It’s always interesting and instructive to think about what ethical standards look like in controversial industries. Brothels are doubly controversial. Some people think prostitution itself is immoral. Others think that while prostitution itself is OK, the businesses (like brothels) that profit from prostitution are either automatically immoral or just “often” predatory. The story below is about a certification system, run by a consortium of German brothels, for more ethical institutions in that troubled industry.
LINK: German brothels get new ‘ethical sex seal’ for prostitution (from Deutsche Welle)
The German brothel owners’ association, BSD, has made a bid to introduce “controlled quality, transparency and service” to the country’s sex industry with the launch of a “seal of approval” for brothels.
In a statement, the BSD said that the purpose of the seal was to “counter the general vilification and many false conceptions about the structures and working procedures” in brothels.
The seal comes in three categories, or “stages,” the most important being the stage 1 badge, which establishes who the owner of the brothel is, how they can be reached, how big the brothel is, and guarantees that it meets not just the minimum working standards of Germany’s prostitution law, but also certain other standards….
What do you think?
How two consenting adults interact, including exchanging money for consensual services, is fundamentally okay with me even though when it comes to sexuality, it’s a hot button for many people. Fundamentally, adults have agency. If choosing sex work is the best option they have, it tends to reflect more on their circumstances and history than on sex work in its own right. Taking away someone’s best option such as making it illegal or culturally verboten… that doesn’t do that person any favors. I have friends who have chosen to do sex work and disliked it, and those who have chosen to do sex work and loved it. You could probably say the same thing about the fast food industry, or the software development industry. As to comparative bargaining power: those individuals who invest to buy or rent a building, make available the beds, security, linen, lighting, advertising, licenses, fees, utilities and supporting staff (as in, a brothel owner) are probably much more rare than those individuals who invest in some nice lipstick, a sexy dress and a pair of 6″ stilettos, to show up at a brothel to apply for work. So, it doesn’t surprise me that the comparative bargaining power is unequal. That the brothels even so see value in self-imposing a series of formally objective standards is commendable, and I applaud that.