Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers. ...

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer. ...

Employers in the sex industry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into force this month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can be sued. ...

Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a brothel in Goerlitz, in former East Germany, but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement for 12 prostitutes, saying it would be impossible to find them. Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of demand for a brothel in the area and planned to take a claim for compensation to the highest court.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime.
It's just a logical extension of the doctrine of government having a monopoly of the provision of force. Now it wants a monopoly of the provision of pleasure too. Of course, this will undergo a slight variation when this clever new means of ensuring full employment is imported to this country. The "sex workers" will first have to give lectures about abstinence.

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