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10/12/2012 - Executive Secretary

All women, all rights

On December 10th, the International Day of Human Rights motivates us to reflect deeply on our situation —the female sex workers situation— and the respect for our rights.

The first decade of this century led to a new perspective on human rights, incorporating other approaches and new social actors with their own demands. However, full respect for human rights of female sex workers is still a debt.

Sex work is an activity legally permitted throughout the Latin America and the Caribbean, but condemned at the same time by society and ignored by the State. This situation forces us to live in unsafe conditions for the invisibilization of our activity.

It is a fact that since the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993, the gender perspective and the rights system opened their way to the advancement of women. However, as far as our work is concerned, the governments of the region have focused increasingly in prohibitionist laws against sex work and in not fulfilling our rights or improving our living conditions.

So remember that:

  • Human rights are universal. There can be no distinction in its application, and therefore female sex workers have the right to the enjoyment and exercise of all of them.
  • States have the duty to promote, respect and guarantee human rights. They have the legal and moral obligation to implement human rights for sex workers and they are responsible for the violation of our rights.
  • Human rights must be guaranteed without discrimination and equally. States should ensure the full protection of people, especially equality in diversity and non-discrimination, giving priority to groups that require special consideration by the persistence of inequality, exclusion, discrimination and violence, as in our case.
  • Human rights are not discretionary. States cannot decide to respect them or not, it is their obligation to promote them, protect them and guarantee them. Therefore there is no possibility that the State justify not fulfilling this mandate in favor of the rights of female sex workers.