Tag Archives: Germany

This paper assesses determinants of habits and prices about sexual work in Germany. The paper alludes to a regional pattern, in particular, in pricing. This pattern varies with the size of cities and across as well as along the former East–West German border. In particular, the evidence suggests that there is a long shadow of the former Iron Curtain which leads to higher conditional prices in the former East than in the West, in particular, in larger agglomerations such as Berlin. Moreover, there is evidence of habit formation and spillovers within regions, which leads to regionally clustered prices as well as unsafe sex services being offered by sexworkers.
Künkel, Jenny. “Gentrification and the Flexibilisation of Spatial Control: Policing Sex Work in Germany.” Urban Studies, December 6, 2016, 42098016682427. doi:10.1177/0042098016682427.
Gentrification has often been linked to the spatial displacement of the marginalised, including prostitutes. However, in Germany, the legal spaces of prostitution are to a certain extent defensible, and gentrification processes often cover larger parts of inner cities, leaving little room for displacement. Using the example of prostitution in Frankfurt, this paper analyses how police make sense of and shape the shifting geographies of gentrification. It shows how spatial displacement is partially subsumed by two additional police strategies: intensifying attempts to discursively appease protesting citizens, and flexibilising the containment of prostitution in the inner city (e.g. by keeping street scenes on the move and lobbying for temporary brothel licenses).

Sociological Research Online 21(4), November 2016: Peer Reviewed Special Section: Exploitation and Its Opposite. Researching the quality of working life in the sex industries

Guest Editors: Stef Adriaenssens, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Laura Oso


Quality of Work in Prostitution and Sex Work: Introduction to the Special Section
Stef Adriaenssens, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Laura Oso

On Our Own Terms: The Working Conditions of Internet-Based Sex Workers in the UK
Teela Sanders, Laura Connelly and Laura Jarvis King

Work Conditions and Job Mobility in the Australian Indoor Sex Industry
Fairleigh Evelyn Gilmour

€Too Much Suffering’: Understanding the Interplay Between Migration, Bounded Exploitation and Trafficking Through Nigerian Sex Workers’ Experiences
Nicola Mai

Precarious or Protected? Evaluating Work Quality in the Legal Sex Industry
Alice Orchiston

Transnational Social Mobility Strategies and Quality of Work Among Latin-American Women Sex Workers in Spain
Laura Oso

Ambivalent Professionalisation and Autonomy in Workers’ Collective Projects: The Cases of Sex Worker Peer Educators in Germany and Sexual Assistants in Switzerland
Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and P.G. Macioti

All articles are freely accessible here.

Röger, Maren, and Emmanuel Debruyne. “From Control to Terror: German Prostitution Policies in Eastern and Western European Territories during Both World Wars.” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (November 1, 2016): 687–708. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.12245.
In both World Wars, the German armies enacted a prostitution policy in all the occupied territories of Western and Eastern Europe. Through a comparative study, this article uses archival research in Poland, France, Belgium and Germany as well as existing studies in five languages to examine the continuities and discontinuities in German prostitution policies between the Western and the Eastern territories during both wars. In exploring the question of continuity, we consider the interaction of local authorities with occupation forces and how prostitution policies in Western and Eastern countries differed from the German ‘home front’. Strong continuities existed between the First and Second World War, including a severe backlash against the abolitionist trend in Europe and the extension of regulatory controls beyond the prostitutes to include other ‘suspect’ women, often justified by concerns over the spread of venereal diseases and public morality and health. Despite these continuities, prostitution policies were even more regressive during the Second World War, with the racial ideology of Nazism as the main trigger for the brutalisation of prostitution policies. German authorities pushed the system to greater extremes, overseeing its evolution from control to terror.

Marhoefer, Laurie. “Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933.” German Studies Review 34, no. 3 (2011): 529–49.

Ideas about hereditary degeneration animated two powerful movements for sexual liberation during the Weimar Republic. One reform won the decriminalization of female prostitution. The other nearly won the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law. Activists for these reforms argued that the state could extend greater sexual freedom to most Germans if it curtailed the excesses of supposedly degenerate men and women. The Weimar Republic offered greater sexual autonomy to many of its citizens, at the expense of a small minority of people who were defined as degenerate.
Full article available here. 

Elfriede Steffan, Barbara Kavemann, Tzvetina Arsova Netzelmann, Cornelia Helfferich: Final Report from the study of the federal model project “Support for Leaving Prostitution”, September 2015. 

Abridged report available here in English and German.

Original title of the report in German: Unterstützung des Ausstiegs aus der Prostitution – Kurzfassung des Abschlussberichtes der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung zum Bundesmodellprojekt

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler attacked prostitution as a major cause of Germany’s decline. The “prostitution of love,” he claimed, was responsible for the “terrible poisoning of the health of the national body” through syphilis. “Even if its results were not this frightful plague, it would nevertheless be profoundly injurious to man, since the moral devastations which accompany this degeneracy suffice to destroy a people slowly but surely.” According to Hitler, many of Germany’s troubles could be blamed on “this Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instinct” that threatened to annihilate future generations of healthy Germans. Hitler’s tirades about the moral and racial dangers of venal sex suggested that, once in power, the Nazis would show little tolerance for the persistence of “vice.” Paradoxically, however, state-regulated prostitution increased dramatically under Nazism. Especially during wartime, the regulated brothel became a key institution of Nazi sexual policy. How can we make sense of this tension?

As this essay intends to show, to gain a fuller understanding of Nazi attitudes toward prostitution, it is vital to analyze them in the context of Weimar conflicts over prostitution reform. Recent studies on the history of prostitution in the Third Reich tend to neglect pre-1933 developments. If historians mention the topic of Weimar prostitution policy at all, it is primarily to emphasize basic continuities in this area after the Nazi takeover. Thus, Gisela Bock has argued that Weimar prostitution reforms paved the way for the sexual and economic exploitation of prostitutes under National Socialism. However, the notion of unbroken continuities between Weimar and Nazi attitudes toward venal sex is problematic for several reasons. The exclusive focus on continuity tends to obscure important differences between the two periods. Far from representing a mere prelude to the brutal persecution of prostitutes after 1933, the nationwide abolition of state-regulated prostitution in 1927 led to significant improvements in prostitutes’ civil and legal status. To acknowledge these (albeit limited) gains in prostitutes’ rights is key for the analysis of the impact that concerns about “immorality” had on the crisis of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism.

The more liberal aspects of Weimar prostitution reforms triggered a powerful right-wing backlash. In the eyes of religious conservatives, the state’s perceived failure to enforce “moral order” and cleanse the streets of prostitutes profoundly discredited Weimar democracy. Among large segments of the police, the loss of authority to control and punish streetwalkers similarly bred resentment against the democratic government. The Nazis were keenly aware of the propagandistic value of the issue of prostitution. Nazi attacks on the 1927 prostitution reform as yet another expression of Weimar’s “materialism” and “moral decay” aimed to widen the party’s appeal among the religious Right and conservative officials. During the early 1930s, the Nazis’ successful attempt to portray themselves as guardians of conventional morality intent on eliminating “vice” was key to winning them the approval and collaboration of many conservatives. We can only account fully for this dynamic, however, if we recognize some of the positive achievements of Weimar prostitution reforms. The abolition of state-regulated prostitution was one of the major successes of the 1920s movement for sexual reform, which failed to achieve other goals such as the decriminalization of abortion and homosexuality. This is why Weimar prostitution reforms became a central target of Nazi propaganda.