Spain turns out to be a true ‘paradise for prostitution’. Worrying figures show that more than 80% of prostitutes are forced to offer sex. The biggest problem in Spain? The ever-growing demand for paid sex.
Research from the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid recently revealed these worrying numbers. The vast majority of these prostitutes are victims of human trafficking. Usually, they are recruited by ‘loverboys’, men who aim to win over young girls, lure them to Spain, and then persuade them to work in the sex industry.
Spain has second-highest demand for prostitution
According to the Spanish news site Infobae.com, Spain tops the list of European countries with the highest demand for prostitution and Spain is the second-largest country in the world. About 38% of adult men in Spain admit to having paid for sex at some point. This makes the country a “sex paradise,” claim police and judicial authorities engaged in outlawing illegal prostitution.
Human trafficking, slavery of the 21st century in Spain
Prime Minister Sánchez of Spain already spoke at the end of 2021 about missing legislation on prostitution. He then promised to tackle the additional illegal activities – in particular human trafficking within this sector. Despite these promises, the numbers are even more worrying than previously thought. Especially since more than 80% of prostitutes in Spain are victims of human trafficking, the slavery of the 21st century.
Loverboys target young women from abroad
Many young girls fall into the hands of loverboys, a prosecutor in Murcia explains. These men take away the girls from their own environment under the guise of a better life. Thereafter, they force them to offer sex in an unfamiliar place. The officer describes this method as one of the most profitable illegal trades in the world.
For example, loverboys promise young women from Latin America a plane ticket, a house, and a well-paid job to come to Spain. Once there, the reality turns out to be different. In recent years it has even become so bad that the young women know what they are getting into in Spain. However, their living conditions in their own country are so bad that they resign themselves to this and come voluntarily to Spain.
High demand for paid sex perpetuates illegal practices
According to 2020 data, two out of three victims of human trafficking are women. No less than 79% of them are sexually exploited. The significant demand for paid sex makes this business so incredibly lucrative for criminal gangs. Thus concludes the Civil Guard’s head of human trafficking
Difficult to convict criminal traffickers in Spain
Although there are many victims, it is difficult to determine human trafficking and to convict those responsible for it. The problem is often that the victims, mostly young women, often do not trust the police. Furthermore, in many cases, they are highly indoctrinated by their loverboys.
For this reason, the role of social workers is crucial in detecting these cases. Working with NGOs and raising awareness among residents are the main strategies to end this form of human trafficking.