Police in Madrid have started to fine the customers who solicit prostitution services in an effort to stamp out the world’s oldest profession, Hispan TV reported Sunday.
The new law could see the clients of sex workers charged between 600 to 30,000 euros (US$660 to $32,960).
The delegate of Madrid’s local government, Concepcion Dancause, from the ruling conservative Popular Party, announced the reform during a press conference on Friday.
She said that more police officials will be deployed in the areas of the capital known for prostitution activities.
“The Law of Citizen Security – nicknamed 'Gag Law' by opponents – opens new possibilities to combat the phenomenon of prostitution, especially in areas near facilities used by minors, like high schools, cultural centers and children parks,” she added, referring to the Article 36, which allows police officials to fine people who offer such services in restricted areas.
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In September 2013, a report released by ZoomNews revealed that more and more university students resorted to prostitution as a mean to get by, due to the prolonged economic crisis, which has caused high rates of unemployment. Another 2012 report by the New York Times found that sex trade in the country was going through a boom, attracting young men from all over Europe.
This week, Madrid’s new progressive Podemos party mayor, Manuela Carmena, urged that lawmakers “think about the causes of prostitution” during a meeting of mayors hold in the Holy See.
Women associations in favor of the abolition of prostitution support the measure. Other organizations fear that women in the sex work industry would be at risk of violence. The latter has been challenging the former movement since the 1990s, claiming that the better way to protect women providing such services – including the ones exploited in mafia circles – is to legalize prostitution.