Why young male refugees are turning to prostitution

Source: The Local

They fled to Germany with the hope of finding a better life. Now some young, male refugees say that drugs and prostitution are their only means of getting by.

Farid sheepishly stands before a small bathroom shelter at the entrance of Berlin’s central Tiergarten park. Young men are going in and out, looking tired and worn out. Older men stop by off and on, while Farid appears tense. He darts his eyes here and there as if he is waiting for someone.

The 21-year-old came to Germany from Afghanistan, and now earns money in Tiergarten near the Victory Column through prostitution. This, he says, is his only way to make a living.

As other German media have previously reported, Farid is not alone in his occupation as a prostitute, which is legal in Germany. Exactly how many refugees in Germany are prostitutes, no one knows. Such cases are known in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg, according to a survey by DPA.

The Berlin refugee aid organization Moabit hilft (Moabit helps) say they know of between 20 to 25 young Afghans, Iranians, Iraqis, and Syrians in Tiergarten alone who since the beginning of last year are earning money through prostitution. All of them are men, says Moabit hilft chair Diana Henniges.

In Hamburg there are “a couple of cases” known, according to a spokesman for Melanie Leonhard, the city’s senator for work, social affairs, family and integration. She said though that overall it is “not a major issue”.

In Frankfurt, AIDS assistance group KISS reports that they are in contact with about 20 refugees who offer sex for money.

“But the [actual] number is higher,” says counsellor Karin Fink, who has worked in the field for more than 25 years.

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