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Zapatero in favour of ban on prostitute ads in the press

Sat 17th Jul 2010

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has expressed his favour of banning adverts for prostitution in the press, the media reported yesterday.

The Socialist leader, an active promoter of women's rights since he took power in 2004, said in Parliament on Thursday that "publicity announcements for prostitutes (should be) eliminated".

He said that "as long as these adverts exist, they are contributing to the normalisation of this activity" El Pais and El Mundo newspapers reported.

Both mass-circulation newspapers regularly carry such adverts, which include not only telephone numbers and prices but explicit descriptions of services on offer, with attention grabbing headlines like "Unforgettable girls" and "Generous breasts."

Such publicity is a significant source of income for the Spanish press, which has seen a drop in its advertising revenue because of the financial crisis, and it is against any move to stop it without state compensation.

The AEDE association of newspaper editors said a ban would go against Constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and information.

In a statement, it invited the government to "adopt the necessary measures to stop prostitution" and said if it were really illegal, newspapers would not carry its publicity.

A government plan to fight sexual exploitation came into force in January notably to ensure more protection for foreign prostitutes in irregular situations but without shutting down the many brothels in the country.

It has left it up to the press to move to end adverts for prostitution, to date without success.

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