As Sydney prepares for a visit by Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of Catholics, the city's brothels are readying themselves for an expected surge in demand for sex.
Any time Australia's biggest city hosts a major event -- from the 2003 Rugby World Cup to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last year -- it is boomtime for the sex industry, insiders say.
AdvertisementAnd with 225,000 foreign and Australian pilgrims expected in Sydney for six-days of events celebrating the Catholic faith from July 15-20, they expect World Youth Day to be no different.
Sydney brothel Xclusive is putting on extra workers to provide sexual favours to lonely tourists and Sydneysiders during event.
"We will get a lot of tourists, pilgrims and we will still get the curious," a spokeswoman for the Bondi Junction bordello told AFP.
"The World Council of Churches, when they had their congress in Canberra back in the 1990s, that was the best business period ever.
"Obviously we're not promoting it at your traditional Catholic community and it's unlikely we will get priests through. But there'll be lots of tourists in town and there'll be lots of people in town."
Xclusive's manager, a 30-something blonde who would only give her name as Catherine, said she was rostering extra girls and would probably take on another receptionist to handle the increased demand.
The purpose-built bordello, which has luxurious rooms complete with double showers, spas, custom-made beds and panic buttons for the sex workers, is expecting a 150-200 percent hike in business during World Youth Day.
"Donald Trump used this tile in Trump Tower in New York," Catherine said as she showed off the spa area in one of the rooms in the 1.2 million dollar (1.1 million US) development.
"They had a bit of quantity left over... so we got the rest of it."
Catherine believes the brothel's proximity to some of the major events, including the Pope's final mass which is expected to draw up to 500,000 people to nearby Randwick Racecourse on July 20, could bring customers to her door.
Visitors need not worry about breaking the law as brothels are legal, and they could be made to feel at home by sex workers speaking a range of languages including Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, French, Thai, Arabic, Korean, Nepalese and Italian.
Based on her experience of working in a massage parlour during APEC, Xclusive staff member Emma is expecting a number of first-timers, both to sex and to the industry, during the Catholic youth festival.
"APEC was probably the best time in Sydney for this industry," the 23-year-old university student told AFP.
"They had to fly working girls from interstate to Sydney because of demand.
"I think World Youth Day will be very busy. I think there will be a lot of newbies (new customers), a lot of businessmen."
The Eros Association, Australia's adult industry group, said sex shops and brothels across Sydney are expecting "huge turnover" during World Youth Day.
"We know the kind of people who visit prostitutes and adult shops, many of them do it because of their own personal repression," Eros spokesman Robbie Swan told AFP. "And often it's because of religion."
"Our industry is the forbidden fruit industry."
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