When Urban Legends Are Forecasts
Coturnix was kind enough to point out that the guaranteed-to-make-you-tsktsk story about the Berlin waitress was an urban legend. Not too surprising. The story is a little too pat, and there were no direct German references in the Telegraph's story. (But it also appeared in WorldNet; that PROVES it is true, right?) (Yes, I'm kidding).
But, on reading the snopes-ter's discussion, one encounters this:
Most German-language sources on this topic point to an 18 December 2004 article from the Berlin newspaper Tageszeitung, which (as far as our rusty command of German allows us to discern) does not report that women in Germany must accept employment in brothels or face cuts in their unemployment benefits. The article merely presents that concept as a technical possibility under current law — it does not cite any actual cases of women losing their benefits over this issue, and it quotes representatives from employment agencies as saying that while it might be legally permissible to reduce unemployment benefits to women who have declined to accept employment as prostitutes, they (the agencies) would not actually do that. (Emphasis mine).
Reliance on the forebearance of government agencies for our safety is a slender reed. When a dependency is created, it is not surprising that that dependency will be exploited for political, personal, and "it's for your own good" reasons.
Still and all: good on ya, Coturnix, for correcting the error. And, sorry about the html disaster. That's why i never change anything: I know for sure it would be the end of me.