XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Defending human rights of sex workers

H. Flores Elguera

Asociaciación de Trabajadoras Sexuales Woman del Callao, Callao, Peru

Description: We were tired of violent police interventions in our local "The Trocadero", legendary and historic brothel, the largest in Peru. The Police and the Municipality of Callao entered and beat us like hitting a man fist, with the purpose of closing the local. We locked ourselves to avoid being thrown out of our workplace. The reason to close it was administrative, tax debt. It was the most vile and violent art to undermine our rights. We used common pot of meal to survive within the brothel and could not pass regular medical attention by being locked up, expose to sexually transmitted diseases. Tired of the abuse of authority we were organized and filed a lawsuit to the mayor of Callao. We testify before the authorities about the abuse and the humiliation of which we were subjects. This trial lasted 7 months, we stated that sex work is not a crime, that sex workers have rights and that these are written in the Peruvian Constitution and the international conventions that Peru subscribed.
Lessons learned: The situation of abuse makes us think and empower on our rights, we were organized and we had our first training of rights and prevention of STI, HIV and AIDS. Besides we win the trial and the police never enter in the brothel.
Next steps: From that moment it was agreed a schedule of payment of taxes that the local. Under any circumstances the debts had to be ground for repression, recognizing our right to pursue our work without violence. Since that time we are conducting information campaigns, authorities' sensitization, empowerment of rights and health prevention.

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