The Age -- Melbourne -- December 7, 2005
Brothel set to score at World Cup
By Allan Hall, Berlin
Loads of Leopard. The Artemis, Berlin's biggest and most luxurious brothel, has clearly decided not to hold back on the décor. Read MORE
A pleasure dome for soccer World Cup fans seeking more than pitch-side entertainment has opened in Berlin in anticipation of next year's tournament.
It boasts a Turkish bath, two saunas, two cinemas and up to 100 working girls offering round-the-clock sex. As many as 650 clients can be entertained at one time. Europe's biggest brothel is Germany's latest answer to the massive invasion of sex workers who are expected to flood the country next year to cater to male soccer fans.
Early predictions suggest up to 3 million fans will visit a prostitute at least once during the World Cup. The event's organisers are expecting at least 50,000 prostitutes to descend on Germany from throughout Europe to meet the demand.
Artemis may be an odd name for a bordello, since the Greek goddess Artemis was the eternal virgin, but this place is designed for sex.
Outside, the $A7.8 million concrete-and-glass building on the western edge of the city is about as erotic as a corporate office park. Inside, it is a cross between mid-1990s Las Vegas and a cheesy Carry On film.
Yesterday a handful of middle-aged punters were paying $62 each for a locker, bathrobe and access to the brothel's facilities, which include bars, massage parlours, pornographic film cinemas and 46 sex suites decked out with mock zebra skin bed covers. The sex itself costs extra.
Norman Jacob, a lawyer and spokesman for Artemis, says the brothel has a revolutionary approach that cuts out prostitutes' traditional reliance on pimps to organise their trade. It virtually eliminates the chances of illegal eastern European "sex slaves" being employed on the premises.
"All the girls who work here have to provide a tax number and proof of permission to work in the EU," he said. "They have to pay a $A110 entrance fee, but they are left free to negotiate the cost of their services with each client. This cuts out the role of pimps and allows the girls to keep all the profits."
Sex worker Xenia said she found the system worked in her favour. "I used to pay between 20 and 50 per cent of my takings to my organiser. Here I can keep the lot," she said.
Mr Jacob said he was looking forward to the World Cup. Six games are to be played in Berlin, including the final. "Football and sex belong together," he said.
Katharina Cetin, of the Berlin-based prostitute support group Hydra, said: "We think it is really positive that it is all so transparent, and the environment itself is attractive and hygienic. We also like the fact that no alcohol is served."
To sign a Petition against the prostitution of women, and the vilification of each and every one of the world's women, at the World Soccer Cup 2006, or to download the petition text to challenge men in your environment, go to: http://catwepetition.ouvaton.org/php/index.php