Monday, September 05, 2011

The oldest profession – the youngest girls

Ask any visitor to this area what they remember from their time here and one of the things they will say is the number of prostitutes they’ve  seen on the roadside. Whilst we men may joke about it amongst ourselves, we will admit that it is not the most attractive feature of the area.

These young girls, who are mostly from African countries and Eastern Europe, openly  ply their trade 24 hours a day. Drive down the CV-95 or along through the roundabouts on the coast road and you will see them either sitting or standing half naked waiting for customers. This is not the image that the area wants to portray of itself. Quite what we will tell our granddaughter Molly when she is old enough to notice them I am not sure.

Until last October there was an group (AMUNOD) that worked in association with the Hope and Life Association of Torrevieja to help those who wanted to leave the streets find better work. The project was funded by the Caja Mediterráneo bank. There was also a risk reduction program called "Prevenbús" which was funded between 2005 and 2009 and aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases by distributing condoms to the girls. In addition there was a mobile clinic which used to make regular checks on the girls .

With the financial crisis, funding for these programs dried up leaving one of the most vulnerable sectors of society without any support. It seems that, until someone else picks up the tab, we will be faced with the sight of girls on the roundabouts for some time to come.   

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