It enslaves women! Spain’s PM vows to outlaw prostitution

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is vowing to outlaw prostitution.

Sanchez says the practice “enslaves” women.

The unregulated prostitution industry was decriminalised in Spain in 1995.

So long as paid sex services don’t take place in public places and the sex worker is offering their services of their own free will, no law is broken.

Pimping, or acting as a proxy between a sex worker and a potential client is illegal.

By 2016 the UN estimated Spain’s sex industry was worth €3.7bn ($NZ6bn).

Reports about the number of Spanish men paying for sex vary.

A 2009 survey found that up to one in three Spanish men had paid for sex.

However, another report published in 2009 suggested that the figure may be as high as 39 percent. Then, a 2011 UN study cited Spain as the third biggest centre for prostitution in the world. Those ahead of it are Thailand and Puerto Rico.

Also during recent years significant concerns have been growing around the potential for women to be trafficked into sex work.

In 2017, Spanish police identified 13,000 women in anti-trafficking raids. They say at least 80 percent of them were being exploited against their will by a third party.

The sex industry has boomed since decriminalisation. Estimates suggest around 300,000 women work as prostitutes in Spain.

It’s two years since Sanchez’s party first pledged to outlaw prostitution.

In its 2019 election manifesto it called the industry “one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women”.

Seen by some as a move to attract more female voters, two years on from the election, no legislation has yet been tabled.

Supporters of Spain’s current system say deregulating the sex industry has brought huge benefits to the women working in the trade and made life safer for them.


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