LivingTravelSex workers in Spain: the legality of prostitution

Sex workers in Spain: the legality of prostitution

Despite the fact that some sources affirm that prostitution is legal in Spain, the truth is that sex workers exist in a legal vacuum in which the practice has been decriminalized since 1995, but no public laws have been written on the legal situation of sex workers.

The workers themselves are not penalized, but the attorneys are the ones who are punished by law. According to a 2009 study conducted by TAMPEP (European Network for HIV / STI Prevention and Health Promotion among Migrant Sex Workers), it is said that 90 percent of sex workers in Spain are victims of human trafficking , which violates international law.

Brothels have been illegal in Spain since 1956, but these days the vast majority of them are disguised as whiskey shops or “clubs” and are allowed to function normally.

The culture of prostitution in Spain

If you are planning a trip to Spain and want to explore the world of sex work in major cities like Madrid, whose Red Light district is famous for its ‘underground’ brothels and clubs, it is important to know a little about the culture and norms. .

In general, prostitution in Spain does not have the stigma that it has in many other countries. You can often come across sex workers in open public spaces, such as Gran Vía in Madrid and Las Ramblas in Barcelona, ​​so to many it may seem like a completely typical aspect of life in a large Spanish city.

However, don’t be fooled by the pretense of acceptability. Prostitution in Spain is not the regulated healthy affair that it is in the Netherlands. Human trafficking is a very serious global problem, and the hiring of exploited sex workers directly finances some extremely nefarious activities. Many sex workers are migrants.

Spanish organizations such as Mujer Emancipada and Colectivo Cominando Fronteras are working to end human sex trafficking in Spain, a country that often grapples with the rights of migrants. To learn more about human trafficking in Europe, you can visit ENPATES, a multinational coalition currently tackling the problem.

Legal loopholes and illegal practices

Still, despite the many multinational organizations that help combat illegal prostitution, there are several ways that local sex workers, and, unfortunately, human traffickers, have continued to run brothels and clubs. However, there are other loopholes that some sex workers have used to get clients without breaking the law.

Sex workers have been able to practice their trade freely and advertise frequently in the “Relax” section of newspaper and magazine classifieds. However, one proposal suggested that all contact sections of newspapers should be closed to avoid publicity of prostitution, but it stalled at government hearings. While this may not end the problem at the source, it could be a way to curb the demand for sex work in larger cities, according to some members of the Spanish government.

What is totally illegal is a public request for sex, also known as “street prostitution.” Both the sex worker and her client can be prosecuted in some parts of Spain, including Barcelona, ​​for soliciting sexual acts in public. Furthermore, pimping is expressly illegal in the country, but Catalonia grants government permits “to gather people to practice prostitution.”

Future prostitution laws

According to an article in El País , with a change of leadership in 2018, there is a measure in Spain to propose new legal measures to attack prostitution. These measures include penalizing clients who request sex and punishing property owners who make their property available to sex workers. There is a desire to prosecute those involved in human trafficking under current GBV laws and to avoid prosecuting victims of trafficking.

Like all countries, Spain has its own laws and cultural signifiers that make visiting or living there unique. Also read about the legality of cannabis and nudism, and make sure you always have all the facts when you travel abroad.

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