Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prostitutes want fair treatment

A prostitute takes part in a protest commemorating the International Day of Sex Workers in Lima. The demonstration gathered almost 100 people and is one of the first open event of this group of the Peruvian society. -- PHOTO: AFP

LIMA - A HUNDRED prostitutes and transvestites poured onto the streets of Lima on Tuesday to protest violence and discrimination against them.

Carrying placards proclaiming 'we are human beings and we deserve respect', and 'we have the same rights as any Peruvian woman' the protestors marched through the centre of the capital.

'We are asking to be recognized as sex workers, to be covered by labour law,' said Angela Villon, an activist for sex workers' rights.

In Peru, prostitutes are unable to avail themselves of government benefits, which may include cash for building a house, pension payments or social security.

Ms Villon said that sex workers were often subject to violence at the hands of police, who provide them no protection from constant harassment and robbery.

Ximena Salazar, a sexual health expert from of Cayetano Heredia University, said government polices were counter-productive.

'They have the same rights as any other Peruvian citizen,' she said. 'We should recognize the organisations and talk to create tolerance zones, where there would be order.' -- AFP

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