Asociación de Trabajadores Sexuales Mujeres del Sur
Ana Luz Mamani Silva is a sex worker from Arequipa in Southern Peru who together with colleagues founded an organization to fight for the human and labour rights of sex workers: Asociación de Trabajadoras Sexuales Mujeres del Sur (Sex Worker Association Women of the South). Sex work is not criminalized in Peru, but sex workers nevertheless experience a lot of violence and stigma. Ana Luz realized that many sex workers because of social pressure think that they deserve the violence, discrimination and exclusion that comes with their job. She found this profoundly unjust and she and colleagues formed their organization to support each other and to fight for the rights of sex workers. Ana Luz and her organization demand respect of sex work as work, good labour conditions for sex workers, proper protection and support in case of violence, and inclusion of sex workers in decision- making for issues that involve them, such as health and safety regulations.
They are active in Arequipa and several surrounding communities. Ana Luz and the organization have become a trusted partner to civil society organizations and the local authorities, overcoming the discrimination (often on moral grounds) against them because they are sex workers. Because of Ana Luz’s pioneering activism and her stepping out in the open as one of the first sex workers from her community, more women in sex work are now able to voice their concerns and demands. This means that sex workers can take part in discussions and decisions that affect them, honoring actively their principle of ‘nothing about us without us’.