Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has pledged to criminalise prostitution in the country claiming that the practice enslaves women.
Prostitution was decriminalised in Spain in 1995 and in 2016 the UN estimated the country's sex industry was worth
euro 3.7bn. A 2009 survey found that up to one in three Spanish men had paid for sex. A 2011 UN study cited Spain as the third biggest centre for prostitution in the world, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico. It is commonly estimated that there are around
300,000 women sex workers in Spain.
Prostitution is currently unregulated in Spain, and there is no punishment for those who offer paid sexual services of their own will, as long as it does not take place in public spaces. However, pimping or
acting as a proxy between a sex worker and a potential client is illegal.
In 2019, Sánchez' PSOE party published a pledge in its election manifesto to outlaw prostitution, in what was seen as a move to attract more female voters. The manifesto
called prostitution one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women. However two years on from the election, no legislation has yet been tabled. Spanish media report that the PSOE would
need to agree on a draft with their left-wing Podemos coalition partners before presenting a bill to parliament, so there is still a long way to go.