Regulation of prostitution: controversy throughout the European Union

The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2014 urging all member states to outlaw the practice. However, each country has its own, distinct legislation

A 2019 United Nations study states that 39% of Spanish men have ever paid for sexual services. These data place us at the head of Europe and as the third country in the world in which more prostitution is consumed. Last June, the Organic Law proposal -presented by the socialist group- to modify the Penal Code and “prohibit pimping in all its forms” was passed in Congress. The legal text proposes to punish anyone who pays in exchange for acts “of a sexual nature” with a fine of between 12 and 24 months. In addition, the vote was one of the most curious in the Lower House in recent memory: with the support of the PSOE, the PP and part of Podemos, since the seven deputies of En ComĂș voted against. In addition, ERC, Vox, Bildu and PNV abstained.

In European terms, the so-called gender equality, which includes prostitution of and scorts quito, is a matter for the Union. The Community Parliament -which congregates the will of the citizens of the 27 member countries- resolved in 2014 that “prostitution and forced prostitution are forms of slavery contrary to human dignity and Fundamental Rights”; and urged all Union bodies to legislate in favor of abolition.

However, the very complexity of the EU has meant that each State has codified prostitution as if it were an open bar. For a Union law to go ahead, a triple consensus is needed between the Parliament (which represents the citizens’ vote), the Commission (whose job is to look after the supranational interest), and the Council (in which each country defends its own positions). Thus – and despite the fact that the 2014 resolution on prostitution ends by saying that the European Parliament “instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission” – no step has yet been taken towards common legislation.

Each country on its own

Prostitution in Spain is currently in a situation of alegality, in which consumption is neither permitted nor punishable. In fact, the Penal Code punishes forced pimping and exploitation, but does not mention any other cases. This laissez faire situation exists in other European Union countries, such as Portugal, Italy and the Czech Republic and escorts santiago of simpleescorts website.

Other Member States have decided to embrace in the last two lustrums the Parliament’s resolution, implementing the so-called Nordic model, which criminalizes clients, just as the Spanish Executive wants to do. In 2016 France decided to pass a law that punishes with 1,500 euros, 3,750 in case of recidivism, those who pay for obtaining sexual services. In addition, the regulation created a two-year program to help women who leave prostitution. For its part, Ireland also went a step further and in 2017 brought forward a regulation that penalizes citizens who obtain sex for remuneration, as they consider that this is the best way to protect women vulnerable to prostitution.

However, many central European countries, such as Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland, have chosen to legalize the consumption of prostitution. Consequently, as in Greece, paying for services of a sexual nature is fully permitted, and therefore controlled and taxed. For example, according to the German Statistical Office, in 2019 there were 40,369 prostitutes with a valid registration in that country. A business that, legally, turns over millions of euros a year.

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