Wednesday 9/23/20

Sex work to resume in north Germany as prostitutes win court battles

Sex workers will be required to keep contact lists in order to track potential chains of infection and must meet clients only by appointment.
Sex workers hold signs and placards during a demonstration in Hamburg against the lockdown of the brothels. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa/File photo.
Sex workers hold signs and placards during a demonstration in Hamburg against the lockdown of the brothels. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa/File photo.

Prostitutes can work again, under strict regulations, starting from September 15 in Germany's northern states of Hamburg, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein, as campaigns across the country are pushing to reopen brothels following the coronavirus lockdown.

Hamburg city's social affairs minister Melanie Leonhard announced the lifting of restrictions on Tuesday, adding that the change had been coordinated among the three regional administrations.

Germany's federal system allows each of the country's 16 states to make its own decisions on coronavirus restrictions.

Sex workers in Hamburg and Bremen, two city states, and the northern-most region of Schleswig-Holstein will be required to keep contact lists in order to track potential chains of infection and must meet clients only by appointment.

"Prostitution events and prostitution in vehicles" are to remain banned, Loanhard said.

Hamburg is home to the Reeperbahn, one of Germany's most famous red-light districts.

Legal victories for sex workers

The decision comes in the wake of a number of legal victories for sex workers who went through the courts to have restrictions lifted.

Higher regional courts in the states of Saxony-Anhalt in central Germany, Lower Saxony in the north-west and North Rhine Westphalia in the west recently issued rulings paving the way for brothels to reopen.

Leonhard said such a decision was also pending in Bremen, and that an expedited legal challenge had also been launched in Hamburg. The government minister expects that case to be dropped following Tuesday's announcement.

The city government in the German capital, Berlin, agreed to a gradual relaunch of sex work from August 8.

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