Hydra e.V., Berlin

Contact email
0049-30-611 00 23

Hydra was the first autonomous whores' organisation in Germany, founded in 1980, inspired by the strikes and protests in France from 1975 on. Since 1985 we run a counselling center for sex workers which is financially supported by the city of Berlin.

De-stigmatization, de-criminalization and the recognition of sex work as work are our main topics from the beginning. In 2002 sex work in germany seized to be "contra bonos mores", which means that sex workers can legally earn their money, get insurance and work in brothels. But sex work is not completely de-criminalized in Germany and sex workers face a lot of problems, especially migrant sex workers.

From 2015 on a new law is discussed, which will re-stigmatize in illegalize many forms of sex work in Germany. It will be finalized in summer 2016.

Who do you work with?

Female* sex workers, also their partners or family, sometimes managers and clients. For male* sex workers, there are other organizations in Berlin.

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

The Hydra e.V. organization mainly consists of present and former sex workers. Sex workers and non-sex workers are employed at the counselling center.

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face

Stigmatisation, housing, health insurance, getting access to job center support.

Describe other areas of your work

Peer-to-peer-workshops in brothels, entrance counselling, counselling for sex workers who want to leave sex work, psychological support, support with job center, administrative, and social security issues, (sexual) health counselling, tax and legal counselling, outreach work, networking on political and administrative level, public relations, lobbying.