How long will Germany remain Europe's "brothel"? The answer is very simple, but German politicians and news hounds will not like it.
In Germany, prostitution has been legalized since 2002, but calls to criminalize it can be heard frequenty.
Deutsche Welle (DW) wrote on the subject in the article "Will Germany remain the brothel of "Europe?" The newspaper quotes Bundestag deputy from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Leni Breymaier, who is outraged by the fact that brothels that have been closed for a year receive state assistance during the pandemic.
"The state must not support brothels in which women are forced into prostitution by giving taxpayer money to criminals," she said.
This and other critical statements made by the politician have led to about 20 lawsuits from as many as 50 brothel owners from all over Germany.
Breymaier, who considers voluntary prostitution something unreal, is a champion of the so-called northern model of its criminalization in Scandinavian countries, where it is clients, but not prostitutes, who can be brought to criminal account.
In 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution recommending that member states implement the Scandinavian model.
Sweden was the first to have implemented it 20 years ago while Norway, Iceland, Finland, England, France and Italy followed its example. Similar laws on prostitution are in effect in Canada and Israel.
Prostitution enjoys strong lobby in Germany
"The more countries decide (to implement this model), the stronger the pressure on Germany will be," said the SPD politician.
In Germany, a law has been in effect since 2017 to "improve working conditions" for women involved in this "profession." There are about 40,000 of them according to official reports, although the actual number ranges from 200,000 to one million, DW points out.
This is due to the fact that Germany allows Eros Centers, where "women of the night" can rent their own rooms for the day and there is no "madam" involved. Therefore, many supporters of sex for money in Germany believe that legalizing this "business" is of little use as long as the majority of prostitutes continue working illegally.
So far, no party represented in the Bundestag has included a ban on the purchase of sexual services in its program, DW states.
"Prostitution and sex industry has a strong and vocal lobby," Breymaier said.
A number of organizations also oppose the criminalization of prostitution in the country:
Those organisations believe that such a move will only harm women in the "industry."
"There are women who work and make money as prostitutes at their own discretion. Instead of criminalizing sexual services, one should take measures to improve working and living conditions of women involved in this profession," organisations said in a joint statement.
There are about 45,000 US troops stationed in Germany. One of the largest red-light districts in the world used to be located near the now closed Rhein-Main airbase. Brothels near US bases in Baumholder and Kaiserslautern do not complain either.
As long as the US army stays in Germany, state assistance to prostitution will be guaranteed. After all, Germany needs to try hard to help its allies relieve their sexual tension not to provoke acts of unsatisfied aggression.
On the other hand, US media will continue making references to historical promiscuity of the Germans, and how the Nazi party decided during the 1920s that there was a place for brothels in the society, they just had to be under their control. One can already come across materials like that on The Culture Trip, for example.
Germany is not alone in its experience. The Philippines, South Korea, Colombia and many other countries, where US army bases are located, can be referred to as "brothely" countries.
The "Scandinavian model" will go down in history as soon as Sweden and Finland join NATO and station the American contingent on their territories. Norway may wish to expand the presence of American soldiers. For the time being, it goes about only 700 rotational marines. Those countries may also invent a cover for prostitution, like Japan did, where prostitution is illegal, but there is the "cult of geisha".
It just so happens that high morality does not exist in places, where US soldiers stay.