150 Prostitutes And 50,000 Punters, Inside The World Of Stuttgart’s Mega Brothel

The documentary you need to watch this week


by Jess Commons |
Published on

If you’ve managed to get this far in life without coming across or ever really considering the words ‘mega brothel’, then consider yourself lucky because if you’re suddenly imagining several floors of hundred of girls servicing thousands of men a day then yes, that's exactly what it is. And classy it isn't.

‘It’s an emporium for prostitution really’ explains Ed Watts, director of Channel 4’s new documentary The Mega Brothel which films behind the closed doors of Stuttgart’s ‘Paradise’. Don’t be taken in by the nice name BTW, the Paradise brothel is less five-star Caribbean resort and more motorway motel. ‘They pitch themselves as a spa for the “wellness of a man”, it’s supposed to be about the sauna and the steam room and horrendous buffet, not just about the sex.’

Since Germany legalised prostitution back in 2002, brothels and mega brothels just like Paradise have sprung up over the country, much to the dismay of activists who hoped the legalisation would put a dampener on the industry. The ownder of Paradise, Juergen Rudloff, prides himself on providing a safe place for his girls to work, of which there can be up to 150 operating a night. ‘For €79 men can get entry and that includes the buffet and the sauna and the steam room,’ says Ed when we ask him to explain how it works. ‘If they want to get a massage they have to pay extra for that and then for whatever happens in the room is a deal struck between a man and a woman. There’s an informal standard rate which is €50 for half an hour of “vanilla sex”.’ Ed reckons some girls earn up to €15,000 a month, but most earn much lower than that. It’s a number not helped by the fact the girls have to pay rent (for a dorm bed and a locker) and entry fee to the brothel each day, meaning they start most days £150 down.

And how old are most of the girls? According to Ed, ‘There were a couple of older women in their early forties, but they were mostly in their early twenties and a couple that were just 18.’ One such girl we meet in the documentary is a bright eyed 23-year-old named Josie who hopes to work in criminology one day. Over the course of the documentary she laughs as she shows Ed the S&M room, her tube of vaginal anaesthetic she uses when it hurts too much and as she tells of the drunk men she has to have sex with. She looks crestfallen only when she realises that the amount of men that she’s slept with numbers somewhere around the 15,000 mark.

Despite prostitution being legalised in Germany in a bid to stop women being forced into it, it’s pretty clear from the documentary that it’s still happening, most notably through what’s called ‘The Lover Boy Method’, the term used to describe men that use ‘love’ to coerce their ‘girlfriends’ into working prostitution whilst they reap the monetary benefits. ‘Every single girl got into to the business that way.’ Explains Ed. ‘They all had these “boyfriends” that essentially bamboozled them into becoming prostitutes. The girls would talk about them as boyfriends even though they were giving them their money. It’s a really subtle and scary thing the way they control them.’ A Romanian girl in the documentary talks openly about the man that got her into prosititution in the first place, ‘I was 15, he was 20.’

In fact, despite Juergen Rudloff's insistance that the girls in Paradise were safer in the brothel than working on the streets, Paradise was raided late last year and five members of staff were arrested. All of the girls under the age of 21 were taken and questioned and Paradise’s marketing manager remains in prison pending charges. With poor financial profits on top of the legal troubles, Paradise’s future looks uncertain. I ask Ed what will hpeen to the girls if the brothel was to close. ‘It’s a really hard business to get out of,’ he says. ‘There are some options, there are social workers that would help them find a different kind of work but I think that the vast majority, once they’ve crossed that line and are in that business, they’re stuck and stay for their entire lives.’

The Mega Brothel is on Channel 4 Thurs 29th Jan, 10PM

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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