Spanish PM vows to ban prostitution if reelected

In what has been deemed an obvious move to attract female voters, Spain’s PSOE has vowed to prohibit prostitution in the country if their leader Pedro Sánchez is reelected on April 28th.

Spanish PM vows to ban prostitution if reelected
Photo: Deposit Photos

Spain’s socialists published a female-themed manifesto on Tuesday aimed at drawing in women voters in the upcoming general elections, who according to polls make up half of the 40 percent of undecided voters. 

The most striking measure proposed is the outlawing of prostitution, an industry that’s been largely tolerated in post-dictatorship Spain, aside from sex work linked to human trafficking and abuse.

“Prostitution, which we aim to abolish, is one of the cruelest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women,” reads the text.

Despite the fact that this clause was only included in the manifesto after criticism from feminist groups, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has previously tweeted that sex work in Spain is illegal (it technically isn’t, nor is it regulated) and called for clients and pimps to receive punishment rather than the prostitutes themselves.

Sánchez was left red in the face after it emerged that a sex workers union was approved by his own administration in August 2018.

In the manifesto Spain’s socialists also promised a crack down of surrogacy agencies (already illegal in Spain), which according to the manifesto “undermine women’s rights, in particular those of the most vulnerable by treating their bodies and reproductive functions as business merchandise”.

Sánchez promises instead that IVF treatments will be made more easily available on the national health system.

Other assurances brought to the electoral table include the introduction of 16 weeks of paternity leave to equal that for mothers, a revisal of working hours in favour of more free time as well as stricter and more specific laws on sex crimes.

SEE ALSO: Spanish sex workers demand equal labour rights


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Spain’s top court reinstates first sex workers’ union

Spanish sex workers have the right to form their own union, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, overturning an earlier court decision ordering the dissolution of Spain's first such labour organisation.

Spain's top court reinstates first sex workers' union
Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Known as OTRAS (or “the Sex Workers’ Organisation”), the union was discretely set up in August 2018 but was closed three months later by order of the National Court following an appeal by the government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

But following an appeal, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of OTRAS, saying that its statutes, which had triggered the initial legal challenge, were “in line with the law” and that sex workers “have the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to form a union”.

In its November 2018 ruling, the National Court had argued that allowing the union to exist amounted to “recognising the act of procurement as lawful”.


Contacted by AFP, the union did not wish to comment.

When it was founded, OTRAS received the green light from the labour ministry and its statutes were publicly registered in the official gazette the day before the government went into a summer recess.

But three weeks later, the government — which portrays itself as “feminist and in favour of the abolition of prostitution” according to Sanchez’s Twitter feed at the time — started legal moves against it.

In Spain, prostitution is neither legal nor illegal but it is tolerated.

Although it is not recognised as employment, there is a large number of licensed brothels throughout the country.