Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trafficking in Spain's legal prostitution market

A story of crime and human trafficking in Spain's legal market for prostitution, that is scary on many levels: In Spain, Women Enslaved by a Boom in Brothel Tourism

"La Jonquera used to be a quiet border town where truckers rested and the French came looking for a deal on hand-painted pottery and leather goods. But these days, prostitution is big business here, as it is elsewhere in Spain, where it is essentially legal.

"While the rest of Spain’s economy may be struggling, experts say that prostitution — almost all of it involving the ruthless trafficking of foreign women — is booming, exploding into public view in small towns and big cities. The police recently rescued a 19-year-old Romanian woman from traffickers who had tattooed on her wrist a bar code and the amount she still owed them: more than $2,500.
"Thirty years ago, virtually all the prostitutes in Spain were Spanish. Now, almost none are. Advocates and police officials say that most of the women are controlled by illegal networks — they are modern-day slaves.
"Deputy Inspector Xavier Cortés Camacho, the head of the regional antitrafficking unit in Barcelona, said the Nigerian groups moved women through northern Africa to Spain, and then controlled them by threatening to rape or kill their family members back home.
"Some of the women are sold into the business by their families, Mr. Cortés said. The police came across one case in which Colombian traffickers were paying one family $650 a month for their daughter. She managed to escape, he said. But when she contacted her family, they told her to go back or they would send her sister as a replacement."

1 comment:

PLW said...

That sure is a lot of anecdotes. Might be worth looking at some data to see if it's really true.

Here's a paper I found:

I haven't read it yet.

This paper investigates the impact of legalized prostitution on human trafficking inflows. According to economic theory, there are two opposing effects of unknown magnitude. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution leads to an expansion of the prostitution market, increasing human trafficking, while the substitution effect reduces demand for trafficked women as legal prostitutes are favored over trafficked ones. Our empirical analysis for a cross-section of up to 150 countries shows that the scale effect dominates the substitution effect. On average, legalized prostitution increases human trafficking inflows.