F.A.Q.

FAQ – Questions and Answers regarding the new law

Here you will find answers to the most important questions about the Prostitute Protection Law. Please note that because we cannot provide official legal advice our answers are supplied without liability. That said, we try to share all of the information we collect to the best of our knowledge and with good conscience.

How does the registration work?

Health counselling

Registration at the designated office (varies from state to state)

Bring these with you:

-Proof of health counselling

-ID card (Germans) or Passport (non-Germans)

-Work permit (if necessary)

-2 photos

-Confirmation of residence for your main residence or a postal address

Information and counselling talk at the registration office

Pick up the registration card – this should be ready in at most 5 days

You may be asked to present your registration card if you work in a brothel or other type of venue

Important: Without a registration card you may no longer work legally in a commercial sex venue or through an escort agency.

Where should I register?

It is not clear yet where exactly the registration offices will be in many states. However, these will most likely be in the offices of public order authorities (police, public order office) rather than in offices created specially for this purpose.

You may register in other cities, not just in your home city. Do note that at wherever you register, this office will then always be responsible for your case. Here you can find an overview of all available addresses so far for registering.

What do I need to register?

-Proof of health counselling

-ID card (Germans) or Passport (non-Germans)

-Work permit (if necessary)

-2 photos

-Confirmation of residence for your main residence or a postal address

Do I need to provide my home address?

No, you can provide a mailing address if you can prove that you are reachable at this address.

You don’t need to be registered at this address either.

If you only bring your passport to the registration appointment then the officials shouldn’t be able to see your home address either.

Can I be denied a registration card?

Yes, that’s possible. In this case the registration official must provide a written reason for denying you a card. Make sure you obtain a written rejection with justification so that you can take this to a separate counselling centre for sex workers to receive advice on what to do next.

What happens if I don’t register?

Being caught as a registration is considered an administrative offence.

If you are caught without a registration card during work, you will receive a warning in the first instance and an order to register within „an appropriate time frame.“ This may be accompanied by a fine of up to 1,000€ depending on the judgment of the inspecting authority. The fine would be sent to the address you provided during registration.

If you are a migrant sex worker and are caught more than once without registration, you may be deported.

How strictly non-registration penalties will be pursued will only become clear once the first inspections have taken place.

How do I register if I work in many different cities?

During registration you are asked to put down where you will be working the most. You may put down different cities or different states (Bundesländer).

If you put down cities, your registration data will be forwarded to the officials in these cities, but not if you put down states.

If you mainly work in one place and decide to go work somewhere else once then that’s fine, but if you start to work outside of your main city or town regularly, then you will need to adjust your registration card.

Can I work in a brothel or door-to-door venue without being registered?

This will be rather difficult in future.

The brothel management is required to check your registration card before allowing you to work there. If you are caught working without registration in a brothel, the management will be required to pay heavy fines. The brothel’s license may also be withdrawn and it would need to close down.

Legal brothels are unlikely to take this risk.

I only work every now and then. Do I still need to register?

Yes, regardless of how often you work, you will need to register. In future you will need to obtain a registration card and go through the health counselling before your very first time working. If it’s your first time doing sex work and you want to do a trial day before registration, this may not be possible, depending on where you are trying out.

Do I need to register again in each city or state where I work?

You only need to register once in the city where you will be working the most. If you plan to work in other places, you need to state this during registration, but you do not need to go to the officials in each city to re-register.

The registration card is not limited to one place, as long as the individual states do not determine this otherwise. At the moment, the law is such that you only have to register once and not in each place where you work.

What happens if I register too late?

According to the law you need to have registered by the 31. December 2017. If you are caught without a card after this day, this is an administrative offence and you will receive a warning, be told to register, and depending on the inspecting authority, you may receive a fine of up to 1,000€ sent to the address you gave during registration.

Will my family or friends in my home country find out about my registration?

We think that is unlikely. Accoridng to the law, your data should not be forwarded to the officials in your home country.

For how long is the registration card valid?

If you are under 21 you must re-register each year by appearing in person at the registration office and proving that you have gone through the bi-annual health counselling.

If you are 21 and above the registration card is valid for 2 years and the health counselling certificate for one year. Each year you must go for health counselling. To renew your registration you must appear in-person at the registration office and prove that you have gone through the yearly health counselling. The same registration process will be conducted again.

Temporary regulation:

If you have been working since before the 1. July 2017, you can wait until 31. December 2017 to register and don’t need to register again for another 3 years (2020). After this, you will need to re-register every 2 years. Likewise, the first health counselling certificate will be valid for 2 years and after that only for one year.

Can I register even though I don’t have health insurance?

Health insurance is a legal obligation in Germany, which means that if you have an address in Germany, you must be health insured. You will be reminded of this during your registration appointment. Health insurance will not be inspected as part of the ProstSchG, but it is still unclear what happens if you ry to go through registration without health insurance.

Will I be examined during the health counselling?

No, health counselling is not a health examination, just an appointment to talk about health in sex work.

Can I do the health counselling with my general practitioner?

No, the health counselling certificate must come from the official put in charge of these sessions (public health agency).

What happens during the health counselling?

You will be advised on sexually transmitted diseases and protection as well as more personal subjects such as contraception, pregnancy, alcohol and drug use. At this point you will have the opportunity to tell the official if you work in a coercive situation.

What do I need the health counselling certificate for?

Health counselling can actually be quite useful, especially if it is offered and taken up on a voluntary basis. However, the health counselling according to the ProstSchG is an obligatory process that you need to go through in order to be able to register as a sex worker.

You will need to carry your registration card as well as your health counselling certificate with you when you work. Inspections will also make sure that you have a valid health counselling certificate.

To whom do I need to show my health counselling certificate?

The official at the registration office will ask to see this certificate because without this, a registration card cannot be issued. If you decide to work at brothel or similar venue, the management there will need to check your registration card along with the health certificate before allowing you to start working. The police and other officials assigned to enforce the new law may also ask to see your health certificate.

Clients have no right to see your health certificate.

You have to carry it around with you, even when you visit clients, but you do not need to show it to a client.

Is it possible to see that I am a sex worker on the registration card?

Yes.

Here you can have a look at the current registration card template. On the outside it says „Registration certificate – the owner of this document has registered his/her occupation according to the ProstSchG“ and on your photos and information are on the inside.

What information is contained in the registration card?

A photo of you, your first and last name (or alias/work name if you also apply for an alias card)

Your birth date and birth place

Your nationality

The cities or states in which you plan to work

The length of validity

The government official that issued the card

Who may see my registration card?

Before you may start working in a brothel or a similar venue, the management may ask to see your registration card.

The police and other officials assigned to enforce the ProstSchG may also see your card.

Clients have no right to see your card.

May clients see my registration card or health certificate?

NO. Clients have neither the right nor the obligation to inspect your registration card or health certificate. As there is personal information on the card, we do not recommend showing it to clients.

Who receives my data from registration?

What we know at this point:

  1. The office where you go through the health counselling.

Most states will probably designate the local public health authorities to do this. The public health agents don’t want this responsibility, though, since they don’t see it as their duty to surveil us sex workers, but rather to offer us advice anonymously and to provide us with health examinations if we choose.

  1. The office that issues the registration cards as well as the registration offices in other places if you put down cities in your card.
  2. The local finance bureau will automatically receive your data from the registration office and send you a tax number if you do not already have one.
  3. The Chamber of Industry and Commerce may also receive your data, as they receive notice from the finance bureau regarding each newly registered self-employed person.

Can I rely on the data protection regulations?

All data collected by the officials from you is subject to the same data protection standards as other data they collect. That means that they should be kept confidential. However, no official can completely guarantee data security, so it is fundamentally questionable to even be collecting such personal information for registration.

From when is the new law valid?

The new law is valid from 1 July 2017.

Only those who were doing sex work before this date have a grace period until the 31 December 2017 to register. As of 1 January 2018, the new law is fully in force.

Who counts as a sex worker?

The clause defining prostitution is actually quite comprehensible, so we’ll just cite it again here:

Paragraph 2 – Definition of Prostitution

Prostitutes are people who provide sexual services. A sexual service is a sexual act performed on another person in exchange for money. What also counts as prostitution is if you perform a sexual act on yourself in front of another person or witness another person performing a sexual act on him/herself, and receive money for doing so.

Even if you only provide sexual services occasionally or as a „hobby whore“ you are subject to the new law.

What is not considered a sexual service under the new law are acts that merely portray sex, whereby the person paying is not directly involved sexually (eg: stripping, pornography, webcam).

What if I decide to sublet my work flat/apartment?

If you sublet your work flat/apartment, you are considered a commercial sex manager under the new law and will need to apply for a license. In most states, the responsible government agency will probably be the local business bureau. To apply for a license you’ll need to submit a business plan and make sure your work flat/apartment fulfills certain standards laid out in the ProstSchG.

Is it true that I am not allowed to sleep in my workplace?

The ProstSchG declares a separation of work and accommodation places, but it is possible to call for an exception to this rule if it is in the interest of sex workers. There is no clear regulation of this in the legal text itself, so it depends on the official processing the license application for the venue in question, whether an exception can be made.

Where should I sleep if I can’t sleep at my workplace?

There is no clear answer to this in the ProstSchG.

If sleeping at your workplace is indeed prohibited and you cannot get an exception, you’ll have to find another accommodation near your workplace.

Your question is not listed?

Let us know by sending us your question now and we’ll try to answer as soon as possible.

If you’ve discovered incorrect information in the above answers, please also let us know.

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