Chronicles of double moral standards, or “A lesson in bigotry“: Comment on having a map of prostitution sites in Germany deleted after a smear campaign by sex industry advocates

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A map shows addresses – of brothels, “saunas“, “spa-clubs“, of apartments let for the sole purpose of prostitution. It does not point to any private addresses, nor to those places and venues that can only be found out per phone. The map gives those who want it the possibility to find out what is happening in their very neighbourhoods without having to google punters’ fores or the gazillion very explicit sites in Germany advertising the sale of sex, of sexual access to women, young men or trans women. The map is full, for Germany has truly worked hard to gain its reputation of Bordello of Europe, or The World’s Bordello.

The so-called “sex-work“ scene is in uproar, even beyond German borders: German abolitionists had the cheek to re-publish information that is freely accessible on public sites. The makers of the map made it pefectly clear that the 2000 (1600 at first) venues represent only a fraction of all addresses, since many others are only shared per phone calls. Since no phone calls were made, these addresses weren’t entered on the map. Why should they? To make our point – to illustrate that prostitution is happening in all our neighbourhoods and that there is a parallel world of prostitution invisible but happening right before our eyes – these further addresses weren’t needed.

So while this map is far from complete, there is a storm across social media: The site has to be deleted, because it allegedly endangered the safety of the women (or young men) in prostitution.

This comes as a surprise. For, as a second point, we keep being told that the safety of those immediately in the prostitution business is so very well ensured by the legal situation in Germany – quite in contrast to the alleged “underground“ in Sweden. And first and foremost, ALL of the venues marked on the map came from publicly accessible websites and fores. They were lifted from advertisements, punters’ fores and sex sites. Lists and maps like these compiled by the advocates and profiteers of the sex industry exist for EACH DEPARTMENT in Baden-Württembergia, for instance.

And this is where the sh*t, or the money rather, hits the fan: Prostitution, the prostituting of women or young men or trans women needs its own parallel universe. It is to happen in an easily accessible but yet closed environment, so that the majority of the citizens and residents around it can conveniently ignore it. According to Udo Gerheim [1] this attracts a special type of buyer, one who in spite of his absolutely state-endorsed and privilege maintaining actions, can phantasize about being part of a very special “clandestine“ world of “forbidden“ “pleasures“. Basically, however, any knowledge of this world and this environment is to be kept discreet, and discreetly hidden, from the majority of the people living in Germany. For this particular branch of business cannot survive a clear and ethical view of prostitution. Both European developments as well as the representation in the German media indicate that people have begun to open their eyes to it; the pretty parties where politicians, especially those engaged in “women’s issues“, and the “madams“ of small brothels toast each other, champagne in hand, belong (hopefully) to the past. The brothel keepers’ reaction and that of their allies and representatives as regards the map was correspondingly vicious.

Nota bene: Brothels, prostitution venues, apartments dedicated to the purpose of prostituting women (others), small or mini brothels on sex buyers’s site are fine, very much okay, thank you. Finding the very same on a site that enables those who want to take a critical look at their own neighbourhoods, amounts to a scandal.

And yes, it is a scandal. It’s about information and data that the profiteers of the sex industry would love to keep in their own parallel universe, in the German underground of prostitution.

Now to what went down in the last two days:

Following the panic across social media sites, those who compiled the map are massively slandered and exposed to all kinds of defamation (Stasi-methods (a reference to Eastern Germany), Nazis, “whore haters“ – nothing new here) and people are called upon to report the map in order to have it deleted on all kinds of social media sites. This is of course not explained by saying that the map could alert some officials or harm business. The demand is based on the lie – repeated over and over and over again – that the map also contained private addresses and thus endangered the safety of the “sex workers”. These were now said to be exposed to blackmail.

Apart from the fact that the violence in prostitution is perpetrated by the buyers, the pimps and those who wish to become such, apart from the fact that these can easily organize extortion or blackmail by phone (and probably and unfortunately do so) – no abolitionist called any of these numbers. Neither do we publish private addesses. But the defamation works.

And the propaganda machine of an industry that can currently rely on the state’s guarantee of its infrastructure works just as well, as do the strategies of manipulation. Nobody wants women or others in prostitution to be in danger. The endlessly repeated and endlessly debunked myths around the alleged “Swedish underground“ in prostitution stem from this – and this so nicely distracts attention away from Germany, as does the bigotry behind the attacks on the map: A site critical of prostitution has to be deleted so that the same information, nicely packaged and prettified, can reach the right kind of target group and does not without such a filter reach a public that is increasingly more informed about what actually goes down in prostitution.

But the slander impresses the nice people, those who do not wish to really look at this issue, who do not wish to really see beyond the fassades, although they may have come to be critical of prostitution for quite some time. Who really want to help – and could help if they finally got informed. The truth about prostitution is ugly. Not to face it does damage. It is not the information, it is the denial which helps the violence.

And one thing becomes perfectly clear in the course of this campaign and the threats and defamation directed against us: The proponents of the commercialization of sexual violence are fully aware of what prostitution means for those in it.

And let’s be perfectly honest here, too: Those who fell for this campaign of misinformation appear to be aware of it as well. So show the courage to face up to the truth.

For if you are aware of it, then why support this system?

The map was deleted after the orchestrated mass reporting. And now? Does this restore quiet and serenity to the happy world of prostitution, the happy world of relationships and partnerships, the happy world of families in which nobody ever uses prostitution?

Our final view of this:

This action certainly had its usefulness. Usefulness in clearing up a few things once and for all:

In Germany, prostitution is happening underground

The INSIDER KNOWLEDGE about brothel keepers, sex buyers and organized crime is not to become GENERAL KNOWLEDGE, PLEASE. For this could bring to our attention that prostitution is largely not happening in well-lit red light areas here and there, but right under our noses, in so called short-lease appartments that are generally not places where anybody lives, but where rooms are let to women who tend to leave, and be replaced, by the week.

It is the sex industry that now – of all advocates – argues against its own mantra of “legal makes it safe“

For people to know where prostitution is enacted endangers the safety of the sex workers. But who do they mean by this term? The women in prostitution? Or the brothel keepers and profiteers? These also go by this term, regardless of whether they engage in prostitution themselves or not.

And who is here to protect the women and the children in the thousands of appartment buildings where single residences have been handed over to the sex trade?

Shall we begin to tell you of small children sitting in backyards or cars, sometimes without proper warm clothes even, while Daddy has just gone up to buy sex – and who are being gathered up by concerned neighbours?

Of small children who are wondering who all the strange men are they keep meeting in the houses? What the strange sounds are that wake them up at nights?

Or of single women who keep having their door bells rung – just by mistake – by guys who actually want the address on the floor below or above?

Of the women who have to be polite and accept running into smug sex buyers on the stairs, in the lifts or hallways?

Are we to speak of all those who move into such a building, unaware of where they are ending up, of what awaits them? Whose places of residence are listed on sex sites for everybody to see, without any chances to protest this?

Are we to speak of those living near the patches handed over to street prostitution who have to watch from their windows how women are being destroyed for the rest of their lives?

We are ready to speak about all of this.

And of the unbearable double morals of the “sex work“ lobby during the well-organized campaign against us. For – lo and behold – public statements among “sex workers“ and public statements elsewhere do not always match up.

Take, for example, a facebook debate on the topic where advocates of the industry are more than vociferous in their theatrical denunciation of the map. On the publicly accessible site “”, among her peers, simultaneously almost, there’s this:

In my quarter, there are two sauna clubs and one appartment building. These are business addresses that are really not a secret. If the neighbours have not yet noticed this, they are blind, deaf or dumb. These addresses can just be copied from any advertising site.

And on those sites there are regular calls for updates of the information – not that that’s been a cause for a scandal yet.

No, it is not those who point to what is happening in this country and who are engaged in ending it, who are to blame for the violence and the disregard of human dignity. Who want to end a situation in which the poorest of the poorest, often racially discriminated minorities, have to offer their bodies and their orifices to the egotistical sexual gratification and the feeling of supremacy and entitlement of German and other men, because we don’t want to know anything else about them.

Those engaged in covering this up and in sweeping the obvious under the rug share the responsibility for this.

And now, dear sexwork-lobby – rise and shine!

For many many years (!) the BW7 punters’ forum has published numerous google maps with short lease appartments, that eagerly await being reported by you. This way please. Our action hasn’t been nearly as much work as you seem to think. Unlike the sexbuyers (who, unlike those who initiated this map) actually do publicly post the telephone numbers, unpixeled photos and comprehensive “evaluations“ of their experiences there, have in fact restricted the information on the map to the addresses made public there.

Quite possibly a brief phone call or email to your mate who runs this forum may suffice to delete these maps, so you won’t even need all the international help.

And dear engaged co-reporting participants in the debate: Please finally take a look around you and finally get informed. You fell for a slimy campaign.

information compiled by: Inge Kleine and Manuela Schon.

[1] Gerheim, Udo: Die Produktion des Freiers. Macht im Feld der Prostitution. Eine soziologische Studie, 2012, Transcript Verlag

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