Everyday, 1.2 milion people in Germany use the services of a prostitute.
Prostitution is legal in Germany. Frankfurt, Germany has a bustling red-light district that is home to 23 brothels, each with up to 100 rooms. These are a routine last stop after a night of partying or clubbing. Many women in these brothel houses are not from Germany and are working to support a family, often in their home country. The women live in their brothel and have to pay nightly rent, which requires 7-9 clients per day just to keep a roof over their head.
There are ~3,000 women who engage in prostitution in the Rhine-Main region alone.
The pe/ix street teams visit the red-light district every other week and enter the brothels to meet with the women there. We’ve been building relationships with women working as prostitutes since 2015. For most of these women, the street teams are the only interaction they have outside of their clients, the bouncers, and the other women in their house.
The purpose of these visits is important: Kirche in Aktion is not visiting the women to help them find their way to “normal life”, to focus on their relationship with Jesus above providing care and love to them, or to “save them” from their current life.
Kirche in Aktion has a drop-in center in the heart of the red-light district in Frankfurt. This is a place where the women can come to find us, instead of waiting until our next visit. This safe and homey place is a space where they can rest, cook meals from their home country, get clothes and toiletries, and connect with others and themselves.
The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for women working as prostitutes. When the brothels closed in Germany, the women lost their housing. While some were able to go home to their home countries, many were left living and working on the streets. Because of the nature of their work, the women are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19, and two of the women we have met have died of the virus. The drop-in center is open to provide critical hygiene kits and any help we can.