Prostitution is not illegal in Germany, nor is it considered ‘immoral’ under the law. This national policy sets it aside from many other countries throughout the world. KOK is in total support of the German stance, since condemning prostitution and stigmatising prostitutes has a negative impact on women in particular, especially those who willingly engage in the profession.
But even in Germany it took a long time for legislators to take a tolerant approach towards prostitution.
It was only in 2002 that prostitution was completely legalised in the country. That year saw the introduction of legal reforms which stipulated that voluntary, as opposed to forced, prostitution was no longer ‘lawfully immoral’. As such, it is not currently against the law.
KOK is always extremely careful to highlight the differences between prostitution and trafficking in women. We greatly respect prostitutes who engage in their profession of their own free will. We do not stigmatise them, and our view has always been that voluntary prostitution should be recognised as a personal decision made by the individual in question. Making prostitution illegal would deny prostitutes their right to work and would prohibit them from freely choosing to enter this profession. The underlying assumption behind such a move would be that these women are not able to take responsibility for themselves.
We would like to state clearly that not every prostitute, and not every immigrant who works as a prostitute, is a victim of human trafficking.
Trafficking in women only takes place in circumstances where women are exploited, coerced, abused or otherwise forced to perform sexual or non-sexual work.
This analysis of prostitution and female sex workers in Germany presents only the knowledge gained from many years of professional experience and the facts derived from scientific studies, including their complexities and discrepancies. Presented are the results of different surveys helping to provide a more objective and nuanced basis for discussion about prostitution. Women must be able and allowed to decide themselves how to live their lives in compliance with the law. This also has to apply to decisions that others cannot or barely understand, such as when women decide to work in prostitution. Women are entitled to expect their decisions to be accepted and respected. To claim or imply that these decisions are never made freely is to oppose the call by all women for the right to autonomy.
You can download the study here.
Only available in German: Bericht der Bundesregierung zu den Auswirkungen des
KOK commissioned this report, which is an analysis of the German Federal Government’s report on the impact of the prostitution law, drawing on the perspectives of KOK’s diverse member organisations. It was written by Christiane Howe (Berlin, July 2008).
Available in English: Report of the Act Regulating the Legal Situation of Prostitutes (Prostitution Act)
Only available in German: Regulierung von Prostitution und Prostitutionsstätten- ein gangbarer Weg zur Verbesserung der Situation der Prostituierten und zur nachhaltigen Bekämpfung des Menschenhandels?