German Brothel Operator Files Lawsuit over Coronavirus Restrictions

BERLIN - MARCH 14: A neon sign announces that the Redlight Bar brothel is open for business March 14, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. Sex workers across Germany are anticipating booming business in June as soccer fans from around the world will descend upon the country for the World Cup. (Photo …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Brothel operators in Saarland have launched a lawsuit aimed at the major restrictions on their businesses put in place by the German government’s Wuhan coronavirus lockdown.

The brothel owners argue that the government prohibition on prostitution and sex work facilities is not justified as it conflicts with freedom of professional activity. They argued that hairdressers, nail salons, and massage parlours have all been allowed to resume business.

The owners claim that they have developed their own procedures to ensure proper hygiene within the brothels just as other businesses have developed similar measures in order to stop the spread of the Chinese virus, Bild reported on Wednesday.

Germany is one of the countries in Europe where prostitution is legalised either fully or partially.

In Switzerland, where sex work is also legal, prostitutes face the same issues, and the national association of counselling centres for sex workers has demanded they be allowed to resume work on June 8th.

The association has also come up with guidelines for prostitutes, including sexual positions deemed to minimise the risk of spreading the virus in which the two people engaging in sex have their faces as far apart as possible. The body suggests the “doggy” position would minimalise the likelihood of transmission between client and employee.

Rooms in Swiss brothels would also be ventilated for up to 15 minutes or more after each customer and bed linens would be washed after every customer, as well. Brothels have also offered to log customer contact data for up to four weeks to track clients in case of an outbreak.

Last month while France was in the middle of its severe lockdown measures, associations representing prostitutes demanded Emmanuel Macron’s government give prostitutes emergency government aid.

“An emergency fund must be created to provide a replacement income during confinement,” the Red Umbrella Federation said.

“In the short term, some of the poorest sex workers will find themselves forced to defy confinement, not with a gaiety of heart, but as a lack of means of subsistence because it is a question of survival,” they added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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