Spain is cutting its public deficit by massaging numbers. The manipulation comes in the form of including the value of the work of prostitutes as well as those in other illegal activities such as drugs, people trafficking and contraband.
The country's National Statistics Institute (INE) called the organisation of national brothel keepers to get the correct numbers. It is actually part of an order from the European Union, which gave members until 2016 to follow, reports The Guardian.
The aim is to help members of EU drop below the bloc's debt ceiling of 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
A spokesman for Anela, the organisation of alternate clubs - as brothel houses are also called in Spain - thought the call from INE asking for financial data was initially a prank. INE needed information such as the number of sex workers needed for a club to be financially viable.
Roca disclosed that 50 prostitutes are needed. Each sex trade worker charges an average of €40-€70 and they have an average of four to eight clients a day.
Ahead of the 2016 deadline, UK's Office for National Statistics already had estimates in May, but the data were based on 2009 figures. The agency found that the sex trade and illegal drug trade in the country contributed £9.7 billion or 0.7% of Britain's GDP. The figure was broken down into £5.3 billion from brothels and £4.4 billion from drug trade.
According to Eurostat, in Poland and Romania, these two trades contribute to 1% of the GDP, in Spain and Italy 1 to 2 per cent, in the UK 3 to 4 per cent and in Finland and Sweden up to 5 per cent.
Previous statistics in Spain place the number of prostitutes at 300,000, five times bigger than the number of sex trade workers in the UK.
Rough estimates of a prostitute having five clients a day and receiving €40 for each service would translate into a total industry earnings of €60 million daily. On further assumptions that the prostitutes don't work everyday and only about 50 per cent work at any given time, the estimate would place the numbers at €10 billion yearly.
As for drugs, Spain's interior ministry said the drug trades earn about €16 million daily or €7.5 billion yearly. With an estimated Q1 2014 GDP of €256 billion, it would appear the drug trade contributes 0.5 per cent, while the sex trade 1 per cent.