|Parking meters for hookers|
|Written by APB Staff|
In the U.S., if you would like to pay for the services of a prostitute and stay within the boundaries of the law, you really have to stay within certain parts of Nevada. But in other countries, prostitution is treated differently than it is here in the States. In Bonn, Germany for instance, city officials recently installed "hooker meters," to be fed by those working in the oldest profession.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, the German city has begun collecting taxes from prostitutes with an automated pay station similar to parking meters.
Needless to say, prostitution is legal in Germany. In fact, legalized prostitution is one of the reasons Germany is such a major player in the sex tourism industry.
Bonn is not the only German city that requires prostitutes to pay taxes. But it is the first city in that country to come up with the idea of a ticket machine that prints out receipts for the nightly flat fee of six euros (currently about $8.65) that the government charges prostitutes for the privilege of streetwalking.
According to the news article, the recently installed meters had collected $382 for the city's coffers in the first few hours of operation.
Street prostitution as practiced in Bonn and Germany in general would be hard to recognize for non-Germans because of its unusual degree of organization and institutionalization.
In Bonn, hookers wait for customers on a stretch of road in the industrial part of the city.
In addition to the Siemens-built 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. Bonn officials say that they estimate the city has about 200 sex workers.
The Bonn government spends $116,000 a year for a private security company to guard the area and to provide security for the sex workers. Under the new meter system, street prostitutes must purchase the tickets to work between the hours of 8:15 PM and 6 AM Brochures explaining the system, translated into several languages, are handed out to the prostitutes. After one warning, a sex worker caught working without a ticket indicating she had paid the streetwalking tax is fined up to $145.
Some of the sex workers say the new deal is unfair.
"The other night I worked all night but didn't get any work, but I still had to pay it," said a young woman from Hungary who gave her name only as Monica and said she thought the new system "stinks."
Vero, a middle-age woman who spoke Italian but no German disagreed. She said she thought the tax was "proper."