Emphasis added by me. Since when has any supposedly Judeo-Christian culture decided that morality is determined by law and regulations rather than by an individual?'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'By Clare Chapman(Filed: 30/01/2005)A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services''at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefitunder laws introduced this year.Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothelowners - who must pay tax and employee health insurance - were grantedaccess to official databases of jobseekers.The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had saidthat she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer wasinterested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doingso did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realisethat she was calling a brothel.Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out ofwork for more than a year can be forced to take an available job -including in the sex industry - or lose her unemployment benefit. Lastmonth German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunificationin 1990.The government had considered making brothels an exception on moralgrounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish themfrom bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for aprostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that ithad not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turndown a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potentialemployer."There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sexindustry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises insuch cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry isnot immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk tobenefits."Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offeredjobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nudemodel", and should report back on the meeting. Employers in the sexindustry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into forcethis month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can besued.Tatiana Ulyanova, who owns a brothel in central Berlin, has been searchingthe online database of her local job centre for recruits."Why shouldn't I look for employees through the job centre when I pay mytaxes just like anybody else?" said Miss Ulyanova.Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a brothel in Goerlitz, in former EastGermany, but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement for 12prostitutes, saying it would be impossible to find them.Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of demand for a brothel in thearea and planned to take a claim for compensation to the highest court.Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the governmentbelieved that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut linksto organised crime.Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employmenttargets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits ofwomen who refuse jobs providing sexual services."They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexualservices, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said."Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral,there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop themfrom pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."