BERLIN, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- German Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen is leading a national movement to make the country's prostitution laws more stringent.
Prostitution is legal in Germany, but the national government is considering tougher laws such as prosecuting customers of women forced into prostitution, Deutsche Welle reported.
The government is considering a proposal to help prostitutes who want to escape their forced employment situation.
"We want to rigorously go after the criminal element surrounding prostitution," von der Leyen said. "That includes punishing customers of forced prostitutes, raising the minimal age and much stricter controls over brothels, with the message that prostitution is not just a job like any other.
"If the prostitute speaks no German and has bruises on her body then the client has to assume this is forced prostitution," she said. "He can no longer say: 'I didn't notice.'"
The paper said that to date, there are nearly 400,000 prostitutes registered in Germany.