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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.