• Germany's news in English
 
Germany exposed as 'Europe's biggest brothel'
Photo: DPA

Germany exposed as 'Europe's biggest brothel'

Published: 11 Jun 2013 12:08 GMT+02:00

Show on public broadcaster ARD, “Sex – Made in Germany” shook up the country's normally mundane Monday television offerings, exposing the darker side of prostitution just over ten years after it became legal in Germany.

By doing so, the government at the time hoped to clean up the industry, giving prostitutes more rights and security.

Yet the film, which frequently used hidden cameras at red light establishments, did not quite show a success story. Two years of interviews, brothel visits and undercover reporting showed an industry flourishing – but one in which “women have become a resource, which are being used as efficiently as possible.”

Over a million men pay for sex each day in Germany. Many of these now visit “flat-rate” brothels where men can paid a mere €49 for a night of as much sex as they can muster. These have become an increasingly popular business model in Berlin where “sex is cheaper than anywhere else,” a brothel owner told the journalists.

“Most men overestimate and say that they will 'go in a room' six, seven, eight times in a night. But that doesn't happen,” another flat-rate brothel owner explained. While this is good for business, it leaves the women with little earnings.

“Now everything is legal, brothel owners can sleep better at night,” he added. Another, a single father of four, told the team how he sent his daughter to an elite boarding school in the United Kingdom.

Thousands of punters each year

So popular are the country's cut-price offerings, that specialist holiday operators now offer tailored “sex-holidays” for groups of men from Asian, the Middle East and North America. They are taken around brothels for six straight days of drunken debauchery.

Guests also travel from closer afield, with one Danish man explaining that “the quality is good and everything is alright.” He had travelled 300 kilometres to visit the northern German brothel where documentary makers Tina Soliman and Sonia Kennebeck were filming.

The pair also visited Europe's biggest brothel in Stuttgart, where 55,000 men came in and out of its doors each year. Many of the women there are not German though, as 65 percent working in the country are foreign – often from eastern European countries Like Romania and Bulgaria.

Some were homegrown though, with one prostitute admitting that “lots of girls who are taking their high school diploma come and work for a day or two over the weekend to earn a bit of money, because they no longer see it as something bad.”

Despite the government's intentions of controlling the working conditions for women in brothels, the film touched on several cases where eastern European women had come to Germany for a better life. But one Romanian woman, found herself having sex with up to 40 men a day until, eventually, authorities shut the business down for violating health codes.

What the government does seem to be profiting from since legalizing prostitution though, is the tax it generates, daily newspaper the Frankfurter Rundschau noted. Even street prostitutes pay tax, meaning what one brothel press spokesman said, “the state has become the modern day pimp.”

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement
Demonstrators protest against PEGIDA. Photo: DPA

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement

Business leaders, the political class and average Germans are pushing back against a growing anti-immigrant movement, saying it threatens the values and image the country fought hard to establish since the war. READ  

German president urges refugee compassion
Photo: DPA

German president urges refugee compassion

Germany's president appealed in a Christmas message for compassion and openness towards refugees coming to the country, which is grappling with a growing anti-Islam movement. READ  

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon
A female homing pigeon. Photo: DPA

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon

A breeder in Düsseldorf has offered a €10,000 reward after thieves stole a homing pigeon worth €150,000 from his aviary. READ  

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit
The vestibule of the Schloss Charlottenburg, which reopens on Boxing Day Photo: DPA

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit

The royal palace of Fredrick the Great in Berlin is to fully reopen to visitors on Boxing Day after a 4.5 million euro refit. READ  

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad
Bertolt Brecht and his salad. Photo: DPA

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad

Bertolt Brecht's statue in front of the Berliner Ensemble theatre was splattered with potato salad by pranksters early on Tuesday morning, in a protest against supposed gentrification of the capital by wealthy southerners. READ  

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire
The ferris wheel at Alexa Christmas Market where a man fell to his death last week Photo: DPA

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire

A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'
Taulia co-founder Bertram Meyer. Photo: DPA

'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'

In our weekly feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Bertram Meyer, one of the four German co-founders of Taulia. READ  

Terror alert 'higher than in decades'
A police armed response unit (SEK) training in North Rhine-Westphalia in August. Photo: DPA

Terror alert 'higher than in decades'

A leaked government report shows that security authorities believe the threat of a terrorist attack in Germany is higher than at any time since the late 1970s. READ  

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store
Nobody's dreaming of a wet Christmas Photo: DPA

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store

Those hoping for a traditional white Christmas in Germany are going to be disappointed, with weathermen saying Tuesday the current wet, windy and stormy weather is set to stay. READ  

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas
President Poroschenko of Ukraine greeting soldiers in a tank on December 6th. Photo: DPA

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas

Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed on new peace talks this week on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko announced on Monday evening. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,225
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd