World's largest brothel to close as Covid lockdown drives sex work underground

A German ‘mega brothel’ which employed over 100 sex workers is shutting up shop in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 11-floor establishment in Cologne, Germany, is closing because the lockdown has driven prostitution underground

Pascha – the biggest sex house in the world – has filed for bankruptcy after Covid-19 devastated the business.

In more regular years the brothel made millions of euros but now they can no longer afford to keep their doors open.

Its cleaners, cooks, hairdressers, masseurs and security guards are also set to be made redundant.



Prostitution has been banned in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since the pandemic began five months ago.

Government aid has not been sufficient to cover the brothel’s six-figure operating costs.

Pascha’s director Armin Lobscheid has criticised the local authorities’ lack of clarity as to when the business would be allowed to reopen.

He said: “We were put off for a further two weeks every 14 days. We cannot plan like that.”



World's largest brothel to close as Covid lockdown drives sex work underground

The brothel had used up all its financial reserves before the 64-year-old presented Lobscheid Limited’s bankruptcy petition to the Cologne District Court on Tuesday, 1 September.

Mr Lobscheid has suggested that brothel closures are unlikely to stop prostitution, but will force it underground, making it both more dangerous and untaxable.

Creditreform, a leading German credit bureau, has warned of a large rise in bankruptcy filings from the fourth quarter onwards, as the fallout from the pandemic begins to pinch.

With the loss of Pascha, the fate of the iconic blue building, which has always been a brothel, is uncertain. Due to the ongoing prostitution ban, it is unlikely another brothel will take its place.

However, significant conversion of the building into a hotel or refugee accommodation is also unlikely.

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