Campaigners opposing Germany’s legal brothels are concerned that some companies there view it as just another type of corporate hospitality they can buy for their male clients.

And another fear is that some of the girls working in Germany’s thousands of legal brothels there – set up with the good intentions keeping prostitution of the streets and keeping the girls safer – have been illegally trafficked from Eastern Europe and forced into prostitution, usually to repay a huge “debt” their captors say they owe for their passage. One recent thought-provoking Channel 4 TV documentary on the subject, The Mega Brothel, featured 800 German police officers raiding all five large brothels in the Paradise group and arresting a number of people, including the group’s marketing manager, on suspicion of involvement in trafficking.

Apparently one cruel ploy used by the traffickers on vulnerable (poor) young girls from deprived Eastern European areas is the “lover boy” whereby the girl is befriended by one of them swearing undying love and persuaded to move out of her home to get married and live in another country. Once there her new partner lovingly forces her onto the streets, or in a brothel to work, sometimes claiming that he owes some “very bad men” a large sum of money, and that if he doesn’t pay it back his family will be harmed. One girl thus treated was told “If you really love me you’ll do it”.

In another recent TV documentary on the Really Freeview channel, Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets, a girl trafficked from a slum suburb of Kosice in the Czech Republic to Amsterdam in Holland at the age of 17 told the reporter that her boyfriend said they would be married there and that he would take care of her parents and daughter. The same day she arrived he led her to a room where two men tore off her clothes and raped her, starting a year of rape and abuse that left her contemplating suicide before she finally escaped. Later in the programme a trafficker from Prague, who obviously and worryingly had no fear of police action against him, or any sense that what he was doing was wrong, told the reporter “I go to Slovakia and to poor Roma families, buy girls, put them in a private apartment and tell them what to do. They don’t have any option”.

The documentary suggested that the traffickers were aided by the demand created by stag events which included visits to prostitutes, and the brothels, and that the participants and organisers should take some share of the blame.

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