The German city of Bonn has begun charging prostitutes a nightly rate of six euros for taking clients to special parking spaces provided by the authorities.
Prostitutes in brothels and saunas already have to pay tax but compliance is difficult to enforce with women seeking business on the street.
Germany’s first “sex tax meters” will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented according to Heike Andrey, the head of financial management for the city of Bonn. “Inspectors will monitor compliance — not every evening but frequently,” she said.
If caught without a valid ticket, offenders will first be reprimanded, then face fines and later even a ban.
Heike Andrey added that with many foreign born street prostitutes previous attempts to tax them had run into problems due to a widespread inability to comprehend a German income tax form. The machines, Bonn hopes, will provide an easy-to-understand system of taxation.
She said the response has been good because “the women now have the chance to pay their taxes anonymously”. That means not filling in forms for the tax returns. And Andrey said it makes things much easier especially for women from abroad. “The charter does not specify whether the person is German or foreign. All prostitutes who offer sexual acts for money have to pay the tax, it also doesn’t matter whether they work on the street or in an establishment,” she said.
But Juanita Henning from the association for the rights of prostitutes criticised the system. She said: “It is all about creating new rules that the women can violate. Especially migrants who work on the streets run the risk of being extradited if they violate this rule.”
About 200 prostitutes work in Bonn.