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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Welfare Reform, German Style

In the What Will They Think of Next? Department, our friend Greg McConnell sent us a link to a story in the Telegraph that is, alas, all too easy to believe.

The German government has officially become a recruiter for prostitution rings. German women who lose their jobs can now be forced to work as prostitutes or lose their unemployment benefits.

The Telegraph article reports:
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing 'sexual services' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

"Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

"The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe."

The job center gave her a phone number to call, and it turned out to be that of a brothel.

"Under Germany's welfare reforms," the Telegraph reports, "any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. . . .

"The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. [Gee, maybe they should get out more.] As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse."

Ronald Reagan talked about getting government off the backs of the people—now governments are trying to get women on their backs.


Jay D. Homnick said...

This reminds me, when I was attending Brooklyn College in the mid-'70s, in a speech class, a young lady with no trace of irony punctuated her oration about the tragedy of rape with this envoi: "Women should not take rape lying down."

Jay D. Homnick said...

One substantive point: the way to solve this is to consider prostitution to be against public policy even though it's legal. This is the way gambling is often handled. It's legal but against public policy, so gambling debts cannot be collected in court.

By doing this with prostitution, it could be a valid job when a woman accepts it, but no one could demand of a woman to prove her responsibility for her own finances by agreeing to take that posi... er, job.

S. T. Karnick said...

That sounds like a sensible solution. Interesting that they did not think of it.—STK

Hunter Baker said...

I just want to say thank you for that last sentence. What a lovely piece of work.

S. T. Karnick said...

You are most welcome, Hunter. I can't wait until someone steals it—then I shall know I have arrived.—STK