girl in a brothel

Can a brothel be fair?

The sex-work bussiness is one of the oldest services in the world, even if it’s still frown upon, it is easy to say that this industry is never going to disappear. But it can be improved. Help is needed for women in this industry, for them sex-work is like any other job is for us, so why don’t they have the right to be treated the same way? To have the possibility of receiving insurance, a pension, unemployment and a safe work environment.

Seeing that the women are in danger due to the taboo way the society classifies sex work, the Diakonie Karlsruhe tried to initate a new project that was meant to help the women that are part of this industry. They tried providing an advice center, a mobile consultation hour for prostitutes without health insurance and apartments for women who want to get out of the industry. The project’s purpose was, as well, to create the possibility for the brothels to get an official quality seal, based on the conditions they offer the sex-worker.

The Protestant Church drafted a position paper with brothel operators

A year ago, the social service of of the Protestant Church drafted a position paper with brothel operators with the promise of an award of „seal of quality for prostitution bussnisses that commit to complying with standards with regard to the protection and well-being of women”. The social service of the Protestant Church earned a storm of indignation towards this project.

The association formed by 150 prostitution opponents and named „Karlsruhe against the purchase of sex”, accused the diakonia of becoming part of an inhumane system of oppression.

The Karlsruhe Diakonie has now quietly buried the project, vilified as a „puff seal”. They declared: „We became aware that the term was chosen poorly”.

In the new paper, accompanying seminars for prostitution companies are now proposed, „which undertake to comply with special standards with regard to the protection and well-being of women”.

Instead of a seal, the aim is now to accompany better brothels. But are there better brothels?

Yes, says Stephanie Klee from the Federal Association for Sexual Services (BSD). She is sure that out of more than 2.100 approved brothels, there is a significant number of brothels that can be considered as proper businesses that comply with all the laws.

Isabell speaks softly but firmly: „I am doing this because I want to.” The woman in her mid-thirties works as a prostitute in a Karlsruhe brothel. Isabell feels like she is being treated fairly by the brothel’s operator, Laura. 

Cleaningness, a nice ambiance, support from a receptionist, help in dealing with authorities and, if necessary, an alarm button if there is a problem with a guest. These are some of the points that she values. A catalog of criteria would strengthen their sense of security.

Corona and the sex-work industry

Prostitution was long banned during the pandemic. Brothels were closed for months. The associations observed that many women continued to work illegally in homes, hotels and on the Internet.

Simone Heneka from the Freiburg Diakonie Counseling „P.I.N.K” registers more violence in the Corona period because prostitution has shifted into the dark field. Women are more at risk when practicing outside the brothels, says Karlsruhe’s Diakonie boss, Wolfgang Stoll.

by Sex Club Wien

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