A MAN who went to the Police to complain about inadequate services from a woman he had hired for sex has landed himself a fine of 800 Euros.
The man, who paid 30 Euros for sexual services, decided to go to the Local Police in the Valencian town of Albal to complain that the woman hadn’t fulfilled her side of the bargain but the complainant was soon informed by police officers that the town has a bylaw against anyone paying for sex, incurring fines up to a maximum of 800 Euros.
The events of the town’s first investigation into the consumption of sexual services on a public street, occurred in Albal in January, but details were only released earlier this week.
Albal has been a pioneer, nationally, in the battle against prostitution and the exploitation of women and girls. The shocking murder just over a year ago of 19-year-old Romanian Florina Gogos, who had been working as a prostitute, shone a light on the area. Florina’s body was found by a hunter on 30 January, in an irrigation channel between the towns of Silla and Albufera, just south of Valencia. Her death provoked a strong reaction from local communities in towns located along the V-31, a well-known area for prostitution. Locals were supported by town councils and the movement has also been backed by the Mancomunitat de l’Horta Sud, the local community of 20 towns in the area, as well as the regional government, to try and curb the consumption of this type of sexual services.
But Florina was not the first victim; in 2004 another young woman was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest, in exactly the same place where Florina was last seen alive. On that first occasion, the municipality covered the woman’s burial expenses and her remains rest in the municipal cemetery.
As a result, the council went a step further with the modification of its bylaw of coexistence and good governance, increasing fines for puteros (whoremongers) up to 800 euros and including pimps in the same bag. In 2012, bylaws had set penalties of this type at a maximum of 750 euros, affecting both consumers and prostitutes. That has now been amended and prostitutes are exempt from prosecution and classed as victims of exploitation.
The changes, which were approved unanimously, also include a ban on advertising that promotes prostitution and sexual exploitation, punishable by fines of 350 euros, such as placing brothel cards on the bumpers or windows of vehicles. For Albal’s Mayor Ramón Marí “the murders of Ivana and Florina have been a threat to democracy and for this reason we are trying to contribute, from Albal, to the eradication of prostitution and human trafficking, with the awareness of other administrations”.
The Mancomunitat de l’Horta Sud has supported Albal in this crusade against prostitution and, while urging its 20 municipalities to join the network of towns free of trafficking and prostitution, also proposed awareness campaigns and greater coordination of local police to increase control over pimps.
Speaking following the first 800 Euro fine on Cadena Ser Radio on Tuesday, Marí said: “Let’s hope that the fine will help prostitution to disappear, not from the roundabouts of Albal, but from all roundabouts.”
Leaders in the abolition of prostitution
In December last year, the Valencia government committed itself to leading the process of abolishing prostitution in Spain. Regional Justice minister, Gabriela Bravo made the announcement on 21 December as she presented studies on the situation of prostitution and its perception by the population carried out by the University of Valencia and Miguel Hernández within the Foro por la Abolición (Forum for the Abolition).