If you’d like to post your views on exploitation of women, the use of media to advance women’s rights or any other women’s rights issues please email us to campaigns@cawn.org. We are looking forward to hearing from you! 

By  · Red Light Rio 

The Observatory of Prostitution is pleased to announce the publication of our preliminary report of findings on the World Cup’s effect on sex commerce and sex tourism in Rio de Janeiro.

The vast majority of sex workers we spoke with in Rio de Janeiro considered the World Cup to be bad for business. Despite the presence of significant numbers of Brazilian and foreign tourists in Rio, there was a general decline in sexual commerce during the 32 days of the event. Of the 83 points of prostitution we visited, only six maintained a normal flow of customers during the games. Another 17 experienced an increase in business. Sixty points, including Vila Mimosa, where some 1,000 women work, experienced an estimated decline of 30-50%, in terms of the number of clients frequenting these points, during the 32 days of the games from June 12 to July 13.

We attribute this decline to six factors:

1.     The closure of commerce in downtown Rio due to a series of government-declared holidays during the World Cup.

2.     The dependence of prostitution in downtown Rio (home to the largest concentration of prostitutes and sex work venues in the city) and Vila Mimosa (the city’s only concentrated red light district) on local clients who work in city center and who did not circulate through downtown Rio during these holidays.

3.     The absence of foreign clients, who did not replace local clients at these venues. Foreign tourists largely restricted their movements in Rio to the South Zone neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema, to Lapa and to the Maracanã Stadium, avoiding downtown and Vila Mimosa all together.

4.     The fact that many foreign tourists who visited Rio were from Latin American countries that are as poor or poorer than Brazil. These tourists had little money to spend in Rio.

5.     The high prices throughout Rio and particularly in the South Zone, which prohibited many tourists from spending their money on non-essentials.

6.     Many of the single men who visited Rio during the World Cup were much more interested in spending their time and money conversing and drinking with male friends than in purchasing sexual services.

Please read on in our full report, which you can download in English and Portuguese:

http://bit.ly/ObservatoriodaProstituicao_RelatorioCopadoMundo (Portuguese)

For any inquiries about our work over World Cup, please send an email observatoriodaprostituicao@gmail.com.

(photo courtesy of  Matias Maxx)

By Louise Morris 

This series of articles aims to highlight how alternative media can be used to provide a space for women’s voices, rights and empowerment in Central America while recognising the limits to accessing media and participating in producing media content that many women still face.

The rapid increase and spread of Information Communication Technologies and Internet access globally has made it easy to slip into digital determinism – the optimistic attitude that every problem finds its solution through technology. Advances in technology have revolutionised journalism, leading to 24 hour reporting and a plethora of alternative news sources – world events now reach Twitter faster than the mainstream press.

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by Quimy De Leon – Community Newspapers

translated by Verity Powell, CAWN

The courtroom of “Primera Instancia de Mayor Riesgo B” was full on Tuesday 24 June 2014. Present were Mayan women, human rights defenders and journalists. The courtroom is on the 14th Floor in the Tower of Courts in the centre of the capital city. The court is presided over by Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez. Today marks an historic day, as the first public hearing against army Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón and former military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asij begins.

The two men are accused of being responsible for the rape and sexual slavery of “15 Mayan Q’eqchi women, and the disappearance of more than 20 people.” [1] They are accused of crimes against humanity. Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón is also accused of murder, whilst Heriberto Valdez Asij is also accused of the forced disappearance of men and women.

The majority of people in attendance at the hearing were indigenous women, representatives from women’s organizations, human rights organizations and the media. The two accused men were sat together with their legal defence. The defence expected to make their first statement to the judge, however proceedings were delayed until 3rd October, when they will continue in the same courtroom.

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Translated by CAWN

Different groups of the Women’s Movement of Nicaragua address the authorities and the public to express our concern at the plight of femicide and sexual violence experienced by women in Nicaragua.

The Observatory of the Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia [Women Against Violence's Network], recorded a total of thirty women killed in the first quarter of 2014, of whom five had previously had mediation. This is alarming and should put on alert all institutions of the State of Nicaragua, as we experience violence against women constantly, and it becomes particularly acute in times of emergency, since disaster prevention measures pay no specific attention to women in these circumstances.

The statistics have names of Nicaraguan women and will remain written in this and many other documents of demand, to create awareness among representatives, responsible for carrying forward laws and policies to reverse this situation of feminist alert.

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Translated by Yolaina Vargas Pritchard, from a Maquila Solidarity Network article

On the 2nd of March, the Central American Women Solidarity Network for the Maquila Workers (REDCAM) launched an agenda on maquila women workers’ rights in the region.

The regional launch took place in Managua, Nicaragua during the Annual Colloquium of the Movimiento de Mujeres Trabajadoras y Desempleadas, Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC). National launches also took place in Honduras and Guatemala.

More than 1000 women maquila workers and members of civil society organizatization supported the Agenda

The ‘Agenda of the Workers’ Rights for Women Workers in the Maquila Industry ‘ is a product of 2 years of consultation with women workers and women’s organizations and trade unions in the Central American region.

The agenda is supported by 14 national women’s organizations and 2 trade union bodies – the National Commission of Women’s Trade Union of Nicaragua and the Central American Coordinator of Maquila Trade Unions. The Women’s Central American Fund and the RSM are also signatories of the agenda. Continue Reading »

By Virginia Lopez Calvo

Between 1960 and 1996 Guatemala was engaged in a civil war. Hundreds of women were raped; some because of indiscriminate actions; many others fell victims of their political and social engagement.

Survivors give their testimony during recent trial of Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt, accused of planning systematic sexual violence against women.

Today we know that sexual violence was a strategy of the Guatemalan army at the time, as at least four levels of command were involved in its planning, including dictator Ríos Montt.

The most violent stage of the 36-year conflict was between 1978 and 1983, under the dictatorships of Generals Lucas García and Ríos Montt (1982-1983), when 81% of the violations took place, 48% occurring during 1982.

Women, mainly indigenous, were raped and sexually exploited by the Guatemalan military forces during the conflict between 1960 and 1986.

Recent research proves that sexual violence was planned by the highest military and political commands, particularly during the dictatorship of Rios Montt (1982 – 1983), to capture and sexually enslave women from communities for the leisure of troops. The bodies of women were utilized to dominate the indigenous communities and to ensure that land was expropriated from them.


Guatemala: Redress and Punish Sexual Violence During Conflict – Flyer distributed during Global Summit to End Sexual Violence (London, 10-13 June 2014)


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Profile pic for writing bioBy Louise Morris

Feminists from all across Europe came together on the 14 May, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium to listen to the research and innovative work of organisations in Nicaragua, UK, Spain, Austria, Tanzania, Colombia, Namibia and South Africa.

The vibrant discussions covered many of the key criticisms facing the media today. A hot topic was media’s historic and continual inability to represent women fairly, to encourage women media professionals and to leave behind damaging stereotypes of women in the press. As the pitfalls of mainstream media were discussed, the conference also focussed on the strong potential of alternative media to promote gender equality and as a tool to empower women.

Four speakers inspired those present with their practical experience and investigative work on Building an Inclusive Media.

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