Berlin government is no longer offering picture book on prostitution to kids | Fact check

The claim: Berlin offering sex-work picture book to kids

A Jan. 12 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a child-like drawing of three women, a man holding paper money and a condom with human characteristics.

"The Berlin government is offering children a pro-prostitution picture book intended to teach them that the sex trade is safe and enjoyable," reads the caption on the post, which is a screenshot of a post on X, formerly Twitter. "'Rosie Needs Money,' which is written from the perspective of a little girl, is targeted at children aged 6-12."

The Instagram post was liked more than 1,000 times. Similar posts were liked hundreds of times.

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Our rating: False

The book is no longer being offered by the Berlin government, contrary to the post's claim. Following criticism, it was removed from a government website in September 2023. The book was described as a resource for parents to educate children about prostitution, which is legal in Germany.

Berlin officials pulled book in 2023, months before Instagram post

The X post was shared by the news website Reduxx on Sept. 25, 2023, the day it published an article about controversy in Berlin, Germany, over a picture book about prostitution that was available for download on an official government website.

"Rosie Needs Money," or "Rosie sucht Geld," was created as an educational resource for children of families living in the city's red-light district, and its "graphic" depiction of sex work prompted criticism from local residents, the article said.

A day later, on Sept. 26, 2023, Reduxx updated its story to report that the book was removed from the government website.

The Instagram post, shared months after the article was published, omits the update to the article. The screenshot of Reduxx's X post does not include its September 2023 timestamp.

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In a Sept. 26, 2023, press release, the Mitte District Office in Berlin announced that the book was removed from the government website. The release acknowledged that the book, which had been available for 10 years, had been facing new allegations that it downplayed and romanticized prostitution, which is legal in Germany. The book was created in 2013 through government funding and was intended as a resource for parents seeking to explain sex work to their kids, according to the release. It was issued to adults, not children, but was not successful, the release said.

Archived versions of the government website confirm the book was available on the government website on Sept. 23, 2023. It was removed by Sept. 27, 2023.

In an email, Mitte District Mayor Stefanie Remlinger said the question of how to responsibly explain to children what happens on Berlin's streets is important. Officials were seeking answers from qualified sources, Remlinger said.

The Instagram user who shared the post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Post misleads on availability of German sex-work resource | Fact check