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Green MP: German state should provide prostitutes for the disabled

The suggestion that the state should fund 'sexual assistants' for the disabled has provoked fierce debate across the country.

Green MP: German state should provide prostitutes for the disabled
File photo: Jacobo Tarrío/Flickr Creative Commons

“Funding for sexual assistance is conceivable for me,” Elisabeth Scharfenberg, who is the spokesperson for the Green party's age and care policy, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“The local authorities could advise on the available options and provide grants.”

While controversial, the idea is not completely new. In the Netherlands, sexual assistance for disabled people – provided by sex workers with a special certification – has been available for some years.

Individuals can receive state grants to pay for the service if they can provide a medical note stating that they are unable to get sexual satisfaction in any other way, and to prove that they cannot afford to pay the costs themselves.

In Germany, a growing number of prostitutes are offering their services as sexual assistants in nursing homes, where the 'assistance' might consist of a massage, sexual touching or full intercourse.

However, because there is no official regulation over the job title, these sex workers may not be trained in dealing with people with special needs, such as dementia, physical or mental disabilities.

Scharfenberg's proposal was greeted with backlash from other politicians.

Karl Lauterbach, a Social Democrat (SPD) politician and professor of health economics, told several news publications that the idea behind the proposal was “outlandish”. The MP warned against “commercialization of this area” and added that there was no medical necessity for sexual assistance of this kind.

Instead, he said care home residents need more intimacy in their care, and noted that people living with disabilities have a “right to sexuality”.

And Scharfenberg's Green party colleague Boris Palmer, mayor of Tübingen, said in a Facebook post that the suggestion made the party seem like “crackpots”.

“Why do such adventures always come up in election years?” asked the politician, likening the proposal to suggestions of meat-free days and unisex toilets.

He said that he was looking forward to Monday's local council meeting, and was “quite sure” that no one in his city felt there was an urgent need for sexual assistance in nursing homes.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

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