Commercial sex workers in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil have began their strike action which will last for a week, after demanding to be included in the group of front-line workers receiving priority Covid-19 vaccines.
Lots of commercial sex workers in the city have been forced by pandemic-related shutting of hotels, where they rented rooms to offer their services — to solicit for clients on the street, according to them.
“We are in the front line, moving the economy and we are at risk,” Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes of Minas Gerais state, told AFP. “We need to get vaccinated.”
One of the women identified as Vieira alongside others, staged a protest Monday, April 5, in a street where they used to offer their services, waving placards with the incriptions: “Sex workers are professionals” and “Sex work and health.”
“We are part of the priority group because we deal with various types of people and our lives are at risk,” said Lucimara Costa, one of the protesting prostitutes.
The government of Brazil has prioritized teachers, health workers, the elderly, indigenous people, and people with underlying health issues for the first vaccination round.
Their hope is to vaccinate these priority groups, some 77 million people, in the first quarter of 2021.
“We are a priority group, we are health educators, peer educators. We form part of that group, since we give information about STIs for men, distribute condoms…” said Vieira.