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Berlin district mayor wants prostitution ban near schools

Berlin’s Tempelhof-Schöneberg district mayor wants less sex in the city and is supporting a ban on prostitution in front of public buildings like schools and religious facilities, daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Monday.

Berlin district mayor wants prostitution ban near schools
Photo: DPA

“The situation has become worse over the last two years. There are even prostitutes in front of the Elisabeth hospital,” mayor of Tempelhof-Schöneberg Ekkehard Band told the paper, referring to Berlin’s famous shopping mile Kurfürstendamm.

Band wants the working girls to turn off their red lights – at least in front of schools, playgrounds, churches and hospitals. “After all, it is about the protection of minors,” he said, “at any rate in the immediate areas around youth and social facilities.”

The sex trade is booming on and around the Ku’damm, branching out into nearby roads and alleys, meanwhile investors want to build a new brothel on top of a big sex department store on one of the area’s main street corners.

District officials rejected the application, but investors await a ruling on the matter after taking the senate for urban development to court.

“If the court doesn’t agree with our opinion, the area will have to deal with another unbearable burden,” Band told the paper.

A complete ban on street-walking is not an option, though. Band said this would push the sex workers underground, making them more vulnerable to crime.

But residents who fear negative effects of prostitution in their neighbourhood have organized citizens’ action groups to patrol the streets at night with flashlights to keep hookers from doing business in parked cars along city streets.

Interior Minister for the city-state of Berlin Ehrhart Körting told the paper however that prostitution on the Ku’damm is “static” and has been established for decades.

Prostitution has been legal in Berlin since 2002. The city offers numerous social programmes and benefits, including health insurance, for prostitutes.

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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