Working girls out of work

Credit: Girona Town Hall

EL PARADISE, is a brothel in La Junquera (Girona) on the French border, reputedly the largest and best-known in Europe.

Like all bars, restaurants and clubs it closed at midnight on Friday March 13, prior to the State of Alarm that came into effect two days later.

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Many of the 90 prostitutes who paid to use the 2,400-square metre, 80-room bordello’s facilities also lived there and found themselves out on the street.

The brothel’s owner Jose Moreno accepted the government’s ERTE temporary redundancy plan and laid off 69 employees, but none were the sex workers whom Moreno could not legally employ directly.

“First they said we could remain for two weeks,” one of the working girls explained to an El Pais interviewer.

She had her doubts, she admitted: “The owner isn’t a caring person. This is a business and he’s a businessman.”

Her suspicions proved correct and the following day, Saturday, the girls learnt that they would have to be out by Sunday.

The girls who couldreturned to the families.  “Those with no-one here didn’t know what to do,” she told El Pais. “Some went to Figueras, others back to Romania or travelled to France.”

Only the women who worked in the kitchens offered to help: “But they only earn basic wages and you couldn’t go and eat their food.”

The woman who spoke to El Pais went to El Paradise intending to work for three months before returning to her own country.  Her return ticket was cancelled and she could not afford the €4,000 it would have cost to take the last plane out.

“My family can’t help me, I helped them,” she explained. Nor did she want to go to her country’s consulate.  “They’re concerned about the people who are ill, and I understand that.”

Meanwhile, La Jonquera’s mayor Sonia Martinez maintained that despite having received no requests for help, the town hall could guarantee the girl’ needs, whether accommodation or food.

She also insisted that the Local Police had not detected any of El Paradise’s former employees on the street.


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