As Spain moves closer to abolishing prostitution, here’s how it works in Europe

Prostitution has a long history in Europe. It was in 1942 that the Swiss government announced that the act was completely legal and constitutionally protected. Other countries, including Germany and Greece, soon followed suit. The Netherlands, a popular sex tourism destination today, decriminalized prostitution in 2000.

Image: AP

According to a recent estimate, there are around 12 lakh prostitutes working in the 27 nation states of the European Union. Germany alone has 10 lakh of sex workers, reveals Business intern report. With Pascha – the largest brothel on the continent – prostitution in Germany is roughly a business worth over US $ 16 billion.

Meanwhile, in Spain, brothels are given a more euphoric name: clubs de alternate (alternative clubs). According to The Guardian, the act is so ubiquitous in the popular tourist destination, that the Spanish administration, in 2014, attempted to calculate its contribution to the GDP. However, as Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party gained power, it pledged to “abolish” the law in a move that critics say is an attempt to woo female voters, BBC reported.

Image: AP

Sweden has a more interesting point of view: although it is illegal to buy sex or operate a brothel in the country, it is completely legal to use your own body for such services. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has elaborate red light districts that attract millions of visitors each year. A report from claims that in the Dutch capital, where the sex trade is legal and regulated, more than 200,000 annual visitors come to its red light districts. De Wallen, is the city’s largest and most famous red light district and a famous destination for international sex tourism.

Like other businesses, prostitution also fluctuates with the economy. In Greece, for example, the financial situation has been so bad that it has pushed more women into the sex trade, with Athens seeing a seven percent increase in female sex workers since 2012, even as the price of sex has risen. drastically dropped, reported Inside the business community.

A more permissible attitude

Compared to the rest of the world, Europe has a more acceptable attitude towards prostitution. In countries like Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Hungary and Latvia, the multi-million dollar business is not only legal but also regulated, with brothels paying fees. taxes and respecting certain laws. In other countries, such as Spain and France, the business is legal but not regulated by the administration. As the COVID pandemic and related restrictions have pushed many small-scale brothels and freelance sex workers to the brink of choosing another livelihood, things are returning to normal as more tourists national and international flock.

Main picture: AP

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