Government unveils plans to fight sex trade
29 January 2004
MADRID – The government announced Thursday plans to fight the organised trade in prostitution.
The Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, Eduardo Zaplana, said if his ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) is returned to power after the general election on 14 March, it will launch a plan to stop the trafficking of women for prostitution.
This will include more effective protection for the victims involved in the sex trade, something Zaplana labelled an “execrable” form of violence against women.
The plan would include harder penalties for those responsible for sexual exploitation, added Zaplana, who was speaking at a meeting on the subject in Madrid. The meeting was organised by the Swedish Institute and the municipal government of Madrid.
Present at the meeting was the Swedish Minister of Democracy, Integration and Gender Equality, Mona Sahlin. Zaplana said it was Sweden that had introduced a series of innovations against the trafficking of women and minors and prostitution.
In Sweden, the purchase of sexual services can be punished with fines or jail terms of up to six months.
Since the Law of Prohibition of Purchase of Sexual Services came into force in 1999, Sweden has seen a drastic reduction in prostitution of women in the street, according to the data of the police and the Social Services in Sweden.
Sahlin said there needed to be an “energetic” fight against this kind of violence against women, and said society needed to become more sensitive and eradicate sex tourism.
Ninety percent of those who work in prostitution in Spain are immigrants, retained and exploited by criminal gangs.
Ana Botella, mayor of Madrid, called prostitution the “slavery of the 21st century”.
She said the traffic of human beings cannot flourish without the existence of a local market of men willing to buy or sell sex.
She said the municipal government of Madrid would launch a plan to try to change the mentality of the people in the city.
This will include help for the women who abandon their trade.
Sahlin said the traffic of women and children is increasing and that “hundreds of thousands” are recruited, sold and bought by procurers of networks of organized crime with the intention of dedicating them to sexual exploitation.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news