Thu | Jan 18, 2018

German Cabinet OKs prostitution bill requiring condom use

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government in Berlin, Germany,yesterday.


Germany's Cabinet yesterday approved legislation meant to better control prostitution and make life safer for sex workers, a bill that includes making the use of condoms obligatory.

Legislation in 2002 that legalised prostitution gave sex workers social benefits but led to an explosion of unregulated brothels, prompting calls for tighter controls.

The new bill, which still requires parliamentary approval, calls for stricter regulation of such establishments and those who operate them. Businesses will require an official permit that will depend on what the government calls "the reliability of the operator," and people who have been convicted of offences such as people smuggling, blackmail or fraud won't get permits.

Operators will be forbidden from giving sex workers orders on the "the nature and scale of sexual services," while sex workers will have to register and receive health advice at least every two years.

The legislation foresees fines of up to €50,000 ($56,000) for violations. It is to take effect in July 2017, a delay that the government said is meant to give local authorities time to put in place the new procedures.

"The aim of this bill is to improve the situation of prostitutes and improve their protection against exploitation, violence and smuggling," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

However, a union representing German police already has said it's unreasonable to expect anyone to check whether customers at a brothel are using condoms.