The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, has vowed to “implement” a series of laws aimed at ending the “enslavement” of women, including prostitution.
Prostitution was decriminalised in Spain in 1995 although there are laws against human trafficking and pimping.
The National Spanish police freed 896 women being exploited as sex workers in 2019 and estimate that over 80% of those working as prostitutes are victims of mafias.
Earlier this year a huge sex trafficking gang was dismantled in Barcelona leading to the arrests of 16 people and the rescue of 18 trafficked girls from Rumania.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimated that there are around 70,000 working prostitutes in the country though other figures are as high as 300,000 sex workers.
The sex industry in Spain is estimated to be worth around €3.7 billion much of it in large motorway brothels/hotels.
A 2009 survey found that up to one in three Spanish men had paid for sex.
Speaking at the PSOE Socialist party´s annual conference in Valencia, Sanchez said his government had helped Spain ‘advance’ with tougher domestic violence laws and the next stage would be to advance womens rights by “abolishing prostitution, which enslaves women.”
During the 2019 General Election campaign the party´s manifesto described prostitution as a form of violence against women and “one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty.”