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Today most men initiate their sexual life at a younger age than in the past, and usually in the context of a relationship, rather than with a prostitute.
In the 19th century prostitution was largely contained in well known Bohemian neighbourhoods such as Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Mouraria.
As in most other European countries, opinions on sex work and its regulation are sharply divided.
For instance a representative to the 2002 UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women stated that "there was no such thing as voluntary prostitution.
Neither were the prostitutes' clients considered to be criminals, but those who exploited prostitutes and gained profits from their activities were considered criminals under the law." That is to say that neither indoor nor outdoor work are either prohibited nor regulated, but nevertheless there are restrictions on working conditions which arise from custom, not law, but are enforced by police.
There are areas in which outdoor sex workers cannot work, and restrictions on where they may work indoors.
Lisbon's Eduardo VII Park Transsexual and transgender prostitution also exists, particularly of Brazilian transvestites, namely at street level in certain designated areas (for example the Conde Redondo area in Lisbon), but also through web venues.
A large share of the males engaged in prostitution in Portugal are also foreigners, especially from Brazil and Africa.
The concept of gigolo is used and is usually linked to male prostitutes with an exclusively female clientele.
Prosecution was still possible under offences against public decency and morals, but this was infrequent, although regulation was in the hands of local authorities and enforcement was variable. The Code was most recently amended in 2001, specifically to deal with increasing concerns around child prostitution and human trafficking.
Thus, this could be considered as an example of 'toleration'. According to a Portuguese Government spokesperson, "The Government's opinion was that prostitution was not a crime.