BARCELONA, Spain, April 7 (UPI) -- Spanish officials say young male tourists are supporting trafficking in women for the sex trade in Spain where prostitution is legal and unregulated.
The State Department estimated in 2010 there were 200,000 to 400,000 women working in prostitution in Spain -- about 90 percent of whom were likely the victims of trafficking operations, The New York Times reported Saturday.
In the past, the industry was mostly supported by older men, but now, experts say young men -- mostly tourists -- take advantage of Spain's lax prostitution policy.
"The young used to go to discos," said Francina Vila i Valls, Barcelona's councilor for women and civil rights. "But now they go to brothels. It's just another form of entertainment to them."
Deputy Inspector Xavier Cortes Camacho, head of the regional anti-trafficking unit in Barcelona, said there are efforts in some quarters to pass laws to regulate prostitution and clamp down on trafficking. For now, however, only pimping is illegal.