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View Full Version : Berlin: Work as a Prostitute, or Lose Benefits



SpiderMan
01-31-2005, 09:46 AM
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.



Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners who must pay tax and employee health insurance were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job including in the sex industry or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits."

Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered jobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a 23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nude model", and should report back on the meeting. Employers in the sex industry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into force this month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can be sued.

Tatiana Ulyanova, who owns a brothel in central Berlin, has been searching the online database of her local job centre for recruits.

"Why shouldn't I look for employees through the job centre when I pay my taxes just like anybody else?" said Miss Ulyanova.

Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a brothel in Goerlitz, in former East Germany, but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement for 12 prostitutes, saying it would be impossible to find them.

Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of demand for a brothel in the area and planned to take a claim for compensation to the highest court. Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime.

Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employment targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of women who refuse jobs providing sexual services.

"They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexual services, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said.

"Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/30/wgerm30.xml

DavidMorris
01-31-2005, 12:08 PM
Wow. /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

That's insane. Europe tends to track more liberal than the U.S. in most things sexual, but this is a bit extreme -- forcing someone to take a sex job?

But this I find most interesting:

[ QUOTE ]
Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners who must pay tax and employee health insurance were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.<hr /></blockquote>
I lived in Germany for 3 years from 1989-1992. Prostitution was pretty open, in fact you could walk the alleys between bars and find non-descript doorways with a (literally!) red light over the door. My first night in country a buddy and I walked in one just to check it out, and about 4 "Helgas" corralled us immediately upon walking in. Both of us being fairly newly married (even though our wives weren't there yet), we almost tripped over each other trying to get out of there. There were also stories of cities in northern Germany, like Bremerhaven, where the girls were on display in storefront windows. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I guess it must have been technically illegal but tolerated to a great degree, because it was far too blatant.

SecaucusFats
01-31-2005, 02:07 PM
The Germans are having a hard time paying out all those socialist benefits, particularly the generous unemployment benefits, which a large part of their population has become quite fond of. Forcing a woman to become a whore must make sense to them in light of their Euro-socialist mentality..after all the German and French politicians are already a bunch of whores.

dg-in-centralpa
01-31-2005, 03:15 PM
This would put a damper on married women looking for a job. I can see hubby asking,"Hi Hon, how many guys did you do tonight?"

DG - what will they think of next

TomBrooklyn
02-01-2005, 10:34 AM
At first I was shocked by this, but after sleeping on it, I thought it might not be such a misplaced idea.

By my own survey and estimates, in the USA 75%-90% of the people collecting unemployment are not looking for a job at all, are not seriously looking for a job, or are working at a job off the books while collecting.

It might therefore logically follow that if these people are willing to whore money off the Government, any objection they had to whore for sex would be undermined. If the unemployment collecting scam in Germany is even worse than it is in the USA, this principal would hold even more applicable.

-TomBk

Deeman2
02-01-2005, 10:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SecaucusFats:</font><hr> ..after all the German and French politicians are already a bunch of whores.

<hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> You're right, but let them take the brothel jobs.</font color>

SpiderMan
02-01-2005, 11:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman2:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote SecaucusFats:</font><hr> ..after all the German and French politicians are already a bunch of whores.
<hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> You're right, but let them take the brothel jobs.</font color> <hr /></blockquote>

Historically, when the French spent time on their knees there were Germans standing in front of them /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

SpiderMan

DavidMorris
02-01-2005, 12:25 PM
Turns out this *might* be either a hoax or a case of over-zealous reporting of a bad German translation, according to Snopes. They are still investigating.

By their research so far, this idea originated from a December Berlin news article that said something like this *could* technically happen due to the letter of the law, but they also said that the German employment agencies claimed they would never enforce such a thing.

[ QUOTE ]
A news story about a 25-year-old German woman who faced cuts to her unemployment benefits for turning down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel was carried by a variety of English-language news sources in January 2005. It has struck a chord in many readers as an example of liberal morality and bureaucracy run amok: if prostitution is legalized (as it was in Germany back in 2002), this story suggests, then society has conferred its approval upon that trade, and prostitution can therefore be proffered to (and even foisted upon) women as a valid choice of employment.

We remain skeptical about the literal truth of the version reported in the English press, however, because the issue seems to have received scant attention in the German press (at least that we can find). Most German-language sources on this topic point to an 18 December 2004 article from the Berlin newspaper Tageszeitung, which (as far as our rusty command of German allows us to discern) does not report that women in Germany must accept employment in brothels or face cuts in their unemployment benefits. The article merely presents that concept as a technical possibility under current law it does not cite any actual cases of women losing their benefits over this issue, and it quotes representatives from employment agencies as saying that while it might be legally permissible to reduce unemployment benefits to women who have declined to accept employment as prostitutes, they (the agencies) would not actually do that.

We suspect this is another case where, like a game of "telephone," a story has been garbled as it has passed from one news source to the next, and somewhere in the rewriting and translating process what was originally discussed as a mere hypothetical possibility has now been reported as a factual occurrence. <hr /></blockquote>

Link to Snopes article. (http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp)

Deeman2
02-01-2005, 01:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DavidMorris:</font><hr>
By their research so far, this idea originated from a December Berlin news article that said something like this *could* technically happen due to the letter of the law, but they also said that the German employment agencies claimed they would never enforce such a thing.

<hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Gee, the Europeans not enforcing the law. I've never heard of such a thing! Well, if you don't count UN Sanctions... </font color>

Deeman