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Spain’s first prostitute union formed in Ibiza

Jessica Morris, special to

Prostitutes on the Spanish island of Ibiza have formed the country's first sex-worker union, which will enable them to pay taxes and receive social security benefits, according to news reports.

The union – called the Sealeer Co-operative – is the first of its kind to register in Spain. It enables members to declare their income and pay taxes, entitling them to public healthcare, a pension and other benefits.

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Maria Josi Lopez, the group's spokeswoman, told news agency AFP: "We are pioneers … We are the first co-operative in Spain that can give legal cover to the girls."

At present there are 11 women working as members of Sealeer Cooperative and the group is applying to register a further 40.

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Lopez believes that prostitution is an important part of the country's tourism economy. "Prostitution moves a huge amount of money in summer." she told the Daily.

"Just as they regulate hotels and restaurants to make sure all the workers are registered, they should also see that the girls are comfortable and legalised."

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While prostitution remains legal in Spain, local governments such as Barcelona and Madrid have moved to limits its practice and others think that regulation is set to increase.

Gloria Poyatos, a former employment lawyer who has advised prostitutes in Ibiza told news agency AFP "I think that something is changing. A debate in society is beginning on whether or not to regulate prostitution."

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