viernes, 7 de mayo de 2010

No Prostitutes Left In Barcelona!

Don't panic, thats what author Elisabet Parra discovered was the situation back in the Spanish Civil War when Franco's troops entered Barcelona.

She says in her new book, El Barcelona Calenta,  that the perception was that Franco's right wing policies, many closely tied in with the Catholic church, would see prostitution banned and imprisonment for the girls. Many ran away to France with the exodus of Republicans, presumably to continue their trade over there. 

She also notes that there were an awful lot of rapes by Franco's facist conquerers when they took the city. Without reading the whole book I'm not sure if her observation implies that that's what conquering troops did in that war, if thats what Franco's troops did in populations they had no respect for or whether the lack of prostitutes as an outlet for sexual frustration elevated the occurrences. Either way rape is a sick crime without excuse, even against the population of your enemy.

Given the history of Barcelona as a major Mediterranean sea port with the traditional mariner related demand for prostitutes upon hitting terra-firma we could have found maybe the only time in history when the oldest trade wasn't practiced in Barcelona.

sábado, 27 de marzo de 2010

Gooners Whoring In Barcelona?

Well the champions league brings another English club to Barcelona this spring with Arsenal being pulled out of the hat for their quarter final tie against the catalan giants of football. So the biggest club in North London will face the biggest club in the world in the city with the highest density of whorehouses in Europe (Im still trying for the quote to link in here, I did see it somewhere though).

Barcelona already has a fame within Germany from their tourists, football supporters and other dignitaries who helped create a song in German, "lets all go to the whorehouse of Barcelona" which can be seen on youtube here.

Usually a boom time for whorehouses and pickpockets alike, the arrival of any big English club in the later stages of the competition should be interesting. With all of the usual banter for tickets in the Irish pubs, the heavy drinking on the ramblas, the disorientated search for hookers will probably be followed by a long, hung over trip back to North London to focus on the league.

Similar visits to Barcelona have been highlighted by Chelsea kicking off, 20,000 Rangers fans drinking the town dry, Celtic fans trying to drink the town dry, lots of hub caps going missing when Liverpool came and lots of complaints about stale croissants when Lyon visited. Speak to any taxi driver though and you'll see that Barcelona's reputation for it's sex trade precedes it and many whorehouse owners, pimps, bar owners and pickpockets must be grinning with delight at the thought of plane loads of Gooners hitting the town. Whether shandy drinking southerners or drunken hooligans will debus at Girona, Rius and Prat airports awaits to be seen but the unavoidable fact is that quite a few will be looking for Barcelona's illicit nightlife. 

My advise is to use to find the massage parlours and saunas in town and please please avoid the black street walkers on the Ramblas and the Romanian heroine addicts of the Raval. Sponsoring street crime through street walkers does nobody any favours.  Getting an STD is as quick as having your passport nicked by one of these girls or her pimp but the consulate will probably get you a replacement passport quicker than you can get over a dose of the clap.

Stick to the clubs.

Super Club in Mataro?

A month ago a lot of stories were run in the press about "macroprostibulos" going through the local authority planning process in Mataro, about 30km from Barcelona despite local protests.

A macro-prostibulo is basically a super club. One of the places up for its permit would be called "Showgirls Chocolate Nightclub" with one of the places having 50 rooms and the other 30 rooms adjoined to their respective night clubs. The biggest being mentioned online is currently still Pascha in Cologne in Germany with its 126 rooms.

The other Catalan contender for biggest club is still being built in La Jonquera, the crossing between France and Catalunya. With lorries being banned from driving in France on Sundays many trucks build in the frontier crossing, buying cheaper Spanish diesel and awaiting the Monday green light. A perfect market place for a whorehouse. Also with the French laws seemingly banning brothels many Frenchies pop over to Spain so knocking-shops near the border seem to be in big demand. So the local council recently approved the 100 room mega club after 4 years of fighting, whether bribes were paid for this hasnt yet been discussed but maybe it was approved as part of a step towards taking prostitution in off the streets. Around the same time in the La Jonquera area the local council also stopped fining prostitutes since they never bothered paying any of the 300 fines issued.

Both Mataro and La Jonquera are both in Catalunya, in the Girona district where a lorry driver recently admitted to having murdered at least 3 Spanish and 2 french sex workers whilst 'on the road'. Maybe the politicians of these areas have finally seen that untraceable roadside hookers with no papers who could climb in a lorry cab and never be seen again could actually be at risk yet by bringing the punters to a registered club then those risks reduce, as does the demand for roadside hookers. Maybe Jermey Clarkson was just making a sick joke about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes but it is a handy vocation if you wish to pick up untraceable hookers who might not even be reported as missing, just ask the Yorkshire Ripper, Steve Wright, and Eckert Volker as they really are so vulnerable. 

Lets see how this all goes with time.

More Legal Brothels In Barcelona

Maybe the Adjuntamiento de Barcelona (the town council) have been reading this blog!

They've just granted 45 more licenses for whorehouses in Barcelona. And they actually quoted the reason as being an attempt to reduce the exploitation of women.

Arrested In Barcelona

A previously convicted sex offender was arrested in Barcelona on suspicion of being the armed robber and rapist of at least 3 prostitutes in Barcelona and Madrid.

Well actually the Spanish police and press seem to say he IS rather than the police and press in other countries  who would say he was arrested on suspicion of having committed the crime since he hasn't been found guilty yet. A minor academic point given that he was caught with false police ID, handcuffs and a gun on his way to meet a prostitute that had been lined up the same way as the other known victims. 

According to LaVanguardia he was meeting the women who worked privately from their homes via the internet, (Im guessing as its the number 1 for this type of listing but there are many more) then when he turned up he would identify himself as a policeman, search them and take any money and valuables they had. Maybe the girls involved thought this was normal police "taxation". However he then proceeded to rape them.

I'm sure we all have our own ideas about what should happen to rapists although I think since the times of the inquisition Spanish judges haven't had access to rusty scissors. 

This tragic case may be isolated or it could be one of the few that these girls are willing to report to police to allow them to investigate. It is tragic and these things shouldn't happen. Sadly it's proof again of how if prostitution is forced underground then crimes like this can occure more easily - women working outside of the law have to think hard before going to the police. Also something like this is virtually impossible within the confines of a registered club where the girls are always in company and where the police can be called without fear.  

Lets hope this guy get what he deserves.

viernes, 26 de febrero de 2010

Chinese Brothel at Aragon 429 In Armed Robbery

For a few years theres been a Chinese brothel at Aragon 429 in Barcelona. Everybody who watches or participates in the brothel scene in Barcelona knows about it with dozens o adverts in Loquo, LaVanguardia, El Pais etc, forum entries and so on, just google for the address Arago 429 (Català) or Aragon 429 (Spanish).

We say Chinese but in their adverts they often say oriental, it sounds a bit more exotic from a marketing perspective, similar to being served under cooked fish in a sea food restaurant and upon complaining being told its Sushi.

Anyway, despite having been raided at least once by the police and immigration officials(along with Consell de Cent 477, Gran Via 665,  Paral·lel 169, Muntaner 10, Sepúlveda 36, València 305,  Campo Florido 19, avenida Gaudí 66, Nàpols 206 and Rocafort 124.) this place, typical of so many similar "oriental" brothels in Barcelona stays open, it stays operating yet stays in that gray area of legality. Its not licensed, its not regulated and apart from the odd police raid theres nothing Ive seen or read to suggest that the girls in there are happily working with all of their papers in order. 

Anyone could guess at the odds of the owners declaring VAT or IVA on their income, we can only imagine if the operators pay taxes and if it turned out that the girls were'nt properly contracted then obviously social security wouldnt come into it. Far be it from me to suggest without documentary proof that the girls are working non too happily for some Chinese gangster but lets face it, they wouldnt be wanting to invite the local bobby on the beat in for cup of tea either.

So when a gang of Romanian armed robbers need places to rob where theres stacks of cash and little chance of the police being called in a hurry why not head for the illegal brothels? You cant get caught if theyre not looking for you and they cant look for you if its not reported. Its simply a consequence of these places being off the legal radar.

The whole affair is quite tragic, the reports dont mention injuries inside the whorehouse (could be theyre not wanting to speak to the police or they all disappeared before more police arrived) but two police were shot. The reporter at LaVanguardia suggests that this is one of many robberies which only came to light due to the neighbours calling the police.

So assuming your an illegal brothel owner wouldnt it be worth investing in a gun to defend yourself and hey, lets just shoot it out if anyone turns up?  Crime breads crime.

Lets look at the legal places or a moment to see the point I'm making here. If you're a legal and licensed club you would (in Barcelona at least) have a panic button/silent alarm to the police which would be common knowledge, making it a lot riskier to try and rob. Plus the (unconfirmed) issue of police visiting for their off duty inspections.

My point again on this blog is simple, legalise brothels, not to promote prostitution but to protect the girls and to take a few billion a year out of the black economy which encourages auxiliary crime and trafficking. Get the punters paying the cash in legal places where the girls are legal and hit the traffickers in the pocket.

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2009

Riviera and Saratoga Clubs to stay closed

...well for the moment anyway.

The female judge in charge of the case of these two macro-clubs where 50-200 girls would be working around the clock has extended the 6 month closure order against them for another 6 month. This is unusual in Spain given that prostitution isnt illegal, although the clubs were described as "tools for crime" where the crime was described as the exploitation of women.

Observers dont believe that this is the start of a crusade against clubs in Spain. Its simply that there was police corruption involved, one high ranking officer called "Jordi" took 3000 euros (allegedly) in a sting operation set up by the police themselves after the clubs complained of extortion by the certain bad apples in Spain's normally un-corruptable (allegedly) police force. The 3000 euros later went missing which was quite convenient as some lucky soul gained 3 grand in cash and evidence was suddenly lacking. Please feel free to apply your imagination at any point here.

So anyway, the famous Riviera is now closed due to a police corruption case, where as in the past the discovery of class A drugs, trafficked women and firearms was obviously not seen as serious enough to warrant an interruption to the oldest industry in Spain.

Now to fill the void of these two clubs prostitutes have now appeared en-mass en the streets and motorways of Casteldefells where they could be picked up and never seen again or simply annoy the neighbours. Due to the case of the latter the council now has introduced 3000 euro fines for soliciting and kerb crawling. Wouldn't it be better if they were working in a club?

The fact these two clubs have been closed in such a way simply adds support to my personal belief that here in Spain at least clubs should be fully legalized. Had the same business have been conducted from within private apartments via adverts in LaVanguardia using pay-as-you-throw mobile phones then inspecting the places would have become a huge task as they could have relocated every few months.

A classic example is a club in Calle Alcalde Porqueres, Lerida/Leida in Catalunya where 6 trafficked Russian girls were found working. Whether it was against their wishes or not I dont know but since it was a regular club at street level, open to the public the authorities were able to pass by and inspect the place whenever they wished, including last week when the girls were found. Again, had that club have been made illegal then those girls would have been working in an apartment, un-marked and they'd never have been found by the inspection. I rest my case!

*please note these are my interpretations of events from sources ranging from daily newspapers to forums. I have never actually seen the Police reports into criminal activities in Riviera and Saratoga and we have to assume their owners are innocent until proven guilty in the same way that the Police chief in question "Jordi" is not guilty of loosing a 3000 euro bung until proven guilty in court.