To understand the reality of life and work of sex workers in Berlin today and their urgent problems, it is necessary to immerse in the government laws that regulate this context.
Here we reproduce excerpts from these documents, which describe how sex work should be carried out in Germany. These excerpts show how prohibitive and restrictive this legislation/registration is, and how unprotected many sex workers are, especially migrants from outside Europe. For this reason, we also add fragments of articles that question the implementation and content of this legislation and claim for more labor rights, elimination of stigmas, and social justice.
Definition of a sex worker (according to the legislation in Germany)
“A sexual service is a sexual action performed on at least 1 person or before at least 1 person in exchange for remuneration or let a sexual action take place on your person or to you for remuneration”.
The current legal situation of prostitutes in Germany (Die aktuelle rechtliche Situation von Prostituierten in Deutschland)
On 1 July 2017, Germany introduced new rules for prostitutes and prostitution establishments: The Prostitute Protection Act (Das Prostituiertenschutzgesetz). The aim of the new regulations is to provide people who work as prostitutes with information about their rights and obligations, and to encourage them to exercise their rights and seek help if they need it. For more detailsvisit www.bmfsfj.de/prostschg and www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/prostitutionsgesetz--prostg-/80770.
Since 1 July 2017, it has been mandatory for prostitutes to personally register their work.
The law and migrant sex workers.
The new prostitution law particularly affects migrant sex workers and those in an irregular situation *taken from Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (text: Paola Riedemann) One difficulty that will surely affect them is the language barrier. (…) Second, the risk that the sex worker will be publicly exposed – for example, through a photograph of her prostitute card – has an aggravating element in the case of migrant women and trans workers. Lastly, through the obligation to register, the law has created a new risk factor for undocumented people who engage in sex work. The law does not entail greater legal or social legitimacy for sex workers.
*taken from dw.com
The number of registered sex workers in Germany fell by more than a third during the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of 2020, around 24,900 sex workers were registered with authorities in Germany, a drop of 38% from the previous year. The number of unregistered sex workers remains unknown but is believed to have grown.
The reality in pandemic times
Fighting for money and dignity: sex work in Berlin (fragment) *Taken from rosalux.de (Text: AKYNOS) In Germany, and many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights just how much sex workers are being held accountable for keeping this crisis under control, even when they aren’t the ones responsible for it. (…) Coronavirus has threatened professions and livelihoods all across the board. (…) Sex workers across the world are facing financial loss, homelessness (...) since governments have left much of this population out of financial relief packages or denied sex workers the right to work…. https://rosalux.nyc/sex-work-berlin/