Prostitution is legal in Germany, but sex workers are still stigmatized or viewed as victims even if they are prostitutes by choice. A draft law is set to give them more legal protections, but even it has detractors.
“For a while, I was really proud of my sex work,” Nadine said.
Draped in a fluffy black coat, the 30-year-old with the curly blond hair said she was proud of her regulars. “You get 150 euros ($169) for a quickie, and you think: Wow! That is so cool.”
Nadine enjoyed the power she had over men and at the same time, she suffered from having to deaden her feelings. But for 10 years, prostitution was the best way she saw to earn her living.
The profit margins be huge: a customer is likely to pay from several hundred euros for a high-priced escort to 20 or 30 euros for street hookers and sex workers in walk-in brothels.
In 2002, the Prostitution Act came into effect in Germany, making the voluntary sale of sex legal.Before then, it was seen as an immoral act and brothel operators could be prosecuted for promoting prostitution. Today, a brothel is a regular, legal business. Sex workers pay taxes, and prostitutes have access to health insurance and social security benefits.