The voice of female sex workers in the Press



Haydee Laínez, from organization Orquídeas de Mar, was interviewed by the newspaper Co Latino. We share some of the topics discussed.

With a strong emphasis on increasing public policies advocacy, Laínez stressed the importance of the experience of female sex workers is reflected in public policies related to their work, to health or gender issues, among other topics of interest.

Salvadoran leader warned that, as citizens, female sex workers should be taken into account by the various candidates of political parties. “I want the candidates come and tell me what their proposals are, we could tell them which strategies we have to solve our situation”, said Laínez strongly to the newspaper.

The constant harassment by police was an issue also addressed. As Ana, another member of Orquídeas de Mar, told to Co Latino newspaper, local police pursue them and force them to get out of their workplace.

Against discrimination and stigmatization they face, the fellows continue giving battle and making their voices heard.

To read the full article: Diario Co Latino

Roberto Flores
Editorial Staff
Diario Co Latino

She has been all afternoon standing next to the National Theater in San Salvador’s downtown. She wears a short brown skirt above the knees, so tight that you can see the continuity of her legs without using your imagination. Her high heels make her stand out from other women passing through the place while she stays there, alert to the game of glances indicating that it is time to work.

Her bag is small, with more practical than decorative functions: there she has condoms, her wallet, her cell phone and toilet paper. In this small bag, this sex worker woman also carries her identity document that makes her automatically a citizen, a potential voter for elections next March 11.

Haydee Laínez, president of the organization Orquídeas del Mar, consisting of female sex workers, says without hesitation: from 6,000 female sex workers who have been identified only in the capital, the majority has ID and go to vote. It is a number which, according to Haydee, candidates of political parties should consider in making their projections on the votes they need to get the public office for which they compete.

Sex workers women, according to representatives of the organization Haydee leads, were left out of the agendas of the candidates participating in the upcoming elections. However, these women say they are sensitive to the issues discussed from the municipalities or from the seats of the Legislative Assembly, and, above all, have opinions on how to solve problems that, in principle, led them to work on the street.

Those opinions occurs, according to Ana, one of the members of Orquídeas del Mar, when sex workers women start living the problems that their work entails, some of which come from the offices of the institutions that candidates aspire to lead.

The sex worker woman of brown skirt, the one in high heels in front of the National Theater, use her glances not only to tie business with customers: she must be attentive to overcome one of the problems that Ana regards: Metropolitan Police Corps agents (CAM).

«The problem is that when the CAM comes to annoy, perhaps we are not doing anything wrong, and they come to insult us. In the Morazán Park, the CAM arrives to remove us and they say that we will pay a fine if we are there. We are threatened from them and from the rent that gang members impose to us”, says Ana.

Many times, when she was an active sex worker woman, she had to face that reality.

Haydee believes that the harassment situation they faced from the CAM and from criminals is compounded by not giving an alternative for sex workers women to solve their economic situation.

«How and for whom is creating jobs? Because we’re not mentioned, we are simply taken out from the parks. There are fixing the neighborhood square and saying: sex workers women will not enter. Why? If we are citizens and pay taxes like everyone else”, she says.

Stigma and discrimination against sex workers women, says Haydee, are part of the reasons why candidates see them as a problem and end up excluding them in their proposals. «Sex workers women sector is not taken into account when going to talk about political issues and equality for women. In all these points they do not consider us, as if sex workers women do not exist,” she says.

However, the sector is growing. Estimates of the organizations formed by sex workers women, in recent years there were more women joining the sex work that coming out of it. «We are also women who vote,» says Haydee.

María Consuelo, also from Orquídeas del Mar, testifies to that. “When I was in sex work, I was one of the women who got up at four o’clock because I was the first who was lining up to give my vote, and at half past eight that had out, already voted, I would go out, I was already going to work”.

And María makes a further clarification: “I did not vote as a sex worker, I vote as a citizen of this country, vote seeing the benefit of my community, to have good projects out there, for my children to develop in a good environment,” says.

Despite being an important part of the electorate, sex workers women say that no candidate has approached them to expose their proposals and give a solution to improve their conditions.

“I want the candidates come and tell me what their proposals are, we could tell them which strategies we have to solve our situation”, said Haydee. And they really know what candidates could propose.

For example, one of the solutions that women from Orquídeas del Mar intend is the creation of ordinances that will help them and that not discriminate them. Installing a Development Center for sex workers women where they can learn other jobs is another proposal.

«These are things that the mayors can solve,» said Haydee.

«It is not necessary to take out our fellows from the parks, it could be seen what they can do in the park. For example, they could help maintaining the park clean, whit no garbage”, says Ana.

According to these women, the municipalities should inspect businesses to where sex workers women serve, identify the conditions under which they are and take action to improve them. “Do not take them as slaves, the municipality must to see all that”, says Ana.

Improving living conditions from sex workers women over 40 years (which are many), it is also one of the things that future public servants should pay attention to, according to Haydee.

Although candidates have not approached them, sex workers women have experienced some of the proposals that the candidates have done, but they are of the view that most of them (as usual, they say) are not accomplished.

“Some proposals sound so nice that they will improve San Salvador. But we want to have a better quality of life in general”, said Haydee.

It’s almost 5 pm and the woman stationed beside the National Theater has not customers yet. A camera lens, a photojournalist who tries to portray her, scares her. She stands well on its heels and start walking towards the Morazán Park, probably to find another place to end her journey. She keeps walking through the crowd until she is no longer seen.

«It would be good candidates to see us, we are important within the city, in our San Salvador, we are active women, women who decide, we are women who think, women who carry out a lot of things, women who vote,” said Haydee.

The woman in the brown skirt, high heels and the small bag is lost in the bustle of San Salvador downtown. People cannot see her, but she is still there.

Scroll al inicio
Abrir chat
Escanea el código
¿En qué podemos ayudarte?