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     News: Media banned from red light district

    Sexual Politics
    Media banned from red light district

    Katy Duke
    Wednesday May 3, 2006

    The German city of Cologne has banned foreign press from its red light district in the run-up to the football World Cup, after prostitutes complained about journalists chasing away their customers since British media reports raised global interest in local "drive-in brothels".

    A story last week in the Sun looked at a number of red light districts, especially in the World Cup cities of Cologne and Dortmund, where local governments are "expanding and improving" the areas in order to cope with the expected influx of foreign football fans.

    England are due to play Sweden in Cologne on June 20.

    Following the report, journalists from across the continent have flooded the city to film the infamous drive-in brothel zone and interview prostitutes about the increased demand and the competition from cheaper eastern European girls.

    Andrea, 31, a local prostitute, said: "There are crews from all over Europe here, I was just questioned by a Swedish crew. People film us as if we were zoo animals. At the moment, if someone pulls over next to you, you can be almost positive that it's just a journalist who wants to talk nonsense. All our normal punters are backing off now."

    And now Cologne authorities have announced a total ban on journalists using still or video cameras in the Geestemuende district where the drive-in brothels are located.

    Robert Kilp, the head of the city's public affairs department, said if a journalist was caught filming in the area the tape would be removed and a warning issued, but if he or she was caught a second time the consequences would be more serious.

    "The second time we will be really angry. This zone is owned by the city of Cologne and is not considered a public street," Mr Kilp said.

    "Anyone filming or taking pictures there will be liable to prosecution. Prostitutes are having sexual intercourse in cars there, it is not a good thing to be filming."

    But Mr Kilp insisted the German authorities were not trying to prevent serious reporting on the world's oldest profession.

    "If a journalist goes to a brothel and gets the owner's permission to film that's fine. But the drive-in brothel project is trying to protect girls and keep them off drugs and we do not want to scare them away," he said.

    "These journalists do not seem interested in that. They have only started coming now because the World Cup will be here soon."

    Anne Rossbach, spokeswoman for the SKF, the social project behind the drive-in brothels, agreed, saying: "The worldwide media interest is huge. The Geestemuende area is supposed to be a social project, not a tourist scheme."

    · To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 7239 9857 · If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication".

    Associated Topics

    Human TraffickingPorn, Prostitution, Sex Industry

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