The site of a former Berlin airport could be the new hotspot for sex workers in the city.
Mitte district Mayor Stephan von Dassel is proposing bringing booths where sex workers can meet clients, called “Verichtungsboxen,” to the Tempelhof airport, which was converted into a park in 2008. The “Verichtungsboxen” include booths where clients can drive up and meet prostitutes in their own cars, according to CNN.
The move is an attempt to counter widespread prostitution on a street called Kurfürstenstrasse.
In a July statement, Dassel argued that unregulated prostitution on Kurfürstenstrasse has reached a dangerous level for women, saying that violence is underreported and a high percentage of sex workers face addiction and sexually transmitted diseases.
Berlin resident Sarah Tiba told CNN that the plan could actually make prostitution even less safe, because it would be moved “out of sight.”
“It seemed controlled here,” Tiba, who lives in central Mitte, told the outlet.
“I feel like it is moving it to a place where it is less of an inconvenience for rich people,” she said. “I felt happy when they were fine on a street corner, rather than pushing them out of sight. The men who went with them were very visible, so it felt like some control. But if it moves out of sight, it might be less safe.”
However, Dassel has pointed out that if the “use of performance boxes is voluntary and only perceived as an additional offer for sexual intercourse, the situation of the sex workers and the residents in the Kurfürstend-kiez will marginally improve at best.”
The Templehof airport has quite the history.
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The massive airport was built by the Nazis on top of an older airport in an attempt to impress visitors, according to a report from The Independent. But since 2008, it has been used by the public for rollerblading, jogging, cycling, picnics and numerous other activities.
Tempelhof is also Germany’s largest refugee center, according to The Independent, and is able to house as many as 7,000.