“Law is a cheat pack”

Binding regulations have been in place for legal prostitution for a month to protect women and make brothel operators more accountable. The prostitute protection law is a sham, Sister Lea told our site.

Interviewer: Why do you not like the law?

Sister Lea Ackermann (founder of the aid organization Solwodi):We reject the law because it is a sham. It does not actually help the women and children who are involved in prostitution. Underlying all of this is a false view of prostitution. The degradation of human beings in prostitution is left out, the fact that people in prostitution are turned into commodities.

Interviewer: The law provides for things that might be in your sense: the condom obligation for johns, for example, and the obligation to obtain a permit for brothel operators. Aren't these tangible improvements?

Sister Lea: No, that is ridiculous! Who wants to control, for example, whether the condom obligation is kept?! The women who would actually insist in a brothel, they would certainly have to expect punishment – or even assault.

Interviewer: On the other hand, prostitutes must now also officially register, carry a prostitute card. What is problematic about it?

Sister Lea: The main problem with this law is that it does not treat prostitution as a crime, but wants to make it acceptable as a profession. This drives even more people into prostitution. That, in turn, I consider a crime! The law devalues women and children. Quite unilaterally, there are also costs for society, because it has to come and pay in the end. For all those harmed in body and soul by prostitution. In the end, the brothel operators, the human traffickers, the traffickers and smugglers – maybe even the state – profit from it.
Interviewer: Solwodi is also a contact point for prostitutes in need. Have you already received feedback from them as to whether they are already feeling the effects of the new law??
Sister Lea: We are in close contact with affected women, who often call themselves "survivors". In view of the new regulations, the women are now simply afraid that they will come out and be left out in the cold afterwards. Official registration scares women.
Interviewer: Do you actually get support from the ranks of the Catholic Church for your clear criticism of the new law??
Sister Lea: I regret very much that the Catholic Church, that the bishops here in Germany do not speak out clearly on this ie. This is partly quite different in our neighboring countries. The French bishops, for example, wrote as early as 2003: "A century and a half after the abolition of slavery, it still exists in the form of prostitution. Women are viewed like a commodity on the market and according to how much profit they yield. They are beaten, raped and drilled to fulfill any desire, including perverted ones." – We're talking about egregious crimes against women in prostitution and we should be really clear about that as a Catholic Church!
Interviewer: You say that Germany should do as Sweden or France, for example, and ban sex for sale completely. Why?

Sister Lea: I find the corresponding legislation in Sweden, France, Norway, Canada etc.really very good. Because there the law does not target the women, but looks at the buyers, at the johns and forbids them the business – according to the motto "The buyer makes the market". The clear statement behind it: "You can't buy a woman; you can't buy a man!"The punishments that follow are not so important. It depends on the change of perspective. In Sweden, the law, which has been in effect there for twelve years, has actually made women and men more equal.

Interviewer: But doesn't a complete ban push prostitutes into illegality?? There will certainly continue to be prostitution in Sweden and France.

Sister Lea: Yes, but as an evil, as a crime – even if we can't completely prevent crime through laws, of course. In Germany, of course, we continue to deal with thefts despite the ban on theft. But laws are also there to provide guidelines for how we want to live in our society. That the dignity of women is respected without ifs and buts, that would be such a guideline for me.

The interview was conducted by Silvia Ochlast

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