By Ronja Pilgaard and Amal Guerdali
Along the border between France and Germany thousands of women make a living selling their bodies to French sex tourists. Since France introduced new legislation to criminalize the sex buyer in December 2013, German border cities have seen a rise in sex tourism.
Unlike France, the sex industry is fully legalised in Germany, making the cities on the border an easy getaway for French men, on the lookout for “local hot women”, as many of the sex ads say.
Increase in Street Prostitution
Many cities along the 451 km French/German frontier are taking new steps to solve the problem. Recently the town of Saarbrücken has reduced the area in which street solicitation is legal in an effort to combat rising demand from neighboring France.
“We have already seen a market increased in the level of street prostitution in the town,” says Lord Mayor Charlotta Britz to thelocal.de, estimating total numbers at 1,000 in the city of 180,000.
And the very different legislations in the two countries put pressure on Germany:
“It is a huge problem. We have a silly situation with contradictory models in handling prostitution. One country punishes the buyer, and another one has a fully legalized sex industry” says Chantel Louis, journalist at the German feminist magazine Emma. She believes that the problem about border sex tourism can only be solved, when Germany follows suit and introduces a ban of their own.
And there is no shortage of demand in the border cities.
A local entrepreneur, Michael Beretin, announced the construction of a major brothel, one of the biggest in Europe, in the wake of the French ban citing that the proximity to France and the recent law would create an influx in French customers. The brothel is expected to employ 90 full time prostitutes.
Mr. Beretin already owns one brothel where 65 percent of the customers are French.
In Germany there are currently between 200.000-400.000 prostitutes. Many of the sex workers are working in the border areas and larger cities with many tourists. The revenue of the German sex industry is more than 14,5 billion Euros a year.