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19/07/2012 - Chili

More organization against adversity

After some persecutions experienced, fellows from Margen held meetings with neighbors and police authorities to raise awareness and transform.

After a news show filmed sex workers with hidden cameras, Fundación Margen drafted a statement repudiating the channel action (see note) and requesting the right to reply, which was denied.

The television program, along with the police, registered for six months female sex workers from the neighborhood of San Antonio with hidden cameras, violating their privacy and portraying partially the reality of their context without making any contribution to improving the situation of Chilean fellows, in addition to further stigmatize their social role.

Faced with the difficulty of expressing themselves through the same medium that had affected their privacy, the Chilean fellows began an awareness-raising with the neighbors through meetings with the neighborhood councils. "It was important to raise awareness that the neighbors knew what our realities and needs are to stop seeing us as an oddity. To show us as women, as mothers, wives, grandmothers, in addition to being sex workers", said Herminda González, president of the Fundación.

From the Chilean organization they also implemented meetings with female sex workers to discuss the importance of organizing to confront the difficulties they face. From the meetings they conducted a brief diagnosis on the most frequent issues as labor exploitation, abuse in health services, police violence and discrimination. Fundación Margen brought a lawyer to the meetings who advised the fellows on their rights in detention, for example, of the police.

Another measure that implemented Margen was getting support from the Ministry of Health to build relationships with authorities of the Police Investigations (PDI) and the Police of Chile to make visible the work of HIV prevention and training in the neighborhood being conducted by the organization.

"Against abuses and impunity, factors that infringed us, we respond with organization to defend our freedom to work, know our rights, deal with police and institutional violence and demand public policies for our sector", concluded Herminda, convinced that is the recognition and respect that generate more just and democratic societies.