From the Let-it-Burn department:
HOW modern and liberated Germany’s Social Democrats and Greens sounded in 2001. They were in government and wanted to raise the legal and social status of prostitutes. So they enacted a law to remove the stigma from sex work by, for example, giving prostitutes full rights to health insurance, pensions and other benefits. “Exploiting” sex workers remained criminal, but merely employing them or providing them with a venue became legal. The idea was that responsible employers running safe and clean brothels would drive pimps out of the market.
Germany thus embarked on an experiment in liberalisation just as Sweden, a country culturally similar in many ways, was going in the opposite direction. In 1999 the Swedes had made it criminal to pay for sex (pimping was already a crime). By stigmatising not the prostitutes but the men who paid them, even putting them in jail, the Swedes hoped to come close to eliminating prostitution.
. . . .
In the end, the policy choice comes back to culture and ideology, argues Susanne Dodillet at the University of Göteborg. Both the Swedish and the German laws originated in the feminist and left-leaning movements in these countries. But whereas progressive Swedes view their state as able to set positive goals, Germans (the Greens, especially) mistrust the state on questions of personal morality as a hypocritical and authoritarian threat to self-expression.
Here is yet another example of a debate that has removed itself so far from the concerns and interests of ordinary people that I just can't manage to be much interested anymore. This article (and the Economist is admirably candid about its social leftism) looks at prostitution through a prism, not of morality, nor of family stability, nor even of the well-being of individual women, but of an intramural fight between various shades of feminism. All that remains is for me to decide which faction of my enemies to whom I should offer surrender. With choices like these, I should probably prefer the German way, since I, too, though with better reason, mistrust any likely German state on questions of personal morality. But, mostly, I plan to sit this one out.