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

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

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.