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PROSTITUTION

Spanish town to post fines to prostitute clients’ homes

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out prostitution from its streets and snitch on those who keep the sex trade going by sending fines to their family addresses.

Spanish town to post fines to prostitute clients’ homes
Gave will also stop fining sex workers as they did previously. Photo: AFP

For more than a year now Gavà authorities have been trying to find solutions to the spike in prostitution on a highway that runs through its municipality. 

The local council has concluded that prostitution, especially when it comes to those who finance it and keep it alive, remains very much a taboo or secret.

“Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence. It was a 'nothing has happened here' situation” Equality Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying in Spanish daily ABC.

As a result, authorities have decided police officers in this red zone on the outskirts of Barcelona should send the fines to clients’ home addresses, in a bid to dissuade those with families from ever using the services of a local sex worker again.

Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case.

Gavà has also bumped up the penalties to €750 for being caught soliciting or negotiating with a prostitute and €3,000 for being stopped in the act in an area close to a school or children’s playground.

Photo: Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr

According to Gavà municipality, their new sex work measures are based on the Swedish model – a 1999 law that criminalises buying but not selling sex – one that’s proven so successful that Norway, Iceland and Canada have also copied it.

For this very reason, the council of this Catalan municipality of 46,000 people will also stop fining sex workers as they did previously.

Gavà will be working in partnership with the neighbouring towns of Viladecans and Castelldefels as they are also affected by the sex work on the C-31 motorway.

They will also hang up banners in the area with slogans such as “Are you having fun? She isn’t” and “Don’t be an accomplice”.  

SEE ALSO: Spanish police free 16 women forced into sex slavery with voodoo threats 

PROSTITUTION

Spain’s top court reinstates first sex workers’ union

Spanish sex workers have the right to form their own union, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, overturning an earlier court decision ordering the dissolution of Spain's first such labour organisation.

Spain's top court reinstates first sex workers' union
Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Known as OTRAS (or “the Sex Workers’ Organisation”), the union was discretely set up in August 2018 but was closed three months later by order of the National Court following an appeal by the government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

But following an appeal, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of OTRAS, saying that its statutes, which had triggered the initial legal challenge, were “in line with the law” and that sex workers “have the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to form a union”.

In its November 2018 ruling, the National Court had argued that allowing the union to exist amounted to “recognising the act of procurement as lawful”.

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Contacted by AFP, the union did not wish to comment.

When it was founded, OTRAS received the green light from the labour ministry and its statutes were publicly registered in the official gazette the day before the government went into a summer recess.

But three weeks later, the government — which portrays itself as “feminist and in favour of the abolition of prostitution” according to Sanchez’s Twitter feed at the time — started legal moves against it.

In Spain, prostitution is neither legal nor illegal but it is tolerated.

Although it is not recognised as employment, there is a large number of licensed brothels throughout the country.

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