Sex Work and Human Rights


Pinned Post: Copyright Notice

“Receiving credit for an image we created is a given, not compensation, and credit is not a substitute for payment.” – Tony Wu, Photographer

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Credit is also not a substitute for asking for permission to use an image. Unfortunately, there have been several cases of photos from this or my other blogs being used elsewhere without my express permission and at times without respecting the Creative Commons License. Unless credited otherwise, all photos on this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Any use, in particular any commercial use, requires my prior permission. The use of Yeoni Kim’s photos on this blog is prohibited. If you wish to use them, please contact me to facilitate communication with her.

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Black is the new Red*

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:

Subject of dispute: Brothel in Dachau (Photo: dpa)

Subject of dispute: Brothel in Dachau (Photo: dpa)

The below is a summary of anarticle by Benjamin Emontsthat appeared in German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, provided here as an update to the previous postCities lose legal battles against prostitution businesses. (*Black is the customary colour of Germany’s two main conservative parties, the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union.)

Conservatives involved in construction of brothel in Dachau

For several months, questions were raised over the construction of a nudist club (FKK-Club) in East Dachau, Bavaria, which will include rooms where sex workers can offer sexual services. It has now come to light that local Conservative politicians and elected representatives from the Christian Social Union (CSU) are in fact involved in its construction: developer and acting city councillor Wolfgang Moll; electrician and previous city councillor Helmut Erhorn; and architect and CSU candidate for the city council…

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Guest Post: “The Talking Whore”

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:

Reflections about Sex Work, Solidarity and Political Efficacy

After the Conference “Fantasies That Matter – Images of Sex Work in Media and Art”

I am a sex worker from Berlin and for the last two years, I’ve been an active participant in the sex workers’ rights movement. Fighting against the tightening of Germany’s prostitution legislation, which thankfully was relatively liberal so far, is crucial for me. On the weekend from August 8-10, I attended the conference “Fantasies That Matter – Images of Sex Work in Media and Art”, part of the International Summer Festival at Kampnagel in Hamburg.

As a sex worker activist, I am particularly concerned with and unhappy about the presence and lopsidedness of the prostitution myths, which are reproduced by the media. Ever since I began to engage in political work, I realised that the methodical dissemination of horror scenarios about sexual services is the main…

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Cities lose legal battles against prostitution businesses

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:

1537 Braunschweiger Monogrammist BordellszeneBrothel scene (1537 Brunswick Monogrammist, Source: Gemäldegalerie Berlin)

While sex workers protestsagainst the planned adoption of a new prostitution lawclaiming to protect them, two legal cases highlight continued attempts of municipal governments to ignore existing prostitution legislation, more than ten years after its introduction.

An administrative court in Minden in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has issued a verdict against the use of prostitution-free zones, mirroring a decision in 2013by an administrative court in the state of Hesse, while an administrative court in Dachau in the state of Bavaria ruled against objections by the city’s public construction authority, which had attempted to bar two operators from running a fetish studio and a wellness centre, the latter of which will include five rooms where sex workers can offer sexual services.

As regional daily Neue Westfälischereports, various municipalities in Ostwestfalen-Lippe, a region in…

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A law to protect society from an imaginary evil

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:


“It’s not my occupation that’s the problem but your bourgeois morality.“

Sex worker on International Whores’ Day in Berlin. Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved. This photo was taken upon request by Hydra e.V. and published with permission of the person depicted therein.

About this text

The below is a translation of a key issues paper for a law claiming to “protect prostitutes”, which would apparently function as a supplementary law to the German Prostitution Act of 2002 (ProstG). Translation by Matthias Lehmann. Research Project Germany. Every effort has been made to translate the complex legal language in such a way, that the translation remained virtually verbatim while also being intelligible. All footnotes are author’s notes. Where a verbatim translation proved difficult, the German original is provided as footnote. Squared parentheses in the text and further footnotes include additional clarifications and comments.

Click here to download the original version…

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“Moralising Law”: Reform Proposals for the German Prostitution Act

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:

Sex workers protest in front of German parliament in June 2013. Source: BesD

Sex workers protest in front of German parliament in June 2013. Source: BesD

Interview with Fabienne Freymadl, Political Spokeswomen for the Professional Organisation for Erotic and Sexual Services (Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen, BesD)

In an effort to curb “forced prostitution”*, the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Social Democrats has agreed on basic principles to reform the German Prostitution Act of 2002. In an interviewby Barbara Dribbusch for German daily die tageszeitung, Fabienne Freymadl, political spokeswoman for sex worker organisationBesD, warns against a moralising law and explains why the reforms will harm sex workers* and fail to accomplish their alleged goal.

Please note that the copyright for this interview lies with and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Ban on Flat Rate Sex and Gang Bang Parties

In the future, sex workers will have to register with the authorities, the owners of brothels…

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Journalists’ Ongoing Human Trafficking Problem

Originally posted on Feminist Ire:

Guest post by Matthias Lehmann

More often than not, advocacy for sex workers’ rights and the acceptance of sex work as work puts one at odds with members of that part of the anti-human trafficking movement that rejects these ideas, considers prostitution as inherently harmful, and brands anyone disagreeing with them as a member of some imaginary pimp lobby. Another group one finds oneself at odds with are journalists who report about – and, like the former, conflate – human trafficking and prostitution, as their articles frequently include false, inaccurate or misrepresented information.

Chimpanzee Typing - Image by New York Zoological Society (1907)

As sex workers and their allies will confirm, one could easily spend all day writing rebuttals to counter the influence on public opinion of the many sensationalist reports, but one has to pick and choose. The following is a response to Kyla Ryan’s article “Cambodia’s Ongoing Human Trafficking Problem” in The Diplomat. Before I start, however, I…

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Fantasies That Matter

Matthias Lehmann:

Impressions, tweets, and articles by sex workers about the ‘Fantasies That Matter’ conference in Hamburg about images of sex work in media and art.

Originally posted on Research Project Germany:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About this slideshow

These photos are impressions from theFantasies That Matter: Images of Sex Work in Media and Artconference, which took place August 8-10, 2014 at Kampnagel in Hamburg. Due to concerns for sex workers’ privacy and anonymity on the one hand and the low light settings in the auditorium on the other, the above are mostly images of the “headliners” of the event. By no means does this represent an attempt to deliberately exclude any of the sex workers who spoke during the conference.

Please take particular notice of the image containing sex workers’ feedback to the organisers and instructions for people aiming to support sex workers. Please continue reading the articles by current and former sex workers quoted below and check Twitter for tweets using the hashtag #fantasiesthatmatter which include quotes from the speakers and thoughts from sex workers and others in the audience.

Articles by…

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