Sex Trafficking in Germany

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  • In 2012, 88% of victims of sex trafficking identified in Germany came from Europe, including 22% from within Germany, like K. (United States Department of State, 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report).
  • One of the main intentions in relaxing Germany's laws on prostitution was for it to be treated more like a 'normal job', and to thereby increase access for people in prostitution to social and health benefits and to reduce stigma against them. However, Germany's national employment agency recently reported to Die Welt that only 44 people in prostitution throughout Germany are registered as such (Die Welt, 'Augsburg mit höchster Dichte von Prostituierten', 3 November 2013). This is while estimates of the total number of people in prostitution across Germany range from 200,000-400,000 or more.
  • According to estimates by the sex industry association Erotik Gewerbe Deutschland (UEGD), today, there are between 3,000 and 3,500 red-light establishments in Germany. The public services union Ver.di estimates that prostitution accounts for about €14.5 billion in annual revenues. (
  • Police in different parts of Germany have been reporting widespread exploitation and organised crime in their legal prostitution sectors. For example, police in Augsburg, Bavaria estimate that only 10% of women in prostitution there are in it voluntarily and without a pimp, with the remaining 90% of women in prostitution involuntarily (SternTV, 'Sex gegen Bezahlung: Ist Prostitution ein Beruf?', 13 November 2013).
  • SOLWODI has been coming across younger and younger victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. They have also noticed a worsening of the situation in terms of trafficking since prostitution was legalized in Germany in 2002. In their experience, legalization has not helped the situation of women in prostitution, but has only benefited brothel owners, pimps, traffickers and buyers (SOLWODI 2012 Annual Report (in German)).