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Most sex workers want decriminalisation and not legalisation but legalisation is at least a positive step toward decriminalisation. Germany may not be an ideal environment in the eyes of sex workers but it is far better than we have here in the UK where sex workers safety is ignored by the legislators in favour of laws that perpetuate prejudice.
This is a letter issued by German Sex Worker activists in response to the article claiming that there has been among other things an increase in trafficking in Germany as a result of legalisation. Simply not true
LETTER of PROTEST
Dear HRWF newsletter Editor-in-Chief,
Dear Mr. Willy Fautre,
The cited article contains misinformation and stigmatizes sex work and sex workers so that they are made vulnerable via the public debate. This can give reason to make negative aspects of prostitution come true.
The number of victims in 2009 in Germany as presented by German federal police office (Bundeskriminalamt BKA) is 710 in 534 cases. The number can be higher because of undetected cases and can be lower at the same time, because not all police cases will be confirmed and sentenced in court.
In Germany there are 200.000 up to 400.000 sex workers delivering an estimated 365 million sex service units per year and exchanging millions of Euros between the sexes. Hence the number of victims is smaller than 4 o/oo (per mill, 4/1000). A very sad and marginal phenomenon, but not tolerable reality.
Here is the trend of the last years since introduction of the new prostitution legislation (ProstG) in 2002, which partly decriminalizes sex work:
2002 — 811 victims
2003 – 1235 victims
2004 — 972 victims
2005 — 642 victims
2006 — 775 victims
2007 — 689 victims
2008 — 676 victims
2009 — 710 victims
http://www.bka.de/ (in German)
http://bundesrecht.juris.de/prostg/ ProstG legislation 2002
The number of young trafficking victims is very high (2/3 are younger than 21 years), since there is a formal criterion to protect sex worker better than other workers. The anti-trafficking legislation requires sex workers (and only sex workers and not applicable to service workers and solders), to be older than 21 years.
http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__232.html trafficking legislation 2005
Many foreigners and locals do not know this law from 2005 and think being a 18 years old legal adult is ok performing sex services for money. Then by law even self decided, independent sex workers become victims by definition and more easy to find by police.
Over the last years since introduction of the new prostitution law and later the anti-trafficking laws, the police inspection activity for the sex industry has increased. Find a list of brothel raids and coverage of the media industry here:
All that data from enforcement agencies has been evaluated by an official federal report on the new prostitution legislation. Although prostitution and the law will still and possibly always be disputed, the sex work stigma is still there and is a major threat and burden to sex workers. Likewise to the divorce or homosexuality stigma it may take generations to change. But the report of the German federal government clearly shows the advantages of the ProstG and consequently the next conservative government confirmed the law.
By the way there is scientific evidence that police raids will not have sufficient effect in finding traffickers as many perpetrator are identified by sex workers themselves. On the contrary, raids will have traumatic effects on women, men and transsexuals working in the sex industry:
Human rights without frontiers code of conduct demands to not spread false data, but give voice to arguments of sex workers and to secure a fair debate. Please do not publish or re-publish about prostitution without speaking with sex workers and their delegates first.
Sex work is not the problem. Sex workers are part of the solution. It is the public and governments duty to secure that sex workers can elect their own delegates and that they are enabled and included in round tables and decision making processes on all levels of politics.
Remember, there were well received media rumours about 40.000 trafficked girls form eastern Europe during world football tournament in Germany 2006 and later the EU needs to find out, that there were five proven cases: some under 21 years, but over 18 years, German locals and one male. So the media has 8.000 times exaggerated the sex slavery situation:
Council of the EU, 5006/1/07
Council of the EU, 5008/7
Please always differentiate between sex work and sex slavery. Because someone has different bodily feelings about sexuality and sex with changing or unknown partners, this does not qualify to victimize other human beings.
Please join to fight against poverty, not prostitution per se. Otherwise, you may become responsible inflicting harm on sex workers.
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