WorldSexGuide Document

Prostitution in: Germany

General Information about country, people, geography and climate can be gotten from the CIA World Factbook entry.

Legal Situation: Prostitution is legal but does not yet have the status of a regular profession (health care, unemployment benefits, collective bargaining etc). Prostitutes do have to pay taxes though. Communities can and do forbid prostitution in certain areas and/or at certain times of the day.
Pimping and promoting prostitution are illegal. The latter law has occasionally been applied against owners of very luxurious high-class brothels and is the reason that brothels are still often controlled by organized crime.
Prostitutes have to be registered with health authorities (although many, especially the foreigners and those high in the hierarchy, aren't) and get regular, free and mandatory health checks, which, except in Bavaria, don't include HIV tests. Until recently, prostitutes could not get health insurance (unless they lied about their job); in 1997 an insurance company announced that they would start accepting prostitutes.
If a customer refuses to pay after the act, the prostitute can't sue; if a prostitute doesn't deliver after being paid, the customer can sue. This interesting situation is a consequence of the fact that the contract between the prostitute and the customer is considered to be "sittenwidrig" (against good morals) and hence void. This does not follow from a specific law but is a consequence of the courts' interpretation of the term "sittenwidrig". The social democratic and green parties try to improve the legal situation of prostitutes.
There are many foreign prostitutes working in Germany, from Thailand, Africa and Eastern Europe. They are technically working illegally because they cannot possibly have gotten a valid work permit for the work they do. Lots of Hungarian girls because they don't need a visa. Police sometimes searches brothels for illegal workers; the taxpayers then finance them a short home vacation. There are also often reports in the media about foreign women who have been lured to come to Germany with false pretenses (they must be *very* naive) and are then forced into prostitution to pay off some imaginary debt.
The prostitutes' organizations HYDRA in Berlin and HWG in Frankfurt are fighting against the stigmatization of prostitutes and for the recognition of prostitution as a regular occupation. They also do AIDS education and offer other services to working women. See the FAQ for contact information. In 1996, a new group called "S.E.X." was formed which doesn't accept government money and will hence be more effective in lobbying. The Green party in Germany shares their goals. There's also an organization of prostitutes' customers in Berlin called "Lust und Prostitution".

The age of consent is 14 if the partner is under 21 and 16 if the partner is 21 or older. With 16 you can visit a prostitute (but not enter a brothel, so that street prostitutes or escorts are the only legal options); you have to be 18 to work in a brothel but only 16 to work as an independent prostitute; it is legal to visit these 16-year-old prostitutes.

Special practica. S/M, zoophily and toilet sex are legal, production, import and sale of S/M and zoophily pornography is illegal.

A law from 1/1993 makes the mere possession of child porn (defined as depictions of sexual acts involving persons under 14) illegal. The possession of material depicting S/M or zoophily is still legal.

A 1993 law allows the prosecution of Germans who have sex with children under 14 in other countries (i.e. South Asia). Between 1993 and 1996, only one man was sentenced under this law.

Finding prostitutes: Magazines with informations: The magazines "Happy Weekend" and "Aktueller Sex Führer" contain many ads, the latter also has customer reports. The books "Der Strich", "Liebe im Salon", "Stadtplan für Männer" (available for several German cities) try to describe the scene objectively, but are sometimes outdated. All are available in sex shops. Try to get the latest editions.

Keywords in local newspapers and the yellow pages: "Bars", "Nachtklubs" or "Hostessen".

Street prostitutes (and sex shops and clubs) can often be found near the railway stations. Every medium size city has at least one "Eros Center", a place where women rent a room by the day, sit in the door or behind the window and try to get customers in. The service from call girls or in clubs is usually better (and more expensive), however. A comprehensive list of these eros centers and other cheap german brothels is available, see below.

Overviews and longer reports

Specific Information about the Cities and Regions

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