Prostitution in Spain - The Law
It is quite often a shock to see the ladies of the night openly plying their trade in full public view, but here in Spain, prostitution isn't illegal, but nor is it legal, basically prostitution is unregulated and the police in many areas are powerless to do anything, other than check that residency paperwork is in order and the girls are not below the age limit.
Sex workers exist in a sort of legal vacuum. The workers themselves are not penalised, but instead, the procurers (or "pimps") are the ones who are punished by the law. And for good reason, as 90% of sex workers in Spain are said to be victims of human trafficking Their often complicated circumstances leave them in a sort of legal limbo. New Laws for the Valencian Region - From now on it is the customers that will be fined.
The problem here in Benidorm is that these girls use sex as a lure but in reality, the goal is to rob foreign tourists. They roam the streets of the English area late at night and target those affected by alcohol and other drugs. DO NOT GET INVOLVED. A quick NO and cross the road is normally all that is needed. DO NOT get into an argument with them, just walk away. If you do become a victim of these people please report it to the police ASAP.
Brothels have been illegal in Spain since 1956, but these days, the vast majority of them are loosely disguised as Night Clubs and are left to function as normal, although several raids have been done here in Benidorm on these so called bars.
What is totally illegal is public solicitation for sex, i.e. "street prostitution". Both the sex worker and their client can be prosecuted in some parts of Spain.
Prostitution in Spain doesn't have the stigma that it has in many other countries.
But don't be fooled by the pretense of acceptability. Prostitution in Spain is not the regulated wholesome affair that it is in, say, the Netherands. Human trafficking is a very serious, global issue, and hiring exploited sex workers directly funds some tremendously nefarious activity.
Like all countries, Spain has its own laws and cultural differences that make visiting or living here unique.
Remember when in Spain do not ask for a Night Club (these are the seedier clubs ie Lap Dancing Clubs/strip Joints) ask for a Disco.
December 2018 - Spain tries ‘Swedish model’ to address prostitution’s legal limbo
(these laws have already been in place in the Valencian Region for some time).
Article by El Pais
Socialist government is drafting a bill targeting the demand side, with punishment for those who purchase sex.
The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is drafting a sweeping bill to address the legal limbo affecting prostitution, which is neither regulated or criminalised in this country.
Spain’s governing party wants to penalise clients and those who provide apartments for prostitution activities. The sex workers themselves would not be targeted in any way, as they would be regarded as victims. The bill is inspired by the abolitionist model pioneered by Sweden (see below)
- The Swedish model. Sweden was a pioneer of the abolitionist model with a 1999 law that penalizes clients with as much as one-year prison sentences. In 2016, France introduced fines for people who purchase sex. In Finland, the client is punished if the prostitute is the victim of a trafficking ring. Other countries that go after the client include Iceland, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, Singapore and Northern Ireland.
- The Dutch model. The Netherlands has opted for a regulation model, and prostitution has been considered a job since 2000. Brothel owners pay taxes and pay social security contributions for their sex workers. Germany adopted a similar model in 2002 with the aim of improving women’s working conditions and avoiding stigmatization. The United Nations and the European Parliament consider that these goals have not been met.
- Spain and Italy. Prostitution is not regulated and is therefore neither legal nor illegal, although the Spanish criminal code does consider pimping a crime. Several cities have their own bylaws setting out fines for both clients and prostitutes.
- Hungary. The government has taken a prohibitionist approach. Prostitution is illegal and sex workers bear the brunt of the punishment, which includes prison sentences for those working in “protected zones.” Clients are only targeted it they accept sex with minors.
Under the terms of the new legislation, “gentlemen’s clubs” – there are an estimated 1,500 in Spain, or three for every hospital – would be shut down through court orders.
The new law seeks to disincentive demand by outlawing the purchase of sex. It also considers human trafficking for sex exploitation to be a form of gender violence.
Experts estimate that Spain has a €3.7 billion sex industry; last year the police identified 13,000 women in anti-trafficking raids and said that “at least 80% of them were being sexually exploited.”
Government sources said that the bill is still at a preliminary stage, and that there are three versions under consideration. The 50-page document that EL PAIS newspaper had access to includes 93 articles and several additional provisions that would modify half a dozen existing laws and codes, including the Criminal Procedure Law and the Criminal Code.
The overarching idea behind the initiative is to protect victims by “eradicating prostitution because of its close ties with human trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes.”
The draft document also considers creating a fund to compensate victims of trafficking.
Several sources told EL PAÍS that the government wants to incorporate feedback from groups and associations that work closely with prostitutes.
The PSOE heads a minority government, and in order to secure congressional approval for its initiative, it will need additional support from 92 deputies to add to its own 84 lawmakers.
The Spanish executive is adopting an abolitionist approach, but sources admitted that there is an ongoing debate within the party on whether the bill should focus on trafficking for sex exploitation, or target trafficking in general. There is also a division of opinion on whether to include the word “prostitution” in the title of the act.
The preliminary draft considers several other forms of human exploitation, including forced labor, slavery, mendicity (the condition or activities of a beggar), organ extraction and forced marriages.
Prostitution remains a divisive issue in Spain. In August, the first sex workers’ union, OTRAS, was registered with the Labor Ministry, but in November the High Court struck down its bylaws, considering that its activities cannot be the object of a valid work contract.