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Prostitution Clients to be Criminalised in Elche

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The Mayor of the Alicante town of Elche, Carlos Gonzalez, has announced a municipal ordinance which will criminalise prostitution, not by going after those who work in the industry, but by penalising the clients.

The mayor of Elche, Carlos Gonzalez

The Mayor says that the new rule is not aimed an penalising the people choosing to work in the field, but rather to help to curb the sexual exploitation of women.

Gonzalez announced the move during the inauguration of the First International Conference on Gender Violence organized by the University Miguel Hernández (UMH). The conference takes place until Friday and has an overall theme of trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation.

During his speech, the Mayor said the intention is to,  “act with determination and the means necessary” to eradicate sexual exploitation in the city, and that will include coercive measures against pimps: “Sexual exploitation of women and girls is a real manifestation of the most infamous slavery in this century and one of the most serious violations of human rights,” continuing, “a society which aims and aspires to be equal, must ensure protection and assistance to victims of prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.”

However, despite applauding the need to protect women and girls against exploitation, there are those who believe such action is contradictory, as penalising the clients affects those who choose to work in the sector and if it is the pimps and exploiters who are the root of the abuse, then it is them who should be targeted, not the clients of those who operate by choice.

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