On the internet sites they are described by customers from all around Europe as heaven where sex is easy and safe and where one can choose the body that he likes the most, and the “freshest” meat. The German brothels frequently appear also in the media as perfect companies with easy profits even for the women who want to sell their own body, safe from the health point of view and in compliance with the taxation system.
But there are those who do not think in the same way. Already in 2007 Germany has been reported by the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODC) as one of the destinations that are most frequently used by exploiters of victims of trafficking in human beings. In fact it seems that many come from Romania that is one of the main sources of “human goods” according to the UN.
Every year thousands of women and girls, some just 13 year old students, are primed with promises of jobs well paid or marriage to be instead sold to criminals who then lock them in brothels. In 2014 also spread the Manifesto of the German therapists on the trauma against prostitution on the initiative of a traumatologist, Dott.ssa Ingeborg Kraus, who exhausted herself to work and repair the damage of women raped in those closed brothels.
According to a former prostitute Marie Merklinger, inside the brothels you do not find satisfied escorts but rather women mistreated like animals in a cage. She also intervened several times in Italy in support of the draft law on the criminal responsibility of the customer. Her story is similar to so many other girls in Germany where prostitution is legalized. She however is German, and does not come from any of the Eastern countries as in the vast majority of cases, and has chosen to begin to prostitute herself at the age of 40 years – as a necessity thinking of being able to choose how to manage the market.
Did you start because you were unable to find a job?
“Yes, I tried to look for a job but I could not find one stable that allowed me to live well. Then I thought that there was still something that I had not yet done so, I simply connected on the network, stated the cost of my service, 30 euros, and the brothel where I work and its done. My first experience was with eight men. It was a trauma. I discovered immediately that this work could not match my sexuality but I only had to satisfy the fantasies of men. You have to deal with disgusting people and you must continue to deal with them while they abuse your body and you must also pretend to be their girlfriend. I was no longer myself, I could not recognize myself”.
But other women talk about earning a lot of money and to feel good …
“It is not the truth. Even today when I enter the brothels and I talk to the women who work there and even when they tell me that they did this as a free choice, then slowly in trust they open up and reveal the disgust that they feel. The truth is that in Germany the situation is out of control and even if the government insists on separating trafficking from prostitution, the two phenomena cannot be separated. The police can not easily enter the brothels. Most of the women come from countries which are very poor like Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Even a politician of those countries has declared ‘those women are animals and do not interest us'”.
But how is the daily life inside a brothel?
“Women live in the same rooms where they receive their customers. The room costs 150 euro per month plus 30 euro taxes. The performance ranges from 5 to 50 euro. We are forced to receive upto 60 people per day and we have to be honest: many customers also want the performance without protection. The new and inexperienced girls endanger their health and suffer to be able to pay for the room and for the taxes. For this they work from 12 to 14 hours”.
A German psychotherapist, Dr Michaela Huber, argues that ‘the alienation is necessary to get penetrate many times by strangers. But one leaves behind only an empty shell that can still make some gestures and movements”…
“Yes alienation makes you resist but in reality within yourself you feel bad for the abuses inflicted. You must submit to the pleasures of men and nothing else. You do not even have the force to leave because you enter in a kind of vortex. And you really risk going crazy. The problem is precisely that the customers have the image of yourself as an object. In order for the people to understand that women are treated like animals, I always relate the example of the advertising of the brothel of my city: ‘Sausage, beer, fuck: 50 euro'”.
How did you manage to get out of the circle?
“First I asked for help to the health service but they only gave me forms to fill out. Then I tried other services but they replied that it was strange that I wanted to exit from prostitution. Then my therapy was my rage. And I found an association that took care of me and the many other women. I was able to find support thanks to Solwodi, that in several European cities helps the victims of prostitution. And today together with other women from different European countries, I am part of the organization of the Space international that seeks to give voice and support to women that have survived the abuses of prostitution and I travel throughout Germany trying to help those who want to get out and also to promote everywhere the Nordic model which criminalizes the client who buys the body of woman”.