Sex Workers In Germany Demand That Brothels Be Allowed To Reopen

workers in hamburg's red light district
Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images

Sex workers in Germany staged a demonstration in Hamburg’s Red Light District Saturday night, demanding that their businesses be allowed to reopen, Deutsche Welle reported.

Prostitution is legal in Germany, according to Business Insider, and indeed, the industry may be worth as much $16 billion. However, the sex-work industry, like so many other industries across the world, has come to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe is gradually reopening its economy, with bars, restaurants, and other businesses allowed to welcome customers once again. Brothels, however, have not yet been allowed to reopen.

In Hamburg’s Red Light District, about 400 prostitutes and brothel operators staged a demonstration, demanding that their industry be allowed to restart as well.

“The oldest profession needs your help,” read a sign held by one woman.

“A piece of Hamburg is dying, help save our Kiez [neighborhood],” another stated.

Elsewhere, a woman played the violin.

The Association of Sex Workers, an advocacy group for the industry, said that since the coronavirus pandemic, several workers have been forced to ply their trade on the streets, as opposed to in the regulated brothels. Streetwalking is illegal and — compared to working in a legalized brothel — unhygienic. It exposes the workers to danger.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 11: Sex workers protest against lockdown measures that are preventing brothels from reopening in Hamburg's red light district during the coronavirus pandemic on July 11, 2020 in Hamburg, Germany. Sex workers across Germany are demanding an easing of ongoing lockdown measures that are preventing them from resuming their work. While authorities have lifted lockdown measures for most businesses in Germany, some, especially for those that involve close physical contact, remain in place. Legal sex workers say they are being treated unfairly, claiming they have developed adequate hygienic measures to prevent the spread of the virus and point out that other businesses that require similar physical proximity, such as hair salons and tattoo parlours, have been allowed to reopen. (Photo by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)
  Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images

Spokesperson Johanna Weber noted that other European countries are reopening their sex industries and that coronavirus cases aren’t surging there.

“In Switzerland, prostitution has been permitted again for four weeks now and there have been no corona cases in connection with brothel visits there since then,” she said.

Strictly speaking, COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, inasmuch as it’s not believed to be transmitted via semen or vaginal fluids, in the way that other STDs are, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. However, it’s impossible to carry out a sex act while maintaining a social distance of six feet, the amount of space health officials encourage people to keep from one another in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Weber, however, has said that sex work can be carried out in such a way that takes precautions against the spread of the virus.

“Prostitution does not carry a greater risk of infection than other close-to-body services, like massages, cosmetics or even dancing or contact sports. Hygiene is part of the business in prostitution,” she said.

In the U.S., there is only one state in which prostitution is legal — Nevada. There, brothels remain closed, according to KOLO-TV.