Brussels (Brussels Morning) The number of registered sex workers in Germany plummeted during 2020, as many were likely forced to go underground because of the stringent coronavirus measures imposed by the government.
According to the German Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, around 24,900 sex workers were registered in Germany at the end of 2020. Just 12 months earlier, the number registered was 40,400, meaning that last year’s figure represented a 38%-percent drop in just one year.
During the same period, the number of licensed establishments offering sexual services grew by 5%, up from 2,170 at the end of 2019 to 2,290 by the end of 2020. Of the 24,900 registered sex workers, only one fifth, or around 4,900, were German citizens.
The vast majority of the remaining 20,000 sex workers – almost 18,400 – came from European states, with Romanians accounting for the highest percentage. Accordingly, as many as 8,800 Romanian sex workers registered in Germany. The two other most represented nationalities were Bulgarians, with 2,800 registered, and Hungarians with 1,800.
Destatis noted that comparing current figures with previous years was complicated by the fact that registration only began in 2017, when many federal states still did not allow for registration of sex workers. Furthermore, the reporting system was still being set up in 2018.
Compared to 2019, there were difficulties registering in 2020 since many administrative functions were limited by the pandemic-related restrictions, which meant that some sex workers might not have been able to register.
As Deutsche Welle reports, establishments offering sexual services were also forcibly closed during the peak of the pandemic, resulting in many sex workers going illegal if they wanted to keep earning.
Experts also note that a wide gap remains between registered and unregistered sex workers in the country, with some estimating that more than two thirds of all sex workers remain unregistered.