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The secret life of the Cannes Film Festival

Movie stars aren't the only people who flock to Cannes this time of year — the French city is also overflowing with high-priced call girls, who are paid up to $40,000 a night. Editor-in-chief Helen McCabe reports from the annual film festival.
In the exclusive bar outside Cannes two women sit discreetly eyeing my male companion.
He returns to the table to announce they are clearly working girls flown in for the most lucrative week of the year.
The night gets later and the pair have run out of conversation and look set to leave alone.
But eventually, their 'dates' arrive and instead of an empty coffee cup the champagne corks are popped.
It is now 2am and the mood is distinctly upbeat. The staff at the hotel turn a blind eye as well they might given they are traditionally well paid in return for not asking questions.
Five years ago one of the biggest prostitution rings was busted in Cannes when Lebanese businessman Elie Nahas was jailed for supplying more than 50 women to wealthy men during the festival.
Nahas used to work for Mutassim Gaddafi, the playboy son of Muammar Gaddafi.
The high-priced call girls worked the hotel lobbies, the yachts and mansions of the French Riviera earning up to $40,000 a night.
To the trained eye, they are some of the most beautiful and expensively dressed women on the Croisette, the main promenade in Cannes.
The foyers of the most famous hotels are reportedly packed with working girls as one estimate claimed up to 200 walk through the doors a day.
Understandably Nahas feels unfairly treated complaining to The Hollywood Reporter that the police have always turned a blind eye.
His links to Gaddafi led to an eight year jail sentence although he is appealing it in October.
"Please, there are 30 or 40 yachts in the bay, and every boat has about 10 girls on it; they are usually models, and they are usually nude or half nude ... It's been going on for 60 years," he said.
Women installed in the yachts are creatively called 'yacht girls' and according to one report are often also C-grade actresses as the line between the two professions becomes blurred at this time of the year.
"You'd definitely recognise more than a few names from Hollywood" claimed one film veteran.
The trade in girls goes to prove that there is a lot more going on in Cannes than just films.

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