78% of the public said they were pleased by the tougher new sanctions, according to an online survey by local newspaper La Vanguardia. Along with the sanctions, Barcelona Council is offering prostitutes the chance to enrol in rehabilitation courses. 'We are protecting the group most at risk of exploitation' explained Francina Vila, Councillor for Womens and Social Rights in Barcelona. 'It sends a clear message about what we don't want to see happening in our streets.' But the Catalan Social Action group criticised the ruling for punishing the wrong people. 'It castigates prostitues, the weakest link in the chain, without overcoming the problem and combatting the issue at its roots,' Teresa Crespo, President of the Catalan Social agency is quoted as saying.
The new sanctions were approved with votes by 'Convergencia i Union' who are at the helm of the Council administration, and the Partido Popular. Socialist PSC movement, eco-communists ICV-EUIA and Barcelona Independence party Unitat, voted against the ruling. (ANSAmed).