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Germany Uses Meters To Tax ‘Sex Workers’

From an admiring New York Times:

In Germany, Sex Workers Feed a Meter

August 31, 2011

BERLIN — The city of Bonn has begun collecting taxes from prostitutes with an automated pay station similar to a parking meter, proving again that German efficiency knows few if any bounds.

Bonn is not the only city in Germany to charge such a tax, but it is the first to hit upon the idea of a ticket machine that prints out receipts for the nightly flat fee of 6 euros (currently about $8.65) for the privilege of streetwalking. The meter went into service over the weekend, and by Monday morning had collected $382 for the city’s coffers.

Prostitution is legal in Germany; the Reeperbahn in Hamburg is one of the largest red-light districts in Europe. Attempts are often made to regulate the industry, unionize the workers and tax the proceeds, but they are not always effective, given both the discretion and the unpredictability that are inherent in the business…

After all, if prostitution is unionized and taxes, what on earth could be wrong with it?

Still, what a triumph for the advancement of women’s rights this represents. The German equivalent of NOW must be beaming with pride.

In addition to the Siemens-built [sic] meter machine, which cost $11,575 including installation, the city has built special wooden garages nearby where customers can park their cars and have sex.

“They are called, in fairest and finest administrative High German, ‘performance areas,’ but I believe the Italian prime minister would say ‘bunga bunga,’ ” said Monika Frömbgen, a spokeswoman for the city. Still, she said, the serious issue that the meter was intended to address boils down to tax fairness.

“The women in the bordellos and the sauna clubs also pay the tax, and so should those working on the streets,” Ms. Frömbgen said.

Actually it boils down to collecting more taxes. Fairness has nothing to do with it. After all, don’t these sex workers already pay taxes on their income?

The city estimates that it has 200 sex workers, of whom about 20 ply their trade on the streetUnder the new meter system, street prostitutes must purchase the tickets to work between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. Leaflets explaining the system, translated into several languages, are handed out to the prostitutes. After one warning, a sex worker caught working without a ticket would be fined up to $145

Franz-Reinhard Habbel, a spokesman for the German Association of Cities and Municipalities, said he expected other cities “to follow Bonn’s example.” The country’s 11,000 municipalities are struggling under a combined $11 billion in debt and are searching for new, “relatively simple” sources of income, he said

When Mr. Obama gets around to suggesting this tax he will call it a ‘revenue enhancements.’ He might even say he is ‘plugging a loophole.’

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 1st, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Germany Uses Meters To Tax ‘Sex Workers’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    If they’re taxing sex by the meter, thank goodness I like short women

  2. proreason says:

    Where do I apply for a job as a meter maid?

  3. JohnMG says:

    …..”After all, if prostitution is unionized and taxes, what on earth could be wrong with it?…..”

    Well, for one thing, it brings to mind the guy who owns the saloon and drinks up all his profits. Wouldn’t the unions and the government end up screwing the workforce to the point they couldn’t realize a decent living?

    And how ironic that the meters were manufactured by “Siemens”. How appropriate.

  4. Mithrandir says:

    ALL tax increases, and revenue-generating SCAMS are the result of corrupt governments demanding a bail-out to cover-up their incompetence. –and the police are whipped to go out and FIND criminal activity whether it actually exists or not. –SCAM!

    *There ARE ticket quotas in police departments—every department. Each officer is expected to “account for their time” while on duty. You are either on duty 1/2 the time, or writing police reports the other 1/2 the time, OR you are lazy. Want to get that promotion? Better start looking harder buddy.

    NO WONDER police are so angry with this guy, they couldn’t write tickets, help the gov’t increase revenues, and account for his time all day: http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/207550/250/FHP-sued-for-giving-out-illegal-tickets

  5. georgiA says:

    I never thought that prostitution is taxable now. I think those sex workers deserve a benefits from the government. Like monthly check up to prevent Sexually transmitted Infections,they deserve check ups anyway since they are paying tax. Prostitution has been a lawful, taxable business in Germany since 2002. While obtaining taxes from brothels and sex clubs is easy project, getting sex workers on the street to pay has proven harder. To solve the dilemma, the town of Bonn has put in prostitute street meters where the sex tax can be paid with little fuss. Article resource: Germany installs prostitute street meters for sex tax. It is a fare policy with those sex workers that are working at brothels and sex clubs, the government made a good solution.

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