VI. Important information for you as a prostitute in Germany
Prostitution is a paid sexual service between adults that is predicated on voluntary participation by the parties offering and receiving the service. Put simply: Prostitution is sex for (usually) money and always voluntary. It is a criminal offence if someone is forcing you to work as a prostitute against your will. You can report the person coercing you into prostitution to the police. Nothing will happen to you, as prostitution is legal.
Prostitution is often described as sex work. It is an important term. Its purpose is to make clear that sex for money is work. The term 'sex worker' is now used internationally to describe a prostitute. It is of no concern whether the person is a man, a woman or transgender.
Prostitution is legal in Germany; therefore, you can legally work as a prostitute in Germany. Usually you will be self-employed.
Prostitution is legal in Germany. But the law does impose some restrictions. For instance, most cities have what is known as a 'Sperrbezirksverordnung' (a by-law stipulating where prostitution is permitted). It tells you where you are allowed to work and where you must not. Usually it is forbidden in the city centres or next to schools and churches. Prostitution may be banned entirely in some small towns in Baden-Württemberg with a population of less than 35,000 inhabitants. There may also be areas in which you may only work at certain times, especially if you work the streets. Contact the Ordnungsamt (Office of Public Order) or ask your colleagues if you are unsure. You can also ask in a counselling centre. You can do all of this anonymously – you do not have to give your real name. You will be required to pay a fine if you are caught working in an area where it is forbidden.
You have rights and obligations as a self-employed person working as a prostitute. They apply to all self-employed work in Germany. For instance, they mean that you must register with the tax office and pay taxes, depending on what you earn. Some states in Germany require you to pay a flat rate tax per working day. Always remember: to make sure you declare your taxes correctly, you must receive a receipt for everything (room rental, flat rate tax and work materials such as condoms, etc.). You need them for your tax declaration.
Receipts help you prove what work services you have actually provided as a prostitute. You also require health insurance to work in Germany. You can sign up for the voluntary scheme for self-employed persons with the statutory health insurance providers.
An authority or an office is a government institution that handles tasks for the management of the state. They also provide services to citizens.
Independent counselling centres do not belong to the public administration system. A trustworthy and good counselling centre will always advise you anonymously. It will also not disclose any of your data to public authorities, for instance the Gesundheitsamt (Public Health Office) or the police.
There are counselling centres in all large cities that you can get in touch with via email or telephone. You can also arrange an appointment in person and obtain free advice there on subjects such as health, the law, violence or leaving the profession, and can do so on an anonymous basis. The counselling centres employ social workers who are on hand to assist you with any queries you may have.
You can also contact your local Federal Employment Agency branch (Agentur für Arbeit) and/or Job Centre in your city. Here you will find lots of offers and information regarding training, studying, further education and other job opportunities, or even language and integration courses. Working in the prostitution industry, you wiil have paid taxes and will therefore have acquired employee status, which is key to being able to draw benefits. You can provide proof of this status by way of your tax statement issued by the tax office.