With an eye on the well-being of prostitutes, Germany's Greens want to exclude brothels from a planned law penalizing businesses failing to offer sufficient traineeships. But their noble intentions have been dashed.
The Greens fear the new law will make it harder for prostitutes to be socially insured.
True to their party's social-conscious credentials, a few Green parliamentarians last week insisted that the country's prostitutes would be adversely affected by a law that will penalize businesses that fail to offer sufficient traineeships. They demanded that brothels thus be excluded from the legislation, which is designed to create more job training for young people.
Since the fines will apply to companies that are required to provide social security cover for employees, the Greens fear that businesses operating in the red light area would feel even less compelled to register prostitutes for social insurance.
But after much debate, the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens agreed that brothel owners should be forced to pay up if they fail to offer sufficient traineeships for waiters or sales employees. There was no explicit mention of prostitutes.
The Federal Education Ministry said in a statement that an attempt to exclude brothels from the legislation would run "into major difficulties." It also added that making a special exception for bordellos was problematic because it was impossible to strictly differentiate between conventional brothels and nightclubs.
The ministry added that the Green demand was also unrealistic because "until now there have hardly been proper employment contracts with the necessary social insurance cover for prostitutes."
The planned legislation will now apply to all businesses with over ten employees -- German brothels included -- if they fail to train less than seven percent of their workforce.