• 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
Property
Buy your own Mediterranean island paradise for just €5m

Got a spare €5 million? Then this Mediterranean island paradise could be yours.

Vamos a la playa! These are Spain's top ten beaches
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Europe's best beach. Photo:Photo: Ismail Mia/Flickr

Spain has five beaches in Europe's top ten. The Local gives you a tour.

Spanish economy continues to grow despite lack of govt
Photo: Contando Estrelas/Flickr

Spain's economic growth continued in the second quarter even as the country remains mired in political limbo after two inconclusive general elections.

Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Cruelty in the name of fun? Photo: Pacma

Bullfighting fiestas reached a new low with the torture of a young calf.

Ethan Hawkes to be honoured with San Sebastián award
Ethan Hawke in the Magnificent Seven

The Hollywood actor will be given the Donastia lifetime achievement at the 64th San Sebastián Film Festival.

Gallery
The ten most weird (and wonderful) museums in Spain
Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Funeral Carriages.

Spain is home to some of the finest museums in the world, but it also boasts some of the most bizarre.

Spanish court bars top Eta figure from Basque elections
The Basque separatist leader in San Sebastian. Photo: AFP

Arnaldo Otegi, once jailed for terrorism charges, has been barred from standing in Basque elections.

Spanish town warns against texting while crossing roads
The warnings now appear at crossings in Talavera de la Reina in Spain.

It might seem entirely obvious to most, but it seems some people need to be told that looking at your phone while crossing a busy road can prove dangerous.

Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Photo: N332 /@drivingSpain/facebook

Do you recognise this car?

What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Rajoy is struggling to form a government. Photo: AFP

Eight months without a government but is Spain really the worse for it?

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
International
'We won't ban burqinis on our beaches' insists Barcelona
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
British dad drowns saving daughter on red flagged beach
National
11 Spanish words that English must adopt right now
Lifestyle
Justin Bieber just bought an amazing new pad in Lanzarote
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Lifestyle
Recipe: How to make Andalusian Ajo Blanco soup
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Travel
Ten touristy types you'll meet in Spain: Which one are you?
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
Ten top tips to avoid looking like a guiri when in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
International
Don't miss this spectacular meteor shower over Spain
Travel
Desperate Ryanair passenger chases after missed flight
Travel
What's on in Spain: August 2016
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
National
German firestarter blames blaze on 'toilet paper mishap'
National
Flashmob prank sparks 'terror attack' panic in Spanish resort
Culture
Croquemon Go: Spain invents twist on game to 'eat 'em all'
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
National
Spanish parents fight for right to name their son 'Wolf'
National
Beach closed after shark attack in southern Spain
National
Spain ups security at tourist spots as terrorism fears grow
National
Ten great reasons to discover the real Malaga right now
3,193
jobs available