Monday, September 13, 2010

September Q & A: Germany's red-light district

We kick off the new week with a nice tough pair of questions from my cousin April, who writes, “What are you thoughts on the red light district in Germany and what do you think it will take to get it shut down?”

For those that are unaware, a red-light district is an area where all the sex industry businesses operate, from porn shops to strip clubs to (in countries where such is legal, like Germany) brothels. Now, I don’t keep up on current sex industry news in Germany, so I’m not really sure if there’s been some sort of recent scandal that’s prompted this line of questioning. What I can say is that, while I can’t really see myself ever actually needing to buy the services of a prostitute (indeed, growing up in the age of the Internet as I have, I’ve never even needed to pay for pornography before), I am fully in favor of legal prostitution.

Let’s face it, prostitution is going to occur whether it’s legal or not, and having it legal makes it a great deal safer for both the prostitutes themselves and the clients. In countries where it’s legal, the prostitutes get better protection from their clients, such as security guards, enforcement of condom usage to better prevent the spread of STDs, regular screenings to catch STDs that the condom failed to prevent, and the ability to call the police whenever the system does break down, all of which are things that can’t be done nearly as well (or in some cases at all) in systems where prostitution is criminalized. It’s also a good deal safer for the client, sharply reducing the likelihood of them taking home an STD, getting assaulted/robbed by a pimp, or getting arrested by the police. Even for those who hate prostitution because it “breaks apart families” or whatever, keep in mind that several studies have shown that about 70% of people of both genders in this country (the United States that is, not Deutschland) have said they’ve at least seriously considered cheating on their spouses or long term partners, (and about 50% have actually done so), so if you’re worried about your husband or wife cheating on you, guess what. They are, and they didn’t need a prostitute to help them do so.

Legalized prostitution also brings with it more legal regulations than merely STD checking, of course, the biggest one being that it goes a long way toward preventing girls from being forced into the industry by falling in with some abusive pimp. Under a legalized system, it’s a lot easier to make sure that the prostitutes are all there because they want to be, not because they’re forced to be. It doesn’t completely eliminate the problem of sexual slavery (sadly, nothing will), but it does go a long way towards correcting it.

That said, what will it take to get Germany’s red-light district shut down? I can think of a few ways myself, and you can judge for yourself the various effectiveness of each plan. First, there’s the possibility of a dramatic religious resurgence throughout the country, one akin to that of a good old fashioned evangelical Christian revival (though given Europe’s overall immigration trends over the past couple decades, perhaps Islam is a bit more likely to sweep the country). In both the Bible Belt and the Middle East, any source of pleasure that doesn’t come directly from reading and re-reading their religious texts (or rather, the specific passages of their religious texts that their religious figures want them to focus on) is considered vile and sinful and must be destroyed. No red-light district could survive such a jihad.

Alternately, any German citizen so truly offended by its existence that they can’t keep living with it around can certainly take matters into their own hands, be it by trying to burn the district down, committing a string of serial killings of prostitutes and strippers, or, if they have the money for it, hiring an outright mercenary squad to try to wipe out the entire place (or, if they have even more money, dropping bombs on the site from the skies). That’ll certainly show them what happens when they stray from the path of goodness. One could also, with the proper motivation and subtlety, go around trying to actively infect the sex workers with HIV, which would eventually cause such a mass panic that the government would, if not shut down the area entirely, at least quarantine the area until it could all get settled. Also, given that it’s Germany, there’s always the chance of another war breaking out, in which case the district would probably be moved closer to the front lines of the conflict to help keep up troop morale. It may not be shut down entirely, but at least it would be in a different spot, right? Just as good!

Also, one day the human race will no longer exist, so just have some patience. The red-light district will certainly not outlast the human race.

1 comment:

BalladeersBlog said...

I've got a Q for your September Q&A. If you were a supervillain, how would you "Get rid of this Bret Favre problem...permanently?"