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Montevideo, November 26th 2022 - 21:53 UTC

 

 

Mar del Plata sex workers oppose relocation of red-light zones

Tuesday, September 27th 2022 - 21:36 UTC
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“My responsibility is to work to improve the quality of life of all neighbors, and that together we can build a safer city,” Mar del Plata Mayor said “My responsibility is to work to improve the quality of life of all neighbors, and that together we can build a safer city,” Mar del Plata Mayor said

Sexual workers in the Argentine beach resort of Mar del Plata do not agree to abide by the new red-light zone created earlier this month, causing an uproar among locals who do not want them around their residential areas.

Mar del Plata's City Council has passed Ordinance 25.590 banning the offer and demand of sex in residential areas. The measure also provides for the relocation of these workers from different parts of downtown to the city's south in a 200-meter route with little lighting, adjacent to a cemetery, with no nearby services, and where vehicular traffic is scarce, according to press reports.

Residents find the measure is the result of a year-long struggle. For the sex workers, it affects their productivity.

Councilman Agustín Neme argued the measure brought to an end the plight of “grandparents who cannot welcome their grandchildren, children who cannot play on the sidewalk... It is about being on the side of the neighbors so that they can live in peace once and for all.”

The presence of sex workers rendered neighborhoods unsafe. “We can't sleep at night, we find filth in our homes: riots, fights, addicts looking to buy from them, because their second job is to sell drugs...” a Mar del Plata resident told TN.

“I have lived here for 36 years and we have had this problem for at least 25 years. Open the shutters and tell them to let us sleep. If they are happy they scream because they are happy. If they are angry they fight. Let them shake you with a rock or a bottle. We have seen them having sex in the street, half a block away from School Nº15.″

”We are very close to recovering our lives, the tranquility of the neighborhood, and safety. We support the relocation of the Red-light Zone. We do not say it is the only one, but it is the beginning of a solution. Never in the history of this conflict have we had a chance to have it discussed at the City Council, much less to have an ordinance,“ resident Soledad told TN.

But as residents celebrated, sex workers decided not to abide by the ordinance and went out during the first night of control to ”patrol“ the streets, as they risked hefty fines and arrest from 5 to 30 days.

The main reason why they do not accept the new Red Light Zone is distance - the new area is almost 20 minutes away from downtown Mar del Plata, so they demand to be allowed to find another place to work.

”We are not against regulation, but we want it without criminalization. We understand that this regulation is recognizing us as workers, but we see that they impose rules on us and we have no rights,“ activist Victoria Disalvo explained when the ordinance was passed.

”We know that the Municipality seeks to put an end to the problem of red zones in the city and that a specific place is established, but we do not want a police with punitive power, which we already know that many times they exercised violence,“ she added.

Mar del Plata Mayor Guillermo Montenegro has 45 days after the passing of the ordinance to receive applications or to hold meetings to determine the places and times in which prostitution may be practiced.

The Macrist chief executive insisted that ”my responsibility is to work to improve the quality of life of all neighbors, and that together we can build a safer and more orderly city.”

Categories: Politics, Argentina.
Tags: Mar del Plata.

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