LOCALS are demanding action over a series of prostitutes that ply their trade near a children’s playground on the Costa del Sol.
Despite complaining for years, residents say nothing has been done to tackle a group of women who solicit clients in broad daylight, frequently taking them into the nearby countryside.
They are continuing to work from the Abbeygate roundabout on the A7 in Estepona, as well as two other nearby junctions, an Olive Press investigation has discovered.
When not working, residents complain about a deluge of litter, including plastic bottles, and used condoms dumped nearby.
For the last five years, locals revealed that at least one woman can be spotted daily on the busy N-340 motorway between Estepona and Casares Costa.
Residents believe at least three women are offering sex for sale, with one being nicknamed ‘Pippa’ by residents because of the trail of sunflower seeds she leaves behind each day.
“It depicts a complete lack of respect for people living in this area,” expat Susan Davies told the Olive Press.
“It’s unhygienic because they do not wear masks, leave their rubbish on the road and used condoms by the park for children to tread on.
“They are taking the piss because nobody is doing anything about it.”
Recent retiree Bridget Michaels, 60, who also lives in the area, believes the women may be getting forced to work by pimps.
The grandmother, originally from Romford, said she was concerned that some of the sex workers may even be underage.
“I believe it’s an Eastern European mother and her daughters,” she told the Olive Press. “Sometimes they bring other girls and I question whether they are even 18.
“There is definitely a pimp because a few weeks ago we heard that the men were firing shots at each other.
“It is a shame because otherwise, this is such a lovely town. But I believe the town hall has prioritised spending the money to make Estepona look gorgeous with all its plants and not enough funding for the police. Safety has been put aside.
“The numbers of officers have decreased over the years here and I would hate to imagine us going the same way as La Linea because there are not enough police to ensure the safety of the residents.”
Spaniard Ben Luoma, a teacher from Estepona, added: “There are inherent risks associated with engaging in this work at the side of such a busy road and I would like to see the police and town hall do more.
“My main concern is that some of the women, some of whom are very young, have been forced into prostitution rather than choosing to engage in sex work.”
Estepona lawyer Cristina Molina López confirmed locals had been demanding action for years and that the problem has been raised at countless Estepona town hall meetings.
But she said the problem was still no closer to a resolution as the town hall insists it is ‘limited to what it can do’ and has no specific rules on street prostitution.
Molina believes the legal grey area and low police numbers make it difficult for the situation to be resolved but has faith that a continued police presence will help minimise the issue.
“The women are not doing anything wrong legally by standing there,” she claimed. “So I tell our clients they have to call the police.
“If the police are at the roundabout the women won’t go near it,” she said.
Tackling street prostitution is done at a local level in Spain, with no set national policy.
In Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga sex workers are criminalised and can be punished with fines of up to €300.
In Sevilla, meanwhile sex workers are considered as victims of gender violence and only their clients can get fines of up to €1,500.
The Olive Press has contacted Estepona Town Hall and Local Police for comment by phone and email, but received no reply.
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