Saturday, September 23, 2023

Europe against prostitution | Opinion

The European Parliament has voted to promote abolitionist legislation on prostitution across Europe, punishing both those who profit from it and the customers. The European Parliament’s report is not binding, but it does imply a relevant statement: in addition to calling on the 27 MEPs to adopt this legislative approach, it calls on the European Commission to develop common guidelines for the protection and integration of prostitutes. The document posits that sex trafficking is a form of violence against women that is both a cause and a consequence of inequality.

Strasbourg therefore supports the convergence of regulations in an area where differences in laws allow customers to move from places with the strictest regulations to those with the most permissive, sometimes only by a few kilometers. This happened in 2016 with the increase in prostitution in the border area of ​​La Jonquera (Girona), when the law punishing clients came into force in France. Different approaches coexist in the European Union. There are countries such as Norway or Iceland that apply the abolitionist model introduced in Sweden in 1999, or similar countries such as Belgium, Denmark or Finland. At the other extreme are those who have chosen to legalize prostitution as an activity with tax obligations and labor rights. This is the case in Holland, Germany, Switzerland or Austria. Spain, where around 45,000 women work, has yet to decide on a model.

In the debate between regulation and prohibition, the same problem always arises: the difficulty of controlling an activity that is very lucrative for those who exploit it, but which, in the vast majority of cases, is not voluntary and is fueled by the extreme vulnerability of women. In countries where prostitution is banned, it has not completely disappeared, and what remains is sometimes carried out in secret, high-risk conditions. But the data shows that it has fallen dramatically and that the new regulatory framework is encouraging a culture change. In countries where regulation has been adopted, prostitution has increased without the disappearance of human trafficking. Legalization has also served to trivialize the purchase of sex as just another male recreational option.

The weakness of abolitionist legislation lies in the lack of resources for the reintegration of prostitutes, as demonstrated in France, where five years after the new law only 161 women had left the streets. For this reason, the European Parliament report urges the implementation of programs that guarantee prostitutes access to social security and to work and social integration plans that enable them to survive. It is the path Spain must take.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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