Compañeras de la calle: Sex Worker Organising in Latin America

Kate Hardy, Megan Rivers-Moore


Latin America has an effervescent and strong sex worker rights movement, which has been frequently overlooked in existing analyses. In focusing on this region, it is possible to identify sex workers’ struggles that are currently leading the way in achieving change for cis-women working in the sex industry. In this article, we examine four countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Colombia to argue three points. First, that sexworkers in the Global South have much to offer in terms of organising practices and experiences. Second, that while successful at the regional level, these successes have been uneven. Third, that it may be possible to explain these divergences by examining the organisational form adopted by groups, the relationships these organisations sustain with wider labour movements, and the wider political economy of violence in which they organise. We put forward this article as a conceptual framework for beginning to develop comparative methods for understanding sex worker movements.


sex work; collective organising; trade unions; Latin America; prostitution

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Institute for Social Movements