Staff reporter

PALMA
SOME 93 percent of prostitutes seen by Medicos del Mundo in the Balearics last year were immigrants, according to figures published yesterday by this association.

The President of Medicos del Mundo in the Balearics, Miguel Reyero; the coordinator of the organisation, Curro Jimenez; and the director of the international cooperation area, Carmen Pintado, gave these figures during a press conference coinciding with the inauguration of their new site in Palma.

According to them, in 2006 the organisation gave medical and social help to a total of 1'438 people who work as prostitutes on the streets of Palma, of which 83 percent were women, 13 percent men and four percent female transexuals. Of these, 1'037 were seen in the Social Health Centre for Prostitutes (Casspep) and 401 in the mobile unit, which travels around the areas where prostitutes work in Palma, both in open and enclosed spaces.

The majority were immigrants, both in Casspep (some 93 percent) and in the mobile unit (85.5 percent), a figure which show the changes which prostitution has had during the last few years, as before that it was linked to the need to have money for the consumption of drugs, whereas now poor and immigrant women are the main people who ply this trade, said Reyero.

He also highlighted an increase of 33 percent in the amount of men between the ages of 18 and 24 who are prostitutes, influenced mainly by the fact that Medicos del Mundo volunteers have extended their work in enclosed places, where most male prostitution is practised. The work of Medicos del Mundo is based on attending prostitutes, with the aim of protecting their health and social rights, said Reyero, who dissociated himself with activities which persecute prostitutes themselves instead of fighting against the gangs who traffic in people, although he said that the security forces were also effective in this area in many cases.

Jimenez said that attacking prostitutes only causes them to move from one area to another and he asked for “global intervention” to be started, which not only helps the prostitutes but also fights against the pimps and has an effect on the clients.

World Doctors inaugurated their new site in Palma yesterday afternoon, to which various health directors were invited, not only from the Government, but also the Council of Majorca and Palma council.

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