Prostitution in Germany

2.2.1 History

Prostitution has occurred since the Middle Ages, and ever since the 13th century brothels have been constructed. In the beginning of the 19th century, the society started to take responsibility and prostitutes had to register at the police or local health care authorities. They also had to do regular medical examinations to prevent the spread sexual transmitted diseases.[1]


During the Nazi era, prostitutes did not have any rights. They were sent to concentration camps, where they were forced to work at a brothel, whether they wanted it or not. Hitler was the cruel leader who decided everything during this time, among other things to exterminate all the Jews. After the Second World War, the country was divided into West Germany and East Germany. East Germany had laws that forbid prostitution whereas West Germany continued with the compulsory registrations and tests at prostitutes, at least in theory. In practice, according to studies, the prostitutes skipped the tests and avoided to register. In 2001, this obligation was therefore abolished. [2]

Today, Germany is trying to adapt the law to the society’s changing sense of justice. In debates, the people who set the laws often refers to opinion polls which shows that prostitution is considered as a legitimate occupation by the German majority. Since it is not considered as unethical, it cannot be forbidden.[3]


2.2.2 Legal situation

The 1st of January 2002, a new law was constructed in Germany. Now, prostitutes are not doing an illegal job, since the law said that prostitution is legal. The German government said it was going to improve the social and legal situation of the prostitutes. Why this law was set to action was because, according to the court of law, prostitution is not immoral, but a normal part of the society. Prostitution was now seen as a normal profession, the prostitutes got into the Social insurance system, and they have the right to demand unemployment compensation and sickness benefit.[4] Prostitutes and brothels were not allowed to advertise, but this law was not followed. Newspapers and websites carried daily ads for brothels and prostitutes, so in 2006, the leaders in Germany decided that advertising of sexual services no longer would be illegal.


Women or men from countries that are members of the European Union have the rights to work as prostitutes in Germany. When you come there, you can acquire tourist visas for three months without a problem. The problem with this is that many of the ones who obtain the tourist visa also work with prostitution during this time, which is illegal, since it does not contain a work permit.[5]


2.2.3 Politics - now & then

In the 1970, the German party “Die Linke”[6] was anarchistic and thus critical against the state. They criticized against the fact that the government made the decisions about what equality between the sexes was and how a sexual relationship should look like in an equal society. This is one reason to why a law against prostitution is not wanted.[7] Since 2005, 53 members of Die Linke are represented of the German Bundestag, which is the main part of the parliament, where among other things, laws are decided. Today, the CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the leading party in Germany, and die Linke has formulated their prostitution policy in opposition against what the CDU represents.[8]

[1] Wikipedia, Prostitution in Germany, History,, 16-10-2009

[2] All Experts, Prostitution in Germany, History,, 16-10-2009

[3] Södertörns högskola,, (download file FULLTEXT01). Kulturkrock prostitution – prostitutiondebatter i Sverige och Tyskland mellan 1990 och 2002 och deras bakgrund. Susanne Dodillet, sid 82, 17-11-2009

[4] Göteborgs Universitet, Tyskland legaliserar prostitution,, 16-10-2009

[5] Wikipedia, Prostitution in Germany, Legal situation,, 23-10-2009

[6] “Die Linke” is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. Also called the Left Party.

[7] E-mail from Susanne Dodillet, see enclosed file number 1, 11-11-2009

[8] Wikipedia, Politik i Tyskland, Politiska partier,, 11-11-2009