Lobbyists are trying hard to influence the revision of the Prostitution Act according their own interests


On the hearing of the BMFSFJ [German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth] about the regulation of the prostitution industry on 12 June 2014, published on 26 June 2014 (1)

On 12 June 2014, the BMFSFJ held a hearing on the planned reform of the prostitution law in order to gain a "comprehensive picture" on the subject. The hearing was held behind closed doors. Already in advance, the public had been left in the dark about whom the Federal Ministry had asked and invited as experts to give their opinions. (2)


Lobbyists are trying hard to influence the revision of the Prostitution Act according their own interests.


Who were the experts that were invited to the hearing by the Ministry, and who were asked to give an opinion? The BMFSFJ report reveals that neither petitions and initiatives critical of prostitution were taken into account, nor were the voices of exited women or survivors of prostitution heard.

Instead, relevant interest groups of the prostitution industry (i.e., brothel owners and pimps) received ample opportunity to express their wishes for the least possible regulation and government intervention in this sexist and criminogenic area.


As "stakeholders" not only of the "entrepreneurs of the prostitution and erotic industry", but at the same time of the "sex workers" (panel 2) were exclusively heard:


- The "Unternehmerverband Erotik Gewerbe Deutschland e.V." (UEGD) [trade association of the erotic industry in Germany]: it "represents the interests of companies offering erotic services" (3). In a letter dated 06 November 2013, it suggested to the Federal Government and to the representatives of the coalition negotiations to convene an interdisciplinary round table "to develop a package of laws which includes the regulation of prostitution and prostitution sites, with the participation of those working in this industry, free from speculation and manipulative influence by the media" (4).

- The "Bundesverband Sexuelle Dienstleistungen e.V." (BSD) [federal sexual services association]: it represents brothel operators and independent sex workers and "served the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs as an expert contact in matters of prostitution" (5). It was founded in 2002, immediately after the adoption of the Prostitution Act by the then Red-Green Government and the concomitant deletion and amendment of the penal code for operating brothels and pimping. (6)

- The "Berufsverband erotische und Sexuelle Dienstleistungen e.V." (BesD) [professional erotic and sexual services association]: it was founded hastily in October 2013, among others by Johanna Weber and Undine de Rivière, and is an offshoot of the BSD, probably used for PR purposes in order to be able to present "real sex workers" to the media, the politicians etc. However, it does NOT represent the estimated 400,000 prostitutes in Germany who ar working in prostitution out of economic hardship, often having been recruited by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, and who have no choice or alternatives. The BesD is a privileged group of escorts and dominatrices, some of whom being themselves operators or pimps. Among other things, the BesD promotes "flatrate and gangbang sex - in order to guarantee a variety of jobs" (7).

- The lobby-friendly lawyer Margarete von Galen. (8)


A "comprehensive picture"?


None of the panels took into account the statements of well-known critics of the sex industry - neither the panel representing counseling centers (none of those invited have serious exit programs), nor that of the police, nor the panel for human trafficking and the "socially relevant alliances".

At best, moderate critical voices got a chance to speak - e.g. some representatives of the federal states and municipalities and the equal opportunity officers. In most cases, the supporters of the claims of the BesD and BSD had a say, such as the senior representatives of the German Women's Council.


No experts criticizing the legalization of prostitution were invited to the hearing


Specifically missing:

- The German NGO "SOLWODI" [SOLidarity with WOmen in DIstress] that addressed the Federal Government before the elections with their petition [pun intended]: "No more hustle! - No woman slavery in Germany", calling on the Government to ban the purchase of sexual services. Their proposal for the revision of the 2002 Act was not taken into account either. (9)

- Representatives of the German feminist magazine "EMMA", who have long been warning against the consequences of the Prostitution Act from 2002. And with them, the voices of over 12,000 citizens were ignored who had signed the "Appeal against prostitution" since the end of 2013. (10)

- The initiators and supporters of the "Karlsruher Appell für eine Gesellschaft ohne Prostitution“ (Karlsruhe appeal for a society without prostitution). (11)

- Cathrin Schauer from the German NGO "KARO e.V.", who educates about the criminal activities of traffickers for years; social worker Sabine Constabel from "La Strada Stuttgart" [a refuge for prostitutes], who is tirelessly working for the prostitutes, informing the public about the reality of prostitution; organizations such as "INGA e.V.", "Zora e.V." and "KOFRA"; and police experts such as Manfred Paulus, Helmut Sporer, Uwe Dörnhöfer and others.

- Also no experts were heard from abroad or from the European Women's Lobby, whose application for an adoption of the Nordic model as a resolution for the Member States was accepted in late February with a clear majority in the European Parliament.

- Ignored was also a large-scale study, published last year, that shows the relation between legalization and human trafficking. (12)


The BMFSFJ thus make itself the accomplice of relevant lobbyists!


The Federal Republic of Germany is obliged to arrange for the disposal of disadvantages for women (Art.III, paragraph 2 GG). Likewise, it is the State's obligation to protect its citizens from violence, regardless of which country they come from. However, continuing and facilitating the "business model prostitution" promotes the exact opposite!

It is to be feared that the SPD-led Family Ministry will step back from the legal restrictions of the sex industry, announced in the coalition agreement, and from the protection options for prostitutes and that it will also further delay the implementation of the EU directive against human trafficking.

We expect that the Family Ministry will propose effective measures against trafficking and for the protection of - especially young - women in difficult material circumstances, instead of supporting the lobby groups of the sex industry.

We expect that for the Federal Government the rights of women against exploitation are more important than legitimizing a "man's right" and more necessary than the local revenues through the taxation of women, but also men and trans people in prostitution.


We call for:


Abolition 2014 advocates for a legislation modeled after the "Swedish (resp. Nordic) model", adopted also by the EU as a directive for the member states.

The Swedish (Nordic) model aims at limiting the demand for prostitution and at bringing about a change of perspective: not the prostitutes, but the buyers of sex, the pimps and the brothel owners must be targeted by the legislation.


The Swedish (Nordic) model includes:

- an effective and long-term support of people who want to exit prostitution;

- health care and other support (debt counseling, therapy ...) independant of an exit request;

- training of the police to implement the Act;

- education and campaigns in society and in schools for an equal coexistence and equal relationship in sexuality;

- a prohibition on the operating of brothels and on pimping;

- criminalizing the purchase of sexual access to the bodies of others.



Abolition 2014, in collaboration with abolitionist initiatives in Germany, Europe, Canada and the United States.




(1) http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/gleichstellung,did=208046.html
(2) http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article129038414/Neues-Mindestalt...
(3) http://www.uegd.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=280&Item...
(4) http://www.uegd.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blo...
(5) Sex als Arbeit: Prostitution als Tätigkeit im Sinne des Arbeitsrechts Bernhard Pichler; disserta Verlag; 2013; Seite 164
(6) http://www.bsd-ev.info/
(7) http://berufsverband-sexarbeit.de/politik/forderungen/
(8) http://www.lto.de/recht/hintergruende/h/prostitutionsgesetz-reform-gewer...
(9) http://www.solwodi.de/931.0.html   http://www.solwodi.de/
(10) http://www.emma.de/sites/default/files/upload/pdf/appell_emma_6_2013.pdf
(11) http://karlsruherappell.com/der-appell/
(12) http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/p...