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February 02, 2005

Welfare Reform on Steroids

This is the logical extreme of welfare reform, as implemented in Germany:

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year...

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit.

Germany has implemented a more formal policy with basic labor protections due to the legalization of prostitution, but with welfare recipients in the US forced to do sub-minimum wage make-work or turn to illegal sweatshops as their benefits are cut off, this is de facto the US system as many desperate women are forced into prostitution.

Most of those who have left welfare still live below the poverty line, so such desperation is systematically part of the system. Germany may make the headlines on this issue, but it's the reality of our communities under our new welfare system.

Posted by Nathan at February 2, 2005 07:52 AM