State Commission for Human Rights in Chihuahua, Mexico Makes Recommendation on Trans Sex Workers' Rights

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Author: 
Latin America Regional Correspondent
Source (institute/publication): 
On 10 November, Mireya Rodríguez Lemus, President of the Asociación Civil, Unión y Fuerza de Mujeres Transexuales Chihuahuenses, announced the first recommendation made by the State Commission on Human Rights on the rights of transgender sex workers in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. 
 
This recommendation comes shortly after Recommendation 58 by the State Commission on 7 October 2016, which was made after a two years of struggle.
 
On 6 March, 2014 in the areas of the city where sex work is allowed to occur, St. Décima and Libertad Centro, government agents inspected the health records of the sex workers present. Most sex workers present did not register with the Ministry of Health and were therefore in violation of the law. The Municipal Public Security then arrested 5 transgender sex workers who worked without registration in the center of the city and forced them to be tested for HIV. One of the sex workers was forced to undress before the mockery and scorn of the other agents. When they refused to take the test, he was detained and was forced to pay a fine. 
 
The forced registration and mandatory testing of sex workers is a violation of their human rights. This shows that while sex work is not criminalised in Mexico, it is still regulated in a way that oppressed them. According to Mireya, these actions against female sex workers are constantly carried out and are based on the Internal Regulation of the Municipality of Chihuahua. These regulations prohibit sex workers from working without a health card and without ‘sanitary registration.’ According to the municipal laws, a sex worker who is found to work without registration can be fined or detained for a period of up to 36 hours.
Any person who intends to perform sex work in Chihuahua or in another State of the Mexican Republic must go to the Municipal Public Health Department to request their sanitary registration and be obligatorily submitted to a series of clinical studies.
 
Ana Karen López Quintana, a transgender woman and the president of Tamaulipas Diversidad Vihda Trans A.C. will follow up on this recommendation regarding sex work. 
 
A letter written to Dr. Basilio Ildefonso Barrios Salas, Secretary of Health and General Director of the Health Services of Chihuahua, signed by Dr. Patricia Uribe Zúñiga, Director General Of the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS says: "... with strict adherence to the powers conferred on me by the internal regulations of the Secretary of Health, I request that, within the scope of its competence, Public servants involved with sex workers comply with the Mexican official standard for the prevention and control of HIV infection […] in the case of rapid tests, tests should be done with pre and post counseling and should be carried out in accordance with the criteria and guidelines of the CENSIDA rapid test manual. The detection of HIV and AIDS should not be considered as a medical causation to affect fundamental human rights or diminish the individual guarantees stipulated in the Political Constitution of the Mexican United States should be governed by the criteria of informed consent and Confidentiality consisting in the person being tested must: with sufficient knowledge, on a voluntary basis; with the written authorization of the person or, if applicable, fingerprint and with the guarantee that the health service to which he or she goes shall respect his or her right to privacy (confidentiality of the result) and the confidentiality of the file…”
 
The State Commission for Human Rights in Chihuahua recommended: 
  1. to ensure liability procedures against public servants who have participated in the events analysed in this resolution ... and, if applicable, impose sanctions.
  2. administrative measures to be taken to guarantee the non-repetition of acts such as those described in this resolution.