President Vladimir Putin recently quipped that Russian prostitutes are "the best in the world" as he dismissed unsubstantiated rumors that Moscow had incriminating evidence on his American counterpart Donald Trump. But the reality is that Russian sex workers operate in a hidden world outside the law and out of sight - making them doubly vulnerable to infection and abuse. Infection rates amongst the prostitutes in Russia are growing, with more than 103,000 new cases identified last year, up 5 percent from the previous year. The real total is likely to be significantly higher. Prostitutes admit they are under pressure to have unsafe sex. While prostitution is illegal in Russia, it is punishable by a fine of just USD25.5. Pimps theoretically face up to three years in jail, but are harder to convict. Activists say this legal ban is often used by the police as an excuse not to investigate crimes against sex workers.