Red Light Goes Green: Germans Sleep with Prostitutes While Saving the Earth

(AP Photo )
BERLIN (CBS/AP) It's not just the Earth that's heating up in Germany, where a legal brothel has decided to offer discounts for patrons who want to save the planet.

The "House of Desire" brothel is giving customers $7.50 off their tab for riding a bike or taking public transit on their way to the steamy establishment.

To qualify, customers must show the receptionist either a bicycle padlock key or proof they used public transit to get to the neighborhood. That knocks the price for 45 minutes in a room, for example, to euro65 from euro70.

But if you walk to your hour of fun, you're out of luck.

The dens of iniquity in the capital of Germany, where prostitution is legal, have seen business suffer with the global financial crisis. Patrons have become more frugal, and there are fewer potential customers coming to the city for business trips and conferences.

Thomas Goetz, the owner of Maison d'Envie - the House of Desire - says business has picked up since they've offered the green discount.

"It's very difficult to find parking around here, and this option is better for our environment," Goetz said.

Local residents in Prenzlauer Berg, a part of former East Berlin now home to scores of trendy boutiques, restaurants and clubs, had staunchly supported the Green party in recent elections and have welcomed the bordello's offer to emphasize the environment.

Other cathouses have tried different incentives to cope with the economic downturn. One Berlin bordello offered a flat-rate for an unlimited time before officials' concerns over prostitutes' rights and cleanliness in the club forced them to rescind the offer.

The 450,000 prostitutes working in Germany, some 10,000 of whom are in Berlin, have the same legal rights and social benefits as people in other professions.