In recent years in Medellín (Colombia), on both occasions to talk about trafficking and prostitution, it was there that the opportunity was given to see the collective of all women, who work against these practices as one of the most perverse faces of the gender violence.
For example, they use cinema as a tool for social transformation. A large percentage of its members are young film students from the universities of Medellín, but also from other careers such as Law or Social Work. 80% is made up of young women and students. For months now they have been filming a new documentary about the so-called blue angels, the prostitute girls on the highway from Medellín to Bogotá, so called because, despite their great beauty, they have the color of their pale blue skin, due to poor diet, staying up late and addiction to drugs.
There are many testimonials from many of these girls who have been followed for months. They neither want nor can they leave their lives or abandon them to their fate, a fate that is not on their side. Girls like Patricia that’s what we’ll call her, 14 years old, with almost perfect features, has an angélico smile and an extreme thinness that make her look much smaller. “Patricia” dropped out of school two years ago.
“I entered high school when I was 11 years old. It was going very well, my mother supported my two younger brothers and me by selling hot dogs and skewers, at a street stall. My father left when I was eight years old to work in Guaviare, scraping coca, and he never came back. I accompanied my mother at night to the sale, at first it was going well for us, she even bought me a cell phone, but then it got heavy and my mother resorted to drop by drop to That they would lend him to pay the rent and buy the sausages and bread. He had to pay them daily with interest. After a few days it was not possible to comply, so my mother was beaten and threatened to rape my little sister, he had to give them the car where he sold food because of the debt… everything came together, “he says. “At school they did not give any more breakfast or lunch, there was no more school transport, I did not want to go back because studying hungry is very hard, besides there was only bread and panela water at home, and I preferred that they give it to my little brothers “.
Caracoli is the place where women of different ages, transvestites and girls meet at night to practice prostitution. “To help my mother I started going to Caracoli (it’s a nearby municipality). A friend took me, she was looking for good money with the truckers. You didn’t have to give them kisses – how disgusting! – or allow yourself to be penetrated, just make her oral sex and they paid you up to 20,000 thousand pesos (5 euros). In a while you could do more than two hundred. I started going some nights.
Refuge and La Ratonera. They have silently witnessed tragic moments, such as when some of them were beaten and thrown from moving cars and trucks for requesting that they be paid for sexual service first. Many times “Andrea” has attempted suicide when she was only fifteen years old, “Susana” has had eternal “Maria” depressions after spending three days in a row consuming basuco, the highly addictive and degenerative leftover from the scraping of cocaine. The blue angels are a unique case in Medellin, because, unlike the prostitutes in the area, they have neither madams nor pimps. There are no luxury hotels or foreign tourists. You just see a lot of poverty. They offer sexual services in the cabins of trucks and very rarely go to roadside motels. The price for sexual service is a pittance.
Half of the girls pushed into prostitution dropped out of school for lack of government help. There are direct culprits: the ruling and political class that has misused resources, money. thus robbing the girls of education, childhood and condemning them to roam at night like zombies, selling their little bodies, especially the pain of seeing these girls every night on the road, now also accompanied by many other minors of Venezuelan origin.
It is a truth that everyone knows, but that no one dares to speak for fear of being killed in that paramilitary territory, now dominated by moneylenders.
“The message is loud and clear, stealing money destined for children, in addition to being a very lucrative crime, has no chance of being punished”.
“The sexual packages in Medellin”
Two minors who work in prostitution in Medellín spoke about their experience and how the business of sexual exploitation is managed in the city. They claim that these pimping networks sell the virginity of boys, girls and adolescents to foreigners for around $ 1,800 dollars.
In the tourist packages that include parties and drugs in farms in the municipalities of Sabaneta, Barbosa and surroundings of Medellín, sexual exploitation networks sell even the virginity of minors for a price of between five and six million pesos (about 1,500 pesos). to $ 1,800 dollars).
Two of the young women who were victims of sexual exploitation in their childhood and continue to work in prostitution because they have no other means of subsistence.
The young women, whom we will call “Sofia” and “Natalia”. They said that through social networks like Facebook and chats like WhatsApp, customers, especially foreigners, ask pimps for girls and ask for their photos to choose them.
The pimps hold parties in farms far away on the outskirts of Medellin where there is also a high consumption of drugs, and they contact the minors to attend. They get paid depending on how long the girls last, and sometimes they are not paid just for sex but also for company.
In order for them to attend these meetings, many of the girls must escape from their homes and schools, Sofia who started in the illegal business when she was just a child. She comments that they never know who they are going to be with until they get to the places.
Many times we find everything we like the least, drugs, parties and weapons. You only have to swallow and what has to come. You have to stay there out of necessity, “says Natalia.
Sofia expresses that she herself sought that job because she could not get another job sending resumes, and because her own family encouraged her to do this. “My relatives told me: You are sitting in the gold mine, exploit it, go find money that doing it like that is very easy. It is very sad. My own mother told me to get a husband with money or to become a whore,” she said.
So far this year, the city authorities have captured twenty people involved in the sexual exploitation of minors, and have rescued sixty children from this scourge.
The Warriors of the center, of the sex workers in Medellín.
Botero’s fat women are not the only ones showing off their bodies in the center of Medellín. One block from Botero Park and a few steps from the Veracruz Church, between Calle 51 and Avenida Carabobo, you can find the bodies of other women dressed in short skirts, mesh stockings, and wide necklines. Their faces, covered with a lot of makeup, wait for some man, hungry for desire, to be willing to pay a few pesos to sleep with them.
The same bodies that are devalued when the eyelids or breasts fall, become part of the landscape on the corners of the center of the city of Medellín.
Sex work in Colombia is uncertain, not much is known. There are those who speak of 20,000 women who practice sex work in Colombia. For its part, in the Guerreras del Centro corporation, it is believed that there may be around 27,000 women who exercise this trade. For the Union of Sex Workers of Colombia (Sintrasexco), this is the tip of the iceberg because there could be many more.
In Colombia, sex work is legal under sentence T- six twenty-nine of two thousand and ten, but it is not regulated. There is no public policy that dignifies, protects and recognizes sex workers like any other worker, that is, with benefits, social security and the right to a pension.
The warriors of the center of Medellin
Guerreras del Centro is one of the corporations that seek to redefine the sex workers of Medellín. They are adult women who, for reasons or many consequences, had to practice prostitution on Veracruz Street, located just a few blocks from one of the most touristic spots in the city center: Botero Park.
The corporation, made up of eight women, which seeks to remove the veil of prejudice and stigma from some citizens towards sex workers. Warriors find the dignity they thought they had lost when they talk about their trade and things that are uncomfortable for a society that sees it as taboo.
The Warriors of the Center return respect and dignity to women who practice prostitution through artistic expressions such as dance, poetry, acting, etc.