Germany considers ban on prostitution decades after it was legalized amid warning the country is becoming the ‘brothel of Europe’



German politicians are pushing to ban prostitution, more than two decades after it was legalised, amid warnings the country is becoming the ‘brothel of Europe.’

Prostitution was legalised in Germany back in 2002 by a previous center-left government, with the aim of giving the now-250,000 sex workers working in Germany employment rights, access to welfare benefits, and the right to sue clients who refuse to pay for services. 

Today, some German politicians say most of the country’s 250,000 sex workers have still not, in practice, seen an uptick in employment rights and conditions.

According to Dorothee Bär, the deputy leader of the parliamentary group for Germany’s two main Christian Democratic parties, lots of the country’s sex workers are from abroad and do not have documents. This is said to put them at risk of exploitation.

Bär told German news outlet Bild: “There can be no real equality as long as we accept that hundreds of thousands of women are treated like slaves. It is an offence against human dignity that we urgently need to end.

“Germany has become the brothel of Europe. The women are mistreated in the worst possible way by their clients and pimps.”

German chancellor Olaf Scholz, a member of the centre-left SPD, has also called for a crackdown. He said: “I find it unacceptable when men buy women. This is something that has always morally outraged me.”

Scholz went on to call for a “discussion on how to address the purchase of sex”, adding “everything must be done to combat it”. And he has support from other parties.

Germany’s opposition party, the centre-right CDU, wants to adopt the so-called Nordic model where people can be prosecuted for buying sex, but sex workers themselves do not face prosecution.

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