If you get off the subway at St. Pauli station in Hamburg and walk towards Reeperbahn after dark, you will be on a journey. A journey which shows how Germany has become the country you travel to in order to buy sex. It’s not a pleasant walk for an outsider. Wherever you turn there are women, practically naked who come up to you and offer sex. And all over, there are neon signs that display prices and advertise how cheap it is to get sex. Germany’s perhaps most famous police station, Davidwache can be found further down the street. These policemen work 24/7 to get rid of all the drugs that are abundant in these blocks. But they don’t do anything about the sex buyers because it’s perfectly legal in Germany. Seeing a police officer simply pass by a sex trade in progress without even batting an eye is bizarre indeed.
Prostitution is commonplace in Germany. Sex trade was legalized in 2002 and according to the government back then, the legalization was utilized to grant more rights to prostitutes, but more importantly, to make their environment safer. But sadly the biggest change the law led to was a vast increase in brothels, pimps and women who sell sex – a paradise for traffickers and tourists.
There is now a red-light district in almost every German town; from small towns like Lüneburg to the capital Berlin. Every day over a million men buy sex from approximately 400.000 prostitutes in Germany. That’s almost three men per woman, every day, all year round.
These developments have resulted in Germany becoming the final destination for vast amounts of tourists whose sole purpose of their travel is to buy sex, so-called sex tourism.
Men are the exclusive demographic of those who come to Germany to purchase sex. For example; the Football World Cup in 2006 saw the opening of brothels with connections to the arenas with the sole purpose of offering all spectators sex.
It has now been over ten years since the law was passed and the sex buyer has increased in number for every year and so the criticism has become more obvious. The criticism is among other things, about how the law could possibly be a help to those who choose to work in the sex trade. But people must realize that two thirds of all the people who work in the sex trade in Germany come from other countries and have not chosen to sell sex. These people rarely speak the language or understand the culture and must therefore trust someone else to help them. But that person is seldom one of good intentions.
The fact that the developments have gone in this direction can be directly linked to the legalization of sex trade about ten years ago. The trafficking problems in Europe are increasing, not in small part thanks to Germany’s liberal view on sex trade. Sadly, the problems will probably increase in the world’s largest brothel. This is a problem German politicians seem to ignore.
The facts in this article come primarily from an article in The Guardian. It gives me some comfort that this influential newspaper raises awareness of the issues with sex trade.
Ernst Adamsson Borg for Realstars