• Germany's news in English

Bonn calls prostitute 'sex meter' a success

The Local · 24 Jan 2012, 09:53

Published: 24 Jan 2012 09:53 GMT+01:00

The municipal government said this week a "sex tax" covering levies on sauna clubs, "erotic centres" and automated pay stations similar to parking meters that were rolled out in August had brought in around €250,000 ($326,000) last year.

"We are satisfied with that and plan to continue levying the tax," a city spokeswoman told news agency AFP.

Bonn authorities said in a statement they had hoped to bring in €300,000 in 2011 from the "sex tax" but had later lowered its projected revenue to ´€200,000 based on the amount taken in early in the year. About €14,000 came from the sex meters, it added.

The former West German capital became the first city in Germany to introduce the meters for sex workers as a means of extending a general tax on prostitution beyond brothels to the streets of Bonn.

The meters were installed in an industrial area near the centre of town used by prostitutes to solicit clients, with each sex worker paying €6 per night worked, regardless of how many customers they have. Those repeatedly caught without a ticket can be fined.

Story continues below…

Some 200 women are believed to occasionally work the streets in Bonn, with an average of 20 out on a given night.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:07 January 24, 2012 by William Thirteen
"We are satisfied with that and plan to continue levying the tax," - and when they become unsatisfied they'll just raise the rates!
11:44 January 24, 2012 by Wrench
These girls are in training. Soon they will have federal employment as tax assessers for the upcoming "pimmelsteuer".
11:46 January 24, 2012 by Craptastic
"Kerb-side"???? Seriously, this IS an English language paper, is it not?


The editorial staff must not contain one native English speaker.

How embarrassing. What do I know, though? My J-school professor went through the NYT with a red pen and taught me to do the same.
11:56 January 24, 2012 by frankiep

If you went to journalism school then you should most certainly know that "kerb" is a perfectly acceptable and widespread word. It is the UK variant of "curb". In fact, since the language was invented there it could very easily be said that "curb" is wrong.

How embarrassing.
12:15 January 24, 2012 by Irlandia
Kerb is a perfectly correct spelling in English as spoken in the UK, Ireland and most of the English-speaking countries.
12:29 January 24, 2012 by aussieinrostock
Quote from the Oxford English Dictionary

Do not confuse curb with kerb. Curb means 'control or limit something' ( she promised to curb her temper) or 'a thing that controls or limits', whereas kerb means 'the stone edging of a pavement' (the spelling curb in this sense is American).

So, for an ENGLISH language newspaper the spelling is perfectly correct. Congratulations 'The Local'
12:49 January 24, 2012 by Craptastic
Wind up the minor speakers of a major language and WATCH THEM GO!

Thanks for making it so easy, meatsocks.
13:14 January 24, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Can't be help to wonder how much of that €250,000 has ended up in holiday scrapbooks.........I know I would.....
13:22 January 24, 2012 by Gaffers
Really Craptastic? How dull must your life be if that's how you get your kicks? Nothing wrong with encouraging correct spelling is there?

Curb is the original English spelling for a concrete border along the edge of a street and you will find that in the majority of dictionaries. It can also mean to show restraint (same spelling).

Do these "parking tickets" have a sticky edge too and if so where do they display them? Or do you have to pay extra to see that? :-)
13:43 January 24, 2012 by germinator
@craptastic. you thinly-disguised attempt to cover your ignorance is a bit on the pathetic side.
16:56 January 24, 2012 by KamiZ
* "We are satisfied with that and plan to continue levying the tax," a city spokeswoman told news agency AFP. *

Maybe if someone is unsatisfied they can ask for a prostitute to satisfy them :D
17:00 January 24, 2012 by raandy
@Craptastic Hang in there dude, I appreciated it when you wrote and told me it was not riddins it was riddance . :-)
18:26 January 24, 2012 by LecteurX
@ Craptastic - seriously, the tone of your 1st comment shows rather obviously that the one who gets rather easily wound up is you... How embarrassing.
22:34 January 24, 2012 by Whipmanager
I love this article. It is a follow up of the original posting from last year. This is great reporting. It shows that there is a need to tax, that the medium used was appropriate but, like I stated back then:

1. The polizei aren't always around, for the money collected, I'll bet another amount at least as much was not collected.

2. I still think the money received in Taxes is not enough from these ladies. They should pay more taxes as everyone else with a mroe legitimate job pays more than just what they would like to report as income- this system is getting something from the hooker, but, they still pay less than the rest of Working german Stiffs (Yes puns intended)
01:45 January 25, 2012 by nemo999
Well I for one am glad that there is something that some consider to be a success. But are the hookers of Bonn really paying their fair share of the taxes? I guess there will be some questions that we will never know the answer to, well unless the city of Bonn opens up and operates their own "erotic centres". If they were to operate such a place would that make the employee government workers?
10:55 January 25, 2012 by Gaffers
that would make a change from the government screwing us :-)
16:00 January 25, 2012 by murka
Guys, reading your comments is fun. As to the taxation, my understanding is that sex workers are filing their tax returns as self-employed. The kerb levy is an additional tax for using the public space.
22:02 January 25, 2012 by Whipmanager
murka: As can be assumed, the Prostitutes do not give out any reciepts, so there is little evidence that they actually claim all of their Gewinn, so, my thoughts are that they are underpaying and under claiming on their tax returns. The fact that they are standing on the pavement, according to your assertion, and are paying a use tax, that is already paid when they pay theiincome tax. they are citizens, and are using a kerb/sidewalk that they have paid to build, up-keep and transit on. In fact, your argument says that it would be acceptable to charge any person waiting to take a passenger into a taxi, bus, or even the patrons of these modes of transport too, for they are using the pavement for some sort of commerce.

My Opinion if they wish to charge them for soemthing, force them to have a license, and health card, make the fee a part of that and be doe with it. but, the fee would be way too high at one time, so, they extract/extort the extra money (for nothing in reality) day at a time so that the Prostitutes won't complain and go underground. You see, this type of work is one where no one will admit that they partake in the service, so it would be hard to get an actual accounting frmo the freelancers. As such, they get some, enough so that they can be satisfied, but not so much that people will avoid paying it.

If you take the amount of money accumulated, $326,000 dollars in fees,(Average $8 per ticket at the meter) and you figure that is 40,750 tickest sold, that means an average total income on those transactions of $2.85 Million Dollars in Commerce if you figure the average cost of about 50-60 Euros (let's just say $70 per act committed).

Do you think that 11% taxes or fees is adequate on the commerce that has taken place? If you do not, why are prostitutes being given a break when the rest of Germany isn't? If you look at a 21% VAT, the actual fee should be about 14 euros per ticket. Does the truck Driver get that break, he brings you your food and gas and all other commodities?
17:06 January 26, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Don't call them "Sex Meters" ... just hang the meter under the STOP sign. STOP is short for "State Tax on Pussy."
08:42 January 27, 2012 by heyheyhey

You are quite the expert when it comes to hookers, aren't you?

You sound like a jilted ex-hooker husband who wants revenge....via taxation.

Did she divorce you? She got bored with you, right?

Revenge of the nerds, eh man?
17:06 January 27, 2012 by rmsbl4
Since there are probably a lot of Brits reading these posts I thought i would ask this trivia question.

Why are the Brit police always yelling at the people they are chasing "to get on the floor", even though they are running on sidewalks and paved roads, could it go back to times when the floors of houses were still dirt?

I am pretty sure houses in GB have regular floors in them now and probably since all these cops were born. ?????????????
18:42 January 27, 2012 by DES_Toronto
For me this is a very sad story. Bonn is the city of Beethoven. I hate to think of prostitutes playing their trade their. Couldn't they go to some less reputable place, associated with, for example, Wagner, List, or Bruckner? But not Beethoven! (What do I know. I live in Toronto.)

Yes, American know-it-all, kerb is a perfectly legitimate spelling, even if your provincial little locale doesn't know it.
07:47 January 29, 2012 by bolly
Go for it Crapstastic. The exchange is fun to read but there comes the time when you need to back off. We are talking about everyday english language and you are wrong. Kerb is definitely correct as confirmed by an Emeritus Professor of English and also a person with a Harvard Masters Degree in Education and a long time student of the language. And I, as the ordinary mortal, have always used kerb. Curb is a verb and not appropriate in this context.

As to the Bonn story and the sex meter, I think that the administrators are a bit over the top. If there were roadside stalls (heaven forbid - the mind boggles) I'd say yes to the tax but this is blatant revenue raising, and not too clever at that.
10:34 February 5, 2012 by Yah right

What is this obsession you have with prostitutes? You spend entirely too much time thinking about them and you sound vengeful. You need to get some therapy, man!
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