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“Away with the punishment for clients!”: Support constitutional complaint

Jun 2, 2022 | News

New version of § 232a Abs.6 StGB from October 2021 can be understood as a prostitution ban through the back door.

“Act to amend the Criminal Code – more effective combating of stalking and better recording of cyberstalking as well as improvement of criminal law protection against forced prostitution” – this is the unwieldy title of an amendment to the law from last year. Already On October 1, 2021, the tightening of the “Freierstrafbarkeit” initiated by the old federal government came into force. Clammy and secretly it had been passed of the night.

But what sounds right at first glance, namely the improvement of criminal law protection against forced prostitution, turns out on closer inspection to be the introduction of the light version of the Nordic model through the back door. After all, it places johns under general suspicion. They are even more clearly certified as having knowledge that their sex date is, if the case arises, a “victim of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation or a person affected by forced prostitution. This is because the introduction of the vague legal term and criminal offense of “recklessness” enshrines a highly questionable formulation. For what does reckless mean?

In case of doubt, clients will be certified as having the ability/expertise to recognize forced prostitution within a single sex date. In other words, something that neither criminal investigators, social workers in counseling centers, counselors at the public health offices, nor those employees of the authorities who issue the registration certificate have been able to do before. In contrast to the following groups of persons, however, the above amendment to the law only criminalizes those clients who, in the course of subsequent proceedings, are found to have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

(6) A term of imprisonment of three months to five years shall be imposed on anyone who commits the following on a person who is a victim of

  1. of an act of trafficking in persons pursuant to section 232 (1) sentence 1 number 1 letter a, also in conjunction with section 232 (2), or
  2. of an act pursuant to subsections 1 to 5
    and engages in prostitution, performs sexual acts for remuneration or has them performed on him or her and in so doing exploits their personal or economic predicament or their helplessness associated with their residence in a foreign country. If, in the course of the sexual act, the perpetrator at least recklessly disregards the circumstances of sentence 1 number 1 or 2 or the victim’s personal or economic predicament or her helplessness, the penalty shall be imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine. Pursuant to sentences 1 and 2, a person shall not be punished who voluntarily reports an act pursuant to sentence 1 number 1 or 2, which was committed to the detriment of the person engaged in prostitution pursuant to sentence 1, to the competent authority or voluntarily arranges for such a report to be made, unless this act had already been discovered in whole or in part at that time and the perpetrator knew this or could have expected this on reasonable assessment of the facts.

Campaign and constitutional complaint initiated
For this reason, the Bundesverband Sexuelle Dienstleistungen e.V. (BSD) has launched the campaign “Away with the punishment of johns!”. “The john punishment is the prostitution ban through the back door. Prohibition policies don’t work and drive those involved underground. Bring that in order!”, it says on the associated website Addressed to the Federal Minister of Justice, it says: “Dear Federal Minister of Justice Bushman, stand up for the abolition of the intolerant amendment. Find solutions for truly effective victim protection together with the people affected!”

The campaign significantly supports a constitutional complaint filed today, on the occasion of International Whore Day, by two unnamed plaintiffs at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe against the tightening of the “john punishability” in Section 232a (6) sentence 2 of the Criminal Code. In particular because it is incompatible with Article 103 Paragraph 2 GG.

With Supporter_innen, concerning and specialists took place accompanying this morning the associated official press conference for the submission of the constitutional complaint. Place was the FKK Artemis in Berlin.

The campaign page provides background information and all current developments around the constitutional complaint as well as a fact check on half-truths and false claims circulating in the sex work and sex industry.

Set with already over 100 other people (as of 02.06.2022) a sign against ineffective prohibition and morality policy:

Legal texts on the Internet:

Criminal Code (StGB) § 232a Forced prostitution.

Draft bill to amend the Criminal Code – more effective
combating stalking and better recording of cyberstalking (June 23, 2021)

on the legislative process

Support the campaign
You can support the “Get rid of john punishment!” campaign. You have a website? Then embed the address with you. You have a Facebook or Twitter profile? Then just post the link there. Thank you!