The Situation in Spain

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Prostitutes, Pimps, Clients: defining the Sex Industry

To legalise prostitution is to deny civil and human rights

Failure to legalise prostitution is to deny civil and human rights

New Technologies and the Sex Industry

How Many Sex Workers?

Where do Europe's Sex workers come from?

What is Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation?

Can Legalising Prostitution bring an end to Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation?

Articles, Documents, Legal instruments, Pressure groups ...


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The information quoted here can be found in Trafficking in Women



40 million

Number of prostitutes:


Of which migrant:



De Jure


Prostitution is legal and widespread in Spain.


‘Abusing a position of power’ and ‘forcing someone into prostitution’ carry a term of 2-8 years [see more recent??]

Under Organic Law 11/1999 of 30 April 1999 amending Volume II, Title VIII of the Spanish Penal Code, the penalties for sexual abuse of minors and child pornography and prostitution have been increased, and the offence of trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual exploitation has been redefined.

Concerning the victims, under the existing law foreign women exploited by international trafficking rings are dealt with on an individual basis, involving the detailed study of their personal and legal situation at the moment when they were liberated by the police. They may have a medical examination on request, and are entitled to legal aid. Should the vulnerability of their situation require it, they may be taken care of by social workers.


De Facto

Over the last few years, a large number of networks devoted mainly to trafficking in women have been dismantled. After making a statement to the police, the women are typically kept in custody for up to 24 hours. Although prostitution is not a crime, the law provides that women in such cases are to be expelled from the country for the 'administrative irregularity' of carrying out an 'undeclared activity'. The expulsion order is in most cases executed, although judges and prosecutors may allow victims who cooperate with the legal authorities to go free.

According to information provided by the Spanish police authorities114, in 1998 the police detected the presence of a total of 72 women from CEECs who were victims of trafficking. In 1999 (up to 1 July) 41 networks were dismantled; ten of these included victims from central and eastern Europe.

According to information supplied to the European Parliament by the Central Aliens Brigade, the police officers responsible for dismantling trafficking rings are fully aware of the women's position as victims and make every effort to provide all possible support.

A number of NGOs provide support for the victims of sexual exploitation, although there appears to be no NGO solely and specifically devoted to helping trafficked women from central and eastern Europe.

In November 1999 another network was dismantled. It emerged from documents seized by the police that the business had, in the ten months of its existence, generated profits in the region of PTE 234 m. Thirty-two individuals were arrested; all were subsequently freed.

The club owners obliged the women to have sex with at least ten clients per day: failing to fill this quota led to fines of PTE 2000 to 20 000. The same penalties applied if they could not work from illness and therefore became 'unproductive'.

Attached to the walls in the clubs were 'tally sheets' recording the number of services provided by each victim and the time spent with each client (the absolute maximum being twenty minutes). Each woman generated profits for the organisation to the tune of PTE 1.5 m per month.


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