21 Apr 2009

Oldest profession's stimulus package to beat financial crisis

7:40 pm on 21 April 2009

Free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers, as well as "day passes" are being offered by struggling brothels in Germany.

In one of the few countries where prostitution is legal, the sex industry has responded with an economic stimulus package to beat the global financial crisis.

To boost falling demand, some brothels have cut prices or added free promotions while others have introduced all-inclusive flat-rate fees.

"Times are tough for us too," said Karin Ahrens, who manages the Yes, Sir brothel in Hanover.

She said revenue had dropped by 30% at her establishment while turnover had fallen by as much as 50% at other clubs.

"We're definitely feeling the crisis. Clients are being tight with their money. They're afraid.

"You can't charge for the extras any more and there is pressure to cut prices. Everyone wants a deal. Special promotions are essential these days."

Germany has about 400,000 male and female professional prostitutes.

Berlin's Pussy Club has attracted media attention with its headline-grabbing "flat rate" - a 70-euro admission charge for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10am and 4pm.

"You've got to come up with creative solutions these days," said club manager Stefan, who requested his surname not be published.

"Our offer might sound like it's too good to be true, but it's real. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want and have as much sex as you want."

Other novel ideas used by brothels and prostitutes include loyalty cards, group sex parties and rebates for golf players.