[Translations of statements circulated on June 5th from sex worker organizations in Brazil. See Portuguese here]

Statement repudiating the government’s decision from the Pernambuco Association of Sex Workers – APPS

June 5, 2013

The Pernambuco Association of Sex Workers – APPS, founded on October 17, 2002, publically repudiates the abusive and politically backward attitude of the Minister of Health in his decision to remove the publicity campaign with Brazilian prostitutes who participated in workshops offered by the Ministry itself in March of this year.

The slogan that resulted in the abusive attitude we are positioning ourselves against was the valorization of prostitution as work, an aspect that constitutes one of main fights of the movement today in terms of reducing stigma against us and fundamentally diminishing our vulnerability to HIV and STD infection. Once more, what was supposed to be a conquest for human rights has turned into a violation of those rights: the suspension of the right to affirm prostitution as a dignified and happy profession.  We express our solidarity with all of the respectable professionals in the Ministry of Health who believed in our fight and understood the political importance of valuing our work, and those who were arbitrarily fired, as well as those that left the National STD/HIV/AIDS Department voluntarily.

Sincerely, The APPS Directorate and Nanci Feijó – Vanderliza Rezende- Maria das Graças

Statement repudiating the government’s decision from the Nucleus of Prostitution Studies in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul

June 5, 2013

The Nucleus of Prostitution Studies, known as NEP and founded in 1989 is a member of the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes and known for its work with sex workers throughout the state of Rio Grande do Sul. As an organized movement of prostitutes, we feel ashamed of the backward, discriminatory, prejudiced and disrespectful attitude of our Minister of Health, Alexandre Padilha, towards the PROSTITUTES OF BRAZIL. The central values of the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes are to assume their professional identity, seek recognition of prostitution, maintain the social movement of prostitutes organized, social equality, liberty of expression, dignity, solidarity and respect of differences. In this way, NEP presents our statement repudiating the decision of the Minister of Health, Alexandre Padilha, to veto the campaign poster for prostitutes that says, “I am happy being a prostitute”.

This veto represents a step backwards in the actions developed with prostitutes and disrespects the production process of the communication and health workshops for sex workers promoted by the Ministry of Health itself. We believe that the social movements, who are the most committed to combating the epidemic in Brazil, have the right to defend an end to prejudice and to simply say, WE ARE HAPPY. The Ministry of Health’s veto of this campaign is a DISGRACE.