German prostitutes defend "flat rate" brothels

Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:49pm EDT
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By Caroline Copley

BERLIN (Reuters) - Prostitutes in Germany are fighting back against attempts by conservative politicians and some irate residents to stop popular "flat-rate" brothels.

Officials in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg launched moves to stop one brothel with a "flat-rate" fee system because they viewed it as inhumane for women to provide unlimited sexual services all day for a one-off 70 euros ($100) fee.

But a group of 77 prostitutes bought advertising space in two national dailies to argue that this was simply a ruse to get brothels banned altogether.

"Get off our backs -- no ban on brothels with or without 'flat rates'," read the headline in the quarter-page adverts. Under the guise of 'humane working conditions', they are in reality plotting to ban brothels and threaten our livelihood."

For a 70 euros charge customers are entitled to all the sex, food and drink they want between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The evening flat rate rises to 100 euros.

Pussy club operator Patricia Floreiu has said most customers leave after at most two sessions.

There are at least four such "flat rate" brothels across Germany, a country where prostitution is legal.

Heribert Rech, Baden-Wuerttemberg's Christian Democrat interior minister, has led a campaign against the "Pussy Club" establishment in the town of Fellbach, saying the "favorable price suggests women there are being exploited".

But Juanita Henning, the leader of Dona Carmen in Frankfurt, told Reuters that critics want to reverse a 2002 law that gives prostitutes extensive legal rights and protection.

"This is nothing more than a moral campaign," Henning said. "If they looked more closely at the offer they'd see a man can get all the sexual services he wants but not from one woman. It's pure ignorance and prejudice against the industry." (Editing by Richard Balmforth)

<p>Prostitutes pose in a brothel in Germany in a file photo. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>