Prostitutes vow to resist sex work law
After months of negotiations, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) MPs agreed the final details of a new law governing sex work on Tuesday night – but prostitutes say it isn't fit for purpose.
The headline provision agreed on was an obligation for clients to wear condoms – but there will be no fines for prostitutes if the rule is not observed, unlike the heavily-criticized current system in Bavaria.
“We reject the requirement to wear condoms. There's no way of checking it that doesn't infringe on sex workers' rights, for example if police come into brothels, into the rooms where they're working,” Undine de Rivière, a spokeswoman for sex workers' union BeSD, told The Local.
De Rivière added that the rule requiring sex workers to be registered with the authorities, agreed by the parties in August, was unacceptable.
“If you have 'sex worker' written on your identity card, that's an infringement against your right to have a private sex life,” she said.
And that same argument went for requiring prostitutes to have a doctor's note proving that they had made a visit in the last twelve months - although medical visits won't include an obligatory examination by a gynaecologist, as conservative CDU members had demanded.
“Of course medical advice is sensible, but we want voluntary, anonymous and free options,” de Rivière said.
Going to their family doctor would be discouraging for some sex workers, she said.
“If it were really about protecting us and improving our lives, then they would extend the voluntary offers for advice and healthcare... there should be specialist centres run on a voluntary basis.”
MPs did not agree to introduce a minimum age of 21 for sex workers, but will introduce rules meaning that those between 18 and 21 will have to visit a doctor every six months (rather than a year for older prostitutes) and renew their registration every year.
The new law will make running a brothel legal, but will forbid offering “flat-rate” deals, “gang-bang” parties or unprotected sex.
De Rivière concluded that while sex workers are happy to discuss measures that can help them practice their profession and maintain their health, they want them on their terms.
“We're always engaged with politics,” she said. “We'll also try to have this new law amended, we won't let it pass the way it is.”
SEE ALSO: Calls grow to raise sex worker age limit