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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. [ 23 ]
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. [ 24 ]
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. [ 25 ]
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. [ 26 ]
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. [ 27 ] In March 2006 the president of the German football federation turned around and agreed to support a campaign named “Final Whistle – Stop Forced Prostitution”. [ 28 ] 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. [ 29 ] [ 30 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ]
In March 2006 the campaign “Responsible John. Prostitution without compulsion and violence” [ 33 ] was started by the government of Berlin. [ 34 ] 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. [ 35 ] This was confirmed by the 2006 BKA report on human trafficking, which reported only 5 cases of human trafficking related to the World Cup. [ 36 ]
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. [ 10 ] The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality , published in 1997, reported that over 100,000 women work in prostitution in Germany. [ 37 ] A 2005 study gave 200,000 as a “halfway realistic estimate”. [ 38 ] 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. [ 2 ]
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. [ 2 ] [ 39 ]
From other studies, it is estimated that between 10% and 30% of the male adult population have had experiences with prostitutes. [ 37 ] Of those 17-year-old males in West Germany with experience of intercourse, 8% have had sex with a prostitute. [ 37 ]
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. [ 2 ]
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