Postcard from... Munich


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The Independent Online

Beer, sausages, lederhosen and dirndls may be the most advertised attractions of Munich’s annual Oktoberfest. The other less publicised lure is prostitution.

Figures released this week by Bavarian police show that 2,579  female sex workers were employed in the city last year with the vast majority working in its 180 legal brothels. But during Oktoberfest, the number of prostitutes rises by between 70 and 100 per cent. Most are economic refugees from impoverished parts of  eastern Europe.  Police say the majority are from Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Many register with the authorities weeks beforehand to make sure that they can find work.

Emma is one of them. A former English teacher from Romania, she was interviewed this week by Süddeutsche Zeitung  newspaper while she waited for a client in the Caesar’s World brothel.  She said that as a teacher she earned just €130 (£100) a month. As she could not survive on that amount, she decided to seek work in Germany. She said she lied all the time to her parents who thought she was working in  a nail studio. Her elder brother visited her a few weeks ago to check out her story. Emma said her brother “would probably kill me if he knew the truth”.