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Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I am too long in the tooth to be startled by much in this world but the discovery that Spain generates 50 million euros a day on prostitution certainly does the trick (strictly in the non-sexual connotation).

I was also stunned to learn that it is estimated that there are over 300,000 dedicated to prostitution in Spain and that Andalucía has the largest number of them. I have also added a new Spanish word to my vocabulary as I now know what a “meretriz” is.

The facts are a bit confusing because it seems that experts are divided amongst themselves on the number of prostitutes on the game with those advising Spain’s lower parliament, the Congresos de los Diputados, saying its not 300,000 but certainly well over 100,000. I will refrain here from making any linkage between the word politician and prostitute.

So what other facts have emerged? The brothels or rather ‘clubes de alterne’ turn over 18,000 million euros a year but also the media benefits hugely by accepting both display ads and classifieds for very explicit sex enticements. It is also estimated that six per cent of the male Spanish population is a regular user of prostitutes.

It falls to the Guardia Civil to carry out periodic checks on the brothels and their ‘census’ places the number of prostitutes in these establishments at around 96,000. To those have to be added the street girls and those who operate out of apartments and so on.

As I said Andalucía is said to have the largest number of prostitutes with 18,200 followed by the Comunidad Valenciana (14,200) and Madrid with almost 13,800.

According to the expert panel constituted by Congress prostitution is the second most profitable business in the world behind arms trading but ahead of drugs.

I have to confess to only having entered a brothel once in my life. Many years ago I was dining at the then famous Bianchi’s restaurant opposite Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho. I was with a party of friends and we decided to book a table for a performance later that evening. I dashed down stairs to make the reservation and rushed back upstairs again. As I turned left I discovered I hadn’t entered the restaurant but a bedroom with a waiting lady of the night lying back on the bed who greeted me with a smile. Being a gentleman I said “Good evening” and then fled realising that in my haste I’d run up the wrong stairs. I admit to being in a state of shock but not as startled as discovering how much Spain spends on prostitution.

Tomorrow I will reveal an interesting statistic on prostitution in Gibraltar.

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