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January 20

Mexico: We Are Alone Facing the Silence of the Comrades of the Sexta

This statement comes from la Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer “Elisa Martínez” A.C., Cihuatlahtolli Feminist Collective A.C. and a liaison committee of the Mexican Sex Work Network. It critiques the recently formed Sexta-affiliated women’s network, La Caracola, for their statement denying sex workers of their agency and not recognizing the anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-systemic organizing that sex workers have done in Mexico alongside the Sexta.

We are alone facing the silence of the comrades of the Sexta:

It is a pity to hear that the Caracola, a recently formed network of women who have declared themselves to be prostitution abolitionists, state that one of the foundational points that inspires them is the struggle for “all victims of the sex trade and sexual exploitation”.

In a broader sense, there is a reference to victims of the sex trade and sexual exploitation. But for anyone who has advocated and listened to sex workers, there are no victims of the sex trade, except for sex workers who consider themselves as such, who seek to be rescued from their own decisions.

Identifying sex workers as victims of the sex trade is a very humiliating way of ignoring the struggles of sex workers in Mexico who stand against all types of exploitation; it ignores organizations like la Brigada Callejera, the Cihuatlahtolli Feminist Collective and all the collectives that are part of the Mexican Sex Work Network, including anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-systemic organizations.

Abolitionist women that signed a declaration against the OTRAS sex workers union of Barcelona, Spain, and other abolitionist activists from Argentina have joined forces in the criminalization of AMMAR National and AMMAR Cordoba branches. These abolitionists have imposed their agenda against sex workers and against those that accompany us in our struggle for a world in which many worlds fit.

It is a pity that the declaration on “all victims of sex trade and sexual exploitation” is 100% abolitionist, which creates a feminist cage and prevents the visibility of sex workers.

As sex workers, workers in different professions and as the working class as a whole, we are being exploited economically and repressed by the police when we demand better working conditions; furthermore we face scorn and are deprived of our work and dignity.

Another pity is the fact that women from the Mexican Sexta have fought together in the trenches with sex workers since 2006, and have remained silent in the face of these declarations. These statements deprive sex workers of their identity as sex workers and likens them to victims of the sex trade.

If the expression “victims of sex trade and sexual exploitation” was not the product of consensus, we would personally like to know which activists and collectives do not agree with it.

As president of the Cihuatlahtolli Feminist Collective María de la Cruz Jaimes said, we hope the declaration is because of a lack of knowledge and not because abolitionists are truly against the sex trade.

Again, we confirm that we are alone and that our cause, the cause of sex workers, provokes disgust among many social activists who claim to be feminists. And with the stroke of a pen they hide us and call us victims of the sex trade or victims of prostitution.

Never again a struggle without us sex workers.


Elvira Madrid Romero, for the Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer, “Elisa Martínez”, A.C.

Patricia Médida Ortiz, for the liaison commission of the Mexican Sex Work Network.

María de la Cruz Jaimes García, President of Cihuatlahtolli Feminist Collective A.C., from Orizaba, Veracruz.

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Voices in Movement

Voices in Movement publishes translations and analysis – both contemporary and historical – to share strategy, solidarity and histories of resistance across imaginary divisions of nations and borders, drawing insight from struggles of below and to the left, where the heart is. They also author Revuelta Comunitaria, a semi-regular column on It's Going Down addressing social struggles and political repression in the territory of so-called Mexico.

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