The Kassandra e.V. association was founded in 1987 and sponsors an information centre offering a wide range of support services for anyone involved in the sex work industry. The association and information centre are the only services founded by and available to sex workers in Bavaria. The member’s association makes important decisions. The Executive Board represents the association externally.
Kassandra e.V.’s work is focused on fostering acceptance of prostitution as part of our society. The association clearly differentiates between prostitution as a sexual service performed in return for compensation, and issues like sexual violence, exploitation, and human trafficking. We understand sex work as a consensual act between two adults.
Kassandra e.V. works consistently to eliminate the discrimination and criminalisation faced by sex workers, to improve working and living conditions for those in the industry and to ensure sex work is treated equally under the law with other professions. The association also works to sensitise the public and foster acceptance in society for the needs and concerns of sex workers themselves.
We see ourselves as service providers to anyone seeking advice on prostitution-specific issues. Our services are open to anyone involved in the sex work industry, no matter their sexual orientation, origin, and/or ethnicity.
We also serve as a professional contact for official agencies, authorities and other institutions, to which we offer our specific professional expertise.
The work of the Kassandra e.V. information centre is focused around the lives and needs of people in the sex work industry.
We inform, advise, support, stabilise, professionalise and guide clients as needed (anonymously, if they so choose). The work of the information centre is designed to ensure clients can make their own autonomous decisions, develop conflict resolution skills and shape their own life circumstances and plans independently as far as possible. We refer users to other offices and institutions as necessary.
We use cultural mediation to respond to the high percentage of sex workers who come from a migrant background. Language mediators provide initial support to help us make contact with such individuals, and help both foster a sense of understanding for and overcome cultural differences. Integrating people with migrant backgrounds is one key goal/result of our advising work.
In order to lower the hurdles we face in gaining access to such individuals, it is important to have a respectful, non-judgemental attitude towards sex workers. We further facilitate our work with the help of peers who have experience in the sex industry.
Kassandra e.V. is a member of a variety of networks, boards, and working groups. We maintain close and positive collaborations with other organisations across regional and national aid networks, in order to offer our clients comprehensive support and advice.
Of course, we always comply with data protection and confidentiality requirements.
We handle the donations and public funds made available to us responsibly, and maintain accounting for our income and expenses.
A quality management system ensures the quality of our work.
The history of Kassandra e.V.
The world is gripped by AIDS hysteria. No medications have been developed yet. Many people are afraid. In Bavaria, mandatory AIDS testing is ordered for “suspected infected persons”. In contrast to infectious diseases like tuberculosis or measles, the contraction of HIV (and other sexually transmitted diseases) can be avoided relatively easily through preventative behaviour (= using a condom). Nevertheless, sex workers are now considered “suspected infected persons” and are checked regularly (as are drug users in some cases). Sex workers feel they are being discriminated against. They argue that they are professionals and require their customers to use condoms – they argue they aren’t any more affected by HIV than any other person.
Mandatory AIDS tests are enforced with police manhunts and “enforced appearances” if people do not show up to take them. In addition to HIV, they are also tested for syphilis. Vaginal smear tests are also carried out – even against the will of the test subject if they resist.
At the same time, a culture of anonymous (and voluntary) AIDS testing for everyone is developed in the public health sector.
The history of Kassandra e.V.
We’ve had enough! We’re going to organise! A dozen women from the sex work field and other professions (a ratio of 50:50) organise an association and create an information centre for sex workers. The name “Kassandra” pays tribute to the seer of Troy of the same name, whose prophecies no one believed. It reflects how we felt during the AIDS crisis, when we were suspected of spreading the disease.
We successfully question the appropriateness of mandatory testing for sex workers. A national study° is carried out on mandatory testing involving 9,000 sex workers. The study proves that they are actually infected with HIV/STIs°° at lower rates than members of other groups! “Forced testing for sex workers completely misses epidemiologically relevant groups” – this was the conclusion of our plea for doing away with all mandatory testing.
At the same time, sex workers are protesting all over the world under the slogan:
Finally, legal consequences: the elimination of all forced testing°°° and the introduction of anonymous, free HIV/STI tests for anyone with a high risk of infection°°°°
The Infection Protection Act of 2001, Sec. 19° Trossen, 1993 (formerly head of the Wiesbaden Health Authority, asked other health agencies across Germany for their figures starting in 1991) https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/39135?tab=aboutauthor (ISBN 978-3-631-45470-1)
°° STI = sexually transmitted infections = general term for all such infections
°°° based on the “Federal Law on Contagious Disease” and “Sexually Transmitted Infection Act”, which never directly name sex workers
°°°° anchored in the Infection Protection Act, Sec. 19
In the professional sex work field, we promote equality between sex workers and members of other professions in terms of legal and social security insurance law as well as the elimination of all specific criminal laws addressing sex work.
Prostitute associations complain that all specialised laws in the criminal code have not yet been eliminated. We feel that the existence of such laws discriminates against us. The same laws that apply to other citizens protect us as well: Laws against physical injury, rape, coercion, fraud, etc.