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May 16, 2006

WC06: Brothel "public relations" score; BBC with the assist.

Germany standing up for the right for women to exploited: German brothel welcomes World Cup
Prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002

But as you walk into Artemis, a few scantily-clad women who are standing near the main entrance provide an obvious sign that there is more on offer here.

Artemis is one of Germany's largest brothels, which has recently opened, just in time for the World Cup.

It is a short bus ride from Berlin's Olympic stadium, where many of the games, and the final, will be played.

Booming business

The managers of Artemis are hoping to attract thousands of football fans, who will be in Germany this summer.

"We think that we'll probably get double the number of clients during the World Cup," said Eike Wilmans, one of the managers of Artemis.

"We're going to put up screens and show all the games. We also have two cinemas, so the clients and the women can watch football. And if a match doesn't go according to expectations, well, men can work out in the gym, take a girl, and relax," he says, smiling.

Once you get past the reception, you may feel as though you are in some kind of a luxury hotel.

The Artemis brothel boasts neo-classical murals

The champagne bar is spacious and opulent, the walls are decorated with neo-classical paintings of women, and there are discreet sofas in several corners, which are surrounded by dark velvet curtains.

The brothel is arranged on several different levels. There's a restaurant, two cinemas, a large swimming pool, gym, Turkish bath and rooms, or plush suites, which can be rented out.

Prostitution is legal in Germany, and the managers of Artemis say that all the women who work here have registered with the authorities and they pay tax.

[...] Prostitution is talked about openly. Coco, 23, lives at Artemis. Like some of the other sex-workers, she rents a room.

"I would never want to work on the streets, or in any other country where prostitution is illegal," Coco said.

If their team is disappointing, customers can relax in the pool...

"There's always the risk that someone can kidnap you and it's dangerous and dirty. I've registered with the authorities as a sex hostess.

I come from Bonn originally, and I work in Berlin because I know I can get good work at Artemis. I'm my own boss, and I can keep all the money that I earn," she said.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002. Campaigners say the new laws safeguard women's rights.

"Women can work in a safe environment," said Henny Engels, from the German Women's Council. "Sex-workers have basic human rights. These women are now protected against pimps, or any violence, and they should not face discrimination in society."

[...] The prostitutes who work at Artemis say they are lucky that the laws were changed in Germany.

"I am a German professional like any other woman," said Luna, "I work in a safe environment and I enjoy my job."
Read the rest of the polished story, furnished by the BBC, here.

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