RedTraSex is the Latin-American and Caribbean network of sex workers, consisting of organisations of female sex workers from 16 countries.
In Latin America, HIV prevalence in sex workers is estimated to be around 3.5%. Poverty, gender inequalities and violence exacerbate sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Sex workers in Latin America face multi-layered stigma in a context where the influence of the Catholic Church prevails. This can lead to discrimination that hinders their access to basic services, including HIV related services.
Although not officially criminalised in most Latin American countries, restrictions on movement and assembly in public spaces in many settings effectively constitute criminalisation of sex work at the local level.
Psychological and physical violence by police including harassment, rape and bribery are commonplace and are mainly met with impunity. Violence perpetrated by clients is another challenge that sex workers face on a daily basis.
RedTraSex was created in 1997 by national sex worker organisations in five Latin American countries, as a response to the stigma, discrimination and criminalisation that prevents sex workers from accessing HIV-prevention, health, and support services, thus increasing their vulnerability to HIV transmission. The network provides training to activists to strengthen their self-esteem and to increase awareness of their rights and how to defend them. Read more.
The main objective of the Alliance’s collaboration with RedTraSex is to strengthen the organisational, governance and advocacy capacity of the network, focusing on its Secretariat based in Buenos Aires. In 2005, the Alliance started providing funding to RedTraSex and accompanied their strategic planning processes, as well as advising on governance best practice.
RedTraSex has secured a Global Fund Round 10 grant for a five-year regional project which will provide strengthening to sex workers organisations across the LAC region, increase their access to HIV services and ensure their human rights are recognised.
- RedTraSex has grown significantly since its inception, and now has representation in 16 countries in the region.
- The network has succeeded in increasing participation of sex workers in decision making spaces, such as Country Coordinating Mechanisms.
- RedTraSex has influenced changes on national policies in several countries in the region such as the sex worker identification card in Bolivia, which was made free of charge and increased the number of sex workers being included in health and HIV services targets.
- RedTraSex has engaged at the highest levels of national decision making, having liaised with Presidents Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva in Brazil and Rafael Correa in Ecuador.