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56,000 counseling sessions for sex workers in four years

Frauentreff Olga

A woman enters the women's counseling center "Olga" on Kurfürstenstraße in Berlin.

The three Senate-funded counseling centers for sex workers were visited more than 56,000 times between 2017 and 2020.

This means the counseling centers offers between around 12,000 and around 16,000 consultations annually, according to a Senate response to a formal request. Data for 2021 were not yet available.

Over 5 million euros for specialized counseling centers

Funding for the so-called specialized counseling centers for sex workers amounted to 2.3 million euros for the association "Hydra", 2 million euros for the women's center "Olga" of the Berlin emergency service, and about 840,000 euros for the men's counseling center "Hilfe für Jungs". Berlin also has other drop-in counseling centers for sex workers, such as the Centers for Sexual Health and Family Planning.

Consultations are well received, need for multilingual services

According to a statement by the Senate, the figures showed that the counseling offers were being taken up to a high degree and that specialized counseling was consequently gaining a certain level of acceptance. However, the Senate identified a need to expand competent and low-threshold multilingual counseling offers. However, it could not be determined whether the majority of sex workers were taking advantage of the counseling offers, because the total number of sex workers in Berlin is not known. Counseling centers estimate the figure at 6,000 to 8,000 people, with a large proportion of women from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Prostitution is considered a profession since 2002

In Germany, prostitution has been considered a profession since 2002. The Prostitution Protection Act, according to which ID cards that come with health counseling and legal instruction are mandatory for sex workers, has been in place since 2017. Only those in possession of such an ID card are allowed to work in a licensed brothel. In Berlin, almost 1,000 of these registration certificates were issued by the middle of last year.

Meanwhil, the so-called "Action Group Berlin Pro Nordic Model" is calling for better exit options for prostitutes and stricter punishment for johns. The so-called Nordic Model follows Swedish legislation from 1999, and other countries have adopted it. The counseling center "Hydra" sees things differently and instead looks to destigmatize sex work and strengthen women's rights.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 23 February 2024
Last updated: 6 January 2022

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