[German women] were pushed out of the market by sex workers from Eastern Europe: young, seemingly childlike women from Romania and Bulgaria who have come from the poorest environments and feed their families at home by having sex at dumping prices. [Social worker] Gabi Kubik calls it “survival prostitution”. Every month a prostitute from Eastern Europe earns 400 euros on average – pimps, often family members, take in about 10.000 euros.
Most women do not have a chance to espace this dependency. They work isolated and under degrading conditions, are abused and intimidated, have either no or little knowledge of German or are illiterate. […] Migrants are not only heard to reach with language programs. “They have culturally pre-formed, most often patriarchal role conceptions. It’s difficult to make them aware of the emergency situation they’re in”, says Gabi Kubik. […]
The massive pressure to earn as much money as possible and high competition in the prostitution milieu have as their consequence that the women continue to work even if they can hardly stand the strain. “The majority of the migrants we meet is in disastrous health”, Gabi Kubi reports. The women suffer from infectious diseases, have been feeling abdominal pain for weeks, are accidentally pregnant from johns who almost always demand sex without a condom. “Three to four abortions per year are not unusual for these women”, the social worker tells us.
Healthcare for Eastern European prostitutes is a big problem in Kassel. The majority of these women does not have insurance and no access to free ambulant and inpatient care. Voluntary check-up offerings by the health office are limited to infection protection, that is to say examination and diagnosis under suspicion of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis or hepatitis. Gabi Kubik criticizes this as insufficient. “We are far more often approached by women without health insurance because of acute diseases, pain and unwanted pregnancies. We then say to them that they have to go to the doctor’s – but we know that they cannot afford it”.
This is not only unsatisfying for the street workers. The lack of free healthcare services leads to the women continuing to work under pain until they cannot take it anymore and end up as an emergency case in an ambulance. And even here prostitutes are often sent away because of unclear cost transfers. “Even if they aren’t able to stand anymore”, says Gabi Kubik.
(I have changed the description of Gabi Kubik to ‘social worker’, she was misleadingly described as a ‘street worker’.)