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Germany plans new law to protect prostitutes

The ruling coalition in Berlin has agreed on a new law to protect workers in Germany's sex industry. The planned regulation will include mandatory condoms and counseling for women engaged in prostitution.

Representatives of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), reached a compromise on Monday, a necessary step before the

new sex work law

can be discussed in the Bundestag.

"Finally, the prostitution industry will be regulated and finally something will be done for the protection of men and women active in the sex trade," a spokeswoman for the Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Ministry told journalists on Monday.

The proposed law could enter into force on July 1, 2017, said Marcus Weinberg, the CDU's spokesman for women's affairs. Lawmakers would now discuss transitional arrangements for prostitutes and brothels by the end of 2017, Weinberg added.

The new laws include guidelines for registration, health counseling, labor conditions and mandatory usage of condoms. Operators of brothels, trailers and escort services would also have to commit to a minimum number of personnel and standards on hygiene and security. The regulation would also prohibit practices and "offers often called 'flat-rate sex' or 'gang bangs.'"

The SPD and CDU agreed to draft a new law to protect sex workers during coalition talks in 2013. The older law, passed in 2002, had been criticized for indirectly promoting the forced sex trade.

mg/ng (AFP, dpa, KNA)

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