Prosecution – Germany

1. Crimes
2. Making a Police Statement
3. Consequences

If, in a raid, police pick up an immigrant sex worker who has no residence permit and/or no work permit, they will initiate an enquiry against her regarding immigration offences. Criminal proceedings will also be initiated if the woman has committed an offence in another matter. In these cases the woman is an accused party.


1. Crimes

Working as a sex worker can be penalised as a crime under the following conditions:

  • if the woman works without an adequate work permit (§§ 92 ff Alien Law); see Sex Work
  • if a woman takes money from the client in advance although she is not willing to offer her services. She only commits a crime (fraud), though, if it can be proven that she never intended to work.
  • Prostitution may be restricted to certain areas and to certain times. If a woman repeatedly works in these areas however, she commits a crime (§ 184a StGB/Criminal Code). The first time she is caught she has to pay a fine. (§ 120 Para. I No. 1 OWiG). She may also face expulsion.

2. Making a Police Statement

A. Right to Remain Silent

The accused has the right to remain silent. Even in answering questions about other people she need say nothing which incriminates her.

B. Translator

The accused is entitled to the services of a translator in her own language. If she feels unable to trust the translator, she should tell the police. However, she is not legally entitled to another translator.

C. Lawyer

The accused is entitled to her lawyer’s presence at the hearing.
Hint: Memorise a lawyer’s telephone number!

D. Custody

The accused may be held in police custody, but only until the end of the following day. Then a judge must make a verbal decision as to whether to detain her for examination purposes or for deportation. The woman is entitled to a lawyer’s services in this process.

Practice varies from state to state. In most states the woman is detained if she has already been through several proceedings for illegal residency/employment.

If a woman is detained, she should always establish contact to a lawyer and an advisory centre. The advisors can visit and support her.

E. Victims of Trafficking in Women

The woman may not only be accused, but also be a victim of trafficking in women or of other serious offences.
Should this be the case, she should insist that police establish contact to an advisory centre.
No Criminal Proceedings Against the Victim/Witness:
If the woman is the victim of a serious crime (trafficking in women, rape, serious acts of violence) and is prepared to give evidence as witness, criminal proceedings against her may, at the authorities’ discretion, be abandoned: that is, there are no criminal proceedings against the woman, and she may not be taken into custody for examination purposes.
However, in criminal proceedings against the perpetrator the woman is then obliged to give evidence as a witness. (Criminal action can be taken against her on grounds of perjury/false testimony if it is proven that she lied or omitted to tell the whole truth). She is not obliged to say anything that might incriminate her or her family members, though.
Proceedings against the woman are generally not abandoned if she has already on several occasions been detected by the police as an illegal resident/employee.

3. Consequences

A. Immigration Offences

A woman who has committed an immigration offence (illegal residency, illegal employment) will be expelled from Germany if she does not possess a residence permit and is not entitled to remain for humanitarian or other reasons (see information on Migration). In this case, she may be placed in remand pending deportation and subsequently be deported.

B. Other Crimes

Where other offences have been committed (e.g. theft, fraud etc.) the investigation authorities will initiate proceedings against the woman. A criminal charge and legal proceedings may follow. If a criminal sentence is passed, the woman may also lose her right to residency. This depends on the severity of the sentence and the type of residence permit.
If investigation proceedings are initiated against the woman, she should always seek a lawyer’s advice!
Scroll to Top