Spain: Sex tourism at the French border


by Vanessa Charles


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Just over the border from Le Perthus, past the village of La Jonquera on the Nationale, you'll find one of Spain's biggest "prostibulo" (brothels), the "Lady's Dallas" club.

The manager oversees and controls a sex empire with 100 to 140 girls offering their services in 60 available rooms. Every day, around 500 people pass through the premises, most of them French nationals.

Prostitution in Spain

The Catalan Interior Council claims that there are at least fifteen "clubs" in the area, with around 500 girls working in them, plus another hundred working on foot on the roads (and parking lots).

In 2005, according to a police official, the police reduced the number of foreign prostitutes to between 30 and 35%. It is claimed that 70% of the "clients" are French, some traveling over 500 km to take advantage of services which in their country are virtually clandestine.

"This is a vacation hotel," says the manager of Lady's Dallas, "girls call me from all over the world to book a room (for two) for 70 euros a day, including meals. What they do afterwards is their business, not mine. I religiously pay my taxes to the various authorities: I have all my papers in order, I give work to 35 families ".

The Dallas is not the only "prostibulo" in the area. A few kilometers further on, still on the Nationale 11, a former seaside hotel has also been converted into a "prostibulo".
Madam's", with around 100 girls, has between 10,000 and 15,000 customers a month, and 48 rooms.
"I have nothing to hide; I pay over 600 euros a year per room in taxes to the local municipality. Here, there are no imposed hours or pressure, and the girls come to work in complete freedom. The only thing they care about is making money."assures the Madam's manager.

The New York Times opinion

According to the New York Times, many young Frenchmen and other Europeans cross the border at La Jonquera to have paid sex, particularly with young emigrant women who are practically slaves.

In this article, New York Times reporter Suzanne Daley lets her readers know that during the economic crisis that has hit Spain, the prostitution market is exploding. The sex trade can easily be seen on the streets of both small towns and big cities.

La Jonquera was a quiet frontier town where truckers used to rest and French tourists came to buy typical handicrafts such as pottery and leather goods.

But now, according to Suzanne Daley, prostitution is the biggest business in La Jonquera, as it is in many parts of Spain, where it is perfectly legal.

Suzanne Daley states in her article that thousands of women are forced to work, most often for very low wages due to the economic crisis, in various locations such as luxury clubs, private apartments, building sites or on the roads alone.
There is little reliable data on this subject, but a report dating from 2010 indicates that between 200,000 and 400,000 women work in prostitution, and 90% of them are trafficked.

According to the New York Times, The cause of this prostitution boom is due to the loose immigration laws in force until 2010 and the high demand from young tourists.

The newspaper also denounces the local market, citing a 2009 United Nations report in which 39% of Spanish men admitted to having visited a prostitute at least once.
"In Spain, it's perfectly acceptable for business meetings to end with a visit to a brothel," says Susan Daley.

30 years ago, almost all prostitutes in Spain were Spanish. Today, the vast majority are women who have entered the country illegally, veritable modern-day slaves.
The prostitution networks that exploit them are many and varied. Some exploit women from Eastern European countries, others Nigerian women who are forced to stay in Spain because their families are threatened in their home countries. Latin America also provides large contingents of prostitutes from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and elsewhere.

While some politicians would like to make prostitution illegal in Spain, many associations are pointing out that this would reinforce the clandestine nature of the trade and complicate their task of helping the women who fall victim to it.

New York Times video on prostitution in Spain:


Vanessa Charles

A (very) close friend of Cupid and a true lover of relationships of all kinds, I am the main editor of Give Me Date. I answer your questions about couples, sexuality and dating and I test dating sites to give you a subjective opinion on how to find love or meet new people.

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