Artemis is one of the largest brothels in Germany, where prostitution and brothels are legal and widespread. The 'wellness' brothel opened in Berlin in September 2005, a four-story building complete with a pool, three saunas, two cinemas, and with room for up to 70 prostitutes and 600 customers.
Organization and ownership
Artemis was created by the Turkish businessman Haki Simsek for about €5 million. One review in a German online publication wrote "Although the outside of the building is about as erotic as a corporate office park, the interior is a bizarre cross between mid-1990s Las Vegas and a cheesy British 'Carry-On' film."
The Artemis is organized as a sauna club, similar to several other German brothels: both customers and prostitutes pay an entry fee and can then use the facilities for 24 hours. The entrance fee is 80 Euros; half an hour sex costs 60 Euros. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the entry fee. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased at the bar and start at EUR 10 for a beer. 50 women work on a typical night; they are mostly nude or near nude, except on certain days such as Wednesday, which is "lingerie day". Sexual services typically include oral sex without a condom, and sexual intercourse with condoms. Sex without condom carries extra fees. The payment is given directly to the women after the act; the house does not receive a cut but regulates the prices and services.
The brothel has 49 employees, in addition to the prostitutes who officially are not employees, but have to follow the house rules regarding services and dresses. Prostitutes can stay at the brothel, renting rooms on the fourth floor which is off-limits to customers.
Several comparable clubs exist in Germany, most of them in the area north of Frankfurt. One of them, Atlantis, was closed in 2004 after legal troubles.
Artemis is located near the west end of the Kurfürstendamm in an industrial area of Charlottenburg, close to the metro and railway station Westkreuz and about 0.5 km south of the ICC congress center. It is a little more than two kilometres from Berlin's Olympic stadium, famous for hosting the 1936 Olympics and the venue for several games of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in football (soccer).
FIFA World Cup 2006 in football (soccer)
Various news sources reported on Artemis in relation to an expected increase in prostitution in Germany during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Norman Jacob, the lawyer of the owner, was quoted in one article as saying 'Football and sex belong together.' On 30 June 2006, the New York Times reported that these expectations had apparently been too optimistic.
In the early morning hours of 17 August 2012, four guests refused to pay their bill. One of them drew a gun and shot at the doormen, injuring three of them. The group then fled by car. The gun was a modified alarm gun that shot plastic bullets. A few weeks later, a Russian resident of Berlin was arrested as a suspect in the case.
As part of a campaign to criminalize the buying of sex, five topless members of Femen chained themselves to the entrance of Artemis on 27 November 2013.
On 14th April 2016 Artemis was raided by 900 police and customs officers investigating human trafficking and tax evasion. The police had obtained information that members of the Hells Angels forced some women to work in Artemis. The tax evasion charges resulted from the allegation that the prostitutes working at Artemis were fraudulently classified as independent contractors rather than as employees. The brothel reopened the next day but the two managers Hakim and Kenan Simsek and four madams were arrested. In late July 2016 the Kammergericht ordered their release because of insufficient evidence. Defense lawyers announced plans to sue the state of Berlin for damages, arguing that authorities had approved of the Artemis business practices for years.
- "Im Gewerbegebiet", Berliner Zeitung, 10 November 2005. Extensive report on Haki Simsek and Artemis. (German)
- Soccer Fans Will Get a Kick out of Berlin's Latest Brothel, Spiegel Online International, 23 September 2005
- "So lief die Puff-Ballerei im "Artemis"". B.Z. (in German). 17 August 2012.
- "Artemis, " McDonald's " du sexe, accueille 250 clients par jour". Le Monde (in French). 26 February 2006.
- "Wie wird ein Lehrer zum Huren-Chef?". B.Z. (in German). 7 December 2009.
- "World Cup Brings Little Pleasure to German Brothels", New York Times, 30 June 2006.
- "Artemis-Schießerei: Verdächtiger verhaftet". B.Z. (in German). 12 September 2012.
- "Diese Frauen liegen in Ketten!". Emma (in German). 28 November 2013.
- "Germany trafficking: Mass police raid on Berlin mega-brothel". BBC. 14 April 2016.
- "Die Rocker und die Frauen aus dem Artemis". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). 25 May 2016.
- "Saunaclub Artemis - der nur scheinbar bessere Puff". Stern (in German). 7 May 2016.
- "LKA hielt "Artemis"-Geschäftspraxis offenbar für unbedenklich". rbb|24 (in German). 27 August 2016.
- Germany backs bigger brothels to fight World Cup sex explosion, The Independent, 9 December 2005
- World Cup amenity: a 4-story brothel, MSNBC, 30 September 2005
- Brothel to Open Near Berlin Soccer Stadium, Deutsche Welle, 24 September 2005
- Soccer Fans Will Get a Kick out of Berlin's Latest Brothel, Der Spiegel, 23 September 2005
- It's going to be an invasion, The Guardian, 18 November 2005
- Eros alla berlinese, L'Espresso, 24 July 2007 (Italian)
- Interview With Mega-Brothel PR Rep from GlobalSecurityReport.com
- Mega-brothel for soccer world cup, The New Zealand Herald, 09.12.05