Congress gave the green light this week to the processing of a reform of the Penal Code so that pimping is prosecuted, third-party locative is penalized, that is, habitually allocating a place to facilitate prostitution, and the client is punished, with a fine or even imprisonment if he pays to have sex with a minor or with a woman in a vulnerable situation (trafficking victims, drug addicts…).
The processing of the reform was supported by the PSOE, part of United We Can (the majority sector, including the vice president Yolanda Díaz and the ministers Irene Montero and Ione Belarra) and the Popular Party. En Comú, Esquerra, the CUP and Ciudadanos voted against, and Vox, the PNV and EH Bildu abstained.
The debate was very lively, although in reality, except for Junts per Catalunya, which is very clear that the usual spaces of prostitution should not be eliminated, what is generally known as roadside brothels and whorehouses (of which its community), the rest of the spokespersons did not speak so much of pimping as of prostitution. It is known that there are different points of view regarding the abolition of prostitution: there are those who believe that it must be tried to eradicate it because it is not an occupation chosen by women, but rather a slavery to which they have been forced throughout history, and those who think that it is an expression of women’s sexual freedom and that they can exercise it even for pure pleasure, so it is not appropriate to abolish it, but to force them to pay taxes, like everyone else.
But even among those who have this very liberal vision of prostitution as a job, there are those who have a hard time imagining that the large sex industry centralizes the services of dozens of prostitutes and places job offers in employment offices. “18 blonde and 15 brunette prostitutes are wanted, between 18 and 35 years old, for a whorehouse, km X of the national road 300. Interprofessional minimum wage or better working conditions, depending on work capacity.” Because that is the problem with the great sex industry, as the pimps now want to call themselves, that the practice of “fuck” is counted by units (so many clients per hour or per day), the price per unit decides the employer and also its percentage of benefit for each coitus or similar. If you provide the brothel, the soap and the towels, and also drive the customers, the profit must be considerable, right?
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The other big problem is where you get the prostitutes from. Job advertisements may not be enough to cover the expectations of the business in Spain (some 45,000 women are prostitutes, but it is a job that requires renewing the workforce with some frequency). You have to bring them from outside. In fact, the majority of women who practice prostitution in Spain (more than 85%) are foreigners. The job offer could perhaps be organized in the consulates, because, if not, there is a risk that they will be women who are victims of trafficking or in a situation of extreme vulnerability, and nobody wants that, of course. Perhaps resort to the visa formula for highly qualified professionals whose shortage is harming the country’s economy?
So it seems that the idea of suppressing pimping and whorehouses is not so bad, after all. Of course, it has the problem of being “punitivist”, something that, according to the EH Bildu spokesperson, should be avoided. The Penal Code only punishes, it does not solve, and in that it is right. For example, sex without express consent is punished, but that does not solve the belief of some men that they have sexual rights over women. Much better would be to find “comprehensive solutions”, says the spokesman, so that young people have another perception of sex and consent. But what is to be done? For something one starts. It’s not such a bad idea to subject them to punitive measures, until they understand. The same can happen with the punters: perhaps by paying fines they are more careful to make sure that the whore receives them delighted, has her passport and savings at hand, and believes that it is much better to have 15 sexual “clients” a day than to have a work permit and be a waitress.
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