Spain’s National Court has ruled against the creation of the first sex workers union, OTRAS. The judge said union cannot defend members who carry out “activities that by nature don’t come with a valid work contract”.
The National Court announced Wednesday it had cancelled the statutes of the “Organisation of Sex Workers”, which was registered by the Labour Ministry and published in the official gazette couple of months ago. According to the judge’s ruling, the creation of the union would equate to “admitting that pimping… is a legal activity”.
The OTRAS union, which promises to defend the rights of people in the industry, had argued it doesn’t only represent prostitutes but also film actors from porno industry or phone sex operators. But Spain’s National Court said that not excluding prostitutes meant it was illegal.
OTRAS defends the rights of sex workers in Spain
Sex work is tolerated in Spain but Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez came to power in June with a strong feminist agenda promising to fight the exploitation of women. Thus, both illegal and regulated sex work shouldn’t be forgotten by the government. According to OTRAS, it would appeal against the court’s ruling and hold its first congress on Saturday in Barcelona to finalise its structure.
“In the 19th century, there were no unions in hotels, in mining or industry,” OTRAS secretary general Concha Borrell told a news conference.
Spain’s fiercely anti-prostitution PM Sanchez had been left red in the face in August when news of the approval of the union emerged.
The labour ministry had promptly launched proceedings to challenge the union’s existence in court, while Labour Minister Magdalena Valerio confessed she was shocked by the fact such a union had been approved by her ministry’s labour directorate general.
“As a minister and member of a feminist government, I would never have given the OK for this to be published in the official state gazette,” she said.
Valerio added this has been one of “the biggest” upsets in her life.