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German sex workers idled by the coronavirus pandemic let their positions be known – by simulating intercourse on an outdoor bed to demand the reopening of brothels, according to reports.
A fully clothed couple – dutifully wearing masks and with sanitizer on hand — was photographed in a faux romp outside Dusseldorf’s state Parliament with signs reading “Red light on” and “Sex work is real work,” the Daily Star reported.
Sex work, which is legal but regulated in Germany, was banned in March in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the news outlet.
Many of the workers have been struggling financially, particularly migrants who are not entitled to unemployment benefits, Metro reported.
“We are simply demanding that the regional government listens to us, that’s why we’re here, so that they see that we’re just normal people,” sex worker Nadine Kopp said, according to the outlet.
“We have set up a completely normal business and now we are afraid for our existence and our identity. Article 12 enshrines the right to free choice of occupation. And this is the right we are exercising and demanding,” she said.
The unemployed sex workers argued that brothels could easily incorporate safety measures adopted by other industries, including the use of face masks, ventilation and recording visitors’ contact information.
Authorities in other German states, including Berlin, Bavaria and Thuringia, have allowed brothels to resume operation under safety guidelines.
“At the moment I am getting unemployment benefit and I have some savings. Sometimes we get donations but apart from that, nothing, zero,” Kopp said.
“For migrants it’s even worse because they’re not registered here, but they still pay taxes and they’re not getting anything at all. It’s not right to treat people like that,” she added.
In Berlin, brothel customers must wear masks, fill out forms with their contact information and are limited to getting erotic massages, according to the Daily Star.
“I prefer the sexual service, my clients do too,” sex worker Jana, 49, told The Local. “When you’ve been doing the job for 20 years and you have your regulars…you can choose who you take.
“If you don’t like him, you send him back through the door. I’m not afraid at all – I’m just happy. Finally!”
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