2022 Assembly


Solwodi Germany: the Prostitute Protection Act has failed


Dear friends, dear interested parties,

The Prostitute Protection Act (ProstSchG) came into force six years ago. The aim of the law was to improve the situation of people in prostitution, give them access to health insurance and curb violence and crime in prostitution, especially human trafficking. The evaluation of the law has now begun, with which the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) was commissioned. The final report is to be presented in 2025. According to SOLWODI, however, the law has failed. At the end of 2021, a good 23,700 people were registered as prostitutes, which is barely 10% of the estimated number of all prostitutes. Only a few of the women we meet in outreach work in the prostitution milieu have health insurance. Corona has shown that most of them live in very precarious circumstances and can hardly afford their own apartment. Many are therefore forced – contrary to the law – to sleep at the place where prostitution is practiced. Organized crime and human trafficking for sexual exploitation have, in our view, increased rather than decreased. In 2022, around 300 women who had been victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, or who were at least suspected of doing so, contacted us again. Prostitution without violence and exploitation hardly seems conceivable.

SOLWODI is in good contact with the KFN in order to incorporate our experiences into the evaluation of the law. We are concerned about the online survey of people in prostitution requested by the responsible federal ministry. Although we welcome the fact that the voices of those affected should be heard directly, we see the risk that the results will be distorted, since such a survey will probably only reach a certain segment of women who have a good command of the German language, have sufficient reading and writing skills and can see the meaning and context of such a survey. Prerequisites that are hardly met for the majority of women in prostitution, who often come from uneducated milieus, have a history of migration and speak little German. We would therefore like to support KFN in finding alternative approaches to the women in order to achieve greater representativeness in the surveys.

Basically, we think that “improving” the legal norm is not enough. The law presupposes that there is “voluntary”, self-determined prostitution. In the face of economic and emotional constraints or physical dependencies, such as in procurement prostitution, the concept of voluntariness is meaningless. Many women are because of a real or perceived lack of alternatives in prostitution. We will continue to stand up for these women.

If you want to support the work of SOLWODI financially, you can do so here:

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Best regards,

Dr. Maria Decker, Barbara Wellner, Sr. Paula Fiebag