22 Jun, 2024 @ 11:20
1 min read

Owner of exclusive nightclub in Madrid arrested for paying attractive young women off the books to attract male partygoers

Barcelona Nightclub Party

PATRONS in the exclusive Madrid nightclub Opium may have been surprised to see just how many attractive young women were always present inside – many of them aged between 20 and 30, and all of them wearing high heels. 

It turns out that there was a reason for such clientele: they were being paid off the books by the nightspot as a way to attract male partygoers, and to persuade these men to pay for VIP tables and expensive bottles of booze. 

The practice is a common one in Spain’s nightlife scene, but that could be about to change: as part of an investigation into these practices at Opium, the Policia Nacional arrested the owner of the club. 

On a visit to the venue, police officers identified at least 22 women who were there working as chicas imagen, according to a report in Spanish daily El Pais. What’s more, four of the girls did not have proper residency in Spain.  

Read more: Deadly nightclub fire that killed 13 in Spain’s Murcia was caused by negligent use of spark machine, say police

Barcelona Nightclub Party
The girls at the club were being paid between €50 and €80 a night to work as ‘chicas imagen’.

The girls were recruited by the club via social media, and once they were hired they would be offered work via a WhatsApp channel. 

They were given strict instructions about their appearance, which included obligatory high heels, and were instructed to give men ‘a close and upbeat, even suggestive treatment’.

The women were reportedly earning between €50 and €80 a night, which could be paid in cash or via transfers such as Bizum. 

The owner of the nightclub could be facing charges related to employment laws, given that none of the women had work contracts. 

The work inspectorate has also proposed a series of administrative fines for Opium. 

More inspections are due to be carried out over the coming months, according to El Pais.

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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