Tuesday, February 01, 2005

But There's Nothin' Dirty Goin' On

Sorry for the light (okay, nonexistent) blogging the past few days -- car trouble, working on a major update for my music web page to be posted later this week -- but I'm back, and this one's a doozy.

Nicholas Kristoff at the NY Times has a problem with the Asian sex slave trade? He ain't seen shit:
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.


Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits."

Does anyone, anywhere, even bother performing the most cursory logic check on such things? Or has Dubya so infected the world with politicus stupidious that no one cares anymore? And why, oh, why did it have to be Germany? Land of stereotypical leggy Teutonic blonds with severe accents, smirks, haircuts, and leathers -- and some of the women are kinda hot too.

There are days when I fear there is a God, and He's setting up the End Times... and He got Fellini to direct.

(Thanks to LiveJournal user scs_11 for the source on this story.)

Update: Commenter mg4h points out that Snopes is on the case, and has apparently debunked it. While it's hypothetically possible, it hasn't happened, and somehow in the writing of a story the hypothetical got transmogrified into the "factual", or at least anecdotal.

What's funny is, this issue was brought up on Metafilter by right-winger who thought it was an example of lefty moral decadence and gov't interference. When it was pointed out that the situation resulted from German right-wing welfare "reforms" intended to force women off welfare, he disappeared in a puff of cyber-smoke.

--HP (hpeirce - at -
I was mildly amused until you brought up Fellini..I'm going back to bed and hinding under the covers, now. I just can't stomach the world anymore...
Much as the law itself could allow such a thing to happen, it actually hasn't happened yet. Snopes did some digging.

The line between "doesn't want to work" and "doesn't want to do THAT sort of job" is pretty fine. I mean, I personally would not want to have a job that requires me to be outside in cold weather for long periods of time, as I can't deal with it well. But, if that's the only job - short of a doctor's note, am I being picky? What about garbage removal? Ditchdigging? Pick any other odious or obnoxious job - people would rather not do it, but...

*shrug* It's a toughie.

-mg4h from livejournal
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