German Sex Industry's Bid To Bounce Back

Hit hard by economic downturn, brothels across the country offer discounts.

ByABC News
July 14, 2009, 10:08 AM

PASSAU, Germany, July 14, 2009— -- The sex industry in Germany has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, inspiring brothel owners to offer all kinds of perks to help boost business.

Maison d'envie, a small brothel in Berlin, has come up with a rather unusual promotion for its clients: It has gone green.

Customers who arrive on foot or by bicycle, or who can show their public transportation tickets are offered a $4.50 dollar discount off the usual $55 fee for 30 minutes.

The discounts are offered on the brothel's Web site, which is for adults only, as Öko-Preis (eco price).

Regina Goetz, the manager of Maison d'envie, told ABC News the environmentally friendly offer, which was established two weeks ago, is working fine, "On average, about 10 percent of our customers a day ask for the eco-price service."

Asked what gave her the idea, she said, "I like the idea because it's good for business, it's good for the environment and it saves the customers the hassle to find parking, which is always difficult here. I hope the discount will help boost business, which is really bad these days."

Yet another brothel, the Pascha in Cologne, is also trying to crank up business, although not in as quite an environmentally friendly way. Guests are offered a $30 gas voucher they can cash in at a gas station around the corner.

Villa Bijou Bar, a small brothel in Dresden, saw its average number of guests sinking from about 150 per week to about 80 so it came up with the idea to offer unemployed customers a 20 percent discount.

Brothel manager, Silvia Rau, told local TV station MDR she hopes the new policy will bring customers back and also provide them with some comfort "in difficult times"

The initiative, according to Rau, came from the prostitutes' union, who proposed a discount measure as a way of helping the long-term jobless out of depression.