The fines could exceed 100,000 euros and the closure of the portals if they persist in advertising prostitution or content directly related to it.
The Internet Observatory of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has carried out a study on the advertising of prostitution on web portals and has discovered that, despite the fact that this type of advertising is prohibited by law, there are still platforms that offer their advertising space “so that, apparently autonomously, those who practice prostitution can advertise”.
In view of this, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, through the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs, has sent warnings of sanctions to websites for financially benefiting from the exercise of prostitution by other people.
In them, the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs warns them that advertising prostitution – or content directly related to it such as “escort”, “companion” or “masseuse” services – is a practice prohibited by the Organic Law for the Integral Guarantee of Sexual Freedom. This law, passed in September 2022, considers “unlawful advertising that uses gender stereotypes that encourage or normalise sexual violence against women, children and adolescents” and also that which presents women “in a degrading way, either by using their body or parts of it as a mere object unrelated to the product it is intended to promote”.
For this reason, the ministry led by Alberto Garzón has asked these websites to “imminently” cease their infringing practices and remove the illegal advertising content. Failure to do so would constitute a serious infringement of consumer law, which could lead to fines of over 100,000 euros and even the closure of the websites in question. According to the investigation led by the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs, which has examined 400 advertisements on prostitution and recorded 5,600 data, 99.5% of the spots analysed have photographs with sexual content, 57% make direct references to the body of the person advertising their services and 62.5% use adjectives with sexual content in the text of the advertisement.
Moreover, in an attempt to circumvent current legislation, most advertisements are presented as “escort”, a term that appears in 90% of the websites analysed in the search filters and in the advertising spaces (banners) of the portals.
The sweep carried out by Consumo has also detected “connections” between the main websites advertising prostitution on the Internet, with one third of the sites analysed belonging to the same advertising company.