Why can I not sell what is whole heartedly in my and only my possession? Whose idea was it to criminally prosecute woman for using their bodies how ever they want. True, there is an impressively aggressive history of woman’s bodies being regulated by secondary external factors such as male family members and the state, yet today in age it seams perposterous that adults weather male or female are not one hundred percent in control of how and for what they use their bodies. Prostitution has always been a some what taboo topic. Questions of legalization and the regulations that would come along with such legislation are met with moral or religious indignation and disgust. It’s clearly not like keeping prostitution illegal is going to make it go away, in fact the contrary is true in that it makes it more dangerous both for the prostitutes themselves but also for society as a whole. As long as there is demand there will be supply, a basic truth that exists in most if not all markets, the sex trade isn’t outside of the scope of this truth and should not be considered different from other markets.
Barcelona and Los afueras as well as Spain in general, has a very complicated take on prostitution. Technically it is illegal for a woman or a man to trade sexual acts for money, yet there are countless bordellos all around major cities as well as entire section of some towns. There are ‘gentleman’s’ clubs at almost every large rest area on major highways, and everyone knows what they are. It’s also not at all uncommon to see a string of woman camped out on folding chairs showing off their wears along many the road to the airport and most major shipping ruits.
The amount of police harassment and involvement has become increasingly strict over the last few years. Why one might ask? Well from what I understand, a prostitute at a well known bordello got beaten up by a police officer who regularly utilized the clubs services for free in exchange for not arresting them ( a practice several cops adhere to) . When she whent to the police to report him, the police corps response was to raid and close several of the large well established clubs and harass the women on the streets to no end making it impossible for these woman to work. The larger clubs are often the safest places to work in. They provide security, they are often clean fairly well maintained as well as the fact that a worker is never completely alone with a John.
Closing the safer places helps who exactly? Not the individuals selling their bodies and realistically not the people buying them. They are often forced into public remote places to utilize their purchase leaving both parties vulnerable to theft or unwarranted violence.
For most people involved in sex work, prostitution is a logical economic decision. They make way mor money than in most jobs available to them and the hours are such that if they have children or a family they can be home during the day. For those who did not make a decision to work in the sex trade the fact that prostitution is illegal becomes a huge impediment to their eventual freedom. Young girls are trafficked from eastern Europeans Asia consistently. They think that they are getting a normal work visa, their passports are taken and they end up held captive, selling their bodies against their will in Spain until their ‘debt’ is paid off. If the sex trade was regulated like abnormal business there wouldn’t be room for these practices to take place. Every worker would have to have proper documentation.
Not being considered regular workers also keeps prostitutes outside the social security system, not giving them access to health care. The spread of sti’s such as AIDS runs infinitely higher in places where prostitution is not regulated. In places such as Holland, sex workers are checked monthly for sexually transmitted infections, and disallowed to work if they test positive for something. Since taxes are paid by either the workers or the clubs, it doesn’t cost much more to have everyone tested regularly and saves money on the cost of treating sti’s in both the sex workers themselves their clients a d potential sex partners their clients may haven their personal life
Is the relationship between males and female so unequal that even today in 2012 woman bear all the responsibility when it comes to sex and sexuality? Barcelona likes to see itself as progressive but it’s policy on prostitution eerily sounds a lot like the scarlet letter puritanical days of America, or a middle eastern attitude regarding woman sex and agency. Why arrest only the supply side of the equation? Why not arrest their clientele. Although it not always the case most commonly the sex workers are younger woman and their clients men ranging all over the spectrum of ages. Why are the men spared the embarrassment and hassle of interacting with the police? It takes both parties to participation, they therefore should be treated the same under the law. Why make woman bear the brunt of the punishment?
Like in so many other professions prostitutes have had enough of their rights infringed on. A collective of woman in Barcelona have begun to protest the discrimination. To find out more visit the website of ‘prostitutas indignadas’ their fight is a good one.