Spanish police demand reflective vests for prostitutes
“The world’s oldest profession” may be legal in Spain so long as money doesn’t change hands, but that doesn’t mean Spanish police aren’t keeping their eyes on the women and men of the night. According to London’s Telegraph newspaper, police from the Spanish town of Els Alamus near Lleida in Catalonia have safety on the brain. Reflective vests are required for prostitutes who frequent the rural highway leading out of town. If sex workers are found on the street without fluorescent vests, they can be subject to a 40 euro ($55) fine.
Reflective vests for prostitutes on hard shoulders
The amount of prostitute foot traffic on LL-11 road is enough to warrant the reflective vests law for prostitutes. Spanish authorities told the Telegraph that they are not singling out Els Alamus prostitutes because of what they do for a living, but are simply concerned with the safety risk hustling prostitutes pose to drivers on LL-11. There is a 2004 Spanish law in effect stating that all pedestrians walking around major highways and hard shoulders are required to don highly visible garments in the interest of public safety.
‘Danger on the public highway’
The law has been in existence for six years, but recently law enforcement has been more aggressive about enforcing the reflective vests for prostitutes law. According to a spokesman for the Mossos d’Esquadra regional police force, “In the past couple of months, the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: for not wearing the reflective jacket and for creating danger on the public highway.”
Els Alamus mayor accused of driving sex workers away
Recent legislation introduced in Els Alamus effectively prohibits prostitutes from marketing their trade in urban areas. Mayor Josep Maria Bea has taken an unpopular negative stance against sex workers, and the recent traffic safety for prostitutes campaign has been interpreted as a thinly veiled assault against them. Considering that more than 300,000 Spanish prostitutes are estimated to be on the streets per the latest surveys, it will be interesting to see what effect the bright yellow prostitute vests have on business. One in four Spanish men admit to having paid for sex, but shining yellow safety may foster in a downward trend.