The Spanish government has put itself on collision course with the national press with the announcement that it wants to ban adverts offering sexual services from their classified sections.
The Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors responded by saying that the logical policy would be for the government to make prostitution illegal.
Yolanda Besteiro of the Progressive Women's Federation was scathing about what she regards as the newspaper's hypocrisy.
The most openly religious daily, ABC, also runs the. Spain is the only European country where the "quality" press carries adverts for sex. There are aboutsex workers in the country, nearly all of them immigrants, many of them illegal.
Prostitutes are a common sight in cities, and it is impossible to go far along any main road before finding an oddly named "alternate club", rural brothels that can house as many as women. Most of the newspaper are not placed by individual women but by the mafias — largely from Romania, Nigeria and various Latin American countries — who exploit them.
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Proof of this emerged this month when police broke up a prostitution network in Madrid after following up in various papers.
The women were being forced to give half their earnings to pimps, and much of the rest went on paying for their lodgings, leaving them, the police said, "in a state of near slavery".
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