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Prostitutes branded with barcodes in Spain

A gang which has been recognized as “The Bar Code Pimps” have been forcefully tattooing barcodes and price tags to the prostitutes who work for them as a sign of “ownership.”

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By Paige Hoblak (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: April 4, 2012

Imagine being stuck in a lifestyle that you can’t escape. Considering we live in a country that is known for its liberty, this is almost unfathomable. Canada is abundant in opportunities and allows immigrants to receive equal rights as citizens.

However, a country like Spain hasn’t been quite so lucky.

Many women in Spain, both citizens and immigrants, have had to turn to lifestyles that aren’t exactly ideal. Prostitution has been a consistent way of making a paycheque for women in Spain and many of these women have lost their control along the way.

A number of prostitutes in Spain have been trying to regain control of their lives. These prostitutes attempted to escape their pimps for various reasons and suffered severe consequences.

Police have arrested 22 pimps who had allegedly forced women into prostitution. Many of their assets were seized alongside the arrests. A gang which has been recognized as “The Bar Code Pimps” have been forcefully tattooing barcodes and price tags to the prostitutes who work for them as a sign of “ownership.” Tattooing the women was a tactic used by the gang to condemn the prostitutes for trying to escape them. The pimps used physical violence to demand their money be handed over to them.

Despite their arrests, this permanent stamp of indignity would certainly cause long-term damage to one’s identity. The sex industry in Spain is highly profitable. Many women in Spain have turned to prostitution due to unfortunate circumstances such as low-paying jobs and a high rate of unemployment which is currently growing.

Prostitution in Spain lies on a very fine line, as it is not considered illegal, but neither is it accepted. However, pimping is illegal, which I guess this is one way to try and keep control of the system. If women willingly put themselves in the situation, it is taken as free will; however, if pimps start controlling prostitution and reap the benefits in doing so, this becomes a much bigger problem.

The Spanish government needs to look at the current issues being faced and adjust their laws accordingly. I believe that some light has been shed on the subject of prostitution and as a result of this; a forum for discussion has been created for the citizens of Spain.

Obviously the system they have isn’t protecting the women within it, if these barcode tattoos are any indication.

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