women, many from Central Asia, who work in bars and clubs with a clientele mainly from nearby Turkey.

People in the area say the loud music from night clubs stops them sleeping, while the seedy clubs and hotels have put off the holidaymakers who used to come here for the summer break.

“No one wants to spend their holidays here because of those trucks, the Turks, and the prostitution. There’s shouting, fighting and cars sounding their horns,” one local man told IWPR.

The village is administratively part of the port city Batumi, whose mayor Robert Chkhaidze has visited but only promised to stop the loud music.

Geno Mgeladze of the Institute of Democracy has tried to investigate allegations that women are subjected to coercion and violence, but has found it difficult because they are reluctant to speak out.

“They said in confidence that their handlers took away their passports by force, although they wouldn’t confirm that on the record. They don’t trust anyone and they’re afraid of losing their jobs or being deported,” he said.