Italy’s grinding economic crisis has created a boom time for the country’s soothsayers, tarot card readers and fortune-tellers, a report has revealed.
With high unemployment and a largely moribund economy, more and more people are seeking solace from the esoteric and the occult.
The number of faith healers and fortune-tellers has risen five times since the global economic crisis began a decade ago, according to Codacons, Italy’s national consumer organisation.
The sector is now worth an estimated eight billion euros a year, with the vast majority of the country’s 155,000 practitioners demanding cash in hand and not declaring their earnings to the tax authorities.
While most practitioners ask for money for their services, others are demanding sexual favours from their most vulnerable clients.
Around 13 million Italians – about a quarter of the adult population – regularly visit astrologers, fortune-tellers and tarot card readers, three million more than in 2001, an investigation by Codacons found.
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