Prostitution is one of the oldest forms of sexual exploitation of girls and women by the patriarchy and thus expresses the fundamental imbalance between the sexes. Prostitution reinforces a traditional gender hierarchy and suggests a permanent sexual availability of women. Prostitution violates human rights and is therefore inhuman.
Well-founded data regarding to the actual extend of prostitution in Germany does not exist. We only have estimates. The counselling centre Hydra e.V. provides a frequently quoted estimate of 400.000 women working as prostitutes. It is estimated that the majority of prostitutes has a migrant background (TAMPEP). According to information by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs only very few of the prostitutes have an employment contract or are covered by social security.
The reasons why women feel compelled to prostitute themselves are divergent and often complex. Economic distress and the lack of alternative sources of income can have great relevance for women to prostitute themselves. Educational disadvantage, a precarious residence status, liabilities, drug consumption, emotional dependencies can also play a decisive role.
The same factors determine that women are not able to defend themselves against exploitive working conditions or risky practices such as unprotected sex. Many prostitutes end up in a vicious circle. Only very few women prostitute themselves self-determined and with economic success.
Compared with the total female population in Germany prostitutes are much more affected by violence. According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairswomen working in prostitution experience more violence in their professional and private life and suffer from more serious forms of violence.
TERRE DES FEMMES demands a change of perspectives. The public debate and the political decision making process should focus on combating the root-causes of prostitution and not on the regulation of prostitution.
We demand a legal framework that prohibits buying sex and besides this measures to protect women in prostitution. Beyond prohibiting prostitution and fighting its root-causes TERRE DES FEMMES wants to react on the social reality of prostitutes. We demand a series of urgent measures such as the introduction of minimum standards for working conditions and security (e.g. the abolition of the Sperrgebietsverordnung).