Together with some 30 girls, I’m sitting in a sticky conference room somewhere in Germany. It is the middle of summer, 2016. We all know why our agency has called for a meeting. There was no need for an agenda. It was all over the newspapers!

Even those of us who normally don’t keep up with the daily news couldn’t escape this one. In the name of ‘protection’, a new law for the ‘protection of prostitutes’ was making its way through parliament. Huge protests from the sex worker industry, the ones who were supposed to be happy about it, fell on deaf ears.

Helena is only 20. She never had another job and is financially dependent on what she makes as an escort. I’m the lucky one. I have a job, enough money saved up to quit whenever I want. Still, I’m fucking mad.

I was about to be robbed. Not of my childhood, I only started escorting when I was already 30. Not of money, or dignity. No, I feel robbed of a profession I love. And who is robbing me? The very people who claim to protect sex-workers without being asked to do so.

Many sex-workers are abused. Few are as lucky as I am. But that doesn’t make it right for countries to pass laws in the name of ‘protection‘ that force prostitution underground. My day job was perfectly benign and respectable. What I do with my spare time, some of my vacation time, and, I admit, some sick days, is my business.

Yes, it is a business and a very lucrative and enjoyable one at that.

Sitting there and waiting for the management of our agency to fill us in on their plans, we all knew that Parliament was going to pass a new law. From the moment it takes effect, we are all considered sex workers to have to register with the ‘Behörden’. Then we will be issued a ‘whore ID’. Assurances that it was only to protect us from abuse, to ensure that we could carry out our business legally and under healthy conditions, were about as sincere as me telling my clients their dick was too large for me.

While the actual ID wouldn’t even have to carry our real name, the government was going to have all our personal detail; we’re reduced to a number. A number with the name ‘Whore’ attached to it. I only had one thought. A potential employer does a routine background search and ‘accidentally’ discovers that the sweet girl from the IT department is a registered WHORE!

I know all the girls from the agency. It feels like attending a funeral. I didn’t need this job. I liked it, I enjoyed most of it and had figured out how to get my kinks, my job, and being an escort lined up. I had saved almost all the money I made.

Most of the girls are in their 20s, all on the verge of tears. Then our boss comes in. She’s dressed properly, business suite, heels, hair up and make-up done. She looks like a ‘madame’. Her lipstick is slightly overdone. Otherwise, she has an immaculate appearance.

There is no subtlety. She gets right to the point. The business choice was pretty clear. If the agency is going to continue, everyone working with her had to register as a sex worker. No exceptions.

The room is deathly silent. There had been some hope for a caveat, an escape clause. That’s how escort had always operated. There was no need for a red-light district, we only sold companionship. The sex was free. Not so under the new law.

One by one, we are asked whether we would consider registering as sex workers. A few hands go up. All of them are young, none older than 22. I know them all, they are like little sisters to me. They needed the money, or at least had counted on it for a few years.

I don’t raise my hand. At that moment, Alyssia, my escort name, ceases to exist.

My count is five. A total of five girls out of the entire group are willing to stay and register as sex workers. That doesn’t even come close to the number our boss needs to keep going. Even I can do the math in my head. I don’t know what the actual number is, whether there even is a hard number, or if the end is already pre-cooked.

We’re closing. Just like that, we’re all out of a job. We might keep going for a few more months, but we’d start losing clients right away. Who would be left are be the most vulnerable. Those who cannot afford to quit, those who needed to say ‘yes’ because of the money.

A few years have passed since that day. Just writing this post makes my blood boil. What was a voluntary choice now came with a life-long label. One that could come back years later to haunt anyone who stayed. What the law ended up doing was create a class of escorts and other sex workers who were among the most desperate. And those were stigmatized, if not traumatized, for life.

We closed officially at the end of December 2016. I left earlier, sort of, and started school in the US. I had plans to go to school anyway but had already deferred once to keep working. Now it was clear there was no work anymore. Any my day job alone did not keep me from pursuing other goals I had in my life. Again, I was lucky to have a back-up plan.

The law took effect on July 1, 2017. By early 2018, I was bcc’ed on an email from my former boss. I wasn’t quite sure why I had still be on her distribution list. I figured it was an accident.

Dear friends,

The year 2017 was full of surprises and big challenges. But the changes involved were also a significant gain for us. We have established ourselves well in the UK and Switzerland and have strengthened our position in the escort business in general. 

We want to thank you very much for the great collaboration, support, motivation, and trust – today as well as in the future. 

In the meantime, we wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season and a wonderful New Year filled with success and health.

It also had the new website at the bottom. I checked it out more out of curiosity to see who stayed and who didn’t. Shocked is an understatement when I found out I was still listed as working for the agency. All my escort details were just as I had left them. But that’s a different story. Frankly, while I was annoyed, I felt truly sad for all the girls who couldn’t say no.

The agency no longer had to check whether all their girls were registered, They escaped the law. The same was not true for most of the girls who stayed. Anyone who worked in Germany had to have the ‘whore ID’ with them. So, once again, the ones who have options can just relocate their business. Those who can’t, are screwed.

Money buys a lot in the sex business. A blowjob, a good fuck, CIM, BBBJ, CG, GS, GFE, and on and on goes the menu. What money doesn’t buy is a person. That’s called human trafficking. Trying to take my own dignity away from me, that’s called fuck you, ‘Behörden’.