For more than a year now Gavà authorities have been trying to find solutions to the spike in prostitution on a highway that runs through its municipality.
The local council has concluded that prostitution, especially when it comes to those who finance it and keep it alive, remains very much a taboo or secret.
"Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence. It was a 'nothing has happened here' situation” Equality Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying in Spanish daily ABC.
As a result, authorities have decided police officers in this red zone on the outskirts of Barcelona should send the fines to clients’ home addresses, in a bid to dissuade those with families from ever using the services of a local sex worker again.
Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case.
Gavà has also bumped up the penalties to €750 for being caught soliciting or negotiating with a prostitute and €3,000 for being stopped in the act in an area close to a school or children’s playground.
Photo: Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr
According to Gavà municipality, their new sex work measures are based on the Swedish model - a 1999 law that criminalises buying but not selling sex - one that’s proven so successful that Norway, Iceland and Canada have also copied it.
For this very reason, the council of this Catalan municipality of 46,000 people will also stop fining sex workers as they did previously.
Gavà will be working in partnership with the neighbouring towns of Viladecans and Castelldefels as they are also affected by the sex work on the C-31 motorway.
They will also hang up banners in the area with slogans such as “Are you having fun? She isn’t” and “Don’t be an accomplice”.