Country Information Germany
at a glance
civilization and culture
AT A GLANCE
357 021 km²
82,3 Million (July 2009)
Berlin (3,4 Million inhabitants, 2008)
Gross domestic product per capita
US$ 34 800 (2008) (PPP)
-0,05 per cent (2009)
79,3 years (men: 76,3, women: 82,4) (2009)
4 per 1 000 live births (2009)
Rate of illiteracy
1 per cent (men: 1%, women: 1%) (2007)
The tourist industry plays an important role for Germany, and is the second largest sector of the economy after the automotive industry. According to UNWTO in the year 2005 approximately 21,5 million guests came into the country and paid 23,5 billion Euro. Germans spent Euro 52,5 billion for travelling to other countries (2003). Germans prefer to spend their holidays in other countries: according to surveys, two thirds of Germans go on holiday abroad. According to a research of Freie Universität Berlin approximately 400.000 Germans per year are abroad as sex tourists. Circa 1 to 5 per cent of them are interested in child prostitution.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism
Germany, like most other countries in Western Europe, is a "country of origin" for these problems. That is, some of the travellers leaving the country have the specific intention of seeking sexual services. According to conservative estimates based on a non-representative study of the German Ministry of Health from 1995, this is the case for 200 000 to 400 000 Germans annually. Some of these are paedosexuals, going abroad with the aim of sexually exploiting children in the country of destination. According to estimates again from the study, this could be 2 400 to 4 800 Germans every year.
The sexual abuse of children in Germany is not directly linked with tourism. Those sexually abusing children in Germany come mostly from the family of the child.
According to police statistics, there are some 20 000 cases of sexual abuse annually. The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs estimates that there could be 50 000 to 300 000 unreported cases.
Germany is both a destination and a transit country for people trafficking. Most of the victims are women and girls between 16 and 25 years old who are forced into prostitution. Police statistics put the numbers of men and boys involved at less than 0.5 % of victims. NGOs estimate that tens of thousands of women and girls are affected, although the figures vary widely. The UN-Centre for International Crime Prevention has found that Germany is the most frequent destination for people traffickers.
The EU estimates that more than 120 000 people are brought into Germany annually. Of these 87 % are from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia, Poland, the Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. Women who have been arrested and expelled from one European country are often then taken to another state.
Since 1993, cases of sexual abuse of children by Germans in other countries could be tried and punished in Germany. This applies even if the laws of the foreign country have not been contravened.
Germany ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on March 6, 1992, and undertook to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
According to estimates from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, at the end of 2007 approximately 53.000 people in Germany were infected with HIV, including 15.000 women. How many children were infected, could not be estimated. In the same year less than 500 Germans died following infection with HIV.
Phone: +49 211 875 14 024
Fax: +49 211 875 14 025
Deutscher Kinderschutzbund Bundersverband e.V.
(German Society for the Protection of Children)
Schöneberger Str. 15
Phone: +49 30 214 809 - 0
Fax: +49 30 214 809 - 99
Terre des Hommes - Germany
Phone: +49 541 710 10
Fax: +49 541 707 233
CIVILIZATION AND CULTURE
Germanic tribes displaced the Celts in the 2nd century in the area of current-day Germany, which was never conquered by the Romans. It only became a political entity with the division of the Carolingian empire in the 9th century, but power was increasingly divided among the nobility. The Holy Roman Empire centred on Germany and northern Italy, but was gradually undermined by growing conflicts between the emperors and the Roman Catholic church. Its dissolution was accelerated by Martin Luther's criticism and the Reformation. With Europe split along religious lines, German towns were devastated and rural areas depopulated in the Thirty Year's War (1618-48). The efforts of Bismarck led to unification of Germany under a Kaiser in 1871. A republic was declared after Germany's defeat in World War I, and the Treaty of Versailles saw it stripped of its colonies and various territories. In 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor and established a totalitarian Nazi state. After plunging the world into World War II, Germany was defeated in 1945, again losing territories in the east, and four zones of occupation were established. After conflicts with the Soviet Union, this led in 1949 to the creation of West and East Germany, with Berlin also divided. The division was cemented in the Cold War by the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, but only 28 years later the 'fall of the Wall' marked the beginning of the end of the division of Europe.
The unification of Germany in 1990 left the affluent West facing a huge task to integrate the new Federal States, and the financial, economic and political difficulties involved are still being felt 15 years later.
State and society
The Federal Republic of Germany is a parliamentary democracy, and is a member-state of the European Union (EU).
According to the official figures, nobody in Germany lives below the absolute poverty level. In recent years, however, there has been a slight rise in inequality of the distribution of incomes and thus an increase in poverty (OECD). According to Eurostat figures for 1996, 16% of Germans had an income which was 60% below the national average income and was thus classed as permanent poverty. Particularly affected are large families and single-parent families.
Men and women have equal rights under law. As in many other countries, this is not always reflected in reality. For example, in Germany in 1998, the average wages of women workers in industry were 24% lower than those of men (Eurostat).
The population of Germany consists to 91% of Germans, 2.4 % Turks and 6.1 % others (in particular people from Serbia, Italy, Russia, Greece, Poland and Spain). 34 % of the population are Roman Catholics, 34% are Protestants and some 1.7% are Moslems. Approximately 30% are either without declared confession or have other beliefs.
The German population is generally sceptical towards all military actions as a consequence of its historical experience, as was demonstrated by its opposition to the last Iraq War. The division of the country for 45 years has its mark in many ways, not least in terms of socialisation, and Germans are still grappling with the difficulties at the start of the 21st century.
Germany is one of the leading industrial nations in the world with a GDP of more than EUR 2 trillion. Key areas are the automotive industry, mechanical and electrical engineering, and chemical products. An increasingly large contribution is being made by the services sector.
In the course of globalisation, many firms have recently begun to relocate production to countries where costs are lower. The numbers employed in agriculture have been falling steadily over recent decades as small-scale farmers give up. From a total work force of 36 million in Germany, 2.4% are employed in agriculture, 32.4% in industry and 65.2% in the services sector. Unemployment has remained at uncomfortably high levels in recent years, and reforms have failed to reduce the burdens of expensive social and health care systems, and spiralling pension costs in a ageing society.
There has been a marked slowdown in the German economy in recent years in comparison with other European countries, and problems are made worse by the inefficient use of huge transfer payments intended to upgrade the infrastructure and economy of eastern parts of the country.