Germany’s Economy is Back in Business — Except for Sex Workers

LOS ANGELES—Even as Germany has become perhaps Europe’s top coronavirus pandemic success story, keeping the viral spread to levels low enough to permit a widespread reopening of its economy, sex work remains on the banned list. And German sex workers are not happy about it. Sex workers and brothel owners staged a protest in Berlin, outside the Bundesrat, the upper house of Germany’s parliament, two weekends ago. And last weekend, the bustling port city of Hamburg — effectively the country’s sex work capital — staged another protest. Holding placards bearing slogans such as “The oldest profession needs your help,” as Reuters reported, staged a protest in the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s legendary, wild nightlife district and center of the city’s legal sex work industry. Close-contact businesses such as hair salons and massage therapy centers have been open for customers since early May. But brothels remain closed, though Germany’s Association of Sex Workers says that sex work is no less hygienic than those other in-person businesses. “Prostitution does not carry a greater risk of infection than other close-to-body services, like massages, cosmetics or even dancing or contact sports,” the group said in a statement last weekend. “Hygiene is part of the business in prostitution.” Professional sex work has been legal, and heavily regulated, in Germany for nearly two decades.  But Hamburg has maintained one of Germany’s lowest rates of coronavirus infection, with only about 5,000 total cases over the course of the pandemic, compared to more than 45,000 cases each in the federal states of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia.  According to Hamburg spokesperson Martin Helfrich, the city, and state, does not want to endanger its relatively solid record on contrtolling the virus with “incautiously taken steps.” But he added, as quoted by CNBC, that the state is not planning to ban sex work on a long-term basis. “We are looking into possible steps and circumstances back to the usual situation,” he said. “The restraints on sex work will be lifted as soon as the pandemic situations allows it. At the moment, a specific date is not in prospect.” Germany, with a population just under 84 million, has seen positive coronavirus cases at a rate of fewer than 2,400 per 1 million population, according to data compiled by Worldometers. By contrast, Spain has seen about 6,500 cases per million, while the United States has recorded more than 10,600 cases for every million residents. Photo By Valeria Boltneva / Pexels 

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: Germany’s Economy is Back in Business — Except for Sex Workers | AVN