Quito, June 2, 2017.
On June 2, 1975 over 100 French sex workers occupied the Saint-Nizier Church of Lyon for what they named a STRIKE. They were protesting criminalization, violence and police abuse. But most important of all, they were calling a strike because they viewed themselves as WORKERS. Forty two years later, we as sex workers in Ecuador are not recognized for what we are: women, men and transgender people who earn a living as sex laborers.
We are a segment of the population particularly vulnerable to violence, whether it comes from anonymous perpetrators, from familiar perpetrators such as clients and neighbors who live in the same places where we work, or from institutions and law enforcement agents.
Many of the violent experiences we live, including hate crimes and femicides, stem from the stigma and discrimination associated with our activity; in other words, from the double discourse of a society that hires our services but denies our rights.
Hence, the Quito Coalition of Sex Workers exists as an activist platform that brings organizations and independent leaders together in an effort to change mentalities, laws and policies. Our goal is to eradicate discrimination and violence against sex workers and to struggle without dismay until we achieve:
- The recognition of our right to decide over our own bodies; that is, to bodily self-determination.
- The recognition of our human right to freely choose our occupation and the way we earn a livelihood.
- The recognition of our freedom of association, freedom of aesthetic expression and freedom of movement.
- The recognition of our “right to the city”. This implies respect for our presence in public spaces and the elimination of discourses and policies that intend to “relocate” us by expelling us to urban and social peripheries, pushing us and sometimes forcing us by law, to work in remote and confined areas as if “hiding” what is “shameful”. This is why we cry out loud that The Street is in Dispute!
- The recognition of sex work as work with full legal protections, including the right to organize as workers and the right to social security.
We call on society to stand by our side today and join us in our vindications.
David P. González
President of Goover Association of Male Sex Workers
Coordinator of the Quito Coalition of Sex Workers
Member of the Latin American Platform of Sex Workers – PLAPERTS
Spokesperson for the Organized Resistance of Sex Workers in the Old Town of Quito
President of the Quito Association of Trans Sex Workers