This fed into further important developments. We began participating in the CUT Women’s Collective, which is a collective organised by all the working women affiliated to the union. Now we have been invited by CUT to become one of the organisations that it formally recognises, rather than us simply participating in CUT events and activities.
This is one of the biggest gains that I think sex workers in Brazil have achieved so far, especially given the political moment we are currently living in. I should note that CUT does not wholeheartedly welcome us, or let’s say it doesn’t embrace us affectionately. But it is beginning to discuss sex work as a job, which is something vitally important for us. The fact we have the support of one of the largest unions in our country, at least from their Campinas branch, means we can discuss and speak clearly as workers with other categories of workers and with other entities. And the city of Campinas is a city where all the collectives and organisations are highly respected. So for us, being part of CUT is a matter of great pride and a very important gain in our fight for sex workers’ rights.
Do you have much contact and knowledge exchange with sex workers’ groups from other countries? Do you think it is important for Warrior Women to do this?
For us, it is extremely important to know other activists, fellow workers from other countries, and to hear about their particular struggles. Because of this we are one of many groups currently developing the third Latin American Platform for Sex Workers. We are also already in exchange and dialogue with organisations from five other countries. One of these is Mozambique. We recently visited the country, and we also received Mozambican sex workers here.
We want to inform ourselves about different models of sex worker organising from around the world. At the same time, we want to spread our model to other places. We hear a lot about models from other countries: models that worked and models that didn’t work. This usually comes from policymakers trying to impose models on us, which is an implicit criticism of what we are doing. But, as I’ve already said, the Brazilian Movement of Prostitutes does not accept that policies regarding sex work can be developed in our absence. Our motto is “nothing (is done) for us, without us!”
So this is why we are in contact with sex workers from Mozambique. We are in contact with sex workers from Mexico City. We are in contact with organisations from Ecuador. We are in contact with sex workers from Colombia, sex workers from Nicaragua, sex workers from Argentina. We are doing exchanges and training amongst ourselves. We are part of Latin American networks and we are also in contact with sex workers from the Netherlands. We have made all these connections so that we can join forces in support of our work. At the same time we are developing our own model, which is the struggle for sex workers to be recognised as a specific category of worker.
So yes, it is very important that we are known to organisations from other countries, and to make sure that other colleagues are also known in our country. For us, it is vital because the category of ‘sex worker’ is very powerful and exists all over the world. So it has to be made known, and it’s an honour to receive and be received by workers from other countries, from other cities, from other states.Print