The study, conducted by the Universitat de less Illes Balears (UIB) and the medical Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Metges de Món, highlighted the move of the prostitution industry on the island from clubs and streets to ‘apartments’ and websites.
It was estimated in the study that during the peak season of summer, up to 500 prostitutes operate on the island – amounting to around 0.31 per cent of the island’s estimated population of 160,000.
The five-month project – which is the first of its kind – also found that nearly all (97%) women working in prostitution in Ibiza said they would leave if they were able to find alternative work, and that the vast majority of sex workers on the island (82%) come from Latin America.
The study, incorporating surveys from women working in prostitution on the island, found the industry has adapted in recent years to become more ‘concealed’.
According to the study, published in News Diario de Ibiza, the industry is being assisted in its concealment by new technologies and pornographic websites.
Lluís Ballester, UIB’s technical manager of the study, explained how nearly 34 websites now offered prostitutes in Ibiza.
Mr Ballester said: “Ibiza has greatly and rapidly advanced in a process that had already been observed in the Balearic Islands and southern Europe: the concealment of prostitution; which from the street and clubs is increasingly moving to apartments and websites.
“[The study’s data was collected through] 34 surveys of women in prostitution, [the analysis of] the circumstances of another 294 people in the same circumstances located in apartments and 34 websites that are offering women on Ibiza – between 400 and 500 in the middle of summer, when supply and demand [are] higher.”
Belén Matesanz, the coordinator of Metges del Món in the Balearic Islands who is also quoted in the News Diario de Ibiza article, said some women could be forced into prostitution due to high house prices on the island.
“The high prices of housing [in Ibiza are] a serious problem that makes women even more vulnerable and leads them to prostitution to maintain moderately decent housing, or leads them to live in prostitution apartments,” she said.
Both Matesanz and Ballester added that the hidden nature of prostitution in Ibiza made it far more difficult for law enforcement agencies or NGOs such as Metges del Món to converse with women working in the industry.
The study – labelled ‘Situations of Prostitution on the Island of Ibiza 2022’ – found that the majority of sex workers (76.5%) on the island of Ibiza were located in the Vila area.
Further notable data from the study showed most sex workers in Ibiza were especially worried about sexually transmitted infections (85.3%), condoms breaking (82.4%) and clients not wanting to use condoms (67.6%).
Many women working in prostitution also suffer from depression (67.7%) and have suffered from emotional abuse (70.6%) as well as sexual abuse or rape (26.5%), according to the new research.
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