• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spain's first prostitute union formed in Ibiza

AFP · 15 Jan 2014, 16:45

Published: 15 Jan 2014 16:45 GMT+01:00

Eleven women registered with local authorities as working members of the Sealeer Cooperative providing sexual services, said their spokeswoman, María Josí López.

"We are pioneers," she told AFP. "We are the first cooperative in Spain that can give legal cover to the girls."

The 11 active sex workers who registered in November are women in their 20s and 30s from Spain, Italy and "the East", she said, declining to elaborate.

The group is applying to register 40 more women as members.

A 42-year-old local housewife, López is not a sex worker herself but registered as a member of Sealeer to act as a voluntary representative for the women, who refuse to speak to reporters.

Like any workers' cooperative, Sealeer members declare their income and pay taxes, which entitles them to public healthcare, a pension and other benefits.

A parliamentary report on prostitution in 2007 said Spaniards spent €50 million ($68 million) a day on prostitutes, of which it estimated there were 400,000 working in the country — the latest such figures available.

In Ibiza, whose sweltering beaches draw millions of foreign tourists every year, "prostitution moves a huge amount of money in summer", in hostess bars and in private apartments, López said.

"Just as they regulate the hotels and restaurants to make sure all the workers are registered, they should also see that the girls are comfortable and legalized."

Prostitution is neither illegal nor regulated nationwide in Spain but the government in November unveiled a new civil security bill that would fine people for picking up prostitutes near schools.

Authorities in Barcelona have introduced fines for picking up prostitutes in the street and Madrid is planning to do the same.

The cooperative "is a way to give the women independence from the gangs of pimps, for women who choose to exercise this profession", said Gloria Poyatos, a former employment lawyer who advised the prostitutes in Ibiza.

"I think that something is changing. A debate in society is beginning on whether or not to regulate prostitution," said Poyatos, who is now a judge in the Canary Islands.

Prostitutes can register as workers in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and in some cases claim social benefits.

Story continues below…

Despite prostitution being tolerated in practice in Spain, the issue is divisive.

"In this case we are talking about a minority of prostitutes with supposed liberty, but in reality in most cases they do not have real freedom to choose," said Ignacio Arsuaga, the president of HazteOir, a conservative pressure group, in an email to news agency AFP.

"Regulating prostitution is harmful for victims who are exploited, for sexual slaves." 

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
Stock photo of taking an exam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
2 hours ago

Two students are facing a harsh penalty for cheating on an entrance exam.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
A bullfight in Bilbao. Photo: Ander Gillenea/AFP.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
3 hours ago

The fight to eliminate one of Spain's most famous and long-held traditions wages on.

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
Photo: Vmiramontes/Flickr

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
4 hours ago

A civil servant continued to draw his salary for six years until he was rumbled.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
Photo: Group for Relativity and Gravitation, University of the Balearic Islands.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
7 hours ago

Gravitational waves do exist. The Local talks to a Spanish scientist who helped prove Einstein's theory.

Gallery
Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
8 hours ago

As Valentine's Day approaches, The Local takes a look at some of the most romantic Spanish love stories throughout history.

The Local list
Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
The Bard versus Cervantes. Photo: Creative commons / Wikimedia

Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
8 hours ago

In the battle for greatness, could Cervantes beat Shakespeare?

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
Popular Party headquarters in Madrid Photo: AFP

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
10 hours ago

Yet another corruption scandal has broken bringing yet more strife for the party of Mariano Rajoy.

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
Photo: Guardia Civil / Ministerio Interior

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
1 day ago

The ring smuggled protected birds of prey out of Spain for falcon racing in the Arab states.

Video
Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain
Screenshot from video of seahorse.

Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain
1 day ago

Do you have a good name for this little sea monster?

Spain reigns as sunseekers shun terrorism-hit Med resorts
Photo: AFP

Spain reigns as sunseekers shun terrorism-hit Med resorts
1 day ago

Sunseekers are opting for “safer” destinations in Spain after recent terror attacks in other Mediterranean resorts.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Seven of the best cheesy chat up lines in Spanish
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Health
One dead and dozens ill after falling foul of dodgy tortilla
National
Hapless man has FOUR steel rings cut off penis by firemen
National
Top ten most romantic nicknames to woo your Spanish sweetheart
Shocking: Migrant hides inside car bumper to cross into Spain
Lifestyle
Six things the USA could learn from Spain
National
Ten of Spain's most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day
Culture
Wacky and whimsical: Spain goes carnival crazy
National
Danger: Early toxic caterpillar plague sweeps across Spain
National
Like father like son: Napkin proves matador paternity suit
National
UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit
National
Secret to long life? Spaniard lived to 107 on 'red wine diet'
National
Ten Spanish corruption scandals that will take your breath away
National
Watch: Gravity-defying stunts at Spain's Wind Tunnel Games
National
10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish
National
Madrid to rename Francoist streets after terrorism victims
National
Olé? Bullfighter takes five-month-old baby into the ring
National
Watch: Moment south Spain struck by 6.3 magnitude quake
Travel
9 charming Spanish towns to visit before the tourists come
National
Heartbroken parents publish suicide note from bullied son
National
Spain launches new reality TV show: 'I want to be a nun'
National
Eleven very good reasons to be happy you live in Spain
National
Loyal dog waits two months at hospital door for dead owner
2,924
jobs available