Many Latin American countries hold a Pride parade, an annual celebration that takes place all over the world in June and July to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex culture and pride. In most of them, the sex workers participate as part of the community, and Colombia is no different.
Regional updates: Latin America
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but also the most densely populated. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and is also considered an epicentre of a gang crisis, along with Guatemala and Honduras, which it borders. Every day between 200 and 300 people are forced to migrate from El Salvador. Some do it to improve their economic situation, but many others are forced to leave under threat of death.
Using WhatsApp groups and other virtual networks, independent sex workers in Mexico organised a workshop with two main goals: to build community and to learn things that mainstream gynaecology often hides.
A little more than a year ago, Romina Rosales, a Latin migrant 43-year-old sex worker, started “Queens of the Underworld”, a non-profit organisation based in L.A., California. According to their website, the organisation “provides community for women-identifying and femme sex workers that serves as a resource for learning coping-skills and self-care”.
The 23rd-25th November was the 14th meeting of Encuentro Feminista de Latino América y el Caribe (Feminist Meeting from Latin America and the Caribbean, known as ‘EFLAC’), which took place in Montevideo, Uruguay. Many groups of women from all over the region attended, including more than 30 sex workers from different countries like Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Panamá, México, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The meeting’s motto was “Diverse but not Dispersed”.
A new sex worker-led organisation is taking its first steps in Mexico. In only four months they have held several important activities, including joining RedTraSex as members.
Three months ago, attorney and Columbian legislator Clara Leticia Rojas González (known as Clara Rojas), began campaigning for new legislation which would fine people who pay for sex with up to $23,000,000 Colombian pesos (around $7,500 US dollars). This proposal has been strongly condemned by Colombian sex workers, activists and academics.
In June 2017, Nicaragua became the third country in Central America to have a sex workers’ union recognised by the Ministry of Labour, after Colombia and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, the sex workers’ union is attached to the Confederation of Self-Employed Workers.
Many Latin American sex workers groups came to Cancún, Mexico to join the Organization of American States (OAS) 47th General Assembly from 19 - 21 of June. The Theme of the General Assembly was “Strengthening Dialogue and Concertation for Prosperity.” At the event there were speeches and several panels demanding the acceptance of sex work as work, removal of the laws that criminalise sex work and endangering the life, health, and safety of sex workers, and insistance on the importance of taking measures to ensure that the human rights, safety and dignity of sex workers are respected, protected, and guaranteed.