Prostitution business permit

Prostitution business permit (Erlaubnis für Prostitutionsgewerbe)


If you want to operate a prostitution business, you will need an official permit. Prostitution businesses include brothels and similar establishments (e.g. sauna or nudism clubs, brothel flats or “model flats”), prostitution vehicles (e.g. “Love-Mobiles”), prostitution events (e.g. commercial sex parties), and prostitution agencies (e.g. escort agencies).

When prostitutes share a flat with one or more co-workers (regularly or only occasionally), then this is generally considered a prostitution business. In that case, a permit has to be obtained and one person has to perform the duties of a business operator.

Before issuing the permit, the authority will assess whether the person is sufficiently reliable to run a prostitution business. These businesses must comply with the legal regulations. For example, there must be adequate sanitation facilities for prostitutes and clients. The rooms in which the sexual services are provided must have a way to make emergency calls, and the working rooms must not also serve as bedrooms or living rooms. The authority may waive some requirements for prostitution businesses in flats.

If there are indications that people are being exploited, a permit may not be issued or an existing permit may be withdrawn. A business concept must be submitted for a permit to be issued. Prostitutes have the right to view this concept. This allows them to find out whether the business has been approved and whether the legal requirements are met.

Furthermore, the business operators must ensure the health and safety of prostitutes, clients, and other people in the business. Prostitutes have a right for their working rooms to be equipped with condoms, lubricants, etc. The operators must ensure that only prostitutes with a valid registration certificate work in the business. They also have to give prostitutes the opportunity to use advising services – also during working hours. Prostitutes have the right to insist that their employment contracts and other contracts are set down in writing. The same applies to proof of payment, such as for rent. Business operators may not charge prostitutes excessive rent (extortionate rent) or any other unreasonably high prices.

Instruction prohibition (Weisungsverbot)


The law protects prostitutes and their right to sexual self-determination through the so-called instruction prohibition (Weisungsverbot). According to this law, operators may not stipulate how prostitutes perform sexual services and to what extent. This is exclusively a matter between the prostitutes and their clients. It follows that prices are also agreed between prostitutes and their clients. The personal rights of prostitutes may not be restricted. For example, they may not be forced to work naked, and their ID documents may not be taken away from them.

Limited power to give instructions (Eingeschränktes Weisungsrecht)


Operators of a prostitution business may stipulate in an employment contract when and where the prostitutes work. They may, for example, set rules for the use of the rooms. They may not, however, tell prostitutes who to provide sexual services to and how to perform them. This is referred to as “limited power to give instructions”.

Prostitutes also have the right to refuse to provide a sexual service or stop providing such a service, even if it had been agreed beforehand. The client cannot demand that the service be provided, but does not have to pay for it if it was not provided.