Sex Work and Human Rights

German Talk Show discusses Abolition of Sex Work

On March 13th, German TV station ARD aired the programme “Cheap Sex or High-Class Brothel: Abolish Prostitution“, a talk show hosted by Sandra Maischberger. The guests were Alice Schwarzer, founder and publisher of the German feminist journal EMMA, the sex worker Kyra Kim, Sabine Constabel, social worker and prostitution-opponent, Volker Beck (MP in the Bundestag for the Green Party), Jürgen Rudloff, entrepreneur and owner of a new type of wellness club facilitating sexual encounters, and as a surprise guest, Ms Maischberger presented Regina Braun, a woman whose husband had confessed to having visited prostitutes.

In the aftermath of the programme and Alice Schwarzer’s sarcastically titled article “About the fortune to be a prostitute”, hot debates developed on the official website and the Facebook page of the EMMA journal. On the Facebook page, comments by sex workers and dissenters were simply deleted, although they were polite and matter-of-factly and invited to a dialogue. Contrary to expectations, my own comments were published, even though I argued in favour of the decriminalisation of sex work for safety reasons.

The article and the subsequent discussion among readers demonstrated that many of them weren’t interested in facts. For Volker Beck from the German Green Party who presented facts and who was constantly interrupted by Alice Schwarzer, a reader suggested to get his ears boxed, and to empty a bucket of cow shit onto the false sense of decency. Others repeated over and over again that they felt prostitution was immoral, but failed to respond to questions over the reduced safety of sex workers in countries that outlaw any or all aspects of prostitution.

One single reader stated that, while s/he himself was against prostitution on principle, only further information and debate could help to decide what could and should be done. For my contribution to the debate, s/he thanked me and sent best wishes for my research. I would like to this brief summary with the words of the writer and declared skeptic Dan Gardner: “You don’t have to agree. You do have to read.”

Please note: You can still access the discussion threads by following the respective hyperlinks. [German only]

One response

  1. Pingback: Sex, Lies and Abolitionists « Research Project Korea

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