BOCHINCHE ! A participatory art intervention to fight violence towards female and transgender sex workers in Lima
F.T. Olivos Vargas1,2, X. Salazar3, G. Perez Luna2, C.F. Cáceres3
1Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Unidad de salud, Sexualidad y Desarrollo Humano, Lima, Peru, 2Instituto de Estudios en Salud, Sexualidad y Desarrollo Humano, Lima, Peru, 3Unidad de Salud Sexualidad y Desarrollo Humano-Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Issues: Traditional stigmatizing views of both female and transgender sex workers reinforce discrimination against them and affect their human rights.
Description: The “BOCHINCHE” (festive uproar) Intervention emerged from an effort to create empathy toward these communities, historically neglected and discriminated against, and consequently more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, and advocate for their social inclusion. Using a Cultural Activism rights-based approach, artists, sex workers´ associations and researchers participated in a complex process of understanding and learning about sex workers´ reality, and proceeded to building a set of artistic and communicational activities to fight against violence towards sex workers in the public space: Bochinche en las calles involved a communicational campaign using posters posted around the city, and Bochinche en la web involved a photo intervention and communicational exchanges through a blog, radio programs, cartoons and a video posted on Youtube (with 50,000 visits to this date). The project was evaluated through qualitative interviews with stakeholders.
Lessons learned: Different positions about sex work, even among sex workers, merge around a common problem: violence in all its forms and degrees. Through artistic expression the campaign reached the public on an emotional level through which they became aware of the animosity that exists toward sex work. Empathy with female and transgender sexual workers' living and working conditions was achieved, prioritizing participants' common viewpoints. Mass media participation in the project allowed us to multiply exponentially the diffusion of our activities and actions, as well as to change the way sex work is portrayed in the news.
Next steps: A publication is being prepared with all the products and ideas developed during the campaign to ensure visibility of the issue on public and policy agendas, and motivate continuous reflection on stigma and discrimination and its links with HIV/AIDS. New cultural activism interventions are being planned.
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