Madrid offers training grants for prostitutes seeking a new life

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YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT ON THE RED LIGHT: Madrid council’s plan to help those wishing to leave the sex industry is the first of its kind in Spain.

MADRID City Council has announced that it will spend €76,500 on 31 educational grants for women wishing to leave the world of prostitution, with training courses scheduled to begin in September.

Moreover, teaching will take place at the Concepcion Arenal centre, the Spanish capital’s first municipal unit dedicated to guiding and tutoring sex workers as they leave the murky trade behind.

Each woman will be offered a personalised plan, including 300 hours of specific technical training which is to be divided between theory and practice, with additional classes aiming to develop social and personal skills, plus management of information and communication technologies.

Work experience will also be available in the form of internships, particularly in the education sector.

The scheme represents the next stage in assisting ex-prostitutes to build a new life, after 31 girls were trained as maids, industrial cleaners, and kitchen assistants over the last 12 months, with all completing their training successfully.

Prostitution is not illegal in Spain, having been decriminalized in 1995, although putatively exploitative activities such as pimping, i.e. third party facilitation or provision of a sex worker for financial gain, are unlawful.

The approach of local governments varies from region to region, but it remains largely unregulated, with street prostitution subject to sanctions in some areas.

Public opinion remains deeply divided, with over 90 per cent of sex workers thought to be migrants from Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, many of whom are allegedly the victims of human trafficking.

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