The Balearic minister for the presidency and equality, Pilar Costa, has sent a letter to the national minister for equality, Irene Montero, and asked for Spanish government financial assistance for women engaged in prostitution in the Balearics.
Costa refers to the fact that at the end of August the regional health ministry ordered the suspension of all activities that "facilitate or enable the exercise of prostitution". Establishments must remain closed, "regardless of the activity licence under which they operate". Madrid is being asked for aid for women "who will need help for the likes of food and housing".
The coordinator of Doctors of the World in the Balearics, Belén Matesanz, says that prostitution is continuing despite the government's order. There are, she explains, no specific licences for "hostess clubs or dating venues". Prostitution establishments operate with other licences, e.g. for shows and bars. While it is the case that some of these have closed, there are others which are still open. In addition, there are prostitutes who use flats.
Matesanz stresses that the women are "trapped". "They don't want to practise, but they are in a very difficult situation and have no alternative. In many cases they don't have papers, so it is impossible for them to access public aid. If they don't have a bank account, they can't get aid. Very few who have requested the Spanish government's minimum living income have received a response."
She adds that "we are awaiting the government's reply to Pilar Costa's letter in order to find out how we can act". Without resources from Madrid, "offering them a viable alternative is almost impossible".