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Prostitution is legal and regulated in Germany. In 2002, the government changed the law in an effort to improve the legal situation of prostitutes.
Prostitution is legal in Germany. Prostitutes may work as regular employees with contract, though the vast majority work independently Brothels are registered businesses that need a special brothel licence ;if food and alcoholic drinks are offered, the standard restaurant licence is also required.
Prostitutes have to pay income taxes and have to charge VAT for their services, to be paid to the tax office. In practice, prostitution is a cash business and taxes are not always paid, though enforcement has recently been strengthened. The Länder North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden Württemberg and Berlin have initiated a system where prostitutes have to pay their taxes in advance, a set amount per day, to be collected and paid to tax authorities by the brothel owners. North Rhine-Westphalia charges 25 euros per day per prostitute, while Berlin charges 30 euros. In May 2007 authorities were considering plans for a uniform country-wide system charging 25 euros per day.
Until 2002, prostitutes and brothels were technically not allowed to advertise, but that prohibition was not enforced. The Bundesgerichtshof ruled in July 2006 that, as a consequence of the new prostitution law, advertising of sexual services is no longer illegal. Before the law and still now, many newspapers carry daily ads for brothels and for women working out of apartments. Many prostitutes and brothels have websites on the Internet. In addition, sex shops and newsstands sell magazines specialising in advertisements of prostitutes (“Happy Weekend”, “St Pauli Nachrichten”, “Sexy” and many more).
Foreign women from European Union countries are allowed to work as prostitutes in Germany. Women from other countries can obtain three-month tourist visas for Germany. If they work in prostitution, it is illegal, because the tourist visa does not include a work permit.
Pimping, (Zuhälterei = exploiting and/or controlling a sex worker) admitting prostitutes under the age of eighteen to a brothel, and influencing persons under the age of twenty-one to take up or continue work in prostitution, are illegal. It is also illegal to contract sex services from any person younger than 18, per Article 182 (paragraph 2) of the Criminal Code. (Before 2008 this age limit was 16.) This law also applies to Germans traveling abroad, to combat child prostitution occurring in the context of sex tourism.
Annual health checks for prostitutes are mandated by law in Germany. Previously, in Bavaria (Bayern), law mandates the use of condoms for sexual intercourse with prostitutes, including oral contact. In 2017 this was extended to the whole of Germany.
Legal status of prostitution across Europe
GREEN Prostitution legal and regulated
BLUE Prostitution (the exchange of sex for money) legal, but organized activities such as brothels and pimping are illegal; prostitution is not regulated ORANGE Illegal to buy sex, legal to sell sex
DARK RED Illegal to buy sex, illegal to sell sex
Legal status of prostitution in North America
GREEN Prostitution legal and regulated
BLUE Prostitution (the exchange of sex for money) legal, but brothels are illegal; prostitution is not regulated
ORANGE Illegal to buy sex, legal to sell sex
DARK RED Prostitution illegal
Legal status of prostitution across Asia
GREEN Prostitution legal and regulated and porn
BLUE Prostitution (the exchange of sex for money) legal, but organized activities such as brothels and pimping are illegal; prostitution is not regulated DARK RED Prostitution illegal