Germany is considering a new law which proposes the mandatory reigstration of sex workers and will require men to wear condoms during sex with sex workers.
The draft law is meant to protect sex workers, according to its authors.
In 2002, Germany passed the Prostitution Act to improve the social and legal rights of sex workers. Since then, sex work, already legal prior to the new law, was no longer seen as a violation of public mores.
Under the proposed law, sex workers would be required to register and meet regularly with government health counselors. More frequent meetings will be required for sex workers between the ages of 18 and 21. The law, which will ban people with prior convictions for human trafficking or other related crimes from operating brothels, would also ban sex workers from living in the rooms where they work, if two or more sex workers work at the same location.
"Finally, the prostitution industry will be regulated, and finally something will be done for the protection of men and women active in the sex trade," a German foreign ministry spokesperson reportedly told journalists.
The proposed law could enter into force on July 1, 2017, said a spokesman for women's affairs in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, according to Deutsche Welle.
NSWP’s Regional Correspondent in Europe reached out to a sex worker-led organisation and member of NSWP in Germany to get their opinion. PG from Hydra shared her views on the proposed law. “It is a bad sign,” she said, “this law won't protect sex workers. It is just about control. This new law comes in one package with forced registration and health ‘counselling’.”
As stated by Hydra in their article in Research for Sex Work 14, “both forced health counselling and mandatory condom use absurdly insinuate that sex workers need force to make them care for their own health.”
According to PG, a similar law is already in place in Bavaria. Sex workers there have to register and condom usage is mandatory. Bavarian police are sending fake clients to sex workers asking for unprotected sex and if the sex worker agrees, they will be punished.
Obligatory condom usage is implemented in New Zealand as well, where “everyone should use a condom and/or dental dam for vaginal, oral and anal sex.”
“Generally the condom usage in sex work is high in Germany. But still some clients want penetration without the condom. Unfortunately oral sex without a condom is the norm in Germany,” said PG.
“This law continues to give the right to the German police to enter any private space if there is some suspicion. It is not moral and it is scary and stigmatising. First of all, stigma around sex work should be eradicated and we have to recognize sex work as a profession. Only then sex work can be treated as any other profession. A lot of sensibilization with clients is needed, but not harsh laws like the one proposed,” PG concluded.