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article imageProstitutes sew lips together in Bolivia protest

By Chris V. Thangham     Oct 25, 2007 in World
To protest the Bolivian government ban of brothels and bars in a red light district, prostitutes sewed their lips together as part of a hunger strike. They said if the mayor doesn’t reopen the area, they will bury themselves alive.
The city residents in the Bolivian city of El Alto were fed-up with underage drinking and crimes and stormed into the red light district where they damaged properties. The Mayor, Fanor Nava, immediately shut down the brothels and bars in the district.
Since then, the prostitutes are protesting in the form of a hunger strike and sewed their lips together. They said they are fighting for the right to work and need the money to support their families.
Lily Cortez leader of the El Alto Association of Nighttime Workers told the local television:
Tomorrow we will bury ourselves alive if we are not immediately heard. The mayor will have his conscience to answer to if there are any grave consequences, such as the death of my comrades"
About 10 of the prostitutes have sewn their lips and 30 others were fasting nearby.
Prostitution in Bolivia is legal but pimping is outlawed.
Student activists want the bars and brothels permanently shut down and they also were involved in a hunger strike. The businesses affected by this ban also protested and said it is affecting many of the workers there and without the daily income it will become difficult for them to survive.
El Alto is one of the largest urban areas in Bolivia, with nearly one million inhabitants, mostly Aymara and Quechua Indians.
In my opinion, this seems like an extreme move by the prostitutes, but hunger and poverty does that. Since prostitution is legal in Bolivia, they should find a way to continue their jobs or the government should help them find another job.
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