Sex Work and Human Rights

“I thought it was all different!”

Film stills from a symposium about the German Prostitution Act at the Urania Berlin on December 9th, 2013. The event was organised by Felicitas Schirow who had invited experts from the fields of justice, criminology, social work, sociology, and social sciences, as well as an expert from the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) and two women’s rights spokeswomen from the Left (Party) and the Greens (see below). A video and an English translation of my presentation are in preparation.

For the German version, please click here.
Für die deutsche Version bitte hier klicken.
All images © Andrew Levine

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Felicitas Schirow | Since 1997 Owner of the brothel “Cafe Pssst!” in Berlin Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. The decision by the Berlin Administrative Court on December 1st, 2000, to declare the withdrawal of her pub license as unlawful is widely seen as precedent that triggered the adoption of the Prostitution Act of 2002.


Percy MacLean | Chief judge at the Berlin Administrative Court (ret.), former director of the German Institute for Human Rights, recipient of the 2004 Carl von Ossietzky Medal by the International League for Human Rights (ILHR) which honours citizens or initiatives that promote basic human rights

Heike Rudat | Director of the unit dealing with organised crime at the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA)

Prof. Dr. emer. Monika Frommel | Criminologist, former director of the institute of sanction law and criminology at the University of Kiel

Ilona Hengst | Social worker with 25 years of experience working with sex workers, previously held positions at several district offices in Berlin

Gesine Agena | Spokeswoman for women’s rights and member of the federal board of the German Greens

Evrim Sommer | Spokeswoman for women’s rights and member of the Berlin parliament for the Left Party (Linkspartei)

Christiane Howe | Sociologist at the Institute for Social Studies at Humboldt University Berlin

Matthias Lehmann | Researcher, prospective PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Queens University Belfast

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