Spain's economy may be on the verge of imploding, but one area remains more lucrative than ever—prostitution. Especially in border areas close to France, thousands of women line countryside roads, offering sex for $40 or so. Of the up to 400,000 prostitutes working in Spain, about 90% are trafficked from other countries, with 30% coming from the Balkans and many others from Africa and China, reports the New York Times.
“The young used to go to discos,” says Barcelona’s councilor for women and civil rights. “But now they go to brothels. It’s just another form of entertainment to them.” The EU's open borders and cheap travel is fueling the boom in Spain, along with a legal and unregulated sex industry there, say experts. One small border town just opened a 101-room brothel, one of the largest in Europe. “For me, life is finished,” says a woman smuggled into Spain from Romania and forced to work as a prostitute. “I will never forget that I have done this.”