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Justice and Equality, Seeking Consensus to Pass an Anti-Trafficking Law

That the politics of equality is one of the causes of internal disputes within the coalition government and its constituent parties is not new. The trans law started some disagreements that seemed intractable and which, however, ended with the then vice president of the government, Carmen Calvo, going and approving the law and introducing it to Congress. The politics of prostitution and trafficking was the next scene of controversy for several months. A draft comprehensive law on trafficking prepared by the Ministry of Justice, prepared by elDiario.es, coexists with another, by the Ministry of Equality, focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation, which has been in the works for months.

The government’s 2022 Annual Regulatory Plan featured a Comprehensive Act on Human Trafficking and Victim Protection. “It aims at a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to human trafficking, for all its purposes, especially trafficking for sexual exploitation, a serious violation of human rights that disproportionately affects women and girls (…) It includes various measures to combat trafficking, protect victims and protect their rights To promote, guarantee victim-oriented action. According to the plan, the norm was given to equality, and the ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs and Social Security and Migration were named “co-proponents”.

Since the initiative coincided with equality, Irene Montero’s department started working on the project in March 2021. It did this through the Government Delegation against Gender-Based Violence, which is competent in the case of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. However, the initial plans changed. At the end of last year, the parliamentary groups of PSOE and United We Can agreed to discuss the project through parliament, at least in relation to trafficking for sexual exploitation. But another turn of the wheel took place and the initiative returned to the government.

So it’s been a few months since Equality Public consultations have begun on the law and, according to sources in the department, in the same January 2022, he sent a project to the Justice to follow the appropriate procedure and collect observations and contributions. The last ministry did not respond to this text, but At the end of March Approved the minister’s order to instruct the expert group of the General Codification Commission to prepare the standard.

The project of the department, led by Pilar Lop, is a draft law against human trafficking, that is, a comprehensive law that includes all types of trafficking: labor exploitation, begging, slavery, forced labor, etc. Sources in the ministry claim that they have “taken into account” the text sent to them by Equality, although they do not specify in full or in part.

The Ministry of Equality, for its part, refrains from evaluating the preliminary draft of Justice and emphasizes that, yes, its proposal has been on the table for nine months. “The priority is to get this law approved as soon as possible,” said department sources, stressing that they “will not contribute to the conflict between anti-trafficking government partners.”

Despite these disagreements, sources in both ministries claim that there is a desire to reach a consensus. Ministers Irene Montero and Pilar Llop met last week, but the bill was not discussed, they say.

Trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution are now part of the speeches and policies proposed by the two government partners. In fact, this week the Ministry of Equality presented to the Council of Ministers the so-called “Plan Camino”, a compendium of 28 measures to be implemented until 2026 to, among other things, guarantee the social and labor insertion or suppression of victims. Solicitation of prostitution through information campaigns. Apart from equality, the plan sets out policies to be taken up by almost every other ministry, including Labour, Health, Social Security or Home Affairs, but not Justice.

It also aims to “explore” ways to regulate victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, many of whom are undocumented migrants. An extreme that threatens to become another front for tension between the PSOE and United We Can ministries.

The draft prepared by the Ministry of Justice, for its part, includes up to four years in prison for those who pay for sex with trafficking victims, while the Socialist parliamentary group goes further. And that’s because a congressional initiative to prosecute pimps, which has already addressed a gap in government, directly calls for prison terms of two to four years and fines of 18 to 24 months for clients of prostitution.

This is another norm that will provoke disagreements. Not only between PSOE and United We Can, but also with investment partners. The proposal toughens the offense of pimping and includes a third-party figure who prosecutes building owners. Socialists registered this initiative a few hours after withdrawing at the last minute a change of the same content to the “only yes is yes” law, which threatens the approval of the norm of sexual freedom.

The chapter has heightened tensions and discomfort in an area of ​​prostitution in which cross-accusations are commonplace and which are often cast in apparently irreconcilable positions. “They don’t want to abolish prostitution because they mainly want to regulate it,” Adriana Lastra, then PSOE general secretary, said of United We Can, adding: “The Stender lobby is very powerful and has many tentacles.”

For her part, the Secretary of State for Equality, Angela Rodriguez, called for pimping to be prosecuted “in line” with “women’s rights” given that the PSOE law could “criminalise” prostitutes. A vision shared by other formations, from ERC to PNV or Ciudadanos.

Source: El Diario

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