The Prostitute Protection Act - Experiences of an escort lady
First I would like to present a small summary of the most important innovations and then go on to write about my experiences with the registration process.
The new Prostitute Protection Act of 01/07/2017 includes 4 main topics which can be found here as well: https://www.prostituiertenschutzgesetz.info/en/
- Obligation to register
- Prostitution business permit
- Health advice
- Condom requirement advertisement ban for unprotected sex
The registration requirement states that all sex workers (male and female) must register with an authority in their city or district in order to pursue a business in the erotic industry, in which there is physical contact or erotic exchange. An identity card is issued over this, colloquially it is the "Hurenpass (prostitute passport)".
The prostitution business permit is necessary for brothels and such businesses and has to be in the form of a concept of operation, which must be presented to the authority and upholds the protection and safety of the ladies working there. Amongst other things, panic buttons have to be installed, condoms are placed in every room, the requirement to use condoms is indicated by notices, and the operator of such a facility has to take care that only registered ladies who work without coercion or pimps will work at his or her establishment. The law protects prostitutes and their right to sexual self-determination through the so-called instruction prohibition. The owner has no right to force anything on any sex worker at any time.
The health advice is the first step to obtaining the permit or ID. Trained employees take care of the worries, questions and possibly even the needs of the ladies and provide advice. It is expressly not a health examination. The cornerstones of the Prostitute Protection Act will be explained and information on sexually transmitted diseases will be provided, if desired. In this context, reference is also made to the obligation to use condoms for any sexual act and the advertising ban explains that terms such as "without taboo", French erotic (oral intercourse) without (OWO), French until completion or with swallowing (F opt./FT) or any other sexual intercourse without protection are prohibited. Commercial gang bangs or flat rate offers have since been prohibited, or must be approved separately.
I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing at first. Why do I have to get a permission now, even though I've already business registration anyway and dutifully pay my taxes? First of all, who has access to my data? What is the ID card for and what happens to my information?
After a long waiting period and a weekly look on the website of the city of Hamburg, in September 2017 information was finally available. An authority has been set up to take care of the first step, the necessary health advice. So I called quickly and got an appointment for the beginning of October, at which time the office officially started work.
On the day of the consultation, I was warmly welcomed and did not have to wait, although - as always, occupational disease :-) – I was there 15 minutes early. An exceedingly friendly person led me to her office, which unfortunately was very barren and cool, but she told me that it would only be like that temporarily and they move to another building in 2018. On my advice that I have been an escort for almost 4 years now, she told me that she probably does not need to tell me much new things and asked me to what extent I know the law. I had read both the hundred-page preliminary draft, as well as the final law and therefore knew about all requirements and innovations, I was well informed. I would have been able to ask questions and get advice on illnesses or even look for help, but that was not necessary for me. The clerk formerly was an addiction counselor and has set herself the goal of recognizing exactly this with the women and men, and if necessary intervene quickly. An ambitious and great goal in my eyes. The conversation was over quickly and I was handed my proof of participation in the consultation. This proof can be done with your real name and additionally an alias name. The Aliasbescheid (alias ID) for participating in the health advice, however, you get handed only after you go there again with your final alias ID ("registration certificate"), which you get in a second appointment with another authority. But getting the proof of health advice with an alias name is then possible without an appointment.
I got the second appointment with the district office Altona by phone as well and this place began work in November 2017. Right at the beginning I got an appointment and was very excited, because I had important questions for this lady.
I was greeted warmly and offered coffee immediately. The lady was just awesome, you could tell she was really interested in the subject and she knew the law in all matters.
My most important question was, who has access to my data and is allowed to ask for the ID card during a check? The answer stunned me: only the issuing office is allowed to inspect these ID cards, not even the police or the public order office are entitled to do so. During a review of working conditions, for example in a brothel, a member of the district office must be present to check the IDs, the police are not entitled to do so. Also these data are not made available to the police authorities or public order offices. The tax office will receive a notification of the name, date of birth and place of residence, but not the activity you practice. I am pretty sure that the tax office also receives data from other sources, such as business registrations, so this point did not surprise me. But I think it's just right. Because especially the "moonlighting" ladies are ruining the business in the end. Since they do not pay taxes and thus keep the fees unrealistically low, they destroy the free market economy. But that's another topic…
The lady told me that women and men, who originally come from abroad, but legally live and work in Germany and pay taxes, are afraid to be outed as prostitutes on the border and have problems with re-entry. This is complete nonsense and unfortunately frequently used scare tactics against the law.
Let’s be honest, what's the main point of the new law? Not really 100% our protection or combating forced prostitution. It's also about money. The tax office wants to have his money and in my eyes rightly so.
Positive is the fact that the obligation to use condoms at any time was introduced. Everyone should protect themselves and above all should not be forced into unsafe practices for money. The customer is liable to prosecution if he asks for any intercourse without protection. This can get very expensive and should not be an issue nowadays either way. Of course you are frequently asked for it as an escort, but in the future, if all the ladies and gentleman obey to the obligation to wear condoms, this bad habit is sure to be over soon.
The ID card (registration certificate) is issued twice, you have to bring a passport photo, your identity card or passport and a current registration certificate to prove your address. On the one hand you get the ID card with your real name. On the other hand you get an alias card on request, which contains a stage name and should therefore be the only one with you if you have a date and a control could occur. The certificate with the correct name is best left at home.
The first health consultation in Hamburg is valid for 2 years, after which it must be repeated annually. The first registration certificate is valid for 3 years, after which it must be renewed every 2 years. If you end the activity as a sex worker earlier, you can have the data deleted, because the law also contains the right to be forgotten.
After finishing both consultations, I just thought it was not that bad, and if my data was really as safe as I was told, it's just a matter of time you have to invest. In some states, the registration costs about 30-40 €, as well as the health advice, but it is free of charge in most states and you can theoretically register in any state. Hamburg, for example, would also accommodate ladies and gentlemen from all over Germany, because you can register all states as your work place and are thus registered for all of Germany and can also accept appointments outside the place of residence flexibly.
In summary, it is clear to me that not everything is as bad as it seems and the panic some people felt is unnecessary. Every escort lady and every escort gentleman, every prostitute on the street or in brothels, private apartments or commercial facilities has his or her right to exist and if everyone adheres to the rules, then it is a safe and fun job, which is supposed to and can provide years of joy - on BOTH sides.
For all ladies and gentlemen from other federal states, the entire information regarding the authorities are available and constantly updated here (available only in German at the moment): https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/themen/gleichstellung/frauen-vor-gewalt-schuetzen/informationen-ueber-das-verfahren-zur-anmeldung-einer-prostitutionstaetigkeit/117432
I would like to point out that this is my personal experience and this is not a legally binding description.