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Germany to Force Women Into Prostitution?
Winston usually watches domestic watchdogs. However, occasionally Winston sees something so outrageous as to focus his attention overseas. In this case, Winston was struck by a story in the online edition of Britain's respected Daily Telegraph newspaper with the headline, "If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits."

The news report concerns a 25-year-old German waitress facing possible termination of her unemployment benefits for turning down "a job providing ‘sexual services' at a brothel in Berlin..." Brothel owners have been given access to databases of jobseekers since prostitution was legalized in Germany.

According the story, the waitress, who is an unemployed information technology professional, "received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her ‘profile' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman... realise that she was calling a brothel." Apparently, under "Germany's welfare reforms, 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 German government "had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse." A Hamburg-based lawyer who specializes in employment issues indicated that "pressure on job centres to meet employment targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of women who refuse jobs providing sexual services."

Winston is does not know why the German government finds it "too difficult" to distinguish between a bar and a brothel. However, the policy implications of this difficulty are unacceptable. Winston understands that Germany suffers from persistently high unemployment and economic stagnation. Nevertheless, Winston strongly suggests that the German economy would be best served by reducing regulations and lowering taxes, not by forcing women into sexual servitude.

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