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Rudloff is now serving a five-year sentence for aiding and abetting trafficking. Men wear bathrobes and shower shoes; women are naked aside from high heels. According to court documents, this became a problem for Paradise almost immediately. In , as Rudloff was growing his business, investigators in Augsburg, Bavaria — a hundred miles from Stuttgart — received a tip-off that gangs from the city were trafficking women from eastern Europe , and sending them to work in Paradise.
While prostitution is legal in Germany, pimping and sex trafficking are not. There was still no clear connection to Rudloff at this point. Then in , a trafficking investigation into a brothel in Augsburg uncovered further links with Paradise. The evidence was sufficient to convict several pimps who had trafficked women into Paradise.
Rudloff himself was finally arrested in September He would hit them on the head, rather than the body, he explained, so that no one would see the bruises. One woman who worked at Paradise told the court she had seen young women weeping after their first night working there. Peter Holzwarth, the chief prosecutor at the trial, argued that the owner and management at the clubs were guilty of Organisationsdelikt — aiding and abetting an organisation involved in criminality.
The court agreed. German authorities have no data on the number of women who work in the domestic sex trade, but conservative estimates suggest , They speak no German — or only very basic German. They have a limited education and they are travelling abroad for the first time. Sandra Norak, 29, has never worked at Paradise, but spent six years working in brothels across Germany after meeting a man on the internet while she was still at school.
She kept none of the money for herself. It was not until that she was able to get herself out of the sex trade and complete high school. These days she works mainly from her private apartment or as an escort. A win-win situation … but the case has had an impact already. I think brothel owners will be more careful about dealing with pimps. Hilke Lorenz is a reporter for the Stuttgarter Zeitung. Additional reporting by Catherine Nelson.