July 25, 2021

The Prosecutor's Office defends that approving the OTRAS union means legalizing prostitution in Spain

The Prosecutor's Office defends that approving the OTRAS union means legalizing prostitution in Spain

The trial for the legalization of another prostitutes union has been seen for sentencing on Wednesday. The plaintiffs, the Commission for the Investigation of Ill-Treatment of Women and the Platform March 8, Seville, and the Prosecutor's Office have argued that the right to freedom of association for an activity whose "cause and purpose" is unlawful and have advocated allowing the registration of OTHERS It means de facto legalizing prostitution in Spain. The defense of the union, on the other hand, has claimed the fundamental right to freedom of association and has pointed out that prostitution is not an illegal activity in our country. Although another similar trial was planned today, that of the association L'Escola against the registration of the union by the Ministry of Labor, the judge has suspended it on understanding that the decision on the previous case fully affects this case.

The core of the trial has focused on the statutes of the organization, specifically in Article 4, which defines its scope of action and speaks of "sex work in all its aspects." The plaintiffs understand that this expression clearly refers to prostitution. "We understand that its sphere of action collides strongly with the legal system, and the nullity of article 4 of the statutes entails the total nullity of the union", defended the lawyer Charo Carrecedo.

Both the plaintiffs and the Prosecutor's Office have insisted that the annulment of an article of the statutes implies annulling them completely and, therefore, emptying the union's content, so there would be no place for its registration. With that argument, they want to prevent the court from nullifying an article of the bylaws, but not completely invalidating them, or annulling the bylaws but not dissolving the organization as such. OTRAS 'defense, in fact, has ensured that, even if its statutes were thrown out, the legal personality of the organization would continue and only a criminal trial could get its dissolution.

"In our legal system, the body can not be commercialized, there are many women and girls who remain in prostitution and there are contradictions in the system does not mean that any form of human activity has a place in the category of work" , Carrecedo continued. "The prostitution relations are per se unequal regardless of the subjectivity of the person who exercises it ".

Another of the main arguments of the plaintiffs is that recognizing the trade union part implies recognizing the business part, "pimp". "You can not extract surplus value from the exercise of the prostitution of others, an employment contract is not admissible because its cause is unlawful," they say.

The Office of the Prosecutor has joined this argument and added that recognizing the trade union and, therefore, the business in prostitution would imply giving the right to employers to regulate the activity "at every moment that takes place." It would be, he said, "a right to anticipated sexual freedom" because a woman who signed a contract of this type could not decide on the practices in each specific case.

For the defense of OTHERS, the union is protected by the fundamental right to freedom of association and stresses that its purpose goes beyond prostitution and includes other forms of sex work, such as erotic shows and lines and pornography. "The scope of the statutes strictly complies with the law, and this party does not like the existence of unions like Clean Hands, without affiliative base, but there they are," said lawyer Mariola Felipe.

The lawyer recalled that the business side, in the form of associations, is legally recognized and that the outlawing of OTRAS would mean leaving the women who do these activities without union representation. That an activity is orphaned by legality, he said, does not mean that it is illegal: "The practice of prostitution today is not regulated, but that does not mean that it is illegal." The lawyer recalled the statutes of other organizations, such as the CNT, which contain the objective of "abolishing the State and the Church." "OTRAS is a union that defends women, in no case to employers or exploiters," he concluded.

The court will pass sentence in the next few days and its decision will depend on what happens with the other open cause, whose trial has been suspended today.


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