Spain Petition English FAQ

Why it is important?

Any criminalisation of sex work pushes sex workers underground and in consequence, creates dangerous and hard working conditions for them. Sex workers will avoid going to the police to report being victims of crime and will be more at risk of violence, exploitation and HIV. Criminalisation also strengthens the stigma on sex workers and increases social exclusion, which both are affecting the mental health of sex workers.

What about trafficking?

Trafficking for sexual exploitation is a heinous crime. The criminalisation of sex work, however, does not protect the rights of victims of trafficking. Conflating prostitution with sexual exploitation, trafficking or gender-based violence negatively impacts both sex workers and victims of trafficking. The criminalisation of sex work is widely opposed by anti-trafficking organisations such as La Strada International, the European NGO Platform against human trafficking and the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women.

What about sex workers who are pushed to do sex work because of economic reasons?

In a global capitalist economy, most people are ‘forced' to work to survive. Sex work is a typical informal economy job in that it does not benefit from legal protection through the state. It mainly employs women, often (undocumented) migrants and members of the LGBTQI community; entry requirements are low in terms of capital and professional qualifications, and skills needed for the job are often acquired outside of formal education. Many sex workers enter the sex industry as they are excluded from the formal economy or state benefits to achieve a decent standard of living. Many marginalised communities are over-represented in the sex industry: for example, trans women, whose unemployment rate is 4 times higher than the general population. The criminalisation of sex work only increases the precarity of most vulnerable sex workers, including trans people and undocumented migrants.

What do you propose instead of abolition to protect sex workers in danger?

Organised sex workers in Spain and Europe want to dialogue with their representatives. We demand a model that guarantees sex workers the minimum human, labour and social rights. We want a model that provides us with legal tools to defend ourselves.