London, Sunday, January 30, 2005
'Work As A
Prostitute Or Risk Losing Benefits'
A 25-year-old waitress who
turned down a job providing "sexual services" at a
brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her
unemployment benefit under laws introduced this
Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over
two years ago and brothel owners -- who must pay
tax and employee health insurance -- were granted
access to official databases of jobseekers.
MY first reaction on
reading this story as the father of five
daughters -- until I read the names of the
people involved -- was one of frank
Let us ask ourselves a
simple question: would this perverse
situation have arisen in the National
Socialist Germany of Adolf Hitler? On the
contrary, what would his likely reaction
have been, and what the fate of all the
aforementioned people involved -- pimps,
lawyers, ministers, and the rest?
This is what happens
when aliens are allowed to control the
political and economic establishments of
any country. Germany is now sinking into
the Weimar period all over again -- which
saw the inevitable dawn of National
Socialism and the puritan reaction in
HISTORY is repeating itself. What some
people call "anti-Semitism" is perhaps
just the Newtonian Law of society -- an
opposite and equal reaction of the healthy
host society to the perversions of some of
The waitress, an unemployed information
technology professional, had said that she was
willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in
She received a letter from the job centre
telling her that an employer was interested in her
"profile" and that she should ring them. Only on
doing so did the woman, who has not been identified
for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a
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. Last month German unemployment rose for
the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking
the number out of work to its highest since
reunification in 1990.
The government had
considered making brothels an exception on moral
grounds, but decided that it would be too
difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a
result, job centres must treat employers looking
for a prostitute in the same way as those
looking for a dental nurse.
When the waitress looked into suing the job
centre, she found out that it had not broken the
law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who
turn down a job by cutting their benefits face
legal action from the potential employer.
"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."
Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in
call centres had been offered jobs on telephone sex
lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a
23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend
an interview as a "nude model", and should report
back on the meeting. Employers in the sex industry
can also advertise in job centres, a move that came
into force this month. A job centre that refuses to
accept the advertisement can be sued.
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.
Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a
brothel in Görlitz, in former East Germany,
but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement
for 12 prostitutes, saying it would be impossible
to find them.
Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of
demand for a brothel in the area and planned to
take a claim for compensation to the highest court.
Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002
because the government believed that this would
help to combat trafficking in women and cut links
to organised crime.
Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job
centres to meet employment targets will soon result
in them using their powers to cut the benefits of
women who refuse jobs providing sexual
"They are already prepared to push women into
jobs related to sexual services, but which don't
count as prostitution," she said.
"Now that prostitution is no longer considered
by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing
but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them
from pushing women into jobs they don't want to
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