しかし、コロナ騒動が落ち着いて、閉鎖されていた売春店が再開されたら、それで問題は解決するのでしょうか？ これまでと同じように、ドイツで性産業が隆盛をきわめ、世界中から最も弱い立場の若い女性と少女があらゆる手段を通じて調達されるような事態を、コロナ危機の終息後も続けるべきだというのでしょうか？ それ自体が暴力と性搾取の制度に他ならない売買春ないし性売買のシステムを、まるで何事もなかったようにコロナ危機後も継続することがドイツのとるべき道でしょうか？ またドイツではすでに多くの人身売買事件が発覚しており、それらの人身売買がまさに合法店を隠れ蓑にして繁盛していたことが明らかになっています。
Call for guidelines on a uniform approach to prostitution in light of the Corona epidemic in Germany
Karlsruhe, 15th April 2020
Dear Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dear Mr. Laschet, Dear Mr. Söder, Dear Mr. Kretschmann, Dear Mr. Miller, Dear Mr. Woidke, Dear Mr. Bovenschulte, Dear Mr. Tschentscher, Dear Mr. Bouffier, Dear Mrs. Schwesig, Dear Ms. Dreyer, Dear Mr. Weil, Dear Mr. Hans, Dear Mr. Kretschmer, Dear Mr. Haseloff, Dear Mr. Günther, Dear Mr. Ramelow,
With this letter, we address an appeal and a request to you, to initiate and implement guidelines and a change of direction in German prostitution policy that is now necessary with the Corona pandemic to protect people in the sex industry. Our call accompanies campaigning directed at the federal and state governments for the introduction of the so-called Nordic model with regard to the legislative handling of prostitution in Germany. We are:
1) Sandra Norak, former victim of human trafficking and prostitution / prospective lawyer and
2) Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, trauma therapist, we have both spoken across the country, nationwide and internationally on the subject, governments and parliaments give lectures and conferences (see our biographies in the appendix).
It is government’s responsibility to guide our country through this pandemic. Protecting people is a top priority. Easter 2020 has passed quietly around the world and we see pictures from hospitals in Italy and Spain where people die alone and en masse. More than 7.7 billion people show solidarity by changing their behavior in the shortest possible time to try to contain the pandemic. We are experiencing a global moment in which we should stay away from people. For the first time, however, many feel that we are all a community and that we must stick together so that lives can be saved. Despite, and possibly because of, the crisis, we are experiencing human progress as people increasingly develop global empathy and mindfulness in their behavior and dealings with one another. The philosopher Markus Gabriel even sees this crisis as an opportunity for moral progress.
Even if it may be too early for us to learn personal lessons from this crisis, we are already being required to think about some of the social systems we are accustomed to. One of these systems is prostitution, which we have been campaigning over for years, but we still have not had enough attention paid to these politics to put a stop to the inhumane conditions of the sex industry. Germany has become Europe’s brothel with its 2002 prostitution law and the prostitution protection law that came into force in 2017, but obviously there has not been much concern about this fact, nor bother about it, and instead there were even made high profits made from the sexual exploitation of many women. Many of these women now find themselves with nowhere to go, as the crisis clearly shows.
After April 19, the strict quarantine measures should be relaxed, but we already know that we cannot return to where we were in early March. It will be a long time before we have overcome the pandemic, but how long, none of us know. Maybe weeks, months or even years?
How can prostitution continue after April 19 when shaking hands remains risky behavior? How can prostitution continue if prostitution has been proven for decades to be a system of violence? This can also be seen in the study commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs in 2004. How can prostitution continue in Germany if it is now considered sexual violence and injury in many European countries? Do you really want to go back to the German model, especially now that the crisis has made it clear that women have been sexually abused 10 to 20 times a day by clients and are now facing a very difficult situation? Under these circumstances and with this information, which is also available from European institutions such as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, how can Germany still view prostitution as a sexual service and speak thoughtlessly and irresponsibly of sex work? How does that work, we ask ourselves.
One thing is clear: we cannot solve problems with the means that caused them. Considering prostitution as a sexual service for years has on the one hand created gigantic problems and, on the other hand, has resulted in no building of support systems for people in prostitution. There is a lack of broad, state-funded exit options from prostitution, there are no shelters, there is a lack of trauma therapy, the women in this system lack everything, as the pandemic shows. We would like to refer you to the open letter from Dr. Kraus to the German Institute for Human Rights.
The Corona crisis also challenges us to rethink globalization, to redefine our position in the world and to become aware of our responsibility as part of this global world and to assume responsibility for it. This includes looking beyond borders. In France, one of our most important partners, prostitution is considered a serious violation of human dignity, whereas in this country it is considered a profession, a sexual service. These are not small things about differences of opinion, this concerns fundamental questions of dealing with each other and how we define human dignity. Apparently, here in Germany we have a different understanding of human dignity and the protective duty of our state than in France. While men in Germany celebrate their high school diploma or football victory in a brothel or even conclude business contracts there, and sexually abuse the most vulnerable women in the world for fun, men become in France are punished by law. While we in Germany regard brothel operators as recognized business people, they are seen in France as part of an exploitation system. While pimping is prohibited in France, it is not in Germany. In Germany, it is legal to be a pimp. Only exploitative and aggravated pimping is prohibited in Germany. This makes effective law enforcement on the part of the police and judiciary impossible in most cases due to difficulties in providing evidence. The French Constitutional Court also considers punishment to be proportionate and therefore constitutional, as the necessary means of combating trafficking in human beings and exploitation in prostitution, as decided by the French legislature.
But you know all of this, and although it has been obvious for a long time, this crisis clearly shows what prostitution is and where it leads women: into nothing. In recent weeks it has been observed that in Germany the response to the prostitution question was very different on the occasion of the Corona pandemic: some cities closed only brothels and all other forms of prostitution were still allowed. Cities like Stuttgart or Berlin have banned all forms of prostitution without taking responsibility for sex buyers. Karlsruhe is the only city that has also banned the purchase of sex. We are very pleased that Karlsruhe has become the first city in Germany to focus on those who create demand, maintain the prostitution system and inflict great suffering on women. That was a first important step in the right direction. Prostitution is not like working in retail, where people may not feel like working, how often such an argument is put and comparisons are made. Numerous rapes take place in prostitution, often several times a day, which cause profound physical and mental injuries that often last over a lifetime. The comparisons with prostitution as a “job like anything else” are neither sustainable nor survivable. They are just one thing: a denial of reality.
What can we now observe from the Corona crisis regarding prostitution? According to social workers from Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, most women (it is said around 80%) have returned to their home countries (mostly Romania and Bulgaria) or have been sent back by their pimps. Despite the new prostitution protection law of 2017, most women in prostitution are not officially registered. The number of those who have registered is approximately 32,800 (as of November 26, 2019) . Estimates assume, however, that there are an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people in prostitution in Germany. Those who could not return are facing nothing. Some are at risk of homelessness, they have no reserves because the prostitution system works in such a way that people, mostly women, are exploited and caught in a vicious circle without prospects. They are now penniless, without social support and without integration in the health system.
Counseling centers, which have received state funding for many years and have very often supported the practice of prostitution, now seem to be ineffective in helping these women, otherwise we would not regularly read in media reports from counseling centers that the women have now become homeless. If there was a properly and well-developed and well-supported aid system in Germany that did not regard prostitution as work and did not promote it as such, but saw and treated prostitution as a system of exploitation and violence, then we would not be seeing this precarious situation for some women in prostitution. There would be enough resources and enough “know-how” to help everyone concerned.
Prostitution associations such as the BSD, which have often been heard by the Bundestag on the subject of the “rights of prostitutes”, have successfully given the government, the legislature, the judicial bodies and our society a wrong picture of prostitution. A picture in which the self-determined sex worker pursues her profession with pleasure and can thus sustainably make a living. While on Berlin’s streets, almost right next to the Bundestag, women fight for survival and are mostly controlled by pimps who control entire street sections, Stephanie Klee from BSD, who has advised the Bundestag several times, cheers for street prostitution in a green dragon costume as part of a “video”, as she calls it, and speaks of what a great job it should be, how enjoyably the women are working there with customers who are “a lot of fun” and that one could certainly make a lot of money on the street .
It was already clear to us that these representations did not correspond to reality, but now in the crisis it is becoming even more visible for everyone. Politicians have listened and believed for years people who have glorified prostitution. The women were the ones who had to pay for this glorification of prostitution, and continue to do so now during the crisis. They are left alone by our state.
Are you sure you want to reopen the brothels on 20th April? Do you really want to continue to treat prostitution as a sexual service? With all this knowledge, do you really want to go back to where Germany was at the beginning of March? That will not do. That would be inhumane and irresponsible with this knowledge. Germany needs a new model. The Corona pandemic now harbors an opportunity to finally address and change these abuses. We therefore ask that all responsible bodies develop guidelines to deal with the prostitution question to protect people affected as uniformly as possible and that regulations enacting the so-called “Nordic model” after 19th April 2020 replace old policies in Germany, which can then be gradually expanded. We demand the following for the current situation:
1. Introduce a ban on sex buying (“punishment for customers”) as well as the decriminalization of people in prostitution.
a. Why a ban on sex buying?
Demand creates prostitution, demand creates a breeding ground for human trafficking and exploitation. In Directive 2011/36 / EU (Human Trafficking Directive), the importance of containing demand is clarified in Article 18 (1):
“Member States are taking appropriate measures, such as education and training, to address and mitigate demand that encourages all forms of exploitation related to trafficking in human beings.”
The European Parliament,
“Believes that reducing demand should be part of an integrated strategy against trafficking in human beings”
The Council of Europe:
“12. In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member and observer States, Parliamentary Assembly observer States and partners for democracy, to:
12.1. as regards policies on prostitution:
12.1.1. consider criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, based on the Swedish model, as the most effective tool for preventing and combating trafficking in human beings;
12.1.6. if they have legalized prostitution:
188.8.131.52. raise general public awareness of the need to change attitudes towards the purchase of sexual services and to reduce the demand ”
A ban on sex buying aims to focus on those who cause this suffering and who have a choice. We are currently witnessing the fact that billions of people are ready to change their behavior for the good of humanity. Sex buyers cause immense suffering, and now is the time to take responsibility. Sex buyers can break a woman’s spirit just on the first time they buy her for prostitution. It does not necessarily take years to do :
“For me, the bar to overcome my boundaries was very high with the first buyer. Feelings of disgust, distress, shame, grief and fear made it almost impossible for me to perform the act. I was about to scream and cry. When the act was over, something had broken inside me. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. What I felt was numbed and killed. The ability to defend oneself and to resist is lost more with every client, because this act of unwanted penetration not only facilitates the dissociation of the body, but also the personality is continuously broken. This act of penetration means permanent humiliation and degradation as an object of sexual use. Human dignity is withdrawn. You stop perceiving yourself as a feeling person.”
b. Why decriminalize people in prostitution?
Women who are (now) pursuing prostitution do so due to their precarious situation and various constraints, addiction disorders and / or (pre-) traumas. They do it because at that moment they are not getting adequate help that would show them other options and support them in taking them up. They are weakened by their vulnerable situation and often do not manage to find their way out of their misery alone. Punishing people in prostitution hits the wrong people. A systemic change must take place, in which those responsible for prostitution are held to account as those who cause the suffering. For those who are still in prostitution, required is exit assistance and no punishment.
Decriminalization should not be a license for women to pursue or stay in prostitution and thereby put themselves at risk. Rather, decriminalising people in prostitution is intended to be a necessary and important protection , who, because of their precarious situation, as everyone knows, must be guaranteed.
2. Maintaining the closure of all brothels/prostitution sites and penalties for the brothel operators in the event of a violation
3. Pimps and conditions of exploitation of any form must be tracked down, prevented and pursued with all available means. This requires more resources and more specialized personnel
4. Offer effective exit aids from prostitution
Help with getting out of prostitution includes various factors: safe shelters/accommodation, free food and clothing, financial help such as purchase tickets, help with administrative procedures and debt counseling, integration into social systems, free access to medical help and trauma treatment, language courses if necessary, and participation in social and working life, as well as a right to stay. Serious help means developing alternatives to prostitution instead of communicating this vicious cycle as an income opportunity for those affected.
It is of no real help to accommodate prostituted women in the brothels during Corona, as has now been officially made possible by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. This supposed solution is far too short-sighted and will bring further serious dependencies for those affected. Dependencies that the authorities will not see, let alone prevent.
In this milieu, the “insider laws of loyalty” applies. Many women will be seen as “guilty” for lost of profit during the lockdown by the operators and the accompanying “third parties” for a long time (of course they will deny this and continue to act as the big saviors in the media).
Anyone can imagine how women will pay their debts afterwards. This will not be visible to the outside world. It will become a unseen internal “deal” between the powerful and the powerless.
Manfred Paulus, retired chief superintendent, also confirms that there are rules in the industry:
“They are all committed to the unwritten laws of their world. These laws are of the greatest importance. In the parallel society of the red light world, the rules and norms of the general public and the judiciary are not recognized. The world has its own values, its own rules, its own laws. It has its own investigators, own judges and, if necessary, own executioners. According to these laws, treachery is the worst and most severe misconduct. And treachery is defined as anything that could harm, or is actually harming, the red-light world and its powerful actors.”
Our state is currently deploying rescue packages worth billions of euros. How can it be that our state does not want to be able to provide the prostitutes remaining in Germany with immediate help in the form of housing, vacant hotel rooms, meals/care and help to get out? Many of these women paid taxes despite their exploitation situation.
We call for a rescue umbrella for prostitutes. We are certain that our state can guarantee this without major problems and hurdles and therefore ask for appropriate measures so that women have the opportunity to free themselves from relationships of dependency and exploitation. They do not have this option if they are dependent on the “grace” of brothel operators.
5. Training the police, judiciary and authorities on the prostitution system
Many victims in Germany do not dare go to the police because they have no trust and/or experience in reporting against a pimp/trafficker is often unsuccessful and investigations are largely stopped and/or not believed. For this reason, and in order to understand the mechanisms of exploitation and violence in prostitution and thus really help those affected, training of the police, judiciary and other authorities on the prostitution system is essential. We also need more practical laws in the long term to ensure effective law enforcement in this area, which needs to be worked on now.
6. Prevention work in schools and society, protection against violence and promotion of gender equality
In addition, education and prevention work on prostitution, human trafficking and the related question of gender equality is important. This also includes the critical handling of pornography, which is filmed prostitution, and this must also be taken into account. Even children and adolescents can access it uncontrolled. Media supervisor Tobias Schmid says: “Protection of minors makes no sense if every child can switch from Kikaninchen to Pornhub. “Now that so much is happening online, the porn industry and its portals have to be responded to and restrictions on access created. Pornography favors and often promotes entry into prostitution and turns men into sex buyers because it conveys that “sex is a technique” that is completely detached from an emotional relationship, a mechanical action that can easily be copied.”
We ask and urge you to initiate and implement these guidelines in the time of the pandemic in order to ensure the protection of people in prostitution, human dignity and gender equality issues in prostitution and legislation, and to seriously consider the full and lasting implementation of the Nordic model. Politicians need to consider how prostitution can help people achieve a sustainable life, which most of them do not have. It would be a shame if we emerged from the crisis and learned nothing from it and continued with systems that are based neither on solidarity nor on humanity nor on the protection of human rights. It would be a shame if you instead took responsibility for the destruction of the lives of mostly vulnerable women by means of liberal legislation in relation to prostitution. It is high time to change your policy in this area! Not only do we want that, but also many other people in Germany. That is why we are also adding the comments of the Change.org petition “Prohibit sex buying, reduce prostitution” in the e-mail.