I. General information about the Protection of Prostitutes Act
1. I've heard that there have been big changes as a result of a new law from 1 July 2017. Is that true?
It is. A new law has been in force since 1 July 2017. It is called the Prostituiertenschutzgesetz (Protection of Prostitutes Act), or ProstSchG for short.
Section 3 ProstSchG says that every person either working or intending to work as a prostitute has to register with a competent authority. The registration process will include information and counselling.
Anyone wanting to register will first have to receive health counselling from the Gesundheitsbehörde (public health authorities).
The law also requires the compulsory use of condoms (Section 32). A ban on advertising intercourse without condoms or for intercourse with expectant mothers is new as well.
The ProstSchG also introduces obligations for managers of establishments. Anyone wishing to open an establishment for the purpose of prostitution must register a business with the competent authority where the business has its registered address and obtain a permit from the competent authority (Section 12).
2. Does the ProstSchG apply everywhere in Germany?
The new law is a federal law. It applies everywhere in Germany. However, each German state can decide independently who is responsible for health counselling and registration. Enquire at your place of residence!
Here you will find all of the authorities that you can contact with regard to health counselling and registration
3. Who does the law apply to?
The law applies to anyone offering sexual services. This includes people who offer tantra massage, escort services, BDSM and other services. In addition, the law applies to people who are not paid money in return for sexual services, but instead receive material considerations, provided they use these services deliberately to secure or improve their livelihoods.It is also irrelevant whether the person offers sexual services on an occasional or regular basis. The law also applies regardless of whether the prostitution takes place in private lodgings or in an establishment specifically used for prostitution.
4. What does the Protection of Prostitutes Act mean for me as a prostitute?
If you currently work as a prostitute in Germany or intend to do so in future, you are required to register with the competent authority.
You need to attend health counselling before you can register.
The law requires you to use a condom during intercourse. Advertising intercourse without a condom is now banned.
If you work as a prostitute, you may also be required to apply for a business permit, for instance if you work in one apartment together with several other colleagues.
5. What does the registration and health counselling cost?
You are not required to pay for registration and health counselling in Baden-Württemberg. But this may be different in other German states.
6. What happens if I do not register?
An infringement of this requirement is an administrative offence and you can be fined up to €1,000.
7. Can I be refused registration?
Yes, if you are under
- if you are under 21 and were caused by others to start or continue working as a prostitute,
- if you are in a predicament and your helplessness is abused in order to keep you working as a prostitute or to exploit you, or
- if you are pregnant and will give birth in the next six weeks.
8. What is the procedure for registration and health counselling? What can I ask?
The staff at the authorities will treat you with respect and trust, as they would do for all other citizens. Talk to them and ask them anything you are unsure about.
You will be given the certificate that you have received health counselling immediately, the certificate of registration, after no more than five days.
Do contact a special counselling centre for prostitutes if there is anything you feel unsure about or if you have questions. You will receive anonymous advice there.
More information on what an advisory centre is in FAQ VI.6 and VI.7
Here you will find a list of addresses and telephone numbers of advisory centres in Baden-Württemberg