ONE survey in 2008 found that 78% of Spanish people consider prostitution an inevitability in modern society. Nearly 15 years later, the debate for and against sex work roars on. 

Of course, all women should always have a right to do what they want with their bodies. But the idea that selling sex to a sweaty stranger for cash is a feminist statement is utter drivel. 

Sex work IS work, and decriminalising prostitution can help the necessary authorities to engage with sex workers and direct them to support groups and save them from some potentially very dangerous situations. Any effort to drive the sex trade underground would be a retrograde step. 

But there is a difference between supporting women and legitimising the sale of female bodies as a worthy career path.

In Malaga on Monday, 270 new cases of COVID-19 were declared, the highest figure in 30 days. The hospitality industry is in a financial crisis, with high unemployment and record levels of closures for shops, bars and restaurants.

Sadly desperate times mean that women who could usually turn to other options – shop work, bartending, cleaning – are running out of alternatives. Sex work, regardless of the economy, is always in demand. Another survey, conducted last year, found that 25% of Spanish men between the ages of 18-49 had paid for sex at least once in their life. 

Just when we thought lechery was becoming outmoded, one in four men is still commodifying it. But what is the true cost? Another generation of women that ultimately believe they are a product to be sold and men who believe it is their right to buy it. 

While lawyer Cristina Molina López told us that education is the key to banishing outdated notions, sadly the majority still believe it is up to the women to clear up the men’s mess. 

Not since 1975, when Benny Hill leered at a woman dressed in a swimsuit across a desk, has there been a less progressive notion.

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