The commemoration this Friday of International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women, Girls and Boys It is an appropriate occasion to reflect on the way in which this problem is faced in our country and on the shortcomings of Spanish legislation to protect victims of trafficking and prosecute those who participate in its exploitation. Not only those criminals who get rich with human trafficking, in this case to the prostitution, they are responsible for the perpetuation of what some claim to define as the oldest trade in the world; so are those, the vast majority of whom are men (99%, according to Eurostat), who benefit from these people (99% foreigners) subjected to the terror of their exploiters, regardless of the situation in which they live or in which they carry out their unwanted work.

    For years now, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has been asking for legislation that empowers it to more effectively prosecute trafficking and sexual exploitation and to ensure the necessary protection of women and girls (90%) who are forced by the mafias to practice prostitution. Prosecutors denounce that the current laws are insufficient and only allow them to attend to a very limited number of victims and, therefore, do not make it easier for them to take legal action, as would be necessary, against the organizations of the organized crime involved in the trafficking of women and in prostitution. “Cases that lead to the initiation of proceedings are just the tip of an iceberg,” warns the Public Ministry.

    The fact that prostitution is an illegal practice, exercised on the street and in clandestine flats, does not justify society closing its eyes to this unbearable reality and thus avoiding feeling ethically and morally responsible for it as long as it consents to it. Much less justifiable still is that this evasion of responsibilities comes from the public powers, obliged by the exercise of their functions to put an end to this scourge. It is urgent and essential that the Government and legislators heed the warnings of the Prosecutor’s Office and propose a consensual legislation that can put an end to these practices of mistreatment and degradation of human beings.

    It is evident, because it is a debate that is taking place in all the countries around us, that agreeing on legislation on prostitution is very difficult. In fact, the feminist movement itself is confronted between the abolitionists, who want to ban prostitution, and those who seek to regulate it to provide legal and health coverage to those who practice it. This discrepancy cannot, however, stop the elaboration of the laws that are necessary to put an end to trafficking, but also to sexual exploitation in which, due to their indifference, clients also participate. Until now, no awareness campaign (nor have there been many) has served to prevent many men (27.3% of Spaniards confess to having paid for sex) from being regular clients of prostitution. Up to now, education has not prevented the normalization of the whoremonger as a stereotype of the male, as a reflection of a mistaken masculinity, when he is not sick. The confirmation of this harsh reality is what necessitates coercive measures, such as fines or even prison sentences, like those that the socialists are considering, when there is evidence that they are situations of exploitation in which those who consume prostitution go from being clients to being accomplices.