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29/07/2012 - Peru

Advocacy for change

In order to reduce discrimination on female sex workers, Sarita Colonia alliance with spaces aimed at decision makers.
Charla en la Universidad Particular de Iquitos

"Under the project Strengthening Advocacy, aimed at defending the rights of female sex workers, we work in coordination with decision makers for generating social changes and reducing stigma and discrimination against female sex workers so we have a better quality of life", said Silvia Torres, president of the member organization of RedTraSex.

The project is key for achieving the ultimate goal: the defense of human rights. First aims to develop technical skills in organizations of female sex workers in Iquitos for fellows to feel empowered in improving strategic alliances with civil society stakeholders and government institutions. Through training spaces fellows are trained in civic participation, leadership and organization.

In the first phase of the project, fellows of Sarita Colonia gave workshops in Masusa area where they approached their need for strengthened organizations that monitor in defense of female sex workers rights and ensuring that policies directed at them effectively reach them.

"In this population we have a very grim situation: fellows are suffering attacks to the places where they work, locals burn these huts. That’s why our association proposed to the Intendancy to formalize a sex work place, so that fellows are not outdoors. We see us as individuals and as mothers we are working to maintain our children", told Silvia Torres.

To achieve a positive social impact from Sarita Colonia will continue conducting more workshops to train more fellows that may be involved in activism and discuss in decision-making spaces for achieving positive changes for female sex workers.

The project involves work in different areas such as the University, the Army and other organizations to sensitize and raise awareness about sex work, human rights, advocacy and the HIV/AIDS situation in the community of female sex workers in Iquitos”, explained from the Sarita Colonia organization.

In this context, fellows of the female sex workers group met with the mayor of Punchana to compromise him with the work of the Asociación Sarita Colonia. "He congratulated us on our work, he said that what we did for our community was important and we agreed to meet again to move forward with a joint project on prevention of HIV", explained Silvia excited.

Fellows from Peru also made visits to High Education Institutes and the Peruvian army. "The goal was to show the work we are doing, raise awareness and change their thoughts to our population. Students were surprised because they did not know our activities; they were very friendly and interested. We had a similar reaction in the police and the army", said Silvia, who concluded: "This is definitely a great achievement for us. We feel that we moved forward with the support of RedTraSex. Now we can raise our voices and speak to decision makers without any fear, because we know our rights as the women and citizens we are".