Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sex Workers' Protest In Bolivia

Hat tip tp Laura from Feminist Fightback for digging up and translating this story of sex workers' protest action in Bolivia.

Tens of prostitutes today occupied a medical centre in the city of El Alto and began a hunger strike as a protest because the government did not punish those who burned and destroyed brothels last week.

Lili Cortes, leader of the (meretrices - I don't know an exact translation but let's say sex workers) of El Alto, neigbour city to La Paz, told Efe that her comrades also threatened to bury themselves alive and sew their lips together if the government has not solved their problems by next Wednesday.

Last week family heads and groups of high school students destroyed and burned more than 50 bars and brothels of the city, the poorest in Bolivia, considering them nests of delinquency.

The leader of the sex workers said that the government should come up with solutions to their problems because now they have been left without workplaces and the police could have avoided 'the disgrace', but had a passive attitude towards the demonstrators while they burned the places down.

Cortes asked 'that justice be done' and 'to put those in jail who promoted the destruction and burning' of their workplaces, as well asking that they apply plans of 'citizen and laboural security' (clunky translation) for that sector.

The prostitutes occupied the medical centre where every week they go for sexual health checks, especially testing for HIV-AIDS.

According to Cortes, her colleagues from El Alto decided not to attend any more checks as a protest measure, and maintained that the sex workers of the country should come out in solidarity with them using this means of protest if a solution is not arrived at.

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