STAFF REPORTER

LOCAL Police are changing their tactics in cracking down on prostitutes soliciting illegally for business on the streets of Magalluf. By riding amidst holidaymakers on motorcycles dressed in plain clothes, officers plan to have a better chance of catching both the prostitutes and their clients.

The Local Police are aware of some 30 prostitutes from African countries operating this year in the Punta Ballena area of Magalluf. The number is in fact around half the number identified by officers last year.

Officers claim the prostitutes are less prone to aggressive behaviour this year than they have been in previous tourist seasons. Although the Police have retrieved money and mobile telephones which the women have robbed from holidaymakers, the trend would appear now to be for men to carry out robbery with violence.

According to police sources, the majority of the 30 prostitutes acting in Magalluf are new to the area. Many of those operating last year have ended up on the Playa de Palma which is another major area for prostitution.

The plain clothes policemen have meanwhile been carrying out a number of raids. The last of them was carried out a couple of weeks ago in which the details of around 20 women were registered by the security forces. The women were taken by surprise in the early hours of the morning and herded to the Tourist Information Office to undergo official identification. Those prostitutes who did not have papers to prove who they were or if they could not show that they had registered as living on the island, faced expulsion from the country.

Police are also empowered to fine the clients of the prostitutes if they respond to the women's soliciting out on the streets. Residents in both Magalluf and Playa de Palma who had formerly alerted the police to prostitution close to their homes said that the minute police sirens sounded or patrols arrived in uniform, the gangs simply faded away into the back streets.

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