It is legal to practice prostitution in Germany. Prostitution may be carried out on the basis of a dependent employment relationship (i. e. a regular employer/employee relationship) or on a self-employed basis. It is also legal to operate premises for prostitution and to make use of the sexual services of a prostitute.
The German Criminal Code (StGB) penalizes certain acts in relation to prostitution, i. e. those acts that violate the (sexual) self-determination rights of persons working as prostitutes. Examples of these include exercising control over a prostitute (section 181a StGB), exploiting prostitutes (section 180a StGB), human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation (section 232 StGB).