Prostitution in Germany
Prostitution in Germany is legal, and so are brothels. In 2002, the government changed the law in an effort to improve the legal situation of prostitutes. However, the social stigmatization of prostitutes persists and many prostitutes continue to lead a double life. Authorities consider the common exploitation of women from Eastern Europe to be the main problem associated with the profession.
- 1 History
- 2 Modern era
- 3 Extent of prostitution and associated issues
- 4 Forms of female prostitution
- 4.1 Street prostitution (Straßenstrich)
- 4.2 Prostitution for the procurement of narcotics
- 4.3 Bars
- 4.4 Eros centers (Bordell, Laufhaus)
- 4.5 Apartment prostitution (Wohnungspuffs)
- 4.6 Massage parlors
- 4.7 Partytreffs and Pauschalclubs
- 4.8 FKK clubs or Sauna clubs
- 4.9 Escort services (Begleitagenturen)
- 4.10 For special groups
- 5 Forms of male prostitution
- 6 Legal situation
- 7 Crime
- 8 Scandals and news coverage
- 9 Politics
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 External links
Middle Ages to Confederation (1815)
Prostitution in historically German lands has never been outlawed and been described since the middle ages. Since the 13th century, several German cities operated brothels known as Frauenhäuser ("women's houses");  the practice of prostitution was considered a necessary evil, a position already held by Saint Augustine (354-430). Some municipalities actively encouraged it and far from existing on the margins, prostitutes were often honoured guests, who maintained domestic order as an outlet and lesser evil to such things as adultery and rape. Emperor Sigismund (1368–1437) thanked the city of Konstanz in writing for providing some 1,500 prostitutes for the Council of Constance which took place from 1414 to 1418.
The Confederations (1815-1871), German Empire (1871-1918) and Republic (1918-1933)
Beginning in the 19th century, prostitutes in many regions had to register with police or local health authorities and submit to regular health checks to curb venereal diseases.
In Imperial Germany (1871–1918) attitudes to prostitution were ambivalent. While prostitution was tolerated as a necessary function to provide for male sexuality outside of marriage, it was frowned on as a threat to contemporary moral images of women's sexuality. Therefore state policy concentrated on regulation rather than abolition. This was mainly at the municipal level. The state regulation at the same time created an atmosphere which at the same time defined what was considered proper, and proper feminine sexuality. Controls were particularly tight in the port city of Hamburg. The regulations included defining the dress and conduct both inside and outside of brothels, of prostitutes. Thus their occupation defined their lives as a separate class of women, on the margins of society.   It is estimated that in 1900 there were 50,000 women working as prostitutes in Berlin.
Third Reich (1933-1945)
During the Nazi era, street prostitutes were seen as "asocial" and degenerate and were often sent to concentration camps, especially to the Ravensbrück camp. The Nazis did not entirely disapprove of prostitution though and instead installed a centralized system of city brothels, military brothels (Wehrmachtsbordelle), brothels for foreign forced laborers, and concentration camp brothels. Between 1942 and 1945, camp brothels were installed in ten concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Himmler intended these as an incentive for cooperative and hard-working non-Jewish and non-Russian inmates, in order to increase productivity of the work camps. Initially the brothels were staffed mostly with former prostitute inmates who volunteered, but women were also put under pressure to work there. In the documentary film, Memory of the Camps, a project supervised by the British Ministry of Information and the American Office of War Information during the summer of 1945, camera crews filmed women who stated that they were forced into sexual slavery for the use of guards and favored prisoners. The film makers stated that as the women died they were replaced by women from the concentration camp Ravensbrück.
None of the women who were forced to work in these concentration camp brothels ever received compensation, since the German compensation laws do not cover persons designated as "asocial" by the Nazis.
In a famous case of espionage, the Nazi intelligence service SD took over the luxurious Berlin brothel Salon Kitty and equipped it with listening devices and specially trained prostitutes. From 1939 to 1942 the brothel was used to spy on important visitors.
German Democratic Republic (GDR 1945–1990)
After World War II, the country was divided into East Germany and West Germany. In East Germany, as in all countries of the communist Eastern Block, prostitution was illegal and according to the official position it didn't exist. However there were high-class prostitutes working in the hotels of East Berlin and the other major cities, mainly targeting Western visitors; the Stasi employed some of these for spying purposes. Street walkers and female taxi drivers were available for the pleasure of visiting Westerners, too.
Federal Republic of Germany (BRD 1945–2001)
In West Germany, the registration and testing requirements remained in place but were handled quite differently in the various regions of the country. In Bavaria, in addition to scheduled STD check-ups, regular HIV tests were required since 1987, but this was an exception. Many prostitutes did not submit to these tests, avoiding the registration. A study in 1992 found that only 2.5% of the tested prostitutes had a disease, a rate much lower than the one among comparable non-prostitutes.
In 1967, Europe's largest brothel at the time, the six-floor Eros Center, was opened on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. An even larger one, the twelve-floor building now called Pascha in Cologne was opened in 1972. The AIDS scare of the late 1980s was bad for business, and the Eros Center as well as several other brothels in Hamburg had to close. The Pascha continued to flourish however, and now has evolved into a chain with additional brothels in Munich and Salzburg.
Anything done in the "promotion of prostitution" (Förderung der Prostitution) remained a crime until 2001, even after the extensive criminal law reforms of 1973. This put the operators of brothels in constant legal danger. Most brothels were therefore run as a bar with an attached but legally separate room rental. However, many municipalities built, ran and profited from high rise or townhouse-style high-rent Dirnenwohnheime (lit.: "whores' dormitories"), to keep street prostitution and pimping under control. Here prostitutes sell sex in a room that they rent by the day. These establishments, called "Laufhäuser" in Johns' jargon are now mostly privatized and operate as Eros Centers. Even before the 2001 reform, many upmarket prostitutes operated in their own apartments, alone or with other women. Luxurious country houses, called "FKK-Sauna-Clubs" are the top end of the scale. There, women and men pay the same entrance fees that range from about 50 to 100 euro and usually include meals and drinks and the prostitutes negotiate their deals with the clients individually, thus avoiding the appearance of pimping ("Zuhälterei"). Illegal variations on that business model, like "Flaterate-Clubs" and "Pauschalclubs" also exist and advertise openly in daily newspapers and the Internet. These establishments charge an "all-you-can handle" fee of about 75 to 90 euro.
Before the 2002 prostitution law, the highest courts of Germany repeatedly ruled that prostitution offends good moral order (verstößt gegen die guten Sitten), with several legal consequences. Any contract that is considered immoral is null and void, so a prostitute could not sue for payment. Prostitutes working out of their apartments could lose their leases. Finally, bars and inns could be denied a licences if prostitution took place on their premises.
In 1999, Felicitas Weigmann lost the licence for her Berlin cafe Psst!, because the cafe was being used to initiate contacts between customers and prostitutes and had an attached room-rental also owned by Weigmann. She sued the city, arguing that society's position had changed and prostitution no longer qualified as offending the moral order. The judge conducted an extensive investigation and solicited a large number of opinions. In December 2000 the court agreed with Weigmann’s claim. This ruling is considered as precedent and important factor in the realization of the Prostitution Law of 1 January 2002. Only after an appeal process though, filed by the Berlin town district, was Weigmann to regain her café license in October 2002.
The compulsory registration and testing of prostitutes was abandoned in 2001. Since then, anonymous, free and voluntary health testing has been made available to everyone, including illegal immigrants. Many brothel operators require these tests.
Legislative reform (2002)
In 2002 a one-page law sponsored by the Green Party was passed by the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens in the Bundestag. The law removed the general prohibition on furthering prostitution and allowed prostitutes to obtain regular work contracts. The law's rationale stated that prostitution should not be considered as immoral anymore.
The law has been criticized as having not effectively changed the situation of the prostitutes, often because the prostitutes themselves don't want to change their working conditions and contracts. The German government issued a report on the law's impact in January 2007, concluding that few prostitutes had taken advantage of regular work contracts and that work conditions had improved only slightly, if at all.
Between 2000 and 2003, the visa issuing policies of German consulates were liberalized. The opposition claimed that this resulted in an increase in human trafficking and prostitutes entering the country illegally, especially from Ukraine. The episode led to hearings in 2005 and is known as the German Visa Affair 2005.
In 2004 the Turkish gang leader Necati Arabaci was sentenced to 9 years in prison for pimping, human trafficking, assault, extortion, weapons violations and racketeering. His gang of bouncers controlled the night clubs in Cologne's entertainment district, the Ring, where they befriended girls in order to exploit them as prostitutes. After Arabaci's arrest, informants overheard threats against the responsible prosecutor, who received police protection and fled the country in 2007 when Arabaci was deported to Turkey.
In 2004, the large FKK-brothel Colosseum opened in Augsburg, and police suspected a connection to Arabaci's gang, which owned several similar establishments and was supposedly directed from prison by its convicted leader. After several raids, police determined that the managers of the brothel dictated the prices that the women had to charge, prohibited them from sitting in groups or using cell phones during work, set the work hours, searched rooms and handbags, and made them work completely nude (charging a penalty of 10 euros per infraction). In April 2006, five men were charged with pimping. The court quashed the charges, arguing that the prostitution law of 2002 created a regular employer-employee relationship and thus gave the employer certain rights to direct the working conditions. Colosseum remained in business.
Early in 2005, English media reported that a woman refusing to take a job as a prostitute might have her unemployment benefits reduced or removed altogether. A similar story had appeared in mid-2003; a woman received a job offer through a private employment agency. In this case however, the agency apologized for the mistake, stating that a request for a prostitute would normally have been rejected, but the client misled them, describing the position as "a female barkeeper." To date, there have been no reported cases of women actually losing benefits in such a case, and the employment agencies have stated that women would not be made to work in prostitution.
In March 2007 the brothel "Pascha" in Cologne announced that senior citizens above the age of 66 would receive a discount during afternoons; half of the price of 50 euros for a "normal session" would be covered by the house. Earlier, in 2004, a 20% discount for long-term unemployed had been announced by a brothel in Dresden.
Also in 2007, authorities in Berlin began to close several apartment brothels that had existed for years. They cited a 1983 court decision that found that the inevitable disturbances caused by brothels were incompatible with residential areas. Prostitutes' organizations and brothel owners fought these efforts. They commissioned a study that concluded that apartment brothels in general neither promote criminality nor disturb neighbors.
The economic downturn of 2009 has resulted in changes at some brothels. Reduced prices and free promotions are now found. Some changes, the result of modern marketing tools, rebates, gimmicks. Brothels introducing all-inclusive flat-rates, free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers. "Day passes." Some brothels reportedly including loyalty cards, group sex parties, rebates for golf players. Clients have reported reducing their number of weekly visits.
In 2009, the Bundessozialgericht ruled that the German job agencies are not required to find prostitutes for open positions in brothels. The court rejected the complaint of a brothel owner who had argued that the law of 2002 had turned prostitution into a job like any other; the judges ruled that the law had been passed to protect the employees, not to further the business.
The effects of the reforms continue to be debated. A five part series in Der Spiegel in 2013 claimed it was a failure. Others have argued that, while the German model still has many weaknesses, it has reduced violence against sex workers.
Football World Cup 2006
Officials speculated that up to 40,000 illegal prostitutes, mainly from Eastern European countries, would enter Germany for the Football World Cup, held in Germany in the summer of 2006. Women and church groups were planning a "Red card to forced prostitution" campaign with the aim of alerting World Cup visitors to the existence of forced prostitution. They asked for support from the national football team and the national football organization but were initially rebuffed. In March 2006 the president of the German football federation turned around and agreed to support a campaign named "Final Whistle – Stop Forced Prostitution". The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Nordic Council and Amnesty International also expressed concern over an increase in the trafficking of women and forced prostitution up to and during the World Cup.
In March 2006 the campaign "Responsible John. Prostitution without compulsion and violence" was started by the government of Berlin. It provides a list of signs of forced prostitution and urges prostitutes' customers to call a hotline if they spot one of those signs.
In April 2006, an advertisement for the Pascha brothel in Cologne that featured a several story image of a half-naked woman with the flags of 2006 FIFA World Cup countries sparked outrage after Muslims were offended by the inclusion of the Saudi Arabian and Iranian flags. The Pascha brothel's owner, Armin Lobscheid, said a group of Muslims had threatened violence over the advertisement, and he blacked out the two flags. However, the Tunisian flag that features the Muslim crescent remained on the advertisement.
On 30 June 2006, the New York Times reported that the expected increase in prostitution activity around the World Cup had not taken place. This was confirmed by the 2006 BKA report on human trafficking, which reported only 5 cases of human trafficking related to the World Cup.
Extent of prostitution and associated issues
Studies in the early 1990s estimated that about 50,000–200,000 women and some men worked as prostitutes in Germany. The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, published in 1997, reported that over 100,000 women work in prostitution in Germany. A 2005 study gave 200,000 as a "halfway realistic estimate". The prostitutes' organization Hydra puts the number at 400,000, and this number is typically quoted in the press today. A 2009 study by TAMPEP also gave the Hydra estimate of 400,000 full or part-time prostitutes, with 93% being female, 3% transgender and 4% male.
The same study found that 63% of the prostitutes in Germany were foreigners, with two thirds of them coming from Central and Eastern Europe. In 1999 the proportion of foreign prostitutes had been 52%. The increase was attributed to the EU enlargement.
From other studies, it is estimated that between 10% and 30% of the male adult population have had experiences with prostitutes. Of those 17-year-old males in West Germany with experience of intercourse, 8% have had sex with a prostitute.
A 2009 survey identified the following main vulnerability factors for German sex workers (in the order of importance):
- Financial problems, including debts and poverty.
- Violence and abuse by clients, police and pimps.
- No professional identity; lack of self-confidence.
- Stigma and discrimination.
- Exploitative personal dependencies.
Forms of female prostitution
Street prostitution (Straßenstrich)
Regular street prostitution is often quite well organized and controlled by pimps. Most cities however established "Sperrbezirke" (off-limits zones) and charge the streetwalkers an amusement tax, that in the city of Bonn for instance is paid by the streetwalkers at parking meters, six euro for a period of about eight night hours. The same fee is collected from prostitutes in apartments and brothels, sometimes by municipal tax collectors in person. Some prostitutes have a nearby caravan, others use the customer's car, still others use hotel rooms. With recent economic problems, in some large cities "wild" street prostitution has started to appear: areas where women work temporarily out of short-term financial need. A "sex drive-in", or "Verrichtungsbox", is a facility of structures to enclose cars to provide a safer place for prostitution using cars.
Prostitution for the procurement of narcotics
In every major German city there are prostitutes who offer their services to procure drugs. This often takes place near the main railway stations, while the act usually takes place in the customer's car or in a nearby rented room. These prostitutes are the most desperate, often underage, and their services are generally the cheapest. Pimps and brothel owners try to avoid drug-addicted prostitutes, as they are inclined to spend their earnings solely or primarily on drugs. Other prostitutes tend to look down on them as well, because they are considered as lowering the market prices.
In a unique effort to move drug-addicted streetwalkers out of the city center and reduce violence against these women, the city of Cologne in 2001 created a special area for tolerated street prostitution in Geestemünder Straße. Dealers and pimps are not tolerated, the parking places have alarm buttons and the women are provided with a cafeteria, showers, clean needles and counselling. The project, modelled on the Dutch tippelzones, is supervised by an organisation of Catholic women. A positive scientific evaluation was published in 2004.
In bars, women try to induce men to buy expensive drinks along with the sexual services. Sex usually takes place in a separate but attached building. Prices are mostly set by the bar owner and the money is shared between the owner and the prostitute.
Eros centers (Bordell, Laufhaus)
An eros center is a house or street (Laufstraße) where women can rent small one-room apartments for 80–150 euro per day. Then they solicit customers from the open door or from behind a window. Prices are normally set by the prostitutes; they start at 25–50 euros for short-time sex. The money is not shared with the brothel owner. Security and meals are provided by the owner. The women may even live in their rooms, but most do not. Minors and women not working in the eros center are not allowed to enter. Eros centers exist in almost all larger German cities. The most famous is the Herbertstraße near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. The largest brothel in Europe is the eros center Pascha in Cologne, a 12 storey building with some 120 rooms for rent and several bars.
Apartment prostitution (Wohnungspuffs)
There are many of these advertised in the daily newspapers. Sometime run by a single woman, sometimes by a group of roommates and sometimes as safehouses for traffickers, with the women being moved around on a weekly basis.
Partytreffs and Pauschalclubs
These are a variation on partner-swapping swing clubs with (sometimes, but not always) paid prostitutes in attendance, as well as 'amateur' women and couples. Single men pay a flat-rate entrance charge of about 80 to 150 euros, which includes food, drink and unlimited sex sessions, with the added twist that these are performed in the open in full view of all the guests. Women normally pay a low or zero entrance charge.
FKK clubs or Sauna clubs
Typically, these are houses or large buildings, often with swimming pool and sauna, a large 'meet and greet' room with bar and buffet on the ground floor, TV/video screens, and bedrooms on the upper floor(s). Operating hours are usually from late morning until after midnight. Women are typically nude or topless, men may wear robes or towels. Men and women often pay the same entrance fee, from 35 to 70 euros, including use of all facilities, food and drinks (soft drinks and beer, most FKKs do not allow liquor). Some clubs will admit couples. The women who work there keep all money they receive from customers. Prices may not be set by the clubs' owners by German anti-pimping laws, but typically the women in one club all agree on set fees from 25 to 100 euro for a 20 to 60 minute session. In some clubs the money is shared between prostitute and owner, which technically is illegal. This form of prostitution, which was mentioned in the rationale of the 2002 prostitution law as providing good working conditions for the women, exists all over Germany and parts of the Netherlands, but mainly in the Rhein-Ruhrgebiet and in the area around Frankfurt am Main. Among the largest clubs of this type are: Artemis in Berlin, opened in the fall of 2005, the new Harem in Bad Lippspringe and the long established FKK World near Giessen and FKK Oase in the countryside near Bad Homburg.
Escort services (Begleitagenturen)
Escort services, where the customer calls to have a woman meet him at home or at a hotel for sexual services, exist in Germany as well, but are not nearly as prevalent as in the US.
For special groups
Sexual services for the disabled and elderly. The agency Sensis in Wiesbaden connects prostitutes with disabled customers. Nina de Vries somewhat controversially provides sexual services to severely mentally disabled men and has been repeatedly covered in the media. Professional training is available for 'sex assistants'.
Forms of male prostitution
A comparatively small number of males offer sexual services to females, usually in the form of escort services, meeting in hotels. The vast majority of male prostitutes serve male clients. In 2007 it was estimated that there were 2,500 male prostitutes in Berlin. The above-mentioned Pascha brothel in Cologne reserves one entire floor for male and transgender prostitutes.
Prostitution is legal in Germany. Prostitutes may work as regular employees with contract, though the vast majority work independently. Brothels are registered businesses that do not need a special brothel licence; if food and alcoholic drinks are offered, the standard restaurant licence is required.
Prostitutes have to pay income taxes and have to charge VAT for their services, to be paid to the tax office. In practice, prostitution is a cash business and taxes are not always paid, though enforcement has recently been strengthened. The Länder North Rhine-Westfalia, Baden Württemberg and Berlin have initiated a system where prostitutes have to pay their taxes in advance, a set amount per day, to be collected and paid to tax authorities by the brothel owners. North Rhine-Westfalia charges 25 euros per day per prostitute, while Berlin charges 30 euros. In May 2007 authorities were considering plans for a uniform country-wide system charging 25 euros per day.
Until 2002, prostitutes and brothels were technically not allowed to advertise, but that prohibition was not enforced. The Bundesgerichtshof ruled in July 2006 that, as a consequence of the new prostitution law, advertising of sexual services is no longer illegal. Before the law and still now, many newspapers carry daily ads for brothels and for women working out of apartments. Many prostitutes and brothels have websites on the Internet. In addition, sex shops and newsstands sell magazines specialising in advertisements of prostitutes ("Happy Weekend", "St Pauli Nachrichten", "Sexy" and many more).
Foreign women from European Union countries are allowed to work as prostitutes in Germany. Women from other countries can obtain three-month tourist visas for Germany. If they work in prostitution, it is illegal, because the tourist visa does not include a work permit.
Pimping, (Zuhälterei = exploiting and/or controlling a sex worker) admitting prostitutes under the age of eighteen to a brothel, and influencing persons under the age of twenty-one to take up or continue work in prostitution, are illegal. It is also illegal to contract sex services from any person younger than 18, per Article 182 (paragraph 2) of the Criminal Code. (Before 2008 this age limit was 16.) This law also applies to Germans traveling abroad, to combat child prostitution occurring in the context of sex tourism.
The first city in Germany to introduce an explicit prostitution tax was Cologne. The tax was initiated early in 2004 by the city council led by a coalition of the conservative CDU and the leftist Greens. This tax applies to striptease, peep shows, porn cinemas, sex fairs, massage parlors, and prostitution. In the case of prostitution, the tax amounts to 150 euros per month and working prostitute, to be paid by brothel owners or by privately working prostitutes. (The area Geestemünder Straße mentioned above is exempt.) Containment of prostitution was one explicitly stated goal of the tax. In 2006 the city took in 828,000 euros through this tax. The neighboring city of Bonn collects a nightly sex work tax of six euro from street prostitutes in the Immenburgstrasse by vending machines identical to German parking meters. All other areas of the city are Sperrbezirk (off-limits for street prostitution).
Every city has the right to zone off certain areas where prostitution is not allowed (Sperrbezirk). Prostitutes found working in these areas can be fined or, when persistent, jailed. The various cities handle this very differently. In Berlin prostitution is allowed everywhere, and Hamburg allows street prostitution near the Reeperbahn during certain times of the day. Almost the entire center of Munich is Sperrbezirk, and under-cover police have posed as clients to arrest prostitutes. In Leipzig, street prostitution is forbidden almost everywhere, and the city even has a local law allowing police to fine customers who solicit prostitution in public. In most smaller cities, the Sperrbezirk includes the immediate city center as well as residential areas. Several states prohibit brothels in small towns (such as towns with fewer than 35,000 inhabitants).
This concept has been the subject of a number of legal challenges. In North Rhine-Westphalia a Minden court has ruled against 'Sperrbezirk, as have courts in Hesse and Bavaria. The court ruled that a general prohibition of prostitution infringed a basic right to choose one's occupation, as laid down in the 2002 Prostitution Act.
The 1957 murder of the high-class prostitute Rosemarie Nitribitt in Frankfurt drew great media attention in postwar Germany. The circumstances of her death remain obscure. Police investigations turned up no substantial leads other than a prime suspect who was later acquitted due to reasonable doubt. Several high-profile, respectable citizens turned out to have been among her customers, a fact on which the media based insinuations that higher social circles might be covering up and obstructing the search for the real murderer. The scandal inspired two movies.
Werner Pinzner was a contract murderer active in the brothel scene of Hamburg in the 1980s. Captured in 1986, he confessed to eight murders of people involved in prostitution businesses. His long-time female lawyer and his wife conspired to smuggle a gun into the Hamburg police headquarters on 29 July 1986, and Pinzner proceeded to kill the attending prosecutor, his wife and himself. The lawyer was sentenced to six years in prison for aiding in murder.
Six persons were murdered in a brothel in Frankfurt am Main in 1994. The Hungarian couple managing the place as well as four Russian prostitutes were strangled with electric cables. The case was resolved soon after: it was a robbery gone bad, carried out by the husband of a woman who had worked there.
In 2012 it was reported that police were investigating the owners of a number of high-class brothels in Düsseldorf. Allegedly, numerous customers had been incapacitated with date rape drugs or other drugs in order to charge exorbitant amounts to their credit cards; those who complained were blackmailed with video footage.
Illegal human trafficking is a major focus of police work in Germany, yet it remains prevalent. In 2007, Germany was listed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a top destination for victims of human trafficking.
In 2009, 710 victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation were discovered, an increase of 5% in comparison with 2008.
In 2008, authorities identified 676 sex-trafficking victims.
In 2007, law enforcement authorities recorded 689 victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. Most victims (419) were between the ages of 18 and 24; 184 were nationals of the country. Approximately 12 percent were under the age of 18, including 39 citizens. One percent (seven) were under 14 years of age.
The trafficking in women from Eastern Europe is often organized by perpetrators from that same region. The German Federal Police Office BKA reported in 2006 a total of 357 completed investigations of human trafficking, with 775 victims. Thirty-five percent of the suspects were Germans born in Germany and 8% were German citizens born outside of Germany.
According to the report, in 2006 about 35% of the victims of human trafficking reported that they had agreed from the beginning to work in prostitution; often they did not know about the working conditions and debts incurred. Some others hoped for a job as waitress, maid or au pair; some were simply abducted. Once in Germany, their passports are sometimes taken away and they are informed that they now have to work off the cost of the trip. Sometimes they are brokered to pimps or brothel operators, who then make them work off the purchase price. They work in brothels, bars, apartments; as streetwalkers or as escorts and have to hand over the better part of their earnings. Some women reconcile themselves with this situation as they still make much more money than they could at home; others rebel and are threatened or abused. They are, reportedly, sometimes told that the police have been paid off and will not help them, which is false. They are, reportedly, also threatened with harm to their families at home. A relatively large number of women ("Voodoo-Nutten" in German Johns' parlance) from Africa and the Caribbean are manipulated by voodoo spells.
The report states that victims are often unwilling to testify against their oppressors: the only incentive they have to do so is the permission to remain in the country until the end of the trial (with the hope of finding a husband during that time), rather than being deported immediately. Prostitutes from EU countries are not prohibited from traveling to and working in Germany. There is a large influx from Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania, for instance. Actually the income prospects for them are not larger than at home, but they prefer to work in the better and safer German environment, as long as they can avoid pimps exploiting and controlling them. German law enforcement aggressively tries to eradicate pimping. In one raid in 2013 near Bonn, 24 males were arrested for exploiting prostitutes, one of them just 15 years old.
Scandals and news coverage
In 2003, German CDU politician Michel Friedman, popular TV talk show host and then assistant chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, became embroiled in an investigation of trafficking women. He had been a client of several escort prostitutes from Eastern Europe who testified that he had repeatedly taken and offered cocaine. After receiving a fine for the drug charge, he resigned from all posts. Since 2004 he has been hosting a weekly talk show on the TV channel N24.
Also in 2003, well-known artist and art professor Jörg Immendorff was caught in the luxury suite of a Düsseldorf hotel with seven prostitutes (and four more on their way) and some cocaine. He admitted to having staged several such orgies and received 11 months on probation and a fine for the drug charges. He attempted to explain his actions by his "orientalism" and his terminal illness.
The coalition of Social Democrats and the Green Party that governed the country from 1998 until late 2005 attempted to improve the legal situation of prostitutes in the years 2000–2003. These efforts have been criticized as inadequate by prostitutes' organizations such as Hydra, which lobby for full normality of the occupation and the elimination of all mention of prostitution from the legal code. The conservative parties in the Bundestag, while supporting the goal of improving prostitutes' access to the social security and health care system, have opposed the new law because they want to retain the "offending good morals" status.
The churches run several support groups for prostitutes. These generally favor attempts to remove stigmatization and improve the legal situation of prostitutes, but they retain the long term abolitionist goal of a world without prostitution and encourage all prostitutes to quit.
Alice Schwarzer rejects all prostitution as inherently oppressive and abusive; she favors a law like that in Sweden, where in 1999 after heavy feminist lobbying a coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and leftists outlawed the buying but not the selling of sexual services. German-American journalist and men's rights activist Jerry Hoss likens the push for prostitution prohibition to a demand for a "final solution of the prostitution problem by Feminazis." He asserts that pimping, forced labor, abduction, false imprisonment, illegal immigration, extortion, rape, bodily injury etc. are already strictly forbidden in Germany and no new laws are needed, just better enforcement.
In 2005, the ruling grand coalition of CDU and SPD announced plans to punish customers of forced prostitutes, if the customer could reasonably have been aware of the situation. In April 2009 it was reported that the plans would provide for a penalty of up to 5 years in prison. The law had not been enacted when the center-right CDU-FDP coalition came to power in November 2009. In 2014, the coalition of CDU and SPD renewed their plans to increase regulation and control of prostitution. Several organisations protested against these plans, amongst them prostitutes organisations as Hydra, Doña Carmen, the 'Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen', and an anonymous group of customers, the Freieroffensive.
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- Memory of the Camps, Frontline, PBS
- B. Leopold, E. Steffan, N. Paul: Dokumentation zur rechtlichen und sozialen Situation von Prostitutierten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Schriftenreihe des Bundesministeriums für Frauen und Jugend, Band 15, 1993. (German)
- A Red-Light District Loses Its Allure, The New York Times, 14 May 1988
- Willi Bartels ist tot, Spiegel Online, 5 November 2007. (German)
- see German Wikipedia, Felicitas Weigmann, version 2 September 2009. (German)
- Horizontales Gewerbe noch lange nicht legal, taz, 21 October 2006
- Bericht der Bundesregierung zu den Auswirkungen des Gesetzes zur Regelung der Rechtsverhältnisse der Prostituierten, 24 January 2007. (German)
- "Rotlicht-Pate muss neun Jahre hinter Gitter", Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German), 1 October 2004
- Peter Schran (2004), "Bandenkrieg – Die geheime Welt der Türsteher", WDR (in German)
- "Alle ausradieren", Focus (in German), 30 April 2007
- Klaus Wiendl and Oliver Bendixen: Millionengeschäfte mit Zwangsprostitution – Das europaweite Netzwerk der Bordellmafia, report MÜNCHEN, Bayerischer Rundfunk (German TV), 9 January 2006. transcript (German)
- "Richter kapitulieren vor Bordellbetreibern", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1 September 2006. (German)
- 'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits', The Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2005
- Snopes Debunking the claim that "Women in Germany face the loss of unemployment benefits if they decline to accept work in brothels."
- German Brothel Offers 50-Percent Discount to Senior Citizens, Spiegel Online, 15 March 2007
- Bordelle machen Bezirksamt an, taz, 6 September 2007. (German)
- Global economic crisis hits German sex industry, Reuters (20 April 2009)
- Callgirl vom Amt, sueddeutsche.de, 7 May 2009. (German)
- Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution Has Failed. Spiegel Online May 30 2013
- The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers. Fair Observer September 14 2013
- Invasion of the body pleasers, Luke Harding, Salon.com (18 November 2005)
- Blowing the Whistle on Forced Prostitution, Spiegel Online, 8 March 2006
- "Red card to trafficking during World Cup", Amnesty International, Public Statement (26 April 2006)
- "Stop trafficking in women before the FIFA World Cup" (Doc. 10881), Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (10 April 2006)
- "World Cup concerns Nordic Council" (in Swedish). Norden.org. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- Independent Catholic News[dead link]
- "Ban Ying – Für Prostitution ohne Zwang und Gewalt". Ban-ying.de. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- "(Landespressestelle) Start der Kampagne "Verantwortlicher Freier" gegen Zwangsprostitution: Verantwortung kann man nicht in Zentimetern messen". Berlin.de. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- "World Cup Brings Little Pleasure to German Brothels", New York Times, 30 June 2006.
- Reports on human trafficking, by the BKA. (German)
- Germany, International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, 1997–2001
- Auswirkungen des Prostitutionsgesetzes, IV Internationale Perspective. Sozialwissenschaftliches Frauenforschungsinstitut, Freiburg. July 2005. (German)
- "Deutschlands Prostitution immer internationaler", Die Welt (in German), 1 February 2010
- (25 February 2005). Mit dem Freier in die "Verrichtungsbox", Stern (magazine) (in German)
- Florierendes Gewerbe im Dixie-Puff. taz, 21 December 2005 (German)
- Die Verlagerung des Straßenstrichs der Stadt Köln, August 2004. (German)
- Helmut Höge über Zielgruppentäuschung, taz 25 February 2003.
- Sexköp på tyska äldrehem. SvD May 18, 2011 See also video Assistante sexuelle Arte.tv 2009
- "Kontrovers: Stricher in Berlin". blu.fm (in German). 1 March 2009.
- Staat will Prostituierte stärker zur Kasse bitten, Die Welt, 23 May 2007. (German)
- Kontaktanzeigen Prostituierter in Zeitungen wettbewerbsrechtlich nicht generell unzulässig, press release of the Bundesgerichtshof, 13 July 2006. (German)
- Sex Tax Filling Cologne's Coffers. Spiegel Online, 15 December 2006
- "Polizei überführt über 800 illegale Prostituierte". Abendzeitung (in German). 23 December 2008.
- Minden: Prostitution in neuem Licht. nw-news.de 23.08.2014
- Skandal im Sperrbezirk: Wohnungsprostitution in Frankfurt am Main grundsätzlich zulässig. Frankfurter Sperrgebietsverordnung in Teilen unwirksam. Anwalt24.de 05.02.13
- Kampf um Sex-Clubs: Stadt Dachau unterliegt im Bordell-Prozess. BR.de 01.08.2014
- Prostitutionsbroschuere, Munich
- "Sex ist käuflich, Liebe nicht", sueddeutsche.de, 5 February 2010
- Danuta Harrich-Zandberg: Der St. Pauli-Killer. In: Helfried Spitra (Hrsg.): Die großen Kriminalfälle. Der St. Pauli-Killer, der Ausbrecherkönig und neun weitere berühmte Verbrechen. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-593-37438-2, p. 11-34. (German)
- "Nägel im Fleisch", Der Spiegel, 22 January 1996
- Gisela Friedrichsen (1 April 1996), "Kohlrouladen und Champagner", Der Spiegel (in German)
- "German brothel blackmailed rich and famous clients". The Telegraph. 20 July 2012.
- UN highlights human trafficking, BBC, 26 March 2007
- "Law Enforcement Strategies to Combat Human Trafficking". Bundeskriminalamt. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- "2009 Human Rights Report: Germany". State.gov. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- U.S. Department of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Germany
- "Michel Friedman". n24.de (in German).
- Jerry Hoss: "Aus dem Leben eines postmodernen Taugenichts"
- Freiern droht Gefängnisstrafe, Focus, 22 October 2006
- Regierung will Freier bestrafen, Focus Online, 10 April 2009
- Page, Jamie.Prostitution and subjectivity in late mediaeval Germany and Switzerland. University of St Andrews 2013
- Richard J. Evans. Prostitution, State and Society in Imperial Germany. Past & Present No. 70 (Feb., 1976), pp. 106-129
- Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Selling Sex in the Reich: Prostitutes in German Society, 1914-1945, THE 24 June 2010
- Katie Sutton. Weimar through the Lens of Gender: Prostitution Reform, Woman's Emancipation, and German Democracy, 1919-33. H-Net August, 2011.
- Anna Bretzlaff. An Examination of Changing Patterns of Prostitution in Germany Since Unification. Carleton University, April 2008
- Conceptions of Prostitute Women‘s Agency in West-Germany from the 1950s to the 1980s. 9th European Social Science History Conference Glasgow, Scotland, UK Wednesday 11 - Saturday 14 April 2012
- Barbara Kavemann. The Act Regulating the Legal Situation of Prostitutes – implementation, impact, current developments. Sozialwissenschaftliches FrauenForschungsInstitut an der Evangelischen Fachhochschule Freiburg. Berlin Sept 2007
- Regina Schulte. Sperrbezirke: Tugendhaftigkeit und Prostitution in der bürgerlichen Welt. 2nd ed. Europ. Verlag-Anst., 1994 ISBN 3434462228
- Alltag im Spätmittelalter, Harry Kühnel, Helmut Hundsbichler (eds.), 2nd edn., Kaleidoskop, 1984
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prostitution in Germany.|
- Hydra e.V., support organization for prostitutes, also has the text of the new prostitution law
- Scathing criticism of the new prostitution law, by Doña Carmen, a support group for foreign prostitutes working in Germany (German)
- Madonna e.V. For the welfare and rights of prostitutes in Germany (German)
- Freiersein, information site for prostitution customers, run by prostitutes' support organizations. Has a section with "10 rules for fair play" outlining proper behavior of customers.
- Matthias Lehmann. Research Project Germany