Spain’s left-wing prime minister on Sunday vowed to “abolish” the country’s £ 3 billion prostitution industry, saying it “enslaves” women.
Speaking at the end of a three-day congress of his Socialist Party, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez highlighted the policies introduced by his government which he said have helped Spain “move forward”, such as tougher domestic violence laws and minimum wage increases.
“And from this congress emerges a commitment that I will implement. We will move forward by abolishing prostitution, which reduces women to slavery, ”he said at a rally in the eastern city of Valencia without providing further details.
While sexual exploitation and pimping are illegal in Spain, prostitution was decriminalized in 1995 and is unregulated.
Spain’s left-wing Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Sunday vowed to ‘abolish’ the country’s £ 3 billion prostitution industry, saying it ‘enslaves’ women
There is no punishment for those who voluntarily offer paid sex as long as it is not in public spaces, as the laws are more focused on combating human trafficking.
Although not recognized as regular employment, there are a large number of brothels across the country – many operate as hotels or other accommodation establishments.
It is estimated that 300,000 women work as prostitutes throughout the country and that one in three men in Spain has paid for sex at least once in their life, according to a survey carried out in 2009 by the Center for Social Surveys ( CIS) owned by the State.
Activists argue that the legal vacuum surrounding prostitution is fueling demand from trafficked women.
Sexual exploitation and pimping are illegal in Spain, prostitution was decriminalized in 1995 and is not regulated (photo, ‘Paradise’ brothel in Girona, Spain)
Sanchez took office in January 2020 as head of a minority coalition government after his Socialist Party won two inconclusive national elections in 2019.
The party released a women-focused manifesto ahead of the April 2019 general election that proposed to ban prostitution in what was seen as a measure to attract female voters.
The manifesto called prostitution “one of the cruelest aspects of the feminization of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women”.
But Sanchez’s party has tabled no legislation in nearly two years in power despite growing concerns about the potential for trafficking in women for sex work.
In 2017, more than 13,000 women were identified by police during anti-trafficking raids. 80% of which were exploited.
An estimated 300,000 women work as prostitutes nationwide and one in three men in Spain has paid for sex at least once in their life (pictured, the illuminated sign of a brothel nightclub in La Jonquera , Spain)