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 . . . "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."
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.
Why not, indeed. Interesting how what the law says helps shape what a culture can look at as moral or immoral, no? The reason Germany decriminalized prostitution was, of course, originally high-minded, as "the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime." But women are hurt by prostitution no matter whether it's legal or illegal: it is inherently degrading to sell your body for sex. It's dangerous physically, it already exploits and hurts poorer women disproportionately, and it isn't usually a benign "consensual" exercise. Making "sex work" legitimate only means that the government has a much harder time protecting women (like those who have been trafficked from Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia) who actually are trapped in such jobs. If the "work" is legitimate and regulated, who is any woman with regular wages to complain?
Germany again: "The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars." Note to German government: in one job you have to pour drinks; in the other you have to sell your body as if you were a mere commodity. Seems like an easy distinction to me.