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European Prostitution Laws

The United States is not somewhere we are ever going to work. And Smooci notwithstanding, I do not see us going into the Far East, South America, Middle East or Eastern Europe. So, I will just discuss Europe. 

There are a number of subcategories within the legal frameworks. So though we are focusing on Barcelona escorts, it is worth looking a little wider.

  • Countries where prostitution and managing brothels and escorts is legal: Greece, Austria (since 2014, Belgium (informally), Germany (since 2002), Netherlands, Switzerland,  
  • Countries where prostitution is legal but managing a brothel or escorts is illegal: United Kingdom, Denmark (since 1999), Italy, Portugal, Luxemburg, Monaco,  
  • Countries where prostitution is legal but customers are prosecuted: Ireland (since 2017), France (disastrously since 2016),  
  • Countries where all sex work is illegal: Gibraltar(!) 

Spain, as you would expect, is a complicated anomaly. Prostitution itself is legal in Spain, but pimping is not. Owning an establishment where prostitution takes place is legal if the owner neither derives financial gain from prostitution nor hires any person for the purposes of selling sex, because prostitution is not considered a job, and has no legal recognition (though income from prostitution is, of course, taxable) Most regions do not regulate prostitution, but the government of Catalonia offers licenses for persons “to gather people to practice prostitution”.

Strictly speaking, we should make it clear that we charge a commission for advertising and answering the telephone. Not for prostitution. 

On the face of the above, the law is changing in opposite directions in Europe over roughly the same timescale.  

Germany and Austria effectively legalised the sex industry (not the same as or good as decriminalisation) in 2002 and 2014 respectively.  Denmark decriminalised prostitution (but not brothel keeping or managing escorts) in 1999. 

France and Ireland introduced laws criminalising the buyers of sex in 2016 and 2017, following Sweden and Norway, who did the same 1999 and 2008. In the cases of France and Ireland, it immediately led to problems (lower prices, increased violence against sex workers, lower condom use) and sex workers have suffered. Sex workers continue to protest against the laws and academics repeat their findings, but we have seen that politicians will never let facts get in the way of their narrative. Especially not in ostensibly Roman Catholic countries.