From parts of Nevada to Amsterdam to Germany, governments have legalized prostitution. But in Germany, the city of Cologne is mapping a new course by allowing “drive-through” stalls for safe, quick sex service.
For cash-strapped women like Nicole Schulze, these government-sanctioned drive-through facilities offer an avenue of employment to get over financial speed bumps without going to pay-day lenders or other predatory quick-cash potholes.
In 2002 prostitution became legalized across Germany, where the city of Cologne quickly integrated sex work as a norm. It was about then that Schulze, who owed more than $44,000, saw prostitution as her ticket out of debt.
Generally, and historically a dangerous and disease-riddled career path, the city of Cologne has created “sex drive-throughs” that provide a humane, safer, cleaner and more private environment. These drive-through stalls protect prostitutes by having emergency buttons to call for help, a wall on the drivers’ side so the customer can’t open the door, and an effective route for prostitutes to flee if necessary.
As in Cologne, prostitution services are on the rise all over the world.
“I think every city should have a secure space for sex workers to rest,” Schulze said. “Every city should have that because there is prostitution everywhere.”
People in Germany who had created these brothels believed that since sex work is inevitable, they might as well make it safe and clean. Before prostitution was legalized, German residents complained about how prostitution was taking place in public areas, they believed this was outrageous and that it gives off a bad public image. Like other places in the world, Cologne prostitutes were targeted and murdered by clients. Now, these brothel infrastructures ensure the safety of these workers.
Source: Nate Berg, “Drive-Thru Brothels: Why Cities are Building Sexual Infrastructure,” The Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/sep/02/drive-thru-brothels-why-cities-are-building-sexual-infrastructure.
Student Researcher: Oscar Guillen (City College of San Francisco)
Faculty Evaluator: Jennifer Levinson (City College of San Francisco)