Why does Spain want to outlaw prostitution?

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Ketan Barot
Ketan Barot
I'm Ketan Barot working as an intern for Frontier India. I have a keen interest for journalism. When not at work, I try my hands at making memes, watch football (GGMU) and listen to Travis Scott. *Views are personal.

On Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez vowed to take tough measures against prostitution in order to outlaw the practice in the country. Sanchez, who has called prostitution an act that enslaves women, has stated that his party will work to have it outlawed in Spain.

One of the primary reasons for Spain’s current prostitution crisis is that Sanchez’s manifesto promised steps against the practice in order to attract women voters, but no legislation was tabled or drafted even two years after the election.

Here’s what the prime minister said about prostitution in his 2019 manifesto. “It is one of the cruelest aspects of feminization of poverty, as well as one of the most heinous forms of violence against women.”

Aside from that, prostitution was decriminalized in Spain in 1995, but the country’s sex industry has remained active, which is a major concern in the country now. In fact, statistics show that the industry has expanded since decriminalization, with an estimated 300,000 women working as prostitutes in Spain.

A United Nations index estimated Spain’s prostitution industry to be worth €3.7 billion, or $4.2 billion, in 2016.

According to a 2009 survey in Spain, one out of every three men in the country pays for sex. However, another report published the same year suggested that the figure could be as high as 39%, and a 2011 UN study ranked Spain as the world’s third-largest prostitution hotspot, trailing Thailand and Puerto Rico.

In Spain, prostitution is currently unregulated, and there is no punishment for those who offer paid sexual services of their own free will as long as it does not take place in public places. Pimping or acting as a middleman between a sex worker and a potential client, on the other hand, is illegal.

Concerns about human trafficking have grown in Spain in recent years. In 2017, Spanish police identified at least 13,000 women in anti-trafficking raids, with at least 80 per cent of them clearly stating that they were being exploited against their will by a third party.

On the final day of his Socialist Party’s three-day congress in Valencia, Prime Minister Sanchez announced the fight against prostitution.


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