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BONN – Before going on shift in the limited public space reserved for street prostitution in Bonn, the city‘s prostitutes must now purchase a “sex tax” ticket from an automatic dispenser. The six-euro ticket is valid for one night’s work, no matter the number of clients.
To get the system up and running, fiscal authorities had a machine normally used to dispense tickets for parking places converted so that the words "Steuerticket-Automat" (tax ticket automat) are now painted on it, and the display now reads: "Die Nacht 6,00 Euro" (6 euros a night). The display also states that tickets are required from Monday to Sunday, from 8:15 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In Germany, Bonn is a pioneer of this automatic up-front taxation system. Dortmund has tickets that sex workers buy in gas stations, but no automatic dispenser.
The system is meant to make taxing of prostitution more equitable, since those working inside “Eros centers“ and sauna clubs were paying taxes. The sex tax itself was introduced at the beginning of 2011, and is expected to generate some 300,000 euros. City tax controllers are responsible for monitoring the ticket system; anyone caught without a ticket will first receive a warning followed by more severe measures if caught a second time.
Street prostitution in Bonn is limited to a space opposite an “Eros Center.” After a sex worker agrees to go with a drive-by customer, the client drives his car into one of the six “sex boxes” - parking spaces separated by wood partitions - which are equipped with an emergency button to alert the night watchman in case of trouble. The new “meters” are located nearby.