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In this guest post, Charlotte Cooper considers a German brothel that is offering a ‘green’ discount for punters who arrive by public transport or bike

“Release the puns” must have been the call to journalists when news was delivered that a brothel in Berlin was offering a green discount for those arriving by public transports, bikes and the like. Parking this here and riding that, pumping other things and so forth.

The unbridled joy of being able to sidestep any kind of moral questioning of the appropriation of the green movement to move women’s bodies for a little less money in these economically depressing times. So firstly, yes, brothels in Germany are legal and one would imagine a brothel with any secrets to hide wouldn’t be out and proud sourcing journalists to draw attention to its dealings, but then I’m quite sure the very legal strip clubs in our country don’t think there’s anything wrong with charging their dancers to perform and taking the majority of a night’s working wage in the name of running their businesses.

However, highlighting the brothels insistence, as Treehugger does, that it uses only German and/or EU citizens to staff its business is not much of a recommendation of respectability, unless you don’t believe the trafficking and abuse of women can happen within one country’s borders (a 2009 report put one quarter of sex trafficked victims as German nationals), or within the EU, especially considering Germany’s problems in the recent past.

There’s also the teensy problem that these (modest) discounts probably didn’t come at the behest of the women working in the brothel, but the boss (read pimp), who saw a marketing opportunity (again as I don’t know if the women pay residence or simply get a wage from working in the brothel so I don’t know who this effects what they’ll get at the end of the day). Safe to say, these ‘nice motivated models’, trafficked or not, are clearly going to cause you as little consternation about the legitamacy of their existance as their personal enjoyment while you get your concessionary screw session (45min or 15min) thinking about how good and ethical you are for not spewing environmentally unfriendly substances out of your car to get your happy end.

Don’t let my concerned position allow you to think I’m entirely against the fluffy pointless parts of the news to distract from the normal hand wringing, panic stricken, head shaking stuff, but I do have a problem with the normalisation of the sex industry, particularly parts where women’s bodies are bought and sold in less than the best circumstances. Want to take the piss out of greenwashing? It’s not hard. At least when you’re talking about the biodegradable nature of bullets they’re unconcious, unsentient things, not living, breathing humans.