This presentation was made in Vancouver, Canada on September 20, 2016 for “International Approaches to Prostitution: Sweden, Germany, Canada” to an audience of 200 people in the Orpheum Annex. It was one of five different presentations to different audiences in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa over the span of a week in Canada.
Dr. Kraus’ presentations in Vancouver were sponsored by Aboriginal Women’s Organizing Network; Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution; Formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating; Foy Allison Law; Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity; University Women’s Club of Vancouver; Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter.
Thank you for inviting me here to Vancouver. Thank you to all the organizations that have made this possible, especially Suzanne Jay, who invited me and organized everything.
Prostitution has always been legal in Germany, except a short period of time in the early 20th century. Germany instituted a law in 2002 that tried to make out of prostitution a job as any other. The politicians thought, that it wasn´t prostitution itself that was the problem, but the discrimination of the women by the society and the lack of rights they had. Considering the problem from this perspective, they wanted to strengthen the women as best as possible. (They said): Prostitution should not be seen any more as something “against the good morals“, but as a job. For now on, the women were considered as workers, “sex workers.” And if they are workers, they should have the same rights as any other worker that run a business or is employed somewhere, like having a social security or if their rights are not respected, they should have the right to enforce a claim by legal action. The state didn´t want to put any regulations concerning the sex practices. They said that nobody can say how people should have sex. As they run a business, they are also allowed to make publicity for it. So the new law cancelled the restriction of promoting prostitution.
Fifteen years after passing the law, the results are the following:
We are observing an industrialization of prostitution:
- The total revenue is 14.6 billion Euros with 3500 registered brothels. This are the official numbers. They are many apartment brothels that are not registered.
- The creation of mega-brothels with the capacity to accommodate around 1000 buyers of sex at once and even more.
- The growth of demand: 15 years ago it was estimated that 400,000 women were in prostitution. Today many police officers say that the number has increased by at least 30%.
- You no longer need to go to Thailand for sex tourism, you see sex tourists from around the world coming in groups — buses transport tourists from the Frankfurt airport directly to the mega-brothels.
We have “flat-rate” brothels. For 70 Euros they offer a beer, a sausage and unlimited women. A flat-rate brothel chain called “Pussy Club” made headlines when, on its opening day on June 2009, 1700 men lined up to get in. The long lineups outside women´s rooms lasted until closing time when many of the women collapsed from exhaustion, pain, injuries, and infections, including painful rashes and fungal
infections that spread from their genitals down their legs.
We observe a reduction in the rate of pay for women: 30 Euros for sexual intercourse, while they must pay around 160 Euros for a room and 25,– Euro taxes per day; So they have to serve 6 men before starting earning money. In the streets it starts as low as 5 Euros.
The working conditions have become disastrous. They developed “Verrichtungsboxen”, which means “things that are getting done in a box,” like cow boxes, without water, toilets, nothing.
You see a banalization of prostitution:
- You have publicity everywhere. The official tourist guide of Munich runs promos for brothels.
- They recruit women on the street as “female escorts.”
- It is common for young people to celebrate school graduation at a brothel.
- A guided tour of brothels for new students in Berlin is offered.
Or here, it was 2 weeks ago in Frankfurt: an open house evening in the red light district. Even knowing that the red light district is in the hands of the Hells Angels, so an organized crimegroup, the townspeople came to celebrate the day.
Violence against women became a structural violence, it means that society and the institutions (the political, educational, executive and judicative authority) are not questioning it anymore. It is internalized.
Here in my hometown, also 2 weeks ago: this is a normal clothing shop that had the idea to make publicity like this. Prostitution affects everybody, not only women in prostitution.
The goal of the law, which is reportedly protecting and supporting women in prostitution, has failed completely — of these 400,000 women, only 44 are registered as sole proprietorship businesses. More than half of these women work illegally, meaning they don’t have any social insurance and don’t have access to medical services in Germany. (1) So, even if they have the flu, they don’t have the possibility of visiting a doctor. There is a huge problem with pregnant women who can not pay for the abortion or birth their child in hospital. Very often, they abandon it.
The police inspectors say themselves that they feel helpless. Manfred Paulus, a criminal inspector who worked for years in this field says that Germany with this law became an Eldorado for traffickers, pimps and brothel owners. The women who come from abroad and work in the red light district don´t get to know the Germany that the Germans know and appreciate. No, they are prisoners of a parallel society that is highly criminal.
Those women live under constant fear: the fear of violent sex buyers, fear of not earning enough to pay the daily fixed costs, fear of getting sick, fear of getting pregnant, fear of the police, fear of the pimps, fear of the brothel owners, fear of the competition…
The law from 2002 didn´t help for preventing trafficking at all: in 2000, they were 151 persons condemned (does this mean convicted in court?) for trafficking, in 2011 only 32. The police recorded 636 cases of trafficked women in 2011, 3 times less than 10 years before. 13 of them were younger than 14 years old, 77 were under 18. The police complain that they have just little power to intervene, because without serious proof, they can not enter the brothels. Also, the legal proceedings depend on the women´s statement. Very often they are too afraid to give testimony and the procedures get stopped.
The law that forbids pimping was easy to bypass, they simply became hoteliers renting rooms to the sex workers.
It is estimated that 1.2 million men buy sex every day. 18% are regular consumer, 80% have been in a brothel.
You see growing perversion among sex buyers. Practices are becoming more dangerous with an increase in violence against women and a lack of protection for them. There have been research done that examines violence in prostitution:
- Zumbek’s 2001 study in Germany found out that 70% have been physically assaulted.
- A study by the German Ministry of Family in 2004 stated that: 82% have mentioned sustaining psychological violence, 92% have been sexually assaulted.
Just taking into account these numbers, it is difficult to say that it’s a job like any other. And this research dates back to more than 10 years ago — things have become much worse in Germany.
This is what the dominatrix Ellen Templin had already observed in 2007: “Since the reform you can see that not only have the advertisements become uninhibited, the buyers of sex have become more brutal. That’s from one day to the next. Nowadays, if you say, “No, I don’t do that,” You often get the response, “Come on; don’t be so difficult, it’s your job”. Before it was forbidden to demand unprotected sex. Today, buyers ask on the telephone if they can piss on your face, wanting to do it without protection, wanting to do it anally or orally. These days, it’s an everyday occurrence. Before, buyers still had a guilty conscience. That doesn’t exist anymore today, they want more and more.”
There is a “menu” circulating on the Internet, where buyers can choose what they want from a long à la carte list.
I will just give you a couple of examples:
AF = Algierfranzösisch (Zungenanal) – Tongue anal AFF = Analer Faustfick (die ganze Hand im Hintereingang) – Anal Fist Fucking AO = alles ohne Gummi – everything without rubber Braun-weiß = Spiele mit Scheiße und Sperma – play with shit and sperma DP = Doppelpack (Sex mit zwei Frauen) oder: double Penetration (zwei Männer in einer Frau) – Sex with 2 women or double penetration (2 men in one woman) EL = Eierlecken – licking the balls FFT = Faustfick total – Fist Fuck totally FP = Französisch pur (Blasen ohne Gummi und ohne Aufnahme) – blowjob without rubber FT = Französisch total doppeldeutig: Blasen ohne Gummi mit Spermaschlucken und seltener: Blasen ohne Gummi bis zum Finale – Blowjob without condom and with swallowing the sperma. GB = Gesichtsbesamung (manchmal auch Gangbang, also Gruppensex, aber mit deutlichem Männerüberschuss) Ejaculating in the face. GS = Gruppensex – Group Sex. Kvp = Kaviar Passiv (Frau lässt sich anscheißen) – Man shits on woman SW = Sandwich, eine Frau zwischen zwei Männern – one woman between 2 men tbl, = tabulos, ALLES ist erlaubt – without taboo, everything is allowed. ZA = Zungenanal (am / im Hintereingang lecken) – lick the anus.
There are sites on the internet where buyers share their experiences: here is what you can read there: “I spread her butt cheeks and slowly thrust my cock inside her, which was accompanied by a quiet moan. When I was close to finishing and fucked her more and more violently, she wanted me to stop and fuck her in her pussy. I didn’t want to. Sorry, Vanessa! After several more hard thrusts I shot my load and rammed it deep in her again.”
The sexbuyers want distraction. Women are called “Frischfleisch”, it means: fresh meat. More than half of the prostituted women don´t have a fixed residence but are shipped from one town to the other. Sometimes, they don´t even know in which town they are. The women live in the brothels, eat and sleep in the same room they serve the sex buyers. They sleep approximately 5 hours a day. The rest of the time, they have to be “ready” for the sex buyers. Here is an advertisement announcing new girls.
There is a recent medical report from a gynaecologist (Wolfgang Heide) who is working with prostituted women. The health condition of those women is catastrophic. With 30 years they are very often pre-aged. All women have persistent abdominal pains. Gastritis and frequent infections, also due to the unhealthy living conditions. And of course, all kinds of sexually transmissible diseases. The psychological traumatisation can just be stood with alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs. He reports about a growing demand for pregnant women in prostitution. Those women have to serve 15 to 40 men a day continuously until they give birth. Very often, they abandon their child and go to work as soon as possible. Sometimes 3 days after birthing of the child. Those practices are totally irresponsible for the health of the mother and her child. It can leave irreversible damages to the unborn child. And every mother knows that it takes time after giving birth to a child before sexual intercourse is possible again without pain.
Under these conditions, no German woman sees herself as capable of doing this “work.” The makeup of women in prostitution has changed. With the opening of Europe to the east, women come from the poorest regions of Europe: Romania, Bulgaria — and it’s often minorities like the Roma who live in extreme poverty. Today around 95% come from other countries. It has become a prostitution of poverty.
Sabine Constabel, a social worker who has worked in Stuttgart with prostituted women for more than 20 years, says the following: “30% of these women are young, under 21-years old. Often they are sacrificed by their own families to support them financially. The majority doesn’t speak German, and some among them are illiterate. And frequently, they haven’t had sexual relations before. These young women come to Germany and are subjected to the perverse desires of these buyers. They aren’t capable of saying “no”, of defending themselves. They are completely overwhelmed by the situation and completely traumatized by it. Many of them ask for psychotropic drugs immediately after their first experience. They say, ‘otherwise, you couldn’t survive it.’ Some women are only there a few days and say, ‘I’m dead here, I can’t laugh anymore.’ Others endure it for years and say, ‘I have children at home, I have to support them.’ These women are very traumatized, they develop depression, nightmares and physical problems; they somatize, they have stomach pains, they get sick and suffer. They become hopeless, they don’t want to do this horrible work.”
I was asked by the World Health Organization to speak at the conference in Dublin next year about the mental health situation of prostituted women in Germany. What can I say? What is the mental health situation of a women that is reduced to a piece of meat? They are totally destroyed. A woman that is working in an exit program for prostituted women told me that there are just little (very few) women going out of prostitution. They will stay until they break down physically. It is just a matter of time. I asked myself, why it is like this? Because their will has been broken. They are not existing anymore as a person that has an identity and a future they can imagine for themselves. We are talking here about complex traumatisation.
The German model is producing hell on earth. The lives and the rights of those women are sacrificed, but for what? Are they defending our democracy? Is it to protect our land from invasions or terrorism? No, those women are sacrificed so that some men can have sex whenever they want and with whom they want. And this is the problem. We have to focus on the sex buyer.
The sex buyer is a social construction, it is not a fate. The numbers all over the world prove it: In England, you have 7% of the men who are sex buyers, in Spain 39%, 37% in Japan, 73% in Thailand… It is a result of the unequal gender education. Prostitution does not resolve men´s problem, it is increasing their fear of entering into an equal relationship to women.
When we talk about prostitution, we have to think about what kind of a society we want, not only about harm reduction. We need a new generation of men that does not resort to sexual exploitation and domination of women to define itself.  It is false to think that male sexuality is not controllable. Men have to learn a new way to deal with frustration.
Normalizing prostitution means cementing the inequality between men and women and accepting violence against women. And this concerns all of us, women and men. That´s why, also Germany, needs the Swedish model.
Dr. Ingeborg Kraus
 Manuela Schon: Legalized prostitution turned Germany into the bordello of europe, we should be ashamed, 09.05.2016, in Feministcurrent: http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/05/09/legalization-has-turned-germany-into-the-bordello-of-europe-we-should-be-ashamed/
 Michael Jürgs: Sklavenmarkt Europa, 2014, Bertelsmann, P. 327.
 Chantal Louis : Die Folgen der Prostitution , Alice Schwarzer HG, Prostitution, ein Deutscher Skandal, 2013, KIWI, p. 70-87.
 Der Spiegel: Bordell Deutschland. 27.05.2013 . http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/human-trafficking-persists-despite-legality-of-prostitution-in-germany-a-902533-2.html
 Radio Interview with the Domina Ellen Templin, 08.03.2010. http://abolition2014.blogspot.de/2014/05/interview-mit-einer-domina.html
 Dr. Lutz Besser: Stellungnahme zur Anhörung zum Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Regelung des Prostitutionsgewerbes sowie zu Schutz von in der Prostitution tätigen Personen. 04.06.2016. http://www.trauma-and-prostitution.eu/2016/06/04/lutz-besser-stellungnahme-zum-prostituiertenschutzg/
 Manfred Paulus: Menschenhandel, 2014, Verlag Klemm+Oelschläger, p. 107.
 Manfred Paulus: Menschenhandel, 2014, Verlag Klemm+Oelschläger, p. 112.
 Geneviève Duché: Non au système prostitutionnel, 2015, Editions Persée, p. 170.
 Udo Gerheim, die Produktion des Freiers, 2012, Transcript, p. 7.
 Zumbeck, Sibylle: « Die Prävalenz traumatischer Erfahrungen, Posttraumatische Belastungsstörungen und Dissoziation bei Prostituierten », Hamburg, 2001.
 Studie von Schröttle & Müller 2004 in: Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend : Gender Datenreport, Kapitel 10: Gewalthandlungen und Gewaltbetroffenheit von Frauen und Männern, 2004, p. 651-652.
 Radio Interview mit Ellen Templin am 08.03.2010: http://www.wueste-welle.de/redaktion/view/id/114/tab/weblog/article/34860/Interview_mit_einer_Domina.html
 Dr. Wolfgang Heide: Stellungnahme zur öffentlichen Anhörung zur „Regulierung des Prostitutionsgewerbes“ im Ausschuss für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Gesundheit im Deutschen Bundestag am 06. Juni 2016 http://www.trauma-and-prostitution.eu/2016/06/05/stellungnahme-von-wolfgang-heide-facharzt-fuer-gynaekologie-und-geburtshilfe/
 Manfred Paulus: Menschenhandel, 2004, Verlag Klemm+Oelschläger, p. 109.
 TV Interview with Sabine Constabe, 17.03.2013 in SWR1 Leute:
 Claudine Legardinier: Prostitution: une guerre contre les femmes, 2015, Editions Syllepse, p. 95.
 Claudine Legardinier und Said Bouamama: Les clients de la prostitution, 2006, Presses de la Renaissance, p. 235.
 Udo Gerheim: die Produktion des Freiers, 2012, Transcript, p. 297.