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Offering and accepting money for sex is legal in Germany, just like it is here in the UK. But contrary to the UK, the Germans have also legalised and regulated all other aspects of the sex industry. Running a brothel, soliciting sex in public places — it's all A-OK, as far as the law is concerned.
Pimping, forced prostitution or prostitution of minors, of course, isn't. Sadly, despite all that regulation, human trafficking and forced prostitution are still rampant in Germany. Many sex workers in Germany work from brothels — sometimes in enormous fuck factories like Pascha in Cologne. Pascha holds rooms on 11 floors , and receives around customers a day.
But in most brothels, sex workers just rent a room for a bit less than that and work for themselves, theoretically setting their own rates and choosing what they will and won't do. The brothel makes money from renting out the rooms only. Leo, 43, runs a brothel like that , but wouldn't tell me what his tenants pay for the rooms. When I ask how much he makes, he tells me he saves that answer for the taxman, his bank and his accountant.
During the week, about 10 women work in this brothel, up to 15 women on the weekends. What the women do, with whom and how often is their business. VICE: Why did you become a brothel keeper? Couldn't you do anything else? Leo: I was trained as a mechanic, but I soon realised that it got my hands dirty and I'd never make the kind of cash I wanted — even with overtime. I studied Business Management too, though that was 20 years ago. My friends and I decided to open a brothel when we heard it would mean a lot of money for very little work.
That wasn't exactly true — just having a nice car and a gym subscription doesn't make you a brothel owner. My two friends left our venture, but I'm still here.