“Paradise”, supposedly the largest brothel in Europe, is located in the north of Spain. The brothel is in the village of La Jonquera on the French-Spanish border and has become infamous for sex tourism, many customers from France hop into neighbouring Spain to chose from the estimated 1,800 prostitutes.
In a 30-minute documentary, DW sheds light on all the issues facing the small village and the counter-arguments put forward by the brothel owners.
The 3,200 inhabitants of the village are becoming increasingly concerned about the situation, as are groups battling sex trafficking.
The sex workers can be seen virtually on every corner of the village, with the Mayor of La Jonquera, Sònia Martínez Juli saying it is the first thing a tourist sees once they cross the border.
Since France tightened its laws on prostitution in 2016, La Jonquera in the Spanish region of Catalonia has found itself filling the vacuum with street sex and brothels. “It is a problem for the whole country,” Sònia Martínez Juli says.
The owner of the biggest sex club in Europe, the “Paradise”, predictably defends his business. The son of a sex worker sees the matter in a totally different light, expressing strong criticism of the industry. His mother worked for years as a prostitute in La Jonquera; his father was her pimp. Today, he remains in the milieu, where he works as a tattoo artist. In the film, French sex tourists, who account for ninety percent of the market here, explain their motives and a Romanian street prostitute explains why Spain is an attractive place for her to work.
A recent study by the Madrid University Comillas found that Spain was well on its way to becoming Europe’s leading nation when it comes to the sex industry: It already has more prostitutes than any other European nation.