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Nicaragua sex workers open office to defend rights

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Nicaraguan sex workers have for the first time set up an office to assist in protection from abuse, violence and discrimination.

The goal of opening a bureau in Managua "is to have a space where we as women share experiences, plan goals and claim rights," Maria Davila, coordinator of the National Network of Women Sex Workers (Retrasex), said.

Prostitution is illegal in Nicaragua but authorities often turn a blind eye to it.

The new office is located in a Managua neighborhood, 200 meters (656 feet) from a Catholic church.

The office still lacks furniture and is manned by Davila, along with an accountant and a psychologist.

Davila says the purpose of the office is not to promote prostitution but to meet the social needs of a sector of the population that suffers from discrimination.

Retrasex is part of a Latin American and Caribbean network of 1,000 affiliates. Davila estimates that at least 11,000 women are employed in sex work in Nicaragua.

Retrasex is fighting to change the vocabulary used by media and official institutions to describe its members, preferring the term "sex workers."

The organization also seeks to influence social, health and education policy, as well as push for rights for its workers.

One recent achievement was gaining a seat on the government's National Commission for AIDS Care (CONISIDA), where it will receive training to prevent the disease.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130726/nicaragua-sex-workers-open-office-defend-rights