Prostitution in Spain and particularly Barcelona
7th September 2009. From monstersandcritics.com
Traditionally perceived as relatively marginal, prostitution is increasingly seen as normal , with ever younger men preferring to pay for sex rather than taking the trouble of trying to pick up girls.
Prostitution is again making headlines
after the daily newspaper El Pais published pictures of prostitutes and their clients having sex on the street at night in a Barcelona tourist neighbourhood.
Barcelona had become increasingly lax in applying a 2006 municipal ordinance which
stipulated fines of up to 750 euros (1,050 dollars) for sex workers or their clients, critics complain.
Associations representing local residents or the prostitutes themselves urged a legalization of the trade, describing it as the only way to
guarantee prostitutes adequate working conditions. The city, however, only deployed more police to chase the sex workers off the streets in the Raval neighbourhood.
The influx of immigrants has led to the growth of prostitution in Spain, where up
to 300,000 women are estimated to be selling sex in flats, hostels, streets, parks or at around 2,500 'clubs' functioning as brothels. Around 90% of the sex workers are migrants from countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, Romania or Russia.
Nearly 30% of Spanish men admit to having bought sex, according to the National Statistics Institute. The abundant offer of cheap women with a variety of exotic looks has made many young men regard prostitution as a normal leisure activity, with the
average age of the clients dropping to around 30years, El Pais quoted psychologists and other researchers as saying. The growth of prostitution reflects a culture of immediacy, the will to get casual sex fast and without effort, the daily wrote.
7th September 2009. From laht.com
One hundred police officers took part Saturday in an anti-prostitution operation in downtown Barcelona that ended with 16 arrests along the
landmark thoroughfare of Las Ramblas in the Catalan capital.
Besides the 16 people arrested, another 78 were identified. Those taken into custody were two Nigerian prostitutes, two Brazilian transvestites and another 12 foreign citizens who are
in Spain illegally, police officials said.
Taking part in the operation were agents of Spain's National Police, the regional Catalan police and the Barcelona municipal force. This police macro-operation is the first in which the three police
forces have worked together and comes after a fierce controversy sparked by the publication at the beginning of this week of prostitutes photographed having sex in the middle of downtown Barcelona.
The interior ministry of the regional government
of Catalonia promised to maintain until the end of autumn the police reinforcements that in recent days have succeeded in driving prostitutes out of Las Ramblas, one of the best-known areas.
Legally Moved off the Street
14th September 2009. From spanishnews.es
After days of heavy dispute both amongst Barcelona's citizens, its politicians as well as Spanish and international media, the
verdict appears to be that Barcelona's prostitutes will soon be able to legally practice their profession in commercial premises and apartments.
The big debate was stirred up last week, after El Pais published photos of tourists having sex
with prostitutes in the streets of Barcelona and around the famous La Boqueria market at night. The photos even led Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to join the discussion, demanding Barcelona to clear out its prostitutes.
councilor of Citutat Vella, Itziar González, expressed the city council's intention of modifying the urban plan to grant licenses of bars with privées in order to allow sexual practices. The legal changes would be finalized this
month and come into effect towards the beginning of 2010. The government hopes to rid Barcelona's streets of prostitution with the new measure.
The measure has been very well received by prostitutes, business owners as well as neighbourhood
associations, nevertheless the opposition lead by CiU party leader Xavier Trias, sees the measure as an easy way out and cowardly as well as a step back from the regeneration of the area.
Spanish parliament rejects proposal to legalise prostitution
A women's nutter group has welcomed a decision by Spain's parliament to reject a move that would have made prostitution legal.
Parliament on Tuesday voted 329-5 against a proposal to recognize prostitution as a profession.
The Federation of
Progressive Women welcomed the vote, describing prostitution as a form of violence and slavery which was being supported and promoted by many people.
The Catalan republican party ERC, which tabled the proposal, said it would prefer
prostitution not to exist, but that it was better to grant prostitutes legal rights than to leave them at the mercy of pimps.
Parliament also rejected calls for a ban on newspaper ads on prostitution, saying it was preferable for the media
voluntarily to stop advertising the sex trade.
Spanish survey finds a large majority in favour of regularising prostitution
article from angus-reid.com
A large majority of people in Spain back a proposal that would make prostitution a regular occupation, according to a poll by Instituto Noxa published in La Vanguardia. 76% of respondents support regularizing prostitution, while 17% oppose it.
While prostitution in Spain is not illegal, owning or running a brothel has been illegal since 1956.
The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)—a Catalan nationalist party—is proposing that prostitution be regularized across Spain, in order to offer protection to voluntary sex workers and combat illicit human trafficking organizations. The ERC has
also put forward a bill that would ban all ads selling prostitution in print publications. ERC lawmaker Joan Tardà has called the ads disgusting and said that they denigrate women.
Last month, Tardà declared: Regulating is the only way to guarantee social and labour rights to the people that practice it [prostitution], bring them back from the fringes....It will also make it easier to track crime associated with it.
Marbella to outlaw street prostitution
Based on article from
The government of Marbella gave green light to a new regulation, which among other things, would prohibit the offering and demand of sexual services in the the street, i.e. prostitution.
The new regulation claims to be in response to neighbourhood
Valencia legislates against sex on the street
article from theleader.info
The Valencian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces has introduced a law making sex on the street punishable by a fine of 3,000 euros. The new framework also outlaws prostitution, begging and any other activity that disturbs the tranquillity of
neighbours . Also included for the first time is legislation that aims to control the behaviour of club doormen.
The law, which will apply everywhere within the City of Valencia, provides for penalties of up to 3,000 euros for having sex in a
car within the city or 400 euros for people who buy pirated DVDs and CDs in the street.
The legislation has been unanimously approved by the council representatives.
The law seeks to end prostitution in the street and is aimed equally at
prostitutes and their clients. For a first offence clients and prostitutes face penalties of between 1,500 and 3,000 euros. If sex workers continue to offend they will suffer imprisonment. The document warns that any person who has sexual intercourse in
a vehicle in the street will also be fined up to 3,000 euros.
Spanish government exploiting sex workers for its own gain
Based on article from
The Spanish government has put itself on collision course with the national press with the announcement that it wants to ban adverts offering sexual services from their classified sections.
The adverts, which fill at least a page in most of
Spain's dailies, are worth €40m (£34m) a year to the newspaper industry.
President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero made the announcement during this week's state of the nation speech, claiming it was part of a strategy to fight
the people trafficking and sexual exploitation: As long as these advertisements exist, they contribute to the idea of this activity as normal .
If the ads are banned, newspapers will want to be compensated and, worryingly for Zapatero, El
País, a staunch supporter of his socialist party, is the paper that earns the most from this form of advertising. With its left-liberal sensibilities and readership profile, El País is the Spanish paper that most resembles the Guardian, and
yet it earns €5m a year from advertising prostitution.
Yolanda Besteiro of the 'Progressive' Women's Federation was scathing about what she regards as the newspaper's hypocrisy: No media outlet can proclaim itself a defender of human rights
when it publishes this kind of advertising, which makes them directly complicit in this type of slavery .
The most openly religious daily, ABC, also runs the ads. El Publíco is the only national that does not run them as a matter of
policy. Spain is the only European country where the quality press carries adverts for sex. Prostitution is big business in Spain, worth an estimated €18bn a year.
A new macro-brothel opens with 180+ girls
article from independent.co.uk
The Paradise night club, touted as the largest brothel in Europe, has opened for business after a Spanish town failed to stop it in the courts.
Police patrolled the roads outside the Spanish town of La Jonquera and 15 security guards kept watch as
the opening night crowd filtered in on Thursday.
I give the girls breakfast, lunch and dinner and they get to keep whatever they make. Do you call that exploitation? a Paradise manager told reporters as a group of middle-aged French men
left their cars for the club, which looks like a disco that overdosed on neon. The club, which measures 2,700 square metres and boasts 80 rooms with rates of €120 (£107) per hour, is one of 11 so-called macro-brothels in this Catalan region of
Gerona, near the Costa Brava.
Roughly 1,800 prostitutes reportedly sell their services there [Other reports suggest a more believable 180]. And many local restaurant owners and other residents are pleased with the
business they attract. Except for a handful of local priests, few Spaniards have attempted to throw cold water on this industry.
But the mayor of La Jonquera, Jordi Cabezas, refused to give the club an operating licence, claiming that a police
report warned the brothel could cause security and public order problems. The club owner, identified as Jose Moreno in the Spanish press, had been arrested in September, along with 40 other people, in connection with an alleged sex trade
trafficking ring. He was charged and released pending trial.
Moreno has denied involvement with trafficking rings. I run three places. Who would think that I would get involved in something like that? It doesn't make sense, he told El Pais
newspaper. Moreno took the town to court and won. In February, the Supreme Court of Catalonia ruled that police speculation was not sufficient grounds to dampen the libido of paying customers. The ruling was not surprising in Spain, a traditionally
Catholic country that has long tolerated prostitution.
Moreno, denies he is exploiting women: They are adults, they know what they are here for, and that's all that I ask of them .
The women refused to comment to the horde of
reporters at the opening. We come to Spain for sex, said one of the men: In France, this is illegal. The girls are very pretty, another man said with a nervous giggle.
Spanish mayor requires street walkers to wear fluorescent jackets
Based on article from telegraph.co.uk
Sex workers on the street outside a town northern Spain have been ordered to wear reflective vests supposedly to make them visible to passing traffic and reduce the risk of accidents.
Women touting for customers on a rural highway outside Els
Alamus near Lleida in Catalonia have been told to don the yellow fluorescent bibs or pay fines of 40 euros (£36) under road traffic laws.
Police claim the sex workers on the LL-11 road are not being specifically targeted because of what they do
but because they posed a danger to drivers.
The prostitutes are in breach of 2004 law which states pedestrians on major highways and hard shoulders must wear the high visibility garments.
The move follows recent legislation introduced by
Els Alamus town hall to ban prostitutes from offering sex for sale in public urban areas. The mayor Josep Maria Bea has been accused of mounting a campaign to drive the sex workers out of the area.
The world capital of prostitution?
See article from independent.co.uk
Council provides a legal zone for sex workers
article from euroweeklynews.com
Sex workers in Malaga have been given an area where they can ply their trade without police interference. The plot of land, which is in the same area of the Guadalhorce Industrial Estate in Malaga where they currently work, does not breach municipal
regulations. Malaga City Hall is improving the plot by fixing up access routes and installing bins, so everything points to a definitive solution for the city's working girls.
A local law passed six months ago made it illegal for them to carry out
their activities within 200 metres from schools, homes or businesses. In the months following the new laws, many prostitutes complained they were being persecuted by police and given no alternatives .
Malaga City hall has also
approved a programme to improve the conditions of women working in the sex trade, with a budget of EUR350,000.
Meanwhile, on the nearby Azucarera Industrial Estate, an establishment advertised as the Sala Blue Hotel, which according to neighbours
is a brothel, was prevented from opening by police. Thirty women were in the premises at the time. It planned to open with porn actress Maria Lapiedra as the star of the inauguration. The reason cited for the closure was a minor planning issue.
Spanish men lead the way in enjoying the services of sex workers
article from euroweeklynews.com
A quarter of Spanish men has used the services of prostitutes, according to a government report.
Spaniards aged between 35 and 55 are the principal clients for Europe's sex industry, ahead of Switzerland (19%), Austria (15%), the Netherlands (14%)
and Sweden (13%).
The statistics were quoted in a guide on sexual exploitation compiled by APRAMP, a support group for prostitutes, and published by the ministry of Health, Social Policies and Equality.
Approximately 1,000,000 women
currently worked as prostitutes in the European Union, said the group's president Rocio Nieto.
Barcelona City Council to criminalise street sex workers and their customers
The city of Barcelona in Spain has said it would soon outlaw street prostitution, imposing fines on both prostitutes and their clients.
The city hall said the new rules were expected to come into force in May.
Prostitution is not illegal in
Spain and a number of parties on the municipal council suggested a change in the law was needed rather than a municipal edict.
Currently street prostitution is only illegal in the city if it is carried out near schools or churches.
Barcelona sex workers protests against a ban on working on the streets
article from news.am
The sex workers of Barcelona organized a protest action against a ban on street prostitution in Barcelona.
The women paraded through the streets with colorful masks and posters expressing their discontent against the authorities of Barcelona.
More than 450 women chanted We are prostitutes and we have rights , EuroMag reports.
They reminded the authorities that they also are members of the society and have rights like the others, but their rights are being violated. The
participants of demonstration ended at City Hall where they read their declaration.
Spain looks to allowing sex workers to advertise in print and online
|16th June 2012
See article from
Spanish authorities seem to be taking a pragmatic approach to trying to get the economy moving. The Spanish parliament is planning to life the long standing ban on advertising sexual services.
In a country in which prostitution is legal, the bill
will allow brothels, escort agencies and prostitutes to advertise online and in classified adverts in the print media. There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 prostitutes operating in Spain.
These are mostly foreign women from an
assortment of countries -Nigeria, Eastern Europe and South America topping the list. Many customers are sex tourists, in the main crossing nearby borders although Spaniards also avail themselves of those touting the world's oldest profession . In
a United Nations report 39% of Spanish men admitted to having visited a sex worker at least once.
There have been calls for prostitution to be outlawed in Spain but many women's groups believe that such a move would force it underground meaning
that fewer trafficked women would be able to seek help.
City council ups the ante for customers of sex workers
See article from
The Spanish city of Barcelona will fine the customers of streetwalkers up to 1500 euros with lesser penalties for sex workers city authorities said.
The city will fine clients and people helping or promoting prostitution in the street when
a new bylaw comes into force on Friday, the city hall said in a statement.
The prostitutes will face fines between 100 and 300 euros and their clients 1,000 to 1,200 euros. This rises to 750 euros for a prostitute and 1,500 for a client if
soliciting takes place less than 200 metres from a school.
Sex workers will have the chance to cancel their fine if they attend social courses to get out of prostitution.
Prostitution is not illegal nationwide in Spain but was banned in
Barcelona in 2006. That ban has not curbed it in Spain's second-biggest city and the new bylaw toughens the conditions, particularly the fines for customers.
Spanish school for sex workers escapes council prosecution for promoting prostitution
|16th September 2012
A Spanish school offering a professional course in prostitution which it says guarantees a job offer on graduation, has survived its first legal challenge to be closed down.
For EUR100, students are taught the history of the world's oldest
profession, how to use erotic toys and the most popular positions contained within the Kama Sutra.
The school began advertising the course in May, but within weeks the Valencian regional government filed a case with prosecutors, alleging that the
school promoted prostitution, which is illegal in Spain.
But now prosecutors have said that there was not any evidence that a criminal offence had been committed because advertisements for students did not promote prostitution, constitute fraud
and were not aimed at minors, reported The Times.
The venture has attracted the inevitable nutter flak but the school says it will make the trade safer. It will also ensure budding sex-workers will not fall foul of the law, with in depth
descriptions of the industry's laws and how to work around them.
Esther Lopez Barcelo, a United Left MP in Valencia, said the party was considering appealing the ruling.
facts and figures about the number of sex workers in Spain
Prostitution is on the rise in Spain and both the average age of clients and prices are falling.
Campaigners have claimed an increase of between 5 and 10% for streetwalkers . Both the associations and the police say that there are at least
37,000 sex workers in Spain (a figure that does not take into account escorts or women and students who sell sex on a non-regular basis).
Spaniards are a minority within the whole and account for only 12%. Most of the sex workers are from Latin
American (42%, mostly Brazilians), from Eastern Europe (28%), Africa (15%) and Asia (5%).
The crisis has had an effect on the prices. The associations say that sexual services performed for between 30 and 50 euros over the past few years are now
regularly had for between 15 and 20 euros.
There are over 1,200 sex workers in the capital, and two years ago the Madrid city council brought in heavy fines for prostitutes trying to get clients. The measures has not had an effect, however, as it
is difficult to catch them in the act.
Ibiza sex workers cooperative claims to be the first in Spain
|17th January 2014
See article from
Sex workers on the Spanish tourist island Ibiza have formed a cooperative to pay taxes and gain social security benefits - the first such group legally registered in Spain, they say.
Eleven women registered with local authorities as working
members of the Sealeer Cooperative providing sexual services, said their spokeswoman, Maria Jose Lopez. She told AFP:
We are pioneers. We are the first cooperative in Spain that can give legal cover to the girls.
Like any workers' cooperative, Sealeer members declare their income and pay taxes, which entitles them to public healthcare, a pension and other benefits.
Spanish sex workers to protest in Madrid about plans to fine their customers
14th February 2014. See
article from google.com
Sex workers in Spain will demonstrate in central Madrid against a plan to fine street walkers and their customers.
The sex workers' rights group Hetaira said it would rally on Saturday fearing that the plans will force them to work in dangerous
conditions. The demonstration will take place at the foot of Calle Montera, a street next to Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square where prostitutes habitually stand waiting for customers.
Madrid city hall has drawn up proposals to fine those who
pick up prostitutes in the street, while the national government plans to fine those offering or soliciting sex near schools or other children's areas.
The Madrid proposals would fine a person caught soliciting sex in public up to 750 euros, or up
to 3,000 euros if it is done near schools or shopping centres.
Update: Protest report
18th February 2013. See
article from libcom.org
Around 150 sex workers demonstrated on Saturday 15th Feb 2014 in Madrid, protesting against the criminalisation of prostitution and against the city government's Civil Space Ordnance and the Interior Ministry's proposed Law of Civil Safety.
the slogan, No to persecution, bargaining space now! the prostitutes marched and called for a space to work in peace, without disturbing and without being disturbed in the city, according to Karolina Hernandez, spokesperson for the Hetaira
Collective and sex worker.
She condemned the new state and municipal regulations that damage prostitutes' working conditions. They also called for the Commission to meet with the organisation:
We'd like the
local government to meet us, they talk about us a lot, all the world seems to know all about prostitution but very rarely do they talk to the people involved and one of those is us.
In reference to the local government campaign
against sex workers' clients, Hernandez says:
I work freely in the streets, I have decided to do this on my own terms. I and many companions have freely decided to do this work. When campaigns punish our clients, this
also affects me. It's absurd to say that it's in my favour, it's completely the opposite, it worsens my working conditions and my ability to negotiate with the client.
|6th March 2014
The 45 Euro course is spurred by increase in number of women becoming sex workers during Spain's economic crisis, claim organisers
article from theguardian.com
Barcelona court finds that sex workers in a brothel should be considered as employees
|13th March 2015
A judge ruled in a Barcelona court that sex workers should be given contracts by brothel owners, who would pay social security contributions on their behalf. The civil court decision was made after a massage parlour offering sex services in the city was
raided by labour inspectors. The judge ruled that management violated the women's rights and the firm, called Xcenter, would have to pay backdated national insurance payments for the prostitutes from 2012.
The owner argued that the workers were
autonomous and not officially employed, however authorities stated that as there was a employer and employee working relationship, it constitutes a contract so social security payments should be made. The court has therefore ruled that prostitutes should
be given the security of benefits, healthcare, pensions and unemployment payments to help safeguard them from being exploited.
Prostitution has been decriminalised in the country since 1995, however sex workers were not deemed to have had jobs and
were not entitled to labour rights.
The decision by the court in Barcelona is not yet final, as it can be appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia.
Spanish sex workers form a political lobby group in Catalonia
See article from
Sex workers in Catalonia have created Spain's first formal lobby group for the profession, with the aim of encouraging candidates in the upcoming municipal and regional elections to back them in their push to regulate the sector. Montse Neira, one of the
founding members of the Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia explained:
We are the most stigmatised and criminalised group of women in society. From now on, nobody else is going to speak for us.
The lobby group includes sex workers as well as others who work closely with them, such as lawyers and advocates. Another member, Paula Vip said:
The violence we face doesn't come from our clients, but
from the institutions that govern based on the interest of a moral minority. From now on, we prostitutes will be organised, convinced, ready to fight and ready for war.
The decision to form a lobby group comes after a pioneering
ruling in February by a Spanish judge. In a judgment hailed by many sex workers as a crucial first step towards recognising the rights of those in the profession, the judge said that three women in a Barcelona brothel had a right to healthcare and
benefits contributions from their employer.
The Spanish Socialist Party is drafting a bill to criminalise people who pay for sex
|13th December 2018
See article from nswp.org
Spanish media has reported that the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is drafting new legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex, known as the Nordic Model. They have reported that the proposed Bill is an attempt to eradicate prostitution . The
legislation is in preliminary stages, and is expected to be taken forward next year.
Currently sex work is not explicitly criminalised in Spain, but local authorities can issue fines for activities such as soliciting. El Pa 3ds reports that
proposed legislation may also criminalise people who rent spaces for exploitation, likely criminalising third party activities which often forces sex workers to compromise their safety.
Recently the Prime Minister tweeted Prostitution in Spain
isn't legal and this government won't support any organisation that includes this illicit activity, following the decision to ban a sex worker-led union from officially registering .
Spain's prime minister pledges to criminalise prostitution
See article from bbc.co.uk
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.
Spanish government and opposition unite to ban all forms of sex work including making porn
|8th June 2022
See article from xbiz.com
Spanish sex workers and adult industry figures are sounding the alarm about a proposed new law, supported by politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties, aiming to outlaw all forms of paid sex work -- including commercial pornography.
Last week, the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, known as PSOE, introduced a proposal for an "abolitionist law against sexual exploitation," something that had been included in the party's platform.
Prominent politicians within PSOE have taken up the abolition of sex work as their personal cause. These include the party's General Vice-Secretary Adriana Lastra, who last month took to the press to promote a change in the Spanish penal code to
mandate up to three years of jail time for anyone paying for sex.
The proposed legislation would revive the crimes of "proxenetism," meaning pimping or pandering, and "tercería locativa " or brothel keeping. Both were removed
from the penal code in 1995 by a previous Socialist administration.
Noted Swedish-Spanish adult filmmaker, producer and studio owner Erika Lust took to Twitter today to sound the alarm about the impending government attempt to ban all sex work,
including adult performance. Lust tweeted:
This International Sex Workers Day, I want to take the opportunity to express my unconditional support to all sex performers currently based in Spain, where the government is
once again threatening their safety with prohibitionist bills that claim to 'protect their rights'.