- Title: Hamburg sex workers demand Germany's brothels reopen
- Date: 12th July 2020
- Summary: PEOPLE GATHERED AT RED-LIGHT DISTRICT
- Embargoed: 26th July 2020 09:16
- Keywords: Germany Hamburg Heath brothels coronavirus outbreak prostitution red-light district
- Location: HAMBURG, GERMANY
- City: HAMBURG, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA003CMI6RT3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS PROFANE LANGUAGE
Prostitutes demonstrated in Hamburg's red light district late on Saturday evening (July 11) demanding that Germany's brothels be allowed to reopen after months of shutdown.
Sex workers say that, with shops, restaurants and bars all open again in Germany, they are being singled out for continued lockdown, deprived of their livelihood, despite not posing a greater health risk.
For one evening only, the Herbertstrasse, which has been dark since March, was flooded with red light, with sex workers standing behind brothel windows wearing theatrical masks. One protester in net stockings played folks songs on a violin.
"The oldest profession needs your help," read one notice held up by a sex worker in a brothel window in the street, round the corner from Hamburg's famous Reeperbahn nightlife spot.
Workers complain that the continued closure of the licenced brothels is forcing the profession back into illegality, leading some to ply their trade on the streets - a far more dangerous, and unhygienic, way of working.
"Prostitution does not carry a greater risk of infection than other close-to-body services, like massages, cosmetics or even dancing or contact sports," the organisers said in a statement. "Hygiene is part of the business in prostitution."
Prostitution is regulated and tolerated in Germany. Sex workers pay tax, and say they should benefit from the support made available to other small businesses that are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis. The Association of Sex Workers, who organised the protest, said brothels were well able to adopt the hygiene measures adopted by other industries, including wearing face masks, ventilating premises and recording visitors' contact details.
(Production: Fabian Bimmer, Elena Gyldenkerne)
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