German brothels left disappointed by lack of action during 2006 World Cup

World Cups are always packed to the brim with action on the pitch – but there was a disappointing amount of it away from the games in 2006.

Hosts Germany had readied themselves for an influx of supporters from the 32 competing nations, with a particular focus on the prostitution industry. They'd legalised brothels four years earlier and expected footy fans to make the most of that during their travels.

A 3,000sqm mega-brothel called 'Artemis' was built in Berlin ahead of the tournament boasting a pool, three saunas, two cinemas, and with room for up to 70 prostitutes and 600 customers.

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And Germany already had 'Pascha', believed to be the biggest brothel in the world. The 9,000sqm, 12-storey building located in Cologne can welcome up to 1,000 customers a day.

But business didn't boom at either like expected. Mid-way through the World Cup a spokesperson for Artemis told The New York Times: "Our business is OK, but it's not great. We get 250 to 260 customers on a game day. We'd be happier getting 600 a day."

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Luna, a 33-year-old Serbian woman who had temporarily moved from Bavaria, added: "The last time Germany played, not that many men came here. Maybe they went out to a pub and drank instead."

That came as a disappointment to her and the rest of the estimated 40,000 women who had travelled to Germany's big cities to work. There had been fears pre-tournament about sex trafficking, leading to multiple police searches in the build-up.

Prostitute Stephanie Klee explained: "The police carried out a lot of searches to look for forced prostitutes or women without legal papers. When clients see police at the brothels, they think that sex work is linked to crime."

There'd also been mass backlash from the Muslim community after a billboard at the Pascha included the flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran next to a scantily-clad woman. Officials were forced to black them out after protests.

Germany will have a second crack at the prostitution whip in 2024 when they host the Euros. But after the low number of customers in 2006, they'd be wise to tone down the investment this time around.


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