In an effort to improve their reputations, a network of German brothels have decided to take a cue from the restaurant business by making their quality rating publicly visible outside their doors to ensure the establishment is up and up with both government regulations and overall working conditions for the prostitutes who work within.
While prostitution is legal in Germany, tight regulations require the sex workers to be self-employed, but as a way to provide a safe place to work, numerous brothels have cropped up throughout the country. Of course not all of these brothels provide the best conditions for the prostitutes and their clients, so the German brothel owners’ association, BSD, decided that implementing an ethical sex seal of approval would put pressure on owners to improve in the areas that need it and allow clients a chance to know what they are walking into before stepping through the doors.
The BSD seals are broken down into a three-stage system. Stage 1 is believed to be the most important as it includes the contact information for the brothel’s owner and how the facility goes above and beyond the minimum legal requirements for working conditions. In order to obtain this seal, brothel owners must show that certain security features are provided to the workers, including alarms in each room, and that they actively oppose forced prostitution and violence.
Stage 2 and 3 seals focus more on a star-like rating system for the features and services the brothel provides, including amenities that extend beyond the typical sex environment.
It is hard to argue against a program designed to better ensure safety, but of course there has been some opposition to the BSD’s implementation. Being a member-based organization, smaller brothels are unable to afford the cost of membership, and should these seals eventually build a certain trust, not having access to the system could damage business. Others who oppose prostitution as a whole see this as just another way to further normalize the line of work.