Cablegate: German Family Ministry Releases Evaluation of 2002

DE RUEHRL #0390/01 0571633
R 261633Z FEB 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 06 BERLIN 1504

B. 06 BERLIN 2465

1. (U) Summary: German legislation enacted in 2002 to
improve the legal and social situation of prostitutes -- and
create conditions for them to get out of prostitution -- has
enjoyed only partial success, according to a 200-plus page
Family Ministry report released in late January. The report
states legal provisions giving prostitutes the right to
enforce contracts and to apply for health insurance and
social benefits are rarely used. The report concludes the
2002 legislation did not diminish police authority to conduct
snap inspections of brothels. Nor, according to the report,
did the 2002 law obstruct law enforcement efforts against
trafficking or exploitation of prostitutes, notwithstanding
some groups' claims to the contrary. The report recommends
additional measures to improve the situation of prostitutes;
greater emphasis on helping prostitutes get out of
prostitution; increased education of clients; and
improvements in protection programs for trafficking victims.
The report also advocates passage of legislation to
criminalize the actions of clients who knowingly patronize
trafficking victims. End Summary.

"Getting Out is the Goal"

2. (U) Under the motto "Prostitution is not an occupation
like others -- Getting out is the goal," Federal Family
Minister Ursula von der Leyen on January 24 presented the
results of the Family Ministry's review of 2002 legislation
on the legal status of prostitution in Germany. Although the
legislation was intended to improve the legal and social
situation of prostitutes, von der Leyen said, it has thus far
only been a partial success. She stressed the German
government does not consider prostitution to be a suitable
form of employment and noted the ministry's primary goal is
to help individuals get out of prostitution.

3. (SBU) The report concludes the 2002 law achieved its goal
of establishing a legal framework to improve the situation of
prostitutes, but in practice little use was made of these new
tools. Fears that the law would make it more difficult to
investigate trafficking crimes were not realized. Von der
Leyen stated the government must continue to improve legal
protections for prostitutes and to create conditions for them
to find alternative employment. In a January 31 letter to
the Ambassador, von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the
Embassy's continued engagement on TIP and reiterated the
German government's commitment from the top down to help
prostitutes find alternatives. She confirmed government
support for draft legislation now before parliament that
would criminalize clients who patronize trafficking victims
(ref A).


4. (U) Before 2002, Section 180(a) of the German penal code
criminalized the actions of persons who (informal Embassy
translation) "professionally maintain or manage an operation
in which persons engage in prostitution and in which: (1)
those persons are held in personal or financial dependency;
or (2) the exercise of prostitution is promoted by measures
which go beyond merely furnishing a dwelling, a place to
stay, or a residence and the additional services normally
associated therewith." Legislation the Schroeder-led
coalition passed in 2002 eliminated the second subsection.
Justice Ministry officials report that, before 2002, steps
such as providing hygienic working conditions were construed
as promoting prostitution.

5. (U) The 2002 legislation gave prostitutes the legal right
to enforce contracts for sexual services and access to health
insurance, social security benefits, and, unemployment
benefits. (NOTE: The 2002 legislation did not legalize
prostitution in Germany. Prostitution has been legal
throughout Germany since the nineteenth century. In practice
most municipalities use local zoning laws to restrict
prostitution to certain areas and times. END NOTE.) The
2002 law narrowed the criminal offense of pimping -- Section
181(a) -- to "impairing the personal or economic independence
of another person by facilitating that person's engagement in
prostitution." The 2002 legislation did not affect existing
criminal provisions penalizing trafficking of persons.

6. (U) The 2002 law required the Family Ministry to complete

BERLIN 00000390 002 OF 003

an evaluation of the effects of the penal code amendments
within five years. The evaluation is based in part on a
series of studies conducted by a Lutheran research institute
at the ministry's request. The study examined the 2002
legislation's effect on wider law enforcement efforts and on
government programs designed to protect prostitutes and help
them find alternative employment. The 200-plus page
evaluation also includes legal opinions prepared by a law
professor and the research used to prepare the Federal Office
of Criminal Investigation's (BKA) 2006 report evaluating
German efforts against TIP.

--------------------------------------------- --------
The German Government Position: Underlying Principles
--------------------------------------------- --------

7. (U) The German government's position on legalized
prostitution, as outlined in the report, is based on the idea
that an individual's voluntarily decision to work as a
prostitute must be regarded as an expression of
self-determination. While asserting that voluntary
prostitution does not automatically violate human dignity,
the report also acknowledges prostitution is often physically
and psychologically dangerous. Furthermore, the report
states, it is appropriate to question whether many
prostitutes -- some of whom it notes are under duress -- have
actually made an informed and voluntary decision. The report
states a primary goal of the German Federal Government's
policy is to help persons working as prostitutes find a way

8. (U) According to the report, it is imperative for
government-funded support organizations -- along with federal
and state government policies on education and labor -- to
promote alternatives. The report states the risks connected
with prostitution are best countered by bringing prostitution
into the open. Banning prostitution, the report argues,
effectively drives the practice underground. Legalized
prostitution permits the government to have more control over
the conditions in which prostitution is practiced. The
report also states it is society's responsibility to address
the problematic effects of commercialized sex and to
sensitize clients to their responsibilities in the matter.

Report Card

9. (SBU) The report evaluates the success of the 2002
legislation in achieving its goals in the following areas:

-- Legal Recourse: Few prostitutes to date have made use of
a provision allowing them to sue clients. Nonetheless, the
report states, the legislative change should be considered a
success because it removed an injustice against prostitutes
and strengthened their legal position.

-- Employment Contracts: The 2002 legislation narrowed the
definition of the criminal promotion of prostitution (para 4)
to permit brothel owners to offer prostitutes employment
contracts and to make employer contributions to social
security and health insurance plans. The report found only
one percent of prostitutes interviewed had signed an
employment contract, primarily because the prostitutes did
not consider it a financially attractive option.

-- Social Benefits: While researchers did not have
sufficient statistical data to determine whether the number
of insured prostitutes increased since enactment of the law,
they did find that 87 percent of prostitutes interviewed have
health insurance. Most, however, receive health insurance as
a dependent on a family member's health plan or through
another job. While the legislation increased access to
social security benefits, in practice the option was rarely

-- Working Conditions: Although an expressed goal of the law
was to improve prostitutes' working conditions, the research
showed brothel owners had done little to do so. The report
recommends increasing penalties for apartment owners who
exploit prostitutes. (NOTE: A separate statute criminalizes
trafficking in persons. END NOTE.)

-- Employment Agencies: The report confirmed what German
government officials have told us -- the 2002 legislation has
not caused employment agencies to offer job seekers
employment as prostitutes. At the same time, the report
states, prostitutes who want to get out of prostitution can
use the placement services of government-run employment

BERLIN 00000390 003 OF 003

agencies to find alternative jobs (ref B).

-- Alternatives to Prostitution: The report notes a number
of government-funded counseling centers exist to help
prostitutes get out of prostitution, but recommends the
services be further expanded. The report calls on the
government to develop assistance models that can be used
nationwide. The report highlights "ProFridA," a two-year
project established in 2006 by the Lutheran Church and funded
by the state of North Rhine - Westphalia and the European
Social Fund that offers prostitutes three months of basic
training followed by sector-specific training and job
placement assistance. (NOTE: Family Ministry officials
continue to tell us the ministry has urged German states to
support projects to help prostitutes find alternate
employment. END NOTE.)

Law Enforcement Implications

10. (SBU) Although the 2002 legislation removed police
authority to use the statute criminalizing the promotion of
prostitution to conduct raids on commercial sex venues, the
report states, police continue to use other criminal and
legal-administrative violations to conduct surveillance and
raids. The majority of police questioned by researchers did
not report any negative effect of the 2002 penal code
amendments. The report suggested federal and state
governments develop additional administrative control
measures under the commercial code. (NOTE: Prosecutors and
police tell us the 2002 legislation has not had a significant
effect on their efforts against TIP. The key factor, they
say, is a significant police presence and sufficient
resources to conduct investigations. END NOTE.)

The Report's Recommendations

11. (U) The government will use the report to review how
government programs can better support those who want to get
out of prostitution. The report recommends the following

-- Develop a broader concept of regulating prostitution to
integrate anti-trafficking measures with efforts that protect
prostitutes from violence and exploitation. The report notes
government-sponsored legislation to criminalize the actions
of clients who knowingly engage the services of trafficking
victims is under consideration in the German Parliament.

-- Strengthen the penal code to increase the protection of
juveniles forced to work as prostitutes. Under current
criminal law, brothel owners, pimps, and others who promote
the prostitution of persons under the age of 18 can be
prosecuted for their actions, but clients who patronize
prostitutes who are younger than 18 (but older than 16 -- the
age of legal consent) cannot be prosecuted. The report notes
the government has submitted legislation to parliament that
would criminalize the actions of clients who patronize
prostitutes younger than 18 years of age.

-- Increase penalties for brothel owners and operators who
exploit prostitutes.

-- Amend the commercial code to enable municipal authorities
to use zoning laws and regulations to improve working
conditions for prostitutes. States should consider
legislation that would require brothels to show demonstrated
and sustained compliance with laws that prohibit trafficking
and exploitation of prostitutes, as well as regulations on
working conditions and benefits, in order to obtain licenses.

-- Continue overseeing employment agencies to ensure they do
not offer job seekers employment in the commercial sex


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>


Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>


Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>

80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>


Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC