Hookers make hay while sun sets on stock markets!

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Melbourne, Oct 16 : Due to the shaky global economic situation, businesses of all kinds are suffering, except for one - brothels.

Brothels in Australia haven't yet felt the jitters of the fiscal crisis, with sex workers still raking in the moolah.

According to the brothel owners, sex is a consumer need like tobacco, for which demand remains strong despite an economic slump.

"We're certainly not seeing an impact yet, hopefully it won't happen. I think that during times of economic downturn, you often find that it's alcohol, tobacco, gambling and the sex industry which are the blue-chip industries," The Daily Telegraph quoted the madam of Sydney's upmarket Xclusive bordello, who introduced herself as Catherine.

She added: "Because I think men are unwilling to give up their alcohol, their sex, their gambling and their smoking."

In fact, Catherine was expecting a boost in the sex trade owing to the arrival of the southern hemisphere summer and Australia's hosting of the Rugby League World Cup beginning later this month.

"Even this week, business as a whole has been up. It's been good. We've seen a steady increase over the past couple of weeks. But again we're coming into summer and that's always good for business. We're hoping that we won't see any downturn," she said.

Also, Neil Gilmore, owner of the Pentagon Grand brothel on Queensland's Gold Coast, said that there has been no effect on their business due to other global problems such as the September 11 attacks in the US or the SARS epidemic a few years ago.

"And at the moment, we're not seeing much of an effect from the global economic crisis," he said.

However, he conceded that their business could plummet, if the turmoil led to rising unemployment, particularly among blue-collar workers in the mining industry.

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