Briefing on Alejandra Gil Case Presented to Office of UN Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Representatives from the Best Policy Practices Project (BPPP) presented a briefing drafted by NSWP to staff from the office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Geneva this morning. The briefing is a call for international action and an attempt to draw the attention of the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders to the case of Alejandra Gil and her son Omar Sayun Gil and their treatment under Mexico’s new anti-trafficking law (‘General Law to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Crimes regarding Human Trafficking and for the Protection and Assistance of Victims of these Crimes1), which conflates human trafficking with sex work. NSWP also condemns the presumption of guilt and smear campaigns orchestrated by a large section of the Mexican media. Stigma and discrimination due to prejudice in society against sex workers has caused the media and therefore the public to find Alejandra guilty before she has even had her chance to tell her side of the story.

A letter in support of Alejandra Gil drafted by ICASO and undersigned by over 100 international organisations, human rights activists, researchers and other individuals has been presented to the family of Alejandra Gil. The letter outlines concerns related to the treatment of Alejandra Gil and her son Omar by Mexican authorities since their arrest earlier this year.

Alejandra and Omar have been charged with the serious offence of human trafficking, and they remain in custody. Alejandra Gil is the founder of APROASE, an organisation that offers sliding scale health services to street-based sex workers in Mexico City. Her son, Omar, supports her in some these efforts. Alejandra is a passionate Human Rights Defender and is the vice president of NSWP. Alejandra was working to develop a rights-based anti-trafficking tool for use with sex workers, which is important in Mexico, where a new anti-trafficking law has been passed. In other countries where anti-trafficking laws have been passed, we have seen the adverse effects of overly broad focus on sex work lead to arrests and detentions of sex workers and people who work with them.