Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spain: Street Prostitution Sparks Debate

Police in Barcelona arresting a prostitute. (From El Pais)

MADRID, SPAIN - Press photographs of prostitutes plying their trade right out on the street have reignited a debate about the practice in Spain, where it has seen a rapid growth over the past 15 years. Traditionally perceived as relatively marginal, prostitution is increasingly seen as "normal", with ever younger men preferring to pay for sex rather than taking the trouble of trying to pick up girls.

Prostitution is again making headlines after the daily newspaper El Pais published pictures of prostitutes and their clients having sex on the street at night in a Barcelona tourist neighbourhood.

Barcelona had become increasingly lax in applying a 2006 municipal ordinance which stipulated fines of up to 750 euros (1,050 dollars) for sex workers or their clients, critics complain. The ordinance was aimed at eradicating such practices from central districts.

Associations representing local residents or the prostitutes themselves urged a legalization of the trade, describing it as the only way to guarantee prostitutes adequate working conditions.

The city, however, only deployed more police to chase the sex workers off the streets in the Raval neighbourhood...


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