Life is hard for German hookers these days. Sex work was legalized in 2002, and the red-light districts have become increasingly competitive since. Even in the best of times, prostitution is a career seriously lacking in long-term potential.So when the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced a pilot employment program for women of the night, there was a lot of interest. "We wanted to help them find a market where there's a future," says Rita Kuehn, director of the program known as ProFridA.
Specifically, the 50-some participants are being retrained as elder-care workers. It makes perfect sense, says Kuehn, without irony. "Prostitutes have already learned to get along with people, and they're usually very good listeners," she says.