Barcelona brothel workers get Spanish social welfare rights

MADRID (AP) — A Barcelona judge has issued a landmark ruling that three sex workers should have been hired full-time by a brothel owner.

The judge ordered the brothel owner to make payments to the government so the prostitutes will be eligible for Spanish national health care, disability insurance, government pensions plus unemployment benefits if they hit the ranks of the nation’s jobless.

Advocates for sex workers said Tuesday that Judge Juan Agusti Maragall’s decision issued in February and made public this week is important because it recognizes the legal inability of some brothel workers to get benefits mandated for Spaniards who work for companies.

Spanish law makes it a criminal offense for anyone to hire sex workers, though prostitution is legal for those who work on their own.

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