Spain’s parliament has voted in favor of legislation to abolish prostitution, crack down more heavily on pimping and introduce tougher penalties for men who buy sex in a controversial move that has divided the women’s rights movement .
Although prostitution was illegal, brothels operated as hotels or other lodging establishments across the country.
Under the bill introduced by Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, sex workers would be protected by laws where they would be treated as victims rather than criminals as they would be under any outright ban on sex workers. prostitution.
The proposal passed with a majority of 232 lawmakers, while 38 voted against and 69 abstained.
It now faces a lengthy process in which lawmakers can propose amendments that can be approved or rejected, Reuters reports.
Once the bill has been discussed/debated to suggest changes, the legislators must vote again and only then will the law be sent to the Senate.
Prostitution has exploded in Spain since it was decriminalized in 1995. Recent estimates available through 2019 put income from the sex trade at $26.5 billion a year, with hundreds of licensed brothels and a workforce estimated at 300,000 people.
Proponents of decriminalization say it has brought benefits to those working in commerce, including making life safer for women. However, this largely unregulated market has also become plagued with crime, making Spain a global hub for human trafficking and sex slavery.
The country became known as the brothel of Europe, after a 2011 United Nations report listed Spain as the world’s third largest prostitution capital, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico.
(With agency reports)
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