FRANKFURT, May 13, 2005 ( – Germans are rethinking their position on legalized prostitution, made legal there in 2003, after reports that legalization has not really had any benefit for prostitutes, nor has it improved the situation for Germany at large.

In January, a woman was threatened with having her unemployment benefits revoked after she refused to take a ‘job’ as a prostitute in a Berlin brothel. The unemployed woman, a qualified information technologist, had indicated her willingness to take jobs outside her field and had worked in a café. After refusing an offer to work as a prostitute in a brothel, she was told by the job centre that her benefits would be cut off if she did not go into prostitution.

“There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry,” said Hamburg lawyer Merchthild Garweg, who deals in such cases, according to a Christian Science Monitor report. “The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral anymore, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits.”

Nor has improved ‘working’ conditions for prostitutes, one intended goal of legalization, ever really materialized. “When it was set up there was much talk of securing proper contracts, proper health insurance, but a lot of this hasn’t materialized because of big holes in the legislation,” said Berlin’s Hydra prostitute advice center spokesman Marion Detlefs.

“Opponents say other Europeans need only look to Sweden to see the future of legalization,” the Christian Science Monitor article author wrote. “The country – which legalized prostitution 30 years ago – recriminalized it in 1998, after complaints that legalization had solved few of the problems it set out to address.”

See related coverage:
Germany Forcing Unemployed Women into Legalized Prostitution

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