Sex workers face ruin amid virus fears, brothel closures
It’s 7 p.m. on a Friday night, a time when Aurel Johannes Marx’s three-room brothel on the edge of Berlin would normally be preparing for its first customers. Sex for sale has long been a staple part of the German capital’s freewheeling nightlife. But amid concerns over the new coronavirus, even the world’s supposedly oldest profession is suffering a sudden slump. At the “Lankwitzer 7” brothel, with its soft red light and bawdy paintings on the wall, disinfectant dispensers had been installed next to the washbasins. Marx said he ordered staff to hot-wash all towels and sheets, and open the windows more often to let the warm, sticky air escape. Still, customers just weren’t showing up anymore. “Over the past week, business has gone down by 50%,” Marx said, blaming the decline on the general drop in nightlife that’s occurred since the virus arrived in Berlin.
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