Municipal ordinances and Street prostitition in Spain
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Beginning with the civic ordinance enacted in Barcelona in 2005, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, most big and medium-sized cities in Spain enacted municipal ordinances prohibiting various types of uncivil behaviour in the street. The stated goal of all these municipal regulations was
to promote urban safety and the civic use of public space. However, in some cases these prohibitions have gone beyond this goal and had deeper, at times even contrary, effects on some of the activities they are intended to regulate. An analysis of the effects of banning street prostitution through municipal ordinances in Spain shows not only that the trade of sexual services in the street has not disappeared, but also that the conditions of police control in which street sex workers must operate have worsened. The lack of effectiveness of these regulations to discourage sex workers from offering their services in the street may explain the recent change in municipal policy attitude towards this issue, which is shifting from a soft prohibitionist approach to an abolitionist one. At the national level, although the recently passed Citizen Safety Act seems to take an abolitionist approach to this matter, materially speaking it is very close to prohibitionist schemes for dealing with street prostitution.