Security guards in Berlin are pushing refugees into prostitution: media report

Security guards in Berlin are pushing refugees into prostitution: media report
An employee on duty in front of LaGeSo in Berlin in 2015. Photo: DPA.
Employees at security companies in Berlin are believed to have persuaded refugees into prostitution in refugee homes, according to a media report broadcast on Tuesday.

In the report, aired by broadcaster ZDF’s investigative programme called “Frontal 21,” social workers, insiders at security companies and refugees attest to the prostitution, adding that minors are also involved.

One security officer who is responsible for several shelters said that a network of pimps exists in Berlin's refugee homes and often security guards are the ones who establish initial contact with refugees.

Sex with male refugees is particularly in demand, according to the employee. “From upwards of 16 years of age, the younger the more expensive,” he said.

A security guard at one refugee centre admitted to ZDF that he earns €20 for every connection he sets up.

One 20-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, whose application had been rejected, said in the programme that after a male security guard asked him whether he wanted to do business, he said: “for sex with a woman you get €30, maybe even €40”.

The Afghan told ZDF he had to earn money to survive. “I'm ashamed of what I do,” he said.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the “very, very serious” accusations of procurement needed to be investigated.

“We have to take this very seriously because it is totally unacceptable to exploit the material hardships that many refugees and migrants are in,” he told reporters at a regular press briefing.

“It would be morally reprehensible if they were forced into prostitution.”

But Berlin authorities have not yet received any indications of organized prostitution in the capital’s refugee shelters.

Elke Breitenbach, a senator for social affairs and integration in the capital city, said that despite “no concrete indications” of cases of organized prostitution in refugee shelters, she demanded that the police and public prosecutor's office follow up on the claims.

A spokeswoman from the senate department for integration, labour and social affairs added that due to these suspicions, the institution's responsible body, refugee home managements, security services, volunteers and representatives of the State Office for Refugee Affairs (LaGeSo) sought a joint discussion.

But social workers in one of the shelters where prostitution is suspected, in the former Wilmersdorf town hall, are trained to detect signs of abuse or prostitution, she said.

Nevertheless, flyers by Berlin aid associations will be distributed and training courses are planned for employees in order to be able to detect such dangers more effectively, the spokeswoman added.