HUNDREDS of prostitutes demonstrated today in the centre of Madrid in protest over 'police pressure' against them and their clients.
They are calling for their profession to be legalised in order that it can be regulated, and for a specific area in the city to be set aside where they can 'work in peace'.
The women say they are continually looking over their shoulders, fearing handing over their earnings in fines if caught.
They also say constant police checks frighten their potential customers away, since these are often stopped and breathalysed or ordered to show their documentation.
A spokeswoman for the protesters stressed that they were all completely against human trafficking, prostitution on the black market, underage sex-slaves and women being forced into the trade against their will, but insists that these cases are 'the minority'.
“All of us here today exercise our trade through our own free will,” she continued.
Another woman who, at the age of 44, has been working in the Colonia Marconi area of Madrid since she was 33, reveals that she has a better life now than in her first six months in Spain when she worked in the fields.
The Ecuadorian woman says she felt 'humiliated' and that she and her colleagues regularly worked without pay.
She says that in her 11 years as a woman of the street, the only bad experience she has had was with a policeman who, she claims, tried to blackmail her into offering her services to him for free, which she refused.