Germany is considering a ban on buying sex as some politicians are concerned the country is becoming the "brothel of Europe".
Prostitution was legalised in Germany back in 2002, although the practise remains somewhat regulated on a local level.
Those now looking to outlaw it again argue the law has not succeeded in its aim of improving conditions for sex workers. In 2007 the German government issued a report on the law's impact and found work conditions had improved for only 35% of sex workers.
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Today, some German politicians say most of the country's 250,000 sex workers have still not, in practice, seen an uptick in employment rights and conditions.
According to Dorothee Bär, the deputy leader of the parliamentary group for Germany's two main Christian Democratic parties, lots of the country's sex workers are from abroad and do not have documents. This is said to put them at risk of exploitation.
Bär told German news outlet Bild: "There can be no real equality as long as we accept that hundreds of thousands of women are treated like slaves. It is an offence against human dignity that we urgently need to end.
"Germany has become the brothel of Europe. The women are mistreated in the worst possible way by their clients and pimps."
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German chancellor Olaf Scholz, a member of the centre-left SPD, has also called for a crackdown. He said: "I find it unacceptable when men buy women. This is something that has always morally outraged me."
Scholz went on to call for a "discussion on how to address the purchase of sex", adding "everything must be done to combat it". And he has support from other parties.
Germany's opposition party, the centre-right CDU, wants to adopt the so-called Nordic model where people can be prosecuted for buying sex, but sex workers themselves do not face prosecution.
Despite Scholz's statements and the calls from the CDU, some within government have tempered hopes for change. Lisa Paus, Germany’s women’s minister and a Green Party member, said there are no immediate plans to amend the current rules. She added that the Prostitutes Protection Act of 2017 is currently under evaluation until 2025.
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