I’m not your damn projection screen – a rant

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My book about my time in prostitution and about prostitution in general has been out for 3 and a half weeks. It’s autobiographical. But it is also non-fiction.

For 3 and a half weeks I have been available every day for interviews, filming, radio talks and podcasts.

And for 3 and a half weeks something has been piling up that I just can’t stand anymore. My hands are shaking, my chest is tight and I have tunnel vision. All I have right now is: panic, pressure, stress.


Continue reading “I’m not your damn projection screen – a rant”

Does legal make it safe?

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When it comes to prostitution, the only problem many people see is that prostitution is not treated like any other job. Many believe that when prostitutes are registered, when they pay taxes, work in an officially approved brothel and have regular health checks, nothing is a problem. It would only be dangerous if prostitution took place illegally: then, according to public opinion, there would be violent attacks, pimping, venereal diseases and crime in some “dark corners”.

But does legalization really make prostitution safer and safer?

Many people do not understand that “legal” prostitution is not good, safe, voluntary and only “illegal” is bad. They believe that “illegal” means forced prostitution and human trafficking. That is not correct. The dividing line does not run between illegal and legal prostitution. Any prostitute who registers and pays taxes and works in an officially approved brothel is not automatically voluntarily in prostitution. Thousands of forced prostitutes are among the prostitutes officially registered in Germany. They have a whore pass, they pay taxes, they have health advice behind them. And yet they are beaten, raped and exploited by pimps and suitors. “Legal”, that only means: registered. It says nothing about the woman’s motives for being in prostitution, about the degree of her despair, about the severity of her traumatization, about the quantity of her freedom of action.

Legalization does not make prostitution more non-violent either. The opposite is the case: while in Sweden not a single prostitute has been murdered by johns or pimps since the introduction of the Nordic model in 1999, in Germany over 100 prostitutes have been murdered in the same period. All the sexual assaults, rapes and excesses of violence against prostitutes are countless.

To believe that legalization makes it safer assumes that visibility protects prostitutes from experiencing violence. That’s not the case. On Kurfürstenstrasse Berlin, in the midst of the local residents, there are desperate, homeless, sometimes drug-addicted prostitutes who publicly offer themselves to theirjohns. Sometimes their pimps, their “owners” stand next to them and talk directly with the johns about the price. The extent of the disaster is publicly visible there. Just as it was visible in the case of “La Luna” in Moers. This was a brothel in which there was evidence that 16-year-old girls were forced to prostitute themselves via “flat rates” for clients: i.e. clients paid admission and were then allowed to sleep with as many girls as possible, in all positions, all without a condom. Many of the girls were victims of human trafficking. The club was legal. He was known. Big newspapers advertised him. Busses full of suitors were brought in. Years later: raids, trials for human trafficking and forced prostitution. But everything was visible for years.

Legalization doesn’t make prostitution any safer. Prostitution is always violence and it is always dangerous. The only thing that happens when you legalize it is: the visible violence dulls society. It brutalizes society. Hardly anyone in Germany feels empathy for all the sexually exploited and beaten women. And that too is a consequence of legalization.

But typically German people are not bothered by violence against women or by all the rapes that forced prostitutes have to endure. Only one thing is important to him: that everything is regulated by the authorities. That paragraphs are adhered to, permits have been issued, forms have been filled out, the correct stamps are on the correct papers. Legalizing prostitution does nothing good. Not to women. Not to society. Only to suitors and pimps. And do we want to be a pimp-and-john-nation longer? Who do we want to show solidarity with? Our country must finally ask itself this question – and then come to the right conclusions and introduce the Nordic model!

Interview with the swedish activist and prostitution survivor Merly Asbogard

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Sweden is the first country in the world to endorse the Nordic model – the Sex Buyers Act. Under the Nordic Model, pimping and buying sex are prohibited, while women in prostitution have access to support and rehabilitation. This law was enforced in 1999. Since then, the purchase of “sex services” in the country has decreased by about 50%, and fewer women are trapped in the sex trade. However, the battle never ends. The sex trade lobby often insists that the law did not reduce the sex trade, and it only adversely affected women in prostitution. Want to know the truth? Read the interview I had with Swedish prostitution survivor and activist Merly Asbogard. Enjoy reading!


Huschke Mau: Dear Merly, would you please introduce yourself and your background?

Merly Asbogard: I was born in Colombia in 1985 and came to Sweden as an adopted child in 1986. I was raised in an almost exclusively white middle-class society with a lot of racism. When I was 14, I was forced into prostitution by a friend of mine who took advantage of the fact that I had been severely sexually abused in school. I stayed in prostitution for 16 years.

HM : what about your organization?

MA: Gardet is a feminist organization for women with a strong online presence. We discuss the different types of men’s violence against women and children and also illuminate the structural patriarchal oppression that women suffer from in Sweden, but also in other countries. We have a little over 600 members and 44 thousand followers on Instagram.

HM: Prostitution is legalized in Germany. We are often referred to as the ‘brothel of Europe’ – with prevalent forced prostitution and human trafficking. We, women who survived prostitution and activists, want the Nordic model to be introduced in Germany as well. In Sweden, the Nordic model has been around for 20 years. Can you explain to us what is the Nordic model?

MA: The Nordic model is a law that criminalizes punters, i.e. sex buyers because it takes on the feminist perspective that prostitution is part of men’s violence against women. The slightest punishment consists of fines, the maximum is a penalty of 2 years in prison. Now the Swedish government wants to cancel the fines and put a prison sentence on every sex purchase. This hasn’t happened yet but is very likely coming soon. One is also working to punish sex purchase even if Swedish men have purchased sex in other countries.

HM: During the discussion about the Nordic model in Germany, the same arguments of the pro-prostitution lobby, come up over and over again. According to them, Sweden is a very gloomy place for women in prostitution. I would like to ask you some questions about that. First of all, has the number of punters increased or has it decreased? In Germany, it is assumed that 1,2 million men go to prostitutes every day, statistics assume that one in 5. men do this.

MA: This is a difficult question to answer because the Nordic model was introduced at exactly the same time as the rise of the internet which offered an alternative venue for buyers. That said, according to every evaluation report the number of punters has decreased, even though only about 10 % of Swedish men bought sex before the law.

HM: Is it true that migrants are expelled from Sweden, as we often hear when they are picked up in prostitution?

MA: That’s how it used to be. But now we know more and know better and make individual assessments and it is being examined in which circumstances the woman in Sweden was in prostitution and what the situation in her home country is like. As an immigrant, you can legally stay in Sweden for 3 months, as a tourist, alternatively, you can ask for asylum, or you try to find a job. If you do find one, you can stay. Victims of human trafficking or prostitution are eligible to apply for asylum-seeking status. However, it’s impossible to claim prostitution as a valid occupation for Visa purposes. But you always have the right to ask for asylum, and prostitution and human trafficking are explicit reasons to grant asylum in Sweden!

HM: is it true that prostituted women have problems finding an apartment or also become homeless because the law prohibits landlords from renting rooms to women for the purpose of prostitution?

MA: Nope! That’s a lie. It’s against the lease law to use the apartment for prostitution, but just because you’re in prostitution, you are not denied the lease. And I don’t know a single case where even a single woman lost her lease for being prostituted. This really only happens with brothels or pimps.

HM: Is it true that prostitution goes “underground” when you introduce the Nordic model?

MA: Of course it’s illegal to advertise prostitution now, but you can still find the online ads. But human trafficking business is driven underground for more than one reason. However, having to sell their “goods” forces them out of their complete invisibility.

HM: Is it true that punters are more brutal in Sweden? We often hear the claim of the pro-prostitution lobby, that the “good” punters stay away, keeping around only the inherently lawbreaking violent ones. So is there more violence against women in prostitution in Sweden?

MA: No, Sweden doesn’t have a single murder of a woman in prostitution by a punter. Whether brutal or not, the type of john remains the same – violence has not increased.

HM: Is it true that children are being taken away from prostituted women in Sweden?

MA: No, you don’t lose your kids here because you’re in prostitution.

HM: How would you describe the difference between the situation in Germany and the situation in Sweden?

MA: There are worlds apart. I would say the main difference is how society sees prostitution. We had the case here in Sweden, where a public figure was caught in a brothel and subsequently lost everything. Swedish society does not accept men buying women. Over 75 % of all Swedish people support the Nordic model!

HM: When we introduce the Nordic model in Germany, is there something we can improve on? something to pay attention to?

MA: Yes, make sure you provide enough exit programs and that enough information is available about all aspects of prostitution. And set up enough rules and behavioural guidelines for all parts of society who regularly have contact with women who are in danger of falling into prostitution or are already in it.

Coronavirus and Prostitution – urgent!

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author: Huschke Mau

translation: Inge Kleine

Dear friends,

As an ex-prostitute there’s something I urgently want to tell you. Because other women in prostitution can’t do it right now. That’s because they are currently busy with something else …

… with surviving.

Corona has a tight grip on our social lives right now, and I welcome all measures by the government and by the states that have been taken now (even if very late), and hope you are all reasonable and isolate as much as possible not to endanger older people, those with immune-deficiency, cancer, other prior illnesses, etc. We now have to show solidarity, above all solidarity to the vulnerable. And that is precisely who I want to speak about now. Because women in prostitution, and I belong among them, too are a vulnerable group and the question is, which measures can now count as solidarity with regard to this group.

The City of Stuttgart has just now PROHIBITED prostitution because of the Corona-virus, and before you cheer and clap: this is a catastrophe.

I’ll explain why:

Like almost everywhere, prostitution in Stuttgart consists by 80% to 90% of women from South-Eastern Europe in forced prostitution or prostitution out of poverty. These women often have

  • No health insurance, or very inadequate insurance
  • Obviously no employee status or a very inadequate one
  • Very often no entitlement to any welfare or social benefits (HartzIV)

These women, as well as the vast majority of German women in prostitution, are there by force and poverty. If they don’t do it today, they won’t have any money tomorrow, nothing to eat – and nowhere to live.

What will happen in Stuttgart now is that these women either can’t afford to stay out of prostitution, or anyway aren’t permitted to because of their pimps. They’ll do it clandestinely, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. And that is the sticking point here. They’ll have to do it, and if caught, they’ll be fined. The fines collected by the state which they then have to pay off in instalments mean more money they’ll have to make with more prostitution, AS THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE. And by the way, the rent for the rooms in the brothels is likely to remain the same these days just like on all other days. That means: the fines and the rent will add up to even worse debts incurred by these women than what they already have to deal with, and that means they will be even LESS ABLE TO EXIT PROSTITUTION THAN NOW.  And: they will expose themselves to even worse health risks in these times of enforced secret prostitution. Because the dough’s gotta be made. For food, rent, pimp, and the children in Romania. And that means: Since many johns are staying away anyway, johns have more power and can more easily insist on sex without condoms.

Does this look like protection? DEFINITELY NOT.

So please do not rejoice when you read this news. Because it is terrible for the women affected.

What would really help?

Continue reading “Coronavirus and Prostitution – urgent!”

A wolf in sheep’s clothing: sexual assistance

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The speaker of the faction of the Green Party in German Parliament, Miss Elisabeth Scharfenberg, mentioned to the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” she could imagine that municipalities pay for so-called “sexual assistance”, this means sexual services for old, demented or disabled people. Since this incident there have been much reports on the media that these people were entitled to sex and that they suffered loneliness, a lack of intimacy as well as tenderness. This made me extremely angry not only as an ex-women in prostitution, but also as a thinking and feeling human being. What is really presented to us?

First of all, “sexual assistance” is an euphemism for prostitution. If you take a look at the offers, you will find: kissing, smoothing, cuddling, petting, oral sex and classic sex. Where is the difference to “girlfriend sex”, to its “intimacy and affection” to which women in prostitution have to bring themselves to do it and which often leaves them emotionally traumatised?

It also makes me angry that it is tried to make us believe one hour with a women in prostitution could solve a problem for the old, demented or disabled people which they really suffer: exclusion from society, emotional neglect, a lack of people working in care which leaves no space and time for a conversation between caretaker and patient, for putting a hand on one’s shoulder, for a cup of coffee or for a small talk. All these problems won’t disappear if you redeem one hour paid sex on prescription!

Furthermore, I am asking myself: what kind of policy it is if, as suggested by “pro familia”, the reaction to assaults on nurses by old demented men is providing them a prostitute? Although these men aren’t guilty due to a lack of impulse control caused by dementia – is this the way how we want to handle with assaults in the future? Who will be the next to get a prostitute on prescription – everyone who can’t keep their hands on themselves? And there it comes again: the theory of acting out the drives, assuming that prostitution was effective against rapes. It has been disproved hundred times, but anyway it hasn’t been silenced yet. And I don’t get rid of the feeling that it’s also about tranquilising the patients. 

With full intention, I didn’t use the female form for “patients”. (remark: in German language there is a difference between male and female form of a word) We’re all waiting in vain for the army of male sexual assistants who provide their services for grandmas. How I read in several articles, the “right for sex” is valid for all. So come on, bring us the young guys! But as I have to read, the demented old women are sent to their rooms alone with a vibrator. Generally, how shall I imagine all this? Do these old women, who possibly experienced mass-rapes by allied armies at the end of the Second World War, who had to exercise “duties in a marriage”, who (until 1997) couldn’t file charges against rape in marriage, do these old women now have to recognise how the old men still use their alleged right for sex and women’s bodies?

When I read that “old and disabled and demented people have a right for sex, too”, I am surprised about the commixture of dimensions. Well, everyone – female and male – has the right for his own sexuality, in case that no one else is burdened. Disabled people have a right to live in places where they have enough privacy for masturbation or sexual exchange. Old men shouldn’t be shamed for the sex they have. Yes, this right for sexuality exists, but there is NO right that males or females are provided another person joining the act. “Sexual assistance” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing which pretends focusing on disabled and old people, whereas in reality it’s about establishing control over women’s bodies. Prostitution is a big business in Germany. Why not to open up new markets? Finally, all shall benefit from the meat market with young, often foreign women, pardon: all men. The demented, old and disabled ones, too.

By the way, Ms. Scharfenberg specified her statement on her homepage: “And that’s why female and male sexual assistants exist – people who come into nursing homes and fulfil sexual desires of its residents for money: When there is no more partner for them. When people are wishing exactly this.” Please consider it carefully once again: “When there is no more partner for them.”

Due to this statement all of us know exactly which suggestion will be made next by the defenders of prostitution from the Green Party.

(c) Huschke Mau

A word about Amnesty International

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The event at the Leipziger Museum der Bildenden Künste, in which we, from Netzwerk Ella, just spoke about prostituion, was protested ahead of our arrival. Because it is, apparently, IMPOSSIBLE and UNBEARABLE that prostituted women speak about prostitution. Inacceptable, indeed! One of the groups among the protesters (Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen/ professional association of erotic and sexual services etc.) was AMNESTY. Amnesty apparently doesn’t want those truly affected by the issue to speak.

This does not surprise, as Amensty threw us women in prostituion under the bus years ago, when they demanded a full decriminalisation of „sex work“ and EXPLICITLY INCLUDED JOHNS, TRAFFICKING, AND PIMPING. Their justification for this was, that every human being is supposed to have a right to sex and that it would be an act of DISCRIMINATION to prohibit men from buying it. What is clear to us is: there is a right to one’s own sexuality, but there is no right to have anybody else delivered at one’s disposal for this.

And: Anybody supporting johns, pimps and traffickers to walk free is not FOR us prostitutes, but AGAINST US. We also have a critical view of the contributions from the audience today. A woman “researcher“ categorized us as being “far too emotional“. Sub-message: “You’re just complete losers, victim-mentality, you can only cry and sniff, but I – well I can think.“ Surprise! We can think, too. (And some of us, BTW, also are also researchers.) Accusing women of being „too emotional“ is bestknown patriarchal. You complain that we “play the victims here“, but it is you who reduce us to our victim status, you are the ones to say that we’re just whores, incapable of thought or political analysis. This boundless comtempt of women does not surprise us in the least, however.

And then, at the end, being told we’re racist, because we draw attention to under what CONDITIONS women from the poorest European countries have to be on the game here. The CONDITIONS are racist and we denounce then – from you, not a syllable on that. It is only our giving VOICE to the criticism that annoys you. What is happening here in Germany is the worst kind of colonialism. Women from southeastern Europe are to suck German men’s dicks to survive. NOT A WORD from you on that. But to spell out this fact is racist? Lay of whatever you’re sniffing.

We’re not suprised at you. But we are surprised that you still call yourselves a human rights organisation. Be honest and call yourselves PUNTERS’ AND PIMPS’ ORGANISATION.

What your protested here was prostitutes speaking about prostitution.

For us, Amnesty has lost any credibility.

Amnesty – go fuck yourself.


It was like society telling me: “Prostitution is not the problem, that is all cool. You are the problem.“

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Huschke Mau’s speech at receiving a prize offered by the Einkraftstiftung in Mainz, Germany, at the Pfälzer Landtag (parliament) on Thursday, 4 April 2019. Translation: Inge Kleine

“Thank you for the warm eulogy and for the prize.

My name is Huschke Mau, I was, with interruptions, in prostitution for 10 years. As is the case with so many women and girls, I was sexually traumatised, in an economic emergency and had a man who introduced me into prostitution. In my case this man was a German police officer – my first pimp. I was in apartment brothels and in the escort form of prostitution.

Exiting took me a long time, several years. When I contacted an advocacy centre and asked for exit support, I was told: “The job is not the problem, this is a job like any other. But if YOU don’t want to do this any more, then just don’t go into the brothel anymore and you’re done.“ I never asked for help again.

For a long time I did not speak about what I had lived through in prostitution. When I left my apartment, I looked onto billboard-sized brothel adverts. When I ordered a taxi, I had to specify I wanted one that does not carry brothel adverts. When I read the papers, they spoke of “sex work“. It was like society telling me: “Prostitution is not the problem, that is all cool. You are the problem.“ The permanent confrontation with what can be done to me and to other women and girls silenced me for a long time.

2014 brought the last straw when I read in an interview with a brothel keeper that the only traumatising aspect of prostitution was the stigma. The punters were all handy-dandy and fine.

This made me write my first text “I’m sick and tired of you prostitution proponents“ (https://huschkemau.de/en/2016/11/29/im-sick-and-tired-of-you/ ) After only three days it had been translated into other languages. Since then I have been writing on, have held presentations and spoken on panels and have enlightened people on prostitution. Enlightened them about what really happens in prostitution. About the fact that legalisation only benefits brothel keepers and pimps, but not us, the women affected by prostitution. About the fact that we, the prostitutes, do not receive any exit support, but only fines. About the fact that nothing changes in this system, because even if one of us manages to achieve her exit, the next woman is drafted in on the spot, because prostitution is a profitable business – for the brothel keepers and the pimps. For us, those in prostitution, it is not profitable, we are left behind with posttraumatic stress disorder.

We do not only need our own exit from prostitution. We need the exit from prostitution by our entire society! And that is only possible by recognising the fact that prostituiton is sexual violence and by punishing the perpetrators.

In January 2018 I foundet Netzwerk Ella (https://netzwerk-ella.de) We are an association of women who were in prostitution or still are. We agree that we have experienced violence and still experience it and we demand the Nordic Model. We urge society to look at us when it is about what punters do to prostituted women, and that they are to be made responsible for this. But society still doesn’t look closely at any of this.

Recently I was in Munich at a conference organised by Kofra. Two women from Netzwerk Ella, Malren and Sophie, attended the conference with me. When Sophie told the audience how she was groomed into prostitution by an older man, she was asked by a woman in the audience what was wrong with 14 year-old girls that they let themselves be chatted up and prostituted just like that. This upset me very much. The question is not what is wrong with the girls – the question is what is wrong with the men that they chat up a 14 year-old, abuse her and take her into prostitution, buy her there and sell her there. But it is not the men who are shamed, it is us, those affected by prostitution who are being shamed.

For four years now I have spoken to the media, politicians, authorities, and many, many people about prostitution. My aim is to create awareness of the problem, because prostitution does not happen “somewhere“, but right among us, and the only way to deal with it, in my view, is to introduce the Nordic, that is the Abolitionist Model.

We, the abolitionists, are not the first to have come to the conclusion that prostitution is contemptious of women and that shaming, controlling and punishing the women while letting the punters go is double morals.

We are also not the first to have understood that taking action against prostitution must not mean taking action against prostitutes.

Women in prostitution often don’t have a choice. We need other options, alternatives. Punters do have a choice. No one, no emergency, forces them to buy us and to abuse us. We need this change of perspective.

When Brunhilde Schierl from the Einkraftstiftung contacted me, I was very happy about this. We got to know each other during a long walk, she told me of the Einkraftstiftung and I told her about Netzwerk Ella. What became clear in the course of this walk is that we both fight sexual violence against women, and that we both base our fight on human diginity.

This prize recognises that for us, the women from prostitution, and I still define myself as such even though I am a postgraduate student now writing her dissertation, it is difficult and painful to speak about our trauma. That this costs us – sleep, serenity, strength, energy, a life without fear.

I would never have been able to speak if I did not have so many standing behind me giving me strength. The fact that even 19th century Imperial Germany already had abolitionists gives me strength. The fact that I have the best cat in the world gives me strength. And this recognition today also gives me strength. I want to cordially thank Ms Schierl and the organisers of this event for this.

I was one of the first exited women to speak out. With Netzwerk Ella many more will follow. For as long as it takes for us no longer to be ignored.

Thank you for your attention.“

The punter: why men visit prostitutes and what men think about them

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Next to my writing desk there is a box in which I collect bad memories. Every time when I have flashbacks or intrusive thoughts I use to note them on a sheet of paper, throw it into the box and shut it. The box is quite full. Today I churned a lot in this box, because I wanted to write about punters. Remark: in German language the word “Freier” sounds a bit like “freeing someone” and so it’s an euphemism for sexual abuse, an abuse committed by punters and it’s one of many examples that we live in a society which accepts sexual violence against women, normalising and relativising it. Due to a lack of alternatives, I use the term “punter” instead of “sex buyer”, because in prostitution sex doesn’t take place, it’s not about sex which is transferred from “sex worker” to “sex buyer” like a commodity. Strangely, only few things are spoken about people using this violence. In most of the cases it’s about women who should be allowed to do it. Then I get to hear about all these “self-confident, nice, likeable prostitutes” known by someone, but it doesn’t mean any content, because I also know some “self-confident, nice, likeable” receivers of unemployment pay which doesn’t keep me from criticising the system of unemployment pay for paying to less to people who need support. Disliking prostitution doesn’t mean to dislike prostitutes, but it means to understand the system of prostitution which is created by the punters due to their demand.

Some time ago I was asked how to recognise a punter and then I had to admit: if he doesn’t stand in front of you in a brothel, waving with a hundred-Euro-banknote, you can’t recognise them at all. No, even I am not able to recognise them on the streets, even not after 10 years in prostitution. The reason: they are quite normal men, but this isn’t meant as a relativation. If you ask men if they have ever been to a brothel, you will mostly hear lies (“I would never do that”) or they start telling you fairy-tales (“I went there only one time and it was so bad that I never did it again”) – if you her this, run away. Punters are very different guys. All kinds of people are among them, all jobs, all ages, all characters and they all have only one thing in common – more about that later.

About the punters

So, how are the punters, what to tell about them? One thing at first: all the stories about disabled men who need prostitutes to fulfil their sexual desires aren’t true. In 10 years in prostitution I haven’t met any disabled punter. Besides of this, it is discriminating to assume that disabled people wouldn’t find a consensual sex partner. Anyway, it is not valid for female disabled people, because they are abused above average.

It is also not true that “many ones come only for talking.” In all my time it was only 1, yes, in words: one. The fairy-tale of punters coming for talking is obviously only created for showing men as victims who – oh what poor guys – normally have to be strong and dominant and furthermore to make an euphemism for what they really do in brothels.

Punters are very different. I had punters who wanted to fuck me at the window of a skyscraper and to spit at me after that, let me crawl on my knees and squirt into my face. I had many punters who asked: “How much are you?”, thereby admitting that it’s not about buying sex, but a woman. I had punters with an evil grin when they recognised that I had pain, my punter was such a one. I had ones who brought drugs to consume them together with me. I had ones who loved to overstep my borders and to do what was not arranged. There were punters who wanted to show me their cupboard full of weapons when they were alone with me in their lonely house in the woods, together only with two huge dogs, without connection for mobile phone and surrounded by a two meter high fence, liking to ask me repeatedly: “Are you afraid now?”. Some ones felt exactly that I didn’t want to continue, but did it in spite of my feelings. Some ones were perverted or pedophile, some ones have already masturbated in the hallway of a brothel in an apartment building (so women out of prostitution got concerned with it and surely “liked” it), some ones asked me how old I was when doing it the first time. Pedophiles told me that they are attracted to very young girls or children: “I am working in a riding stable, there are very young girls, they’re getting horny when you give them the right saddle”). Other ones offered to make me pregnant (for what reason?). There were punters who were so convinced about their sexual performances that they claimed I was ashamed to take money for it, because “for me, it must also have been a pleasure.” There were punters who negotiated prices again and again and, when I didn’t reduce the price, accused me of being interested only in making money, telling me I should “become human again”, just like prostitutes were a kind of social-welfare-station for men. I had clients who thought they would make me a compliment with objectifying statements like “nice tits”. I don’t know how often I was asked if I “like to fuck”, while I was starring at the ceiling or at my nails, I don’t know how often I got to heat that it was “easily earned money”. If punters recognised that I was only able to serve them after consumption of drugs or alcohol, they gave it to me. Many ones had fun to torture me, fucking me endlessly long, until every part of my body was aching. One stood in front of me wearing a ski mask. Maybe he had the fetish to terrify women, however, it went wrong, because I just came out of the room with a whip in my hands. Another one told me he had chosen me, because he was sexually untrained and he tried with a plastic doll, but this wasn’t so great, so he took me. One was a Christian und refused, after the condom was slipped of, to give me his documents and to participate in the costs for the pill, because this had been “unmoral and murder”. Another punter insisted to force me to have an orgasm (“If I want you to have an orgasm, you have to get one, customer is king!”) and many ones apologised for not getting an erection, because then it would have been without pleasure for me.

If you are thinking that I had stood on the streets, now describing the worst level of punters, you are wrong. All these “nice guys” came to me in a brothel in apartment buildings or in Escort. By the way, customers on the streets aren’t only those ones with few money. In more cases these men prefer to get only few limits, but getting very aroused by exercising power over other people living in miserable conditions.


Accomplices – they know exactly what they are doing

If you take a look into punter-forums, you won’t get a better image. There are men torturing young women who don’t speak any word German with electricity in their cellars and are happy about it: “She’s starting to shiver when she sees me!” The reaction of punter-accomplices in forums: “Respect!” There are men who book a forced prostitute and are happy when she’s not used to fulfill sexual desires unquestioned: “She still doesn’t want to spread her legs, cute! Here you get real feelings, she’s not a machine. I took her anal until she could stand it no more.” Or you get to read about education measures and stepping over limits: “The first half year you should only book her as a slave until she got used to it” or “I am teaching her deep throat and believe me, she will learn it”. “It seemed she didn’t know that according to her insertion she offers anal and everything without protection, lol, in spite of this I did it, because it was offered.” “One year ago she didn’t make anal without protection, at first we had to teach her that she has to make it.” You can see that the sexual practises are getting rougher (jerking off into a face, spitting, fisting, cumshots, gangbangs, pissing on her, deep throat until she starts retching. You don’t get rid of the feeling that it’s not about sex, but torture and tantalising a woman. Again and again you read questions how resilient a woman is, how much anal she stands, how much cum she can swallow without retching, so all in one, how much she can stand and still keep on. “If she offers herself so cheap in a display window, she has to assume that a man wants more than negotiated at first!” They don’t care that in many cases she has to do it. In one thread a punter reports that a prostitute had told him she had three owners and had to be ready to serve clients 24 hours a day, to make everything without protection and she was not allowed to deny any practises. Furthermore, she was only allowed to keep 30 Euro from 130 Euro “wage” each hour. A comment from a punter without empathy: “Well, that causes mental damage, you see it. But at least 30 Euros are much money in Romania.”


About other women, wives and girlfriends

Punters don’t only talk about prostitutes in such a negative way, but also about other women (“German women are annoying for me, these fucked up emancipates”) as well as they talk negatively about their partners – I guess about half of them have a partner. Some ones say they still had good sex with their partner, but they needed variety, like a bon vivant who consumes women’s bodies like a variety of good wines. Many ones don’t have sex with their partner anymore and say their wife would “deny them”, that she was “prude” and that it was her own fault if he went to a prostitute, because he was “forced by her.” Some ones told me that their wife denied practises suggested by them and that now they are sad about it, but anywhere they need to live out their fantasies. If you ask them about reasons, they reveal such big perversions that you don’t wonder anymore why their wives denied it. It becomes evident that men take themselves out of responsibility (to have no more sex is the woman’s fault) and that men believe they had a right for sex and anywhere they have to get it if not provided by their partner. Often they don’t even have a bad conscience. Once I was ordered for a house visit and the man was sitting on his sofa, above him a big-sized picture of his family. When he recognised my look at this picture, he told me happily that his wife was in hospital after the birth of twins, he was very proud about it and wanted to celebrate and because his wife couldn’t, he ordered me instead. Some punters told me in the childhood of their wives something bad had happened, that’s why they didn’t like sex now and, oh what a pity, especially no anal sex, oral sex with swallowing, fisting, or cumming into her face, so they had to go to a brothel. Here it becomes evident that not abuse itself (abuse on his wife, abuse of prostitutes by the punter) is the main topic, but punters even feel as heroes for not enforcing their “rights” on their wives. Abuse of partners goes so far that particularly they are involved into sex with prostitutes. How often did I hear “my partner is a bit bisexual, so I thought I’d do her a favour and order a prostitute and then three persons are involved in sexual actions.” I refused, because I knew that his wife wouldn’t know about the alleged bisexuality and that he only wanted to put pressure on her to do things which she doesn’t really like. No matter if they spare their wives or if they involve them, the punters present this as a favour for their partners which leads to such “nice” offers like this: “Hey, I would like to cum into my wife and you suck it out while I’d fuck you without condom, is that possible?” Men are acting so self-assured in matters of prostitution, because they think they were entitled to it. I was in quite many marriage beds and heard surprising calls of the punter’s wives (“Oh, I have to pick up the phone – yes, Darling, that’s nice, I’m looking forward to the evening with you”) and I wondered how experienced, conscience-less and self-assured they pretended something to their partners – why? If you do something of which you think you were entitled to it doesn’t need to hide his bad conscience, because he doesn’t have one at all! It must all be secret only for the reason that it could be uncomfortable if the wife complains.

In a very disgusting thread in a punters forum you can read that several times a husband ordered prostitutes for a house visit for penetrating them with his wife’s dildo und put it back unwashed – as a personal revenge on his wife who, according to his opinion, has to offer him sex, but doesn’t want to. I don’t even want to speak about all the guys who practise everything without protection and then go home and continue there. Although according to a punter’s opinion, both wives and prostitutes have to provide him sex, he makes an exact difference between them. Often I was told: “You’re too good for a brothel, you don’t belong to here”, which implicated that there are women who aren’t good enough (to be wives?) so that they belong into a brothel. But their disrespect for women hits both, partner and prostitute. It hits all women.

How to summarise that? Punters are men who look at women like useful animals. You can read this point of view in such statements: “I don’t need to buy a whole cow if I want to have some milk.” Punters also like to compare prostitutes with food or commodities: “At home I only eat soup, but I want to have pork meat, too” or “It’s ok to drive an average car, but from time to time it’s nice to have something sporty.”


The nice punter

Again and again I am asked if there weren’t nice punters, too, and yes, they existed. But it wasn’t important how nice someone was, but what he did. I had one who wanted to hold my hands all the time and then go eating with me. I hated these dates, because they lasted so long, in bed, too. He was one of these “nice” punters, and mostly they want to have “girlfriend-sex” which means intimacy, smoothing, kissing, and that’s exhausting, because it steps over personal limits. You have to be more like an actress and it spoils intimacy for you, just because it is demanded without limits. You aren’t allowed to keep something for you, because by imitating they don’t belong to you anymore, they become part of repertoire of entertainment and finally meaningless, because they are separated from the real me. In a future without punters they need to be demanded back and learned again. Moreover, you have the feeling to be abused and to abuse yourself, too, because you don’t leave a “hard core” for yourself to which the punter has no access. It’s like you belong totally to him. This punter wanted me to pretend being his affaire – he was one of the bon vivants who didn’t cope with his wife and he regretted me regularly that I had to serve other disgusting punters. Remarkably, he never got the notion that he was one of these disgusting punters, too. Punters think about themselves not as punters, only the other ones are bad, with exception of sadists who want to be remembered as the worst ones. He offered me a lot of money so that I wouldn’t need to do my “job” anymore, but for punters nothing is for free and they don’t help for free, no, for them a prostitute is public commodity and everyone wants to have a part of it and punters like to “help” for creating their own private prostitute. So I was expected to meet with him, but only with him and without payment. He wanted to shop me.

Men are so convinced to assume their right for sex that deep inside of them, they don’t see why they should pay for sex. If you act well, you had fun, too and don’t need to be paid and if you acted bad, you also don’t need to be paid for not having delivered the service. You can’t win!

The punter’s look at prostitutes is ambivalent: on the one side they wish to have a machine which treats all punters equally (“She has to make what she offers, no matter who comes”), denying a person is not an option, on the other side they want to be someone special – either because they were so remarkably good in bed or because as sadists they could beat up a prostitute very well. They never want to be like anyone else, like number 8 or 9 on the daily list. Instead you shell keep them in memory, for them it’s a matter of their ego.


Why men go to prostitutes

Several studies try to answer the question why men visit prostitutes. But German scientists forget that punters, when being asked, answer according to social expectations and then say “I am a romantic”, “I like to try different things” or “I get no sex at home” and so they are creating a view of punters which doesn’t reflect reality. In online-forums you will get much rougher impressions!

So why do men do it? Some ones are just sadists who hate women and want to teach them a lesson in hard core or hate-fucking. Some ones are poor guys who need to prove their masculinity, few ones are “romantics” aiming at a relationship. They all have one thing in common: they assume to have a right to sex, they have a certain disrespect for women and they are filled up with toxic masculinity. And they all know or at least could know that these women don’t act willingly and don’t like to have sex with them. But they just don’t care.

They order like from a menue: one full-french-service please, anal as the dessert, and then they choose a certain body on which they eat the whole menue. The aspect of choosing a body is the proof that sex is not a service or work: it is not unimportant who makes the service, because it is not only about sex, but about abusing a woman.

Even the “romantics” don’t really look for intimacy. They have a certain image on their mind and pay to get it in reality, no matter how reality feels for the woman. In this matter they are like sadists who also don’t care about the woman’s will. Prostitution doesn’t work without force. There will never be enough women doing it willingly so that a part needs to be forced. Often the punters can’t be sure if they have a forced prostitute in bed, and that’s simply uninteresting for them. The force on women doesn’t disturb them, only if they have to see it, because then their image is destroyed. Sadists are even aroused by knowing about force, whereas “romantics” won’t go to the prostitute anymore because their illusion is destroyed and other ones relativise it, saying in forums: “So what is force? Every morning I have to get up and eat something, that’s force, too.”

In the minds of punters prostitutes aren’t humans. If they say they have pain, “they only complain.” Punters like to have women with who they can do everything and still see a smile: a doll. According to a study conducted by Melissa Farley in 2011, 2/3 of all punters know that many women are forced by pimps, but they don’ care. 41% of them know directly that the woman is a victim of pimps, but in spite of this they go to her.


From punter to perpetrator

There were punters who exactly saw my disgust, but ignored it, for example saying “Don’t turn away if I want to kiss you” or “I have the feeling that you don’t want to see dicks anymore”. Some ones where aroused by my disgust, other ones didn’t come again due to their destroyed illusions. It’s about control over women. Some ones get angry if their illusions aren’t acted good enough, the other ones are happy if the facade of the woman’s self-control is destroyed and like to beat her additionally. The violence for which they pay is only one aspect, the other one is violence which was not negotiated: rape, torture and general violence against the body.

So finally it’s about controlling a woman and to let her do things according to the man’s wishes. And that’s the core issue of prostitution: it is all focused on the man’s needs, sex is always purchasable and he doesn’t need to do anything for getting it, he has free choice of women’s bodies and a rejection isn’t designed. Although punters like to hear that a prostitute decides to reject some clients (because it gives them the feeling of belonging to an elitist group), they can’t imagine themselves being rejected. Every time when I rejected clients, there was a big “No, no”, something which they hadn’t considered until then and something to which they reacted so sensitively as if I owed something to them, as if I was denying them access to a public good, as if I had broken the rules of the game.

If you think that I am speaking about a minority of ill-minded men, you are wrong. Looking at annual sales of the sex industry, it could be calculated that in Germany up to 1,2 million men go to a brothel daily. Every fifth is estimated to do it regularly and 3 of 4 men are estimated to have at least one time gone to a brothel. In these numbers it is not calculated how many ones only watch filmed prostitution (= pornography), because in a certain way, they are punters, too.

In a study Melissa Farley revealed that punters commit rapes more often than men who aren’t punters. You can draw the conclusion that prostitution teaches men: violence against women is legitimated in certain circumstances. It’s not only that many women who have already been abused end up as prostitutes, but also that they become victims of even more violence in prostitution. After having visited a prostitute, the men’s inhibition threshold for committing sexual violence is lower. This means in a whole: prostitution is the consequence of violence against women and in itself, it is violence against women and it is the reason for violence against women.


Prostitution concerns all women

Because of its connection with violence prostitution concerns all women. If one woman is for sale, all women are for sale: how often did I hear from punters that they rather “pay me than anyone, that’s too expensive, flowers, restaurants, and finally you don’t even get sex.” Furthermore, punters often like to play violent porn scenes in real and then define it as normal and as something to be lived out without consequences. Later they will suggest it to their partners or even demand it from them.

Prostitution doesn’t exist independently from our society, instead it is raised by society and needed by society to confirm the existing image of roles: the man is active and dominant, whereas the woman is passive and submissive. She is financially dependent on him, while he can sexually control her and her needs don’t have priority. It is anything but coincidence that the supporters of complete decriminalisation use to say this was still better than marriage, because both, marriage and prostitution, had the same basic principle. What a pity that we live in a society which can’t imagine a kind of sexuality based on equality and causing no damage to each other so that it’s not necessary to pay any compensation.

Instead we live in a society which believes that men have a right for sex in all circumstances, even if a woman is forced. It becomes evident that desires of men seem to be more important than physical and psychical well-being and sexual self-determination of the women. That’s what prostitution is: the counterpart to sexual self-determination. The punters know it or even get aroused by it. So do we want to live in a society in which women have to grind down their feelings of disgust and in the best (!) case men don’t care about it?

Punters don’t look at women as women, only as objects, as bodies. They don’t know how she really feels, why she prostitutes herself, what she really thinks and what a life she had before and if she wants to be here or not. They all don’t care about the woman’s rights, her will and her feelings, and that’s what they all have in common. They pay for the non-existence of dignity as well as an own ego and will of a woman. So, the question is: why do we need an institution which makes this possible?



Francine Sporenda interviews Huschke Mau for Nordic Model Now

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translation: Inge Kleine

Interview first published here

Huschke Mau is a survivor of Germany’s legalized prostitution system. In this article, Francine Sporenda interviews her, focusing on the recent changes in the prostitution law in Germany.

F: How do you explain that Germany (according to a popular quote) has become the “brothel of Europe”? What led to this situation?

HM: In my view, the reasons lie in the EU enlargement with the accession of Eastern European countries and the very high demand for prostitution in Germany. Every day about 1.2 million men visit a brothel here. Added to this are our laws. Fostering prostitution was legalized in 2002, and so it is no longer against the law to be a pimp or brothel keeper. Pimping is only criminalized if it is “exploitative,” which means if more than 50% of a prostitute’s earnings are taken from her. This does not, however, apply to rents for the rooms in brothels – these are very high. Rents of €100 to €180 per day are common.

Those on the political Right often disapprove of prostitution while simultaneously retaining the clandestine male right [to buy those in prostitution] and despising the women for it – whereas the political Left and the Greens present us with a kind of trick package: idolizing prostitution as work, sometimes even as feminist or empowering. Instead of offering women alternatives or exit support, efforts go into making prostitution as cuddly as possible. That 89% of all women want to leave prostitution is completely disregarded.

F: Can you tell us about the recently passed “Law for the protection of prostitution”? What does it entail? What are its negative and positive sides for prostituted women (if any)?

HM: This law – “Prostituiertenschutzgesetz” i.e. “Prostitutes’ Protection Law” – lays down regulations for brothel operators and prostitutes. It came into effect this summer [2017]. Brothel keepers now need a permit or license and those with prior convictions for trafficking are banned from running brothels. Prostitutes have to register, and they have to attend individual health counselling. Moreover, condoms are now mandatory for the punters, which is the only good point about the law. Punters who insist on intercourse without condoms can now face high fines.

These points aside, the political strategy as evidenced in this law is only about ironing out the very worst outcomes of prostitution in Germany, such as flat rate or gang bang offers, which have now been banned. The situation as such is not addressed at all. Except for mandatory condoms, there is no regulation that places responsibility on the johns, and there is still a huge lack of exiting support and no help for the women in finding alternatives.

The law does not even stipulate a minimum age of 21 – because it was argued this would amount to the “prohibition of a profession.”  As a result, very young girls from Europe’s poorest areas can still be exploited here in Germany. Forced prostitution is very hard to prove, although police estimates are that nine out of ten women are working for a man in the background.

F: You say that municipal authorities are in charge of applying this law, and that this guarantees it won’t be fully implemented. Can you explain why?

HM: Municipal authorities are supposed to implement the law, but hardly any funds have been allocated to the municipalities for this. Cities now have to create new jobs, for example in the offices where prostitutes are to register. We need interpreters. We need doctors to carry out the health counselling. But the state seems to be concerned only with finding out how it can profit as much as possible from prostitution, and it certainly doesn’t invest in real help for the women. There are not enough counselling centers, there is not enough exiting support, and there aren’t enough alternatives that women in prostitution can use or access.

F: Can you explain how the legalization of prostitution automatically causes major corruption in the police, local authorities, and politics?

HM: It is above all pimps, brothel keepers and johns who profit from legalization. Legal prostitution signals to punters that it is okay to buy a woman. Being a punter is not shameful in Germany. On the contrary, a man was recently in court for having choked a woman. The judge, a woman, suggested that if he enjoyed choking women he could simply have gone to a prostitute. Violence against a specific class of women is being normalized in this way. That is not solidarity.

Many men in Germany are johns. Some studies suggest that as many as three out of four men have used prostitution at least once. When it is legitimised, they go ahead and just do it, just like that.

At the same time, the prostitutes are not decriminalized. If they are found in violation of zoning regulations, they are punished. Or if they fail to pay taxes. This makes it possible for brothel keepers or johns to blackmail the women. Many politicians and policemen are johns, too.

My first pimp was a policeman, and I had many policemen as johns. Even some who were investigating trafficking cases. They didn’t see any problem with that. And as johns, these policemen and these politicians make decisions that serve them as johns. And then brothels increase tax revenue, for example, big brothels like the Pascha in Cologne. No politician wants to spoil that for himself.

F: Can you tell us about the mega brothels/brothel chains in Germany? How the abuses of prostituted women in these brothels are probably worse than in any other kind of prostitution (“all you can fuck” rates, gang bangs, surveillance systems etc.) Who owns these brothel chains? 

HM: We have big brothels here – two types. Those where punters and women meet and decide to go up to a room, and those where johns walk through the corridors and pick a woman sitting outside her room. The “Prostitutes Protection Law” from 2017 bans flat-rate offers or other fixed prices set by the brothels, and gang bangs. But what we are seeing already is big brothels remaining and smaller ones, or apartment brothels closing down.

F: Legalization has turned pimps and traffickers into respectable businessmen. You mentioned before the case of the “prince” von Sachsen Anhalt, who has invested in brothels. These “businessmen” can now openly publish ads to recruit new prostitutes, advertisements for brothels can be seen everywhere. Can you tell us about this “normalization” of pimping and prostitution and the effect it has on German society and the situation of women?

HM: Having brothel keepers sit on TV shows or running their own television series places the acceptance of purchasing women on a new level in our society. Running brothels, managing them or being a punter are no longer seen as indecent in Germany. This does not, however, lead to any widespread acceptance of prostituted women, they are still counted as scum. To offer sex is still seen as morally dubious while buying sex has become perfectly normal.

Sympathies are clearly with the johns and brothel keepers and that is what legalization has brought us. And consequently, violence against women is being normalized. I have had to let myself be lectured by acquaintances who do not know that I was a prostituted woman that this is “a perfectly normal service.”

At the same time the normalization of prostitution has far reaching effects on how society understands (or rather doesn’t understand) other forms of sexual violence against women. We now have a situation where women who want to report rape are being hounded with a charge for defamation if the perpetrator cannot be sentenced due to a lack of evidence. I do not see this as accidental.

F: Can you tell us about the “sex worker unions” and the pro-prostitution lobby in Germany? Who are these people? How many real prostitutes are in these groups? Who finances them?

HM: Here it’s the BSD, Berufsverband Sexueller Dienstleistungen, the “Professional Association of Sexual Services,” which is an association of brothel operators only and which is consulted by politicians on all prostitution matters in spite of being operators only.

Then there is the BESD, the “Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen,” the “Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services,” which promotes itself as a kind of trade union for “sex workers,” but those who speak publicly tend to be dominatrixes or run studios for them, or they rent out rooms and thus they are among the operators, really.  The association does not reveal how many members have joined it.

Hydra, a counselling and advocacy center in Berlin, openly engages in facilitating and counselling for the entry into prostitution.

F: You say that pro-“sex work” associations are not only totally useless for helping women exit, in fact they are trying to keep them in prostitution or even attract new recruits. Can you tell us about these associations? 

HM: Due to political pressure, these organizations have begun to say that they support exit services, because according to them not every woman is suited to this “job.” But they do not offer any. Instead of exit support, we have advocacy and counselling centers, but they are few and far between – there are entire Länder, or states, within Germany that do not have any at all – and most of these are pro-“sex work.” They advocate for prostituted women not being seen as an at-risk group in spite of the murders perpetrated against them, because considering them to at risk is said to be stigmatizing. Besides, I have heard of cases where prostituted women who wanted to exit were told that they could simply adjust their careers and work as a dominatrix instead of escort. That is no great help, of course.

F: How can it be said that the German State is the biggest pimp (taxes etc.)?

HM: Many of these advocacy centers receive public, or state, funding. If women are not supported in exiting, but rather in “getting along better in sex work,” many remain in prostitution even though this is not what they want.

The state profits from this, because these women continue to pay their taxes. Some women pay up to €30 in taxes a day, the so called “Vergnuegungssteuer,” or “enjoyment tax,” which is cynical, because no woman I know personally has any pleasure in this job. The costs the women in prostitution face these days are huge: €100 to €180 per day for the room in the brothel (to be paid to the brothel owner), taxes (to be paid to the state), and more to the pimps.

 F: I saw that German brothels are rated like hotels now. Is that correct?

HM: The BSD, a brothel keeper association, has introduced a “quality seal” which is awarded to brothels. In these brothels, all women are said to be working voluntarily and independently, and there is allegedly no crime there. The seal is of course completely useless. The brothel keepers’ club awards the quality seals to brothels. How is that is supposed to be unbiased or objective?

The association has even admitted that this is a new marketing strategy to reach johns who no longer need to worry about coming across women who are forced into being there. In fact, most johns really don’t care about that at all. They may even enjoy forced prostitution, because they can more easily abuse the women, who are allowed fewer boundaries and may not refuse many sexual practices or demands on them etc. The seal is geared towards a specific group of johns, the “ethically correct” ones, who are now to be enabled to visit a brothel without qualms.


A brothel tour during Frankfurt’s “Bahnhofsviertelnacht“ – the annual celebration of Frankfurt’s red light district – What counts as “information” on prostitution in Frankfurt.

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translation: Inge Kleine


Merely walking through the area around Frankfurt’s Central Station where brothels stand wall to wall gives me the strange feeling of being in the wrong place here, as an onlooker. Looking up along the “Laufhäuser” (1) (operational room window to operational room window to operational room window (2) …) I experience the infallible need to want to go “to the room” rather: There at least I’d know how to act, there I know the procedure, the programme, that which I have to say, but here, like this, as a spectator in the “demi-monde”? Weird. To be here is like returning to your ex who hits you: It is like arriving home, everything is familiar and still feels all wrong. And this is how it feels when I tag along on the brothel tour organised by Doña Carmen e.V. and find myself standing in a room of the Laufhaus at Taunusstraße 26: Memories of my time in prostitution assail me.

The small rooms.

The coloured walls.

The dim light.

The blocked windows.

It is cramped. It is hot. It is bleak.

(And I know exactly how shabby this would look if somebody actually switched on the lights.)

Breathe in. Breathe out. Today I am here as an onlooker. Above all: a listener.

I’m in this operational room with several women, it’s getting cramped. The woman guiding the tour, Juanita Henning, introduces the woman to us (us? I just wonder, could I be confused with the other participants, most if not all of whom are unlikely to have anything to do with prostitution and who therefore have hardly any idea of it?) – introduces the woman to us, who will answer some questions. Since I do not know if this is her real name or her “working” name I’m not writing it here, but abbreviate it, she is called “D.” here.

D. is standing at the room’s only window that she has opened an inch. (Thank God. If I now had to smell this brothel mix – cigarette smoke, sweat, sperm, rubber – I think I would lose it.) She looks tired and wearied, and this is visible even in spite of the lack of light in this room. D. appears to be older than 45, she is wearing leisure wear and a baseball cap, maybe this is the end of her shift? “A woman to woman talk about prostitution” is what we were promised, and while we do that, a Doña Carmen member runs off and gets the money Doña Carmen pays for D. to answer our questions and to talk to us.

D. is a dominatrix, before that she was a beautician. She started 10 years ago. Why? “I got in through a woman friend.” “Women get into prostitution through women”, Juanita Henning says. (This, while the data provided by the police etc. show that between 80% and 90% of the women do not work on their own account, but with a man in the background.) I ask D. how much she pays for the room per day: € 100. And at what price her service starts: € 50. I look around the room, a trestle, corsages on the walls (“dressing up all costs extra”) and strangling collars etc. I remember that I always experienced being a dominatrix more exhausting than other things, I hated it, being booked for this. Doing standard service means that you can at least step away from the active part, check your fingernails in an unobserved moment or pull a face, but being a dominatrix means to focus 100% on the client, to get into his mind, having to do actively what you do not really want to do, i.e. giving satisfaction to such a man’s phantasies which you find disgusting. But I do not say this.

D. speaks in short sentences and not much. Now and then she is interrupted by Juanita Henning who finishes her sentences for her or who “straightens out” something. But it isn’t easy to straighten anything out with so many contradictions as are generated within the next quarter of an hour.

“You’ve got to be the type for becoming a dominatrix”, D. says, correcting this a few minutes later: “I am not a dominatrix by passion. I don’t really care what I do in here. It doesn’t affect me.” What does she offer? “Nothing really happens here. I don’t have to get undressed, I’m not touched. There are no sexual acts here. Very rarely a guy satisfies himself.”

What she does then?

“Oh, nothing really, I tie them up a bit, degrade them verbally a bit. That is nothing really. Now and then I slap them a little, very lightly. This here is only phantasy really, nothing more, no sex or anything. Nothing real.” It sounds a bit as if the punters just hover in here, give her 50 Euros and then disappear again, while she possibly shouts “filthy pig“ after them. A woman asks if she ever feels disgust. “No, why should I, nothing really happens in here. And it’s got nothing to do with me, nothing at all.”

Nothing happens. It’s got nothing to do with me. I wonder what the connection is between this obsessive minimisation, this diminution and denial and disassociation.  I am sorry for D. D. is paid by Doña Carmen to talk and answer to us today. And I would have done the same, I would also rather have been paid by Doña Carmen to say something: after all that’s one punter less. And to be honest, what else could she have said faced with more than 15 bourgeois, settled women? “No, it makes me puke, I find the men repulsive?” I wouldn’t have said that in such a situation either.

And Juanita Henning is fast and diligent: “About being disgusted, what kind of a question is that, it’s only ever directed at sex workers.” D.: “Imagine you are a nurse, that is the same.” A woman: “But they sometimes feel disgust.” Juanita: “You can’t compare that now, can you!” The woman: “So you’re not disgusted?” D.: “No, never.” Juanita: “Disgust is also some form of attraction in some ways. To feel disgust means to find someone attractive.”

I feel very dizzy by now. Is that because the place is so hot or because the situation is so absurd? The entire room is full of bourgeois women, and D. says there is nothing happening here, but what do the men pay for then? And how can this be, that this has nothing to do with her while she is in here, after all, when it happens. And then disgust is attraction. My head spins. This here is so grotesque that I’m doubting my senses for a moment.

A woman asks if there were transgressions sometimes. No, says D., she is always in control of the situation. No violence, ever. “I do not want this discussion of violence here”, Juanita Henning emphasises. “Violence is not prostitution. That is not prostitution!” “True, I decide what happens here”, D. says. But that is not really true – she only fulfils the johns’ wishes. And that these wishes come down to “nothing really happens here” – who is to believe that?

How many punters does she see a day? “That differs”, D. says, “One, two sometimes.” “But how can you then pay for the rent?” a woman asks. “Well, it’s three or four sometimes” D. says.

What happens then, one woman wants to know. “Well, first I’ve got to get the john into my room. Then I sit him down on the bed, and if he says “no” I say “yes”, D. laughs, and then the money transaction is done and then the best thing is for him to get a ball in his mouth so he cannot talk me to bits.” Her laughter sounds quite bitter. The longer we stay the more I feel sorry for D. Not only that she can’t talk about what happens here and that she is desperately trying to minimise everything although her revulsion comes through, she also does not seem to make much money. She doesn’t have regulars, she says.

Whether she talks about this to her acquaintances, a woman asks. “Not really”, D. says. “Only very few friends know what I do. I tell the others that I work in a fitness studio, they never ask about my work anyway. And when I have a partner I tell him what I do, but we never talk about it either.” Whether she talked to the other girls in the house? “Nope” she says, it’s only “hi and bye”. I immediately think that my friends and acquaintances always ask me what I’m doing. But prostitution makes for loneliness.

“What about the other girls here”, one asks, “you are a special case, aren’t you?” D. waves that off, “Yes, them, they have to do more, more performance and more clients, like 6 or 7 a day, but I don’t.” But why, I wonder, do they have to do more? If you’re supposed to be able to live comfortably by this, and that, although D. has only very punters? Because the others, unlike D., have a pimp? And then of course this defining herself against the others, and I cannot even blame her for this. In such a situation, it is a natural reaction to say, “I’m not doing too badly, look over there, they really have it bad, they really have to go at it.” Prostitution hierarchies. The escort lady looking down on those in the small brothels. And those in the small brothels looking down on those in the Laufhaus who have to let themselves be ogled, on their stools in the corridors, because this has long since become a popular sport among men, “whore-ogling”. And those in the Laufhaus look down on those in street prostitution. Defining yourself against those below at least conveys a feeling of not having ended up at the bottom yet.

“Don’t let anyone trick you into believing this is all so bad!”, D. shouts after us, as we leave the room after having thanked her.

After this there is a discussion in Doña Carmen’s rooms. Juanita Henning answers questions. It is a bit like a curiosities cabinet, just with more brain washing.

Asked if there was a problem with pimps here, Juanita responds by saying: “Pimps, they don’t exist, that is an invented term to stigmatise the prostitutes’ environment.” And Doña Carmen’s board member and co-founder Gerhard Walentowitz adds: “It is only two pimps a year who get sentenced. In all the country!” Then she compares homosexuality to prostitution in order to point to the discrimination. I sit here and wonder since when prostitution is a sexual orientation or preference. But Juanita goes for it now in full force. Prostitution is prohibited in order to control all women’s sexuality, also that of those who aren’t sex workers, she explains. Women are only permitted to have intercourse with men they feel connected to emotionally or socially. And it sounds a bit as if prostitution was liberating and very very feminist. “Men have a monopoly on buying sex. I don’t see anything reprehensible about this. But we women should learn to do the same. We need more call boys and such.” The aim, it seems, is that ALL of us should have sex in the future without caring about the other person, their sexuality etc. It’s just that easy, it seems.

“But the woman is selling her sexuality”, a woman remarks. “She doesn’t, that has nothing to do with her sexuality at all”, Juanita Henning says, who just a minute ago told us prostitution was about the liberation of women’s sexuality, “this isn’t about her sexuality. This is only about the man’s sexuality, this is only focussed on his needs.” Aha, I think, a moment of clarity, but that is over now: “That is why women do not become sick in prostitution, sick in their minds, disturbed, they don’t have any of that, because, this has nothing to do with them and their sexuality. They just briefly place their bodies at the man’s disposal.”

A woman asks about the Hell’s Angels. They’re no problem, Henning says. “None at all. There is no violence in prostitution here. They collect the taxes for the tax office.” Incredulous second question: “They collect the taxes for the tax office?” “Yes,” Henning says, “the city has commissioned them to do that and then practically collects them from them.” “So there’s no problem?” – “No, no problem.” “And forced prostitution? And the women from abroad? Who are beaten or who have taken their passports off them?” – “That’s mere clichés.” “Mere clichés?” – “Yes, mere clichés, all of that.” My head spins. Alarmingly, there are women here who believe all that. “I have never thought about it this way”, one says, “but yes, it’s true, it is like that, with women’s sexuality, and it is unfair, that there are no brothels for women.”

Why women come to Doña Carmen, one asks. A justified question, I think, since there are apparently no problems. “They come because of the taxes,” Henning explains, who a minute ago enthused about the Bulgarians and Romanians in prostitution here being able to finance themselves a nice little house of their own and above all being able to feed their families. “When they exit, they get problems with the tax office that estimates their earnings, and then they’re through. That is why they come here. When they exit, they are all broke and with debts. Totally poor.”

What else besides tax advice could prostitutes want from an association that says there is no forced prostitution, no trafficking, no pimps, no violence in prostitution? “But do the women really do this voluntarily?” one asks? Juanita Henning snaps: “The question alone is already so discriminatory.”

Once outside, I ask some women whether they believed what they heard inside. “Partly”, they say. Some thought it quite exaggerated. But others fell completely for what they had been told in there.

I return to the action “No place of pleasure”, an action that unlike Doña Carmen, is not mentioned anywhere in the city’s Bahnhofsviertelnacht programme. Abolitionist activists, women from several organisations, have placed coloured posters on the ground to commemorate the women murdered in prostitution. Although it is only the confirmed cases, and only of women who were “working” in Frankfurt, they are frighteningly many.  People come closer, place roses and light candles. It is a saddening view, and it is in fierce contrast to what I have just heard, and also in immense contrast to the surroundings: By now the streets are overcrowded, noisy, drinking, celebrating people among punters who are coming out of the brothels as if they’d just bought some cigarettes at a late night shop. Activists hand leaflets to people, engage in discussions. Most are affected by this. Some wipe away some tears, others recount that they have such a case in their families, and others tell us about prostituted women murdered in Frankfurt who have not as yet rated a mention in any report.

In a side street, strippers dance on a float. In another street, completely stoned people wander around in front of a drug room (3). A transsexual prostitute walks the streets, looking for takers. And I wonder: Does anybody have anything to celebrate here? Is this not inappropriate, to scatter glitter onto this misery, this violence here and to turn it into a circus? What is going on within these people who come here to have a party? Do they realise that their bout in adrenaline that comes from being in such a “demi-monde” area, is deeply bourgeois? That what is a one-off occasion to them is everyday life and practice to others?

And I wonder if this is what the City of Frankfurt takes to be proper information on prostitution? The brothel tours are no longer part of the official programme, that is true, Doña Carmen however is, it is to “inform” about prostitution with a presentation later, and a discussion following this. Along with all the churning out of hollow phrases, the distortions and minimisation that float around in my mind, I also wonder what is going on here, with the Hell’s Angles and the taxes. Dear City of Frankfurt – is this true? Are you collaborating with organised crime to get the dough for the tax office? And if you aren’t, why don’t you object to being presented like this? Is that good for this “demi-monde-ohhhhhownaughtyexciting” image? I’m surprised. An organisation that relentlessly speaks of “so-called forced prostitution” and “so-called trafficking” is supposed to enlighten us on prostitution according to the official brochure published by Frankfurt City, but people only learn about all the murders for example, all the violence by punters, all the data we have on prostitution, through a few tireless women activists who are not even part of the official programme. It seems as if Frankfurt doesn’t care about its prostitutes at all. At least when these can no longer pay any taxes due to their premature demise.

At home, I find reports in a punters’ fore on the internet, about women in the Laufhaus where D. has rented a room. It is quotes that make me shudder.

“Soo hot! Then we can ride this hot mare when she’s pregnant AO” (AO: without a condom.)

“Yes, this gal is “unfortunately” not all there! Well you go and be nailed and enspermed by around 30 guys a day. And Crystal does the rest with her.”

“Great photos! She really must have had it given to her last night, red as her pussy is!”

“S. is a very devout whore, sometimes she does AVO (4). She’s drugged, totally spineless. You can do what you like inside her, put anything up her from down there. Bottles, candles etc. She only does AO. She’s got a little sponge in there for contraception, lol. I regularly fuck her hard and jerk off deep in front of her uterus.”

“Hi guys, I too was with the (not meant badly at all) pregnant garbage can “S” and I have enspermed her (as much as was possibly) beautifully and deeply. The girl is only as already mentioned highly pregnant (the child comes out and away in February she says) and unfortunately she is really badly unhinged and so crass beyond anything, that you can hardly really concentrate on the fucking. (and it’s really hard to talk with her) She is still very nice in spite of that and I laughed a lot with her, we both had our fun, but I somehow feel sorry for her too. I’ll definitely go and visit her again these days… “

“Was there yesterday, too, and looked around for her, but in the room where she was and which you can see on the photos there’s a more plump Turkish woman now with 3-6 moles in her face … she then let herself be fucked and enspermed AO for € 25. Sex toys are no problem. In another forum there’s a description that she inserted a dildo she had found somewhere.”

“I’ll eat my hat if she isn’t pregnant …. She’s totally through: Fat ball belly, greasy hair, her feet displayed in flip-flops totally damaged, totally ruffled greasy bleached hair … When I think back to how she started … But she is clearly directed from elsewhere too much pressure on her or money pressed from her…”   (source)

“Early evening S. was already rather stoned, be that due to her medication or other psychoactive substances. She was sitting on the bad in one of her curious whore-rags and meowed when I came in. She let my manful mouth kiss and my greedy grabbing fingers on her tits and pussy happen just like that. Without gabbing I first undressed myself, then her. A three finger probe in her bulging pussy, furrowed by the birth, evinced a solid sperm level in the whore” (source)

L. is known to be one of the largest sperm repositories in BHV (Bahnhofsviertel). There is nothing to add to the description above, I find her typically gypsy-whore-pretty. As soon as you approach her room she begins a show with showing her tits, massaging her cunt (in my case she was wearing a bra only, no panties) and she immediately grabs you at your pants. “Come, sweetie, squirt sperm in my pussy”. What is a man to do? The price at € 30 was okay too. (source)

But none of that is a problem, right? Because disgust means finding somebody attractive. And is never felt in prostitution ever, at all. That’s what I learned today.

And a beer to that, a cigarette, some loud music, and partying with the colleagues – Bahnhofsviertelnacht Frankfurt olé! If this here isn’t a reason to celebrate, what is?

(C) Huschke Mau 2017





(1) Laufhaus (running house): a very frequent type of brothel where the women sit on bar stools in corridors or on their beds and the johns walk through the corridors and pick a woman.

(2) “operational room” – I can’t find any term for this: “Verrichtungszimmer” – the term was also used for these drive in “sex boxes” favoured and then abolished by some German cities. “Verrichten” or “etwas verrichten” = getting something done, going through some routine to have it done with.

(3) Frankfurt (like many German cities) has rooms/ facilities where those with a drug addiction can be supplied with medication in a controlled and safe environment.

(4) Anal without a condom