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POLITICS

Spanish PM vows to ‘abolish’ prostitution

Spain's leftist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez vowed Sunday to "abolish" prostitution in the country, saying it "enslaves" women.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Prostitution is unregulated in Spain, although sexual exploitation and pimping are illegal. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

Speaking at the end of a three-day congress of his Socialist party, Sanchez highlighted policies introduced by his government which he said had helped Spain “advance” such as tougher domestic violence laws and minimum wage hikes.

“And out of this congress emerges a commitment I will implement. We will advance by abolishing prostitution, which enslaves women,” he told the gathering in the eastern city of Valencia without providing further details.

While sexual exploitation and pimping are illegal in Spain, prostitution is unregulated.

There is no punishment for those who offer paid sexual services of their own will as long as it’s not in public spaces, with the laws focused instead on combating human trafficking.

Although it is not recognised as regular employment, there is a large number of brothels throughout the country. Many operate as hotels or other lodging establishments.

One in three men in Spain has paid for sex at least once in their lives, according to a 2009 survey by the country’s state-owned Social Investigations Centre (CIS).

Campaigners argue the legal limbo around prostitution fuels demand for trafficked women.

Sanchez took office in January 2020 at the helm of a minority coalition government after his Socialist party came first in two inconclusive national elections in 2019.

The party published a woman-focused manifesto ahead of the general election held in April 2019 which proposed outlawing prostitution in what was seen as a move to attract female voters.

The manifesto called prostitution “one of the cruelest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women”.

  

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POLITICS

Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

A summit grouping nine southern European countries that was due to take place in Alicante on Friday has been postponed because Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has continued to test positive for Covid-19, his office said Thursday.

Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

The EuroMed 9, which groups Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, was to have gathered in the southeastern city of Alicante on September 30th.

Sánchez, who was to host the summit, had on Sunday confirmed having Covid, and by Thursday he was still testing positive, his office said.

“This morning, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez took a diagnostic test and was still positive for Covid-19,” it said.

“As a precaution, the decision has been taken to postpone the MED-9 summit which was going to be held in Alicante tomorrow.”

It did not give a new date for the summit.

Sánchez tested positive several days after flying back from the UN General Assembly in New York.

He has since suspended much of his agenda but has continued attending events online.

Nine heads of state and government had been due to attend Friday’s summit, among them French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU council President Charles Michel were also due to attend for a summit focused on the energy crisis facing Europe as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The EuroMed group was created in 2016 to strengthen the cooperation between Mediterranean and southern EU member states.

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