"What the Girls Do for 30 Euros is Up to Them"
Prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002, and the country’s highly visible sex trade has expanded massively in the 13 years since. There are approximately 3,000 red-light establishments in the country, and 500 brothels in Berlin alone. It is estimated that more than 1 million men buy sex in Germany every day.
In March I visited Caesars World, a large "Laufhaus" (walk-in brothel) with around 30 rooms over four floors. The following is an abridged transcript of an interview with the owner:
Julie Bindel: How long have you owned Caesars World?
Munich Pimp: 30 years. This brothel is the oldest.
JB: So if someone were to say you are a pimp what would you say to them?
MP: I’m not a pimp. I have a business, and I pay one million Euros in a year in tax. I’m saying I’m the owner of the house - this building is my own and all these years I’ve been running a business, a real business and nothing more.
JB: How many clients come here every day?
MP: We don’t know
JB: How many rooms?
MP: 35 here, and in the other house, 44.
JB: Big. But not the biggest?
MP: These are the biggest houses in Munich. We have altogether 75-80 girls. All the girls can do what they want.
JB: Do the women live here? Or do they come every evening?
MP: Not anymore. Can come here- can take the key- you want to go you can go -can go home – you must pay the pre rent for the room.
JB: Do you have house rules such as having to use condoms?
MP: Yes. Condoms. No drugs, and no alcohol in the rooms. Same like school for the rules. No drugs, no alcohol, no boyfriends from the girls. No pimps in the house. If we see them we send them home.
JB: If you see pimps hanging around you send them home?
JB: How much is the rent for the girls?
MP: 165 Euros for 24 hours. They can work 24 hours.
JB: Do the clients pay you to come in?
MP: No. They only pay the girls. The minimum price is 30 Euros. What the girls do for 30 Euros is up to them.
JB: So you need more than 5 buyers [punters] before they even paid off their rent? And what about security?
MP: In the other house, but not this one, we have a security button. When the girl touches the button then we have a display – ‘room 21, alarm’, like this – security comes, and knocks on the door. If the girl doesn’t respond, we go into the room. When the girls have a problem, the other girls can hear it and make a sign on the camera.
JB: I see. They have to come out of their rooms to make a sign.
MP: Yes. 24 hours a day, you see all of the corridors. We have never had problems with violence here. And no boyfriends [pimps] are allowed in. If I catch them they are banned and if a girl lets him in she’s also banned. If they leave here because they get chucked out they can go to a house that will accept pimps.
JB: So there are actual brothels that will accept pimps?
MP: The vice squad come here 2 or 3 times a month and they talk to the women in the rooms. I can forward the vice people’s number and you can talk to them.
JB: So the women position themselves on chairs outside of their rooms a bit like the system of the Amsterdam brothels, except that they’re not behind a window?
MP: Yes. The men walk through the corridors and choose.
It’s like a hotel here. The girls get in, pick up the room keys, and go to the rooms. We can’t supervise what they do.
The women have health checks and have to bring condoms. These days we have condoms we give to the women. We keep telling them they must use condoms.
Julie's note: An article I wrote for the Guardian newspaper in 2006 about the sex trade in Germany clearly shows that legalisation increases trafficking and other forms of abuse, and increases numbers of sex establishments and therefore the numbers of women required to be prostituted within them.