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Germany finds itself embroiled in a contentious discourse concerning the world’s oldest profession – prostitution. A recent article on Tagesspiegel.de has gathered insights from diverse professionals on this highly debated issue.
In this article, we delve into the multifaceted perspectives surrounding the proposed ban on prostitution, shedding light on the complexities without passing judgment on those involved.
Reevaluating the European Union’s perspective and Germany’s evolving paradigm
In a recent move, the European Parliament raised the question of a potential ban on sex purchase, echoing the “Nordic Model.” This approach, while considered in some circles as a means to safeguard vulnerable individuals and reduce street prostitution, has sparked fervent discussions. Yet, beneath the surface lies a profound concern about the livelihoods of the women involved in this line of work.
Germany has undergone a significant transformation since 2002 when it ceased to view prostitution as morally objectionable.
However, voices like Dorothee Bär, Deputy Chair of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group, advocate for a shift in perspective. They argue that Germany has evolved into a destination often referred to as the “brothel of Europe.” Critics of the Nordic Model raise valid concerns about the potential repercussions of banning sex purchase, fearing that it might inadvertently push this industry further underground, leaving those engaged in it in a precarious situation.
What do the legal experts say?
Protecting the Vulnerable
Marie Fredriksson, working at the National Coordination Office against Prostitution and Human Trafficking in Stockholm, asserts that the Nordic Model has indeed reduced street prostitution in Sweden. Over nearly 25 years, women in Sweden have come to understand that their government stands beside them, and that those purchasing sex are committing a criminal act. Authorities work closely with social services, providing accommodations and legal support, especially for foreign victims of human trafficking facing asylum and legal challenges.
It is crucial to recognize that sex purchase primarily affects women; only 0.5% of women have engaged in this transaction, as opposed to 10% of men. A 2021 study by the Equality Authority revealed that over 80% of individuals involved in sex work had experienced coercion or criminal acts. Many reported instances of crossing boundaries, coercion, and various forms of violence.
Before the introduction of the 1999 law, a majority of people were against criminalizing prostitution. However, by 2002, this perception had shifted significantly, with three-quarters of respondents supporting penalties for sex buyers. Today, purchasing sex is generally considered unacceptable in Sweden.
Estimates suggest that street prostitution in Sweden has decreased by half since 1999, while the availability of online advertisements for sexual services has surged. However, surveys also indicate that the overall number of individuals engaged in prostitution has not increased.
Barbara G. Brents, a sociology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, argues that legal and organized brothels offer a more viable solution. Extensive research has shown that efforts to ban prostitution seldom eradicate sex work and often fail to address the needs of exploited sex workers. For many, prostitution remains one of the few avenues available for earning a living.
Deterrent measures, such as the arrest of sex workers, their clients, or those who support them, strip sex workers of essential tools needed to organize their work environment or seek assistance. The greater the challenge in finding clients, the higher the pressure to resort to illegal means or forgo safety measures altogether.
Brents’ research underscores that legal, organized brothels provide a safe haven for sex workers, who deserve the same rights and protections as other workers. Instead of working against sex workers, legislation should focus on supporting their well-being.
The Need for Unified Regulation
Jakob Drobnik, a legal expert and lecturer at the Technical University of Poznan in Poland, highlights the importance of uniform regulation of prostitution across the European Union.
Prostitution often conceals both organized crime and a complex system of violence characterized by dependency, coercion, and abuse. Regulated prostitution inadvertently fosters these structures under the guise of legality.
The European Parliament acknowledges that prostitution infringes upon the dignity of sex workers, leading it to advocate for criminalizing sex purchase. This shift in approach empowers sex workers and bolsters their rights.
Does the prostitution ban really provide the right answers?
We have covered this topic many times on Sex Vienna and have tried to find out whether the prostitution ban really provides the right answers or not. We believe that having a strictly regulated sex industry in Austria and high-class brothels is a very good solution for both sex workers and their guests.
Brothels provide a safe working environment for the ladies, protecting them from pimps and criminals while ensuring a stable income every month. On the other hand, guests can benefit from the fact that sex workers in such places undergo regular medical checks and possess working permits, reducing the risk of getting caught participating in illegal prostitution activities.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic and the benefits of having a well-regulated and safe sex industry in Austria, please visit our previous article: Is the Nordic Model the Right Answer for Prostitution?
Do you want to share your comments or discuss this topic? We have a thread for it in Sex Vienna Forum. Click here to visit it: Reasons against a prostitution ban in Vienna