The PSOE law to abolish prostitution makes its way through Congress thanks to the support, among others, of the Popular Party. This circumstance has made it clear that socialists and popular have forged a harmony in recent months regarding this matter that paves the possibility of an agreement between the two during a process that now begins.
Together, the PSOE and the PP reach an absolute majority in the Chamber and would be enough to overcome the majority rejection that the bill arouses in the parliamentary partners of the Government, as well as to overcome the doubts and divisions that this issue generates within the space of United We Can.
In fact, the purples have been divided in the vote for admission to process. The commons of Ada Colau have voted against, while the rest of the parliamentary group has expressed itself in favor. Aware of this fracture and to avoid opening an internal conflict, they previously agreed on the freedom to vote for the deputies.
With everything, and after a very heated debate at times, Congress has given the green light to process a proposal that proposes to change the Penal Code to impose fines on clients and prison sentences for those who profit from the prostitution of others (not their own) , including those who rent spaces in premises or flats.
These measures are read differently by defenders and detractors. The PSOE assures that it only intends to persecute pimping and the intermediaries who profit from prostitution right now. However, the criticism from the other side is that it is the “punitiveness” of “all life”, a “prohibitionism” that will not make prostitution “disappear” but will only generate more “vulnerability” and “insecurity” to people who perform sex work and that it will “criminalize” those who do it voluntarily.
“Sexual exploitation is the last residue of the slave system. Something absolutely incompatible with democracy,” proclaimed the deputy general secretary of the PSOE, Adriana Lastra. Thus, she has stressed that in prostitution “what is bought is domination, the subjugation of women, inequality and machismo is perpetuated”, in addition to assuming one of the worst forms of “violence” against women. “There is no freedom in brothels,” she has settled.
Lastra has reached out to all the groups to reach a consensus. “This initiative has the body of law but it has the soul of a pact and we are willing to work with all groups that share the goal of ending impunity in our country,” he said. A few words that open an unusual connection between the PSOE and the PP to agree.
Because the popular ones have been close and also concerned to do it. “We want to collaborate in the transformation of this situation,” said Marta González. “We believe that this criminal response, which focuses on the profit of third parties, can make a big difference by condemning those who benefit from the prostitution of others, being tolerant when there is no profit for a third party.”
Likewise, González has asked to give himself an “opportunity” because we are facing “one of those moments in which societies can change”, as happened with the abolition of slavery or the death penalty. “Let us take a decisive step forward in the quality and maturity of democracy,” he said.
United We Can, which was divided when voting, gave a yes to the process but maintains reservations regarding various aspects of the PSOE proposal. The most important is their rejection of fines for clients, because they think it is something that harms women.
After having agreed to it, the Catalan sector of United We Can, the commons, has voted no because it considers that the proposal would be a “serious setback in women’s rights”. “Such important issues must be addressed from the courage to listen to all women and not from a punitive perspective. We do not want to criminalize or stigmatize any woman; we want to listen to them,” say sources from Catalunya en Comú. “Prohibiting is not abolishing. The law is not accompanied by social measures to end prostitution.”
Among the partners of the Government there are harsh criticisms of the law for seeking only criminal proceedings and not proposing social alternatives or measures such as the repeal of the Immigration Law. ERC voted against with a very belligerent speech in which it has called socialist feminists “hypocrites”, in addition to accusing them of presenting the law as a response to the “humiliation” they suffered when they lost the debate on prostitution in the law of the only Yes is yes. “Don’t read Clara Campoamor so much and go to the streets,” Pilar Vallugera told Lastra.
Similarly, EH Bildu has stressed that the proposal “only prohibits” and leaves women “more helpless and unprotected” to “calm the partisan interests” of the PSOE. However, he abstained to facilitate a debate.
Ciudadanos has also been very belligerent and its deputy Sara Giménez has had an intense face to face with Lastra in which she has accused the socialist of “criminalizing prostitution” and proposing a “legislative patch full of morality” that will cause the women are condemned to “worse conditions”, more vulnerability and lack of rights. In addition, she has defended freedom for those who engage in prostitution voluntarily and with consent.
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