Barcelona mayor wants prostitution ban: 16 arrested
Sixteen people were arrested overnight in an operation on the streets of Barcelona, police said Saturday, as the mayor called for a law banning hookers from the city centre.Madrid - Sixteen people were arrested overnight in an operation on the streets of Barcelona, police said Saturday, as the mayor called for a law banning hookers from the city centre.
Among those arrested were two Nigerian prostitutes, two Brazilian transvestites and a dozen people living illegally in Spain, police said.
Prostitution in Spain's popular east coast city has been in the headlines this week with pictures of flagrantly open sex workers in central Barcelona in the Spanish daily El Periodico as well as Britain's The Times, which called Las Ramblas, the city's main thoroughfare, "the street of shame".
Mayor Jordi Hereu declared in the Catalan daily El Periodico on Saturday that "we are going to get rid of prostitution in the streets".
Under current law, street prostitutes are subject only to administrative fines, according to the newspaper.
The mayor also said that investigators were seeking to dismantle a Nigerian network of prostitution and stressed that it was necessary to overcome "the difficulties posed by those in an illegal situation (in Spain) so that they can be deported from the country".
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, speaking on radio Onda Cero, denounced prostitution and said he hoped Barcelona's mayor would do what was necessary after the publication of the photographs which were "very troubling".