At the start of the year, it was hard to imagine the impact that COVID-19 would have on the world. Now, six months since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, it’s clear that the crisis is far from over and its repercussions will be felt far beyond 2020.
Regional updates: Latin America
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Cynthia Navarrete Gil (APROASE), Mexico.
Miguel Angel Saurin Romero (Asociacion Civil Cambio y Acción), Peru.
NSWP Regional Network
The Plataforma LatinoAmerica de Personas que EjeRcen el Trabajo Sexual (PLAPERTS) is a Latin American platform for sex worker-led organisations representing female, male and transgender sex workers. It was founded in 2014 and is based in Machala, Ecuador.
News articles from Latin America region are listed below.
In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers.
OpenDemocracy has published an article from Graciela, a member of Ammar Cordoba, on their work supporting sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. AMMAR Córdoba is a sex worker-led organisation in Córdoba, Argentina, fighting for human rights and access to labour protections.
Juana R. Torres, president and founder of Mujeres Independientes Luchando por sus Derechos (Independent Women Fighting for their Rights), passed away in May after a stay in Santo Tomás hospital. Juana, who was also known as Dulce Ana, was a Honduran national living in Panama. There she campaigned for the recognition of sex work as work, saying “we’re always fighting for our work to be recognised, just like any other form of employment in the country.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis unlike any other. The virus, which has spread across the world in just a few months, has affected the lives of millions of people and has profoundly changed the ways we live and work. For sex workers, this is a bad situation that has been made worse with restricted access to emergency funds and essential healthcare and an increase in raids, surveillance, and stigma.
A new sex workers' union has been formed in Ecuador, set up to visibilise cisgender men and trans people who sell sex, and to demand sex workers' rights in the city of Quito. Sindicato de Trabajadorxs Sexuales de Quito [Quito Sex Workers' Union] is made up of cisgender women sex workers, some 300-40
Politicians in Mexico City have voted to amend a Bill to decriminalise sex workers and their clients in the city. On 31st May, members of Congress voted to amend the wording of the Bill to remove a line allowing for prosecutions of sex workers and clients if neighbours make a complaint.
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.
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.