Mexico's prostitutes end up homeless as coronavirus keeps clients at home, shuts hotelsRecord ID: 1468488
- Title: Mexico's prostitutes end up homeless as coronavirus keeps clients at home, shuts hotels
- Date: 9th April 2020
- Summary: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (APRIL 8, 2020) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF PEOPLE MILLING AROUND AREA WITH PRESUMED SEX WORKER WALKING THROUGH CROWD PRESUMED SEX WORKER STANDING AGAINST WALL GOVERNMENT WORKER SPEAKING TO AN ELDERLY WOMAN TO OFFER SUPPORT AMID CORONAVIRUS GENERAL VIEW OF PRESUMED SEX WORKER STANDING AGAINST WALL GENERAL VIEW OF CAMP OF UNIDENTIFIED HOMELESS TRANSGENDER SEX WORKER SEX WORKER APPROACHING HER CAMP AND OPENING IT UP SEX WORKER SHOWING HOW HER CAMP INSIDE IS SET UP (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) TRANSGENDER SEX WORKER, 26-YEAR-OLD SARAHI VEGA DELGADO (WHO IS CURRENTLY STAYING IN A HOTEL UNTIL THEY MAKE HER LEAVE), SAYING: "The government is making us die of hunger because they've left us without work, they've left us without help. Because we're sex workers there are no benefits that help us and we have families to maintain." MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (RECENT) (REUTERS) 42-YEAR-OLD HOMELESS PROSTITUTE, WENDOLYN GABRIEL, SHOWING HER CAMP MAN SWEEPING MAN SWEEPING NEAR GABRIEL'S CAMP GABRIEL POINTING OUT CLOSED HOTEL NEAR HER CAMP EXTERIOR OF CLOSED HOTEL SIGN ON HOTEL READING "NO SERVICE DUE TO OFFICIAL MEASURES" (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) 42-YEAR-OLD HOMELESS PROSTITUTE, WENDOLYN GABRIEL, SAYING: "They're coming to tell us help and support is available, but many people who live in the street don't have papers [referring to identification papers]. How are they going to give us help if we don't have papers? So we are in the street totally on our own during this mess (coronavirus crisis)." MAN LOOKING OUT OF CLOSED HOTEL PRESUMED SEX WORKER SITTING BY TREE PEOPLE GATHERED TOGETHER TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) 38-YEAR-OLD CAR VALET, JOSE ALFREDO MARTINEZ (WHO WAS EVICTED FROM THE THE HOTEL WHERE HE WAS WORKING AND LIVING), SAYING: "I'm in the street now and at the moment I can't pay for rent or put down a deposit. Rents here are expensive. So we go day to day. It's not the same to pull together 200 or 250 pesos a day (for a motel room) as it is 3,000 or 5,000 pesos to put down a deposit and pay for an apartment or a room." MEN WITH FACES COVERED IN MASKS CLEANING CARS IN THE STREET MAN CLEANING MOTORCYCLE IN THE STREET MAN CLEANING CAR IN THE STREET MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (APRIL 8, 2020) (REUTERS) GOVERNMENT WORKERS OUT AND ABOUT TO HELP OFFER SUPPORT TO LOCAL RESIDENTS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DIRECTOR OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION THAT SUPPORT TRANSGENDER SEX WORKERS, KENYA CUEVAS, SAYING: "They don't have anyway to eat, so how can they buy a face mask or anti-bacterial gel or gloves. This is money. If they don't have enough money for coffee, they're not going to have enough to take adequate [safety] measures." VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT WORKERS REGISTERING LOCAL PEOPLE TO OFFER SUPPORT DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK GENERAL VIEW OF AREA WHERE RESIDENTS ARE REGISTERING
- Keywords: COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic homeless hotels prostitutes
- Reuters ID: LVA001C8RUMH3
- Location: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Duration: 00:03:31
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Hungry, scared and tired, scores of sex workers in Mexico City have been forced to live on the streets as fear of contracting the coronavirus keeps clients away and the government shuttered the hotels where many of them lived and worked.
Now they sleep under makeshift tents and on sidewalks, relying on social workers and handouts for what little they have been able to eat, and on each other to fend off attackers and criminals.
"The government is making us die of hunger because they've left us without work, they've left us without help. Because we're sex workers there are no benefits that help us and we have families to maintain," said 26-year-old transgender sex worker Sarahi Vega Delgado.
The government estimates there are around 7,000 prostitutes in Mexico City.
In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 3,181 people and killed 174 in Mexico so far, city authorities deemed hotels non-essential and ordered them shut.
But hotels in the working-class Tabacalera neighborhood had signs saying "no service due to official orders," and removed sex workers, forcing them to set up tarps and line the sidewalks, according to a Reuters witness and dozens of interviews with prostitutes.
The city government said it was setting up shelters for them and is handing out "COVID-19 emergency support" cards with 1,000 pesos - around $42 - for food and medicine. But some sex workers say they don't have official papers and therefore can't receive the benefit, like 42-year-old Wenodlyn Gabriel.
Still, sex workers said any help was welcome and on Wednesday hundreds lined up for a card.
Some have decided to stop working, but for others, hunger and the need to support a family mean that is not an option even if they lack the means to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
"If they don't even have enough money to eat, how are they going to pay for a face mask, antibacterial gel, gloves? They don't even have money for coffee, or food," said Kenya Cuevas, who runs Casa de las MuÃ±ecas, a shelter for transsexual sex workers.
(Production: Roberto Ramirez, Rodolfo Pena Roja)
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