Speigel Online 30 May 2013
When Germany legalized prostitution just over a decade ago, politicians hoped that it would create better conditions and more autonomy for sex workers. It hasn’t worked out that way, though. Exploitation and human trafficking remain significant problems.
……In 2001, German parliament, the Bundestag, with the votes of the Social Democratic Party/Green Party governing coalition in power at the time, passed a prostitution law intended to improve working conditions for prostitutes. Under the new law, women could sue for their wages and contribute to health, unemployment and pension insurance programs. The goal of the legislation was to make prostitution a profession like that of a bank teller or dental assistant, accepted instead of ostracized.
The female propagandists of the autonomous sex trade were very pleased with themselves when the law was passed. Then Family Minister Christine Bergmann (SPD) was seen raising a glass of champagne with Kerstin Müller, Green Party parliamentary floor leader at the time, next to Berlin brothel operator Felicitas Weigmann, now Felicitas Schirow. They were three women toasting the fact that men in Germany could now go to brothels without any scruples.
Today many police officers, women’s organizations and politicians familiar with prostitution are convinced that the well-meaning law is in fact little more than a subsidy program for pimps and makes the market more attractive to human traffickers.