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Poverty tourism: homeless guides show Prague’s less salubrious side

Social enterprise Pragulic employs homeless people in the Czech capital to raise awareness of the hardship of life on the streets

Nicknamed Sherwood thanks to its reputation as a hangout of thieves and vagabonds, the park outside Hlavní Nádraží, Prague’s main train station, isn’t typically included on a walking tour of the Czech capital. However, it’s obvious from Karim’s shocking pink feather eyelashes and broken umbrella that he isn’t your average tour guide.

Karim, who spent decades on the streets as a sex worker and drug user, is one of ten homeless guides currently employed by social enterprise Pragulic. On Friday evenings he escorts curious tourists and locals on a route of his own devising that takes in major landmarks and less salubrious side streets – all illuminated by Karim’s lively patter, which blends historical facts, tall tales and matter-of-fact explanations of the realities of homelessness.

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