German prostitutes are mad as hell at being sidelined by COVID-19 — and they’re not going to take it anymore.
“Politicians treated us shabbily during the coronavirus times. They deliberately overlooked us. Nobody cares what’s going on with us prostitutes! But we are at least as ‘system-relevant’ as hairdressers,” Stephanie Klee, 58, founder of the Federal Association of Sex Services told Deutsche Welle.
“Many [prostitutes] didn’t know how they were going to fill their fridge the next day. They had no savings and had to borrow money.”
German officials banned sex work in all German states on March 16. Brothels, red-light districts and “sauna clubs” were closed — at least, officially. Though the country is slowly rolling back the bans in certain states, prostitutes have taken matters into their own hands
While many eastern European women working at Europe’s largest brothel, Pascha in Cologne, went home, other prostitutes adapted to the crisis by working underground and online — illegally, sometimes sans protection.
Klee told DW that she met with colleagues at a brothel, one of many in Germany facing bankruptcy, a few weeks ago to figure out how sex work could continue despite the pandemic. She reported that the brothel phone was ringing off the hook and there were constant knocks at the door.
Klee said she is confident that German prostitutes will be able to work despite the threat of COVID-19, social distancing and mask requirements.
“We will have to be more creative and remember sexual practices that we have previously repressed or forgotten. Less mechanical,” she said.