The complications of the “easy” work in the life of sex workers in Mazatlán

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Circumstances of life led Natalya and Santiago to practice a job that gives them economic stability, but at the same time exposes them to many dangers.

Mazatlán, Sin.- The day that Natalya, a prostitute by trade, met an ex-boyfriend in the brothel where she works was the most difficult moment she has gone through in her profession.

Seeing him in her eyes, when he came to request her services, she felt full of shame and as she could she held back the urge to cry.

“He told me: What have you become? Why? I do remember that you were very intelligent. I limited myself to crying, I answered him very insipidly and reminded him that time was running out to make the service valid. There I acted brave, but we finished what we had to do and I went into the bathroom and started crying, I feel that a part of my dignity went there, because someone with whom I had a very special bond saw me in this, It surprised me badly, it affected me a lot, I took several days to mentally recover, it was not easy to assimilate, I have not seen him since then, it was more or less two years ago, it was a very hard moment, “she recalls.

 Natalya’s life changed when she became pregnant at the age of 22; She was studying Business Administration and had a promising future, since she was an outstanding student, but when she had her baby, without the support of her partner or her parents, she left her studies to start to work.

Things were not so easy, seeing herself alone and with a job in which she earned very little, she took the path of prostitution.

She is one of the little more than 300 prostitutes that exist in Mazatlán, many of whom use the internet, dating sites, and cell phones to be part of the prostitution network in which independent escorts and transsexuals practice their clandestine trade.

The beginning of everything

“I got pregnant when I was 22 years old, the truth was very difficult because I had a great future and it was my last year in Business Administration, I was shocked when I confirmed that I was pregnant and I knew at that moment that I had to do something, find a way to keep ahead,” she recalls.

She knows that she could have been something more in her life, if the circumstances were different; She looks back and sees the path traveled through tears and sadness, because right now several of her classmates have achieved important things with their studies.

“I think I was able to achieve something more, many of my colleagues with whom I maintain contact have made a great life, some are store managers, others started their own businesses and have been very successful, it makes me sad and sometimes I even cry because of that, because I think that instead of being up all night and being ashamed of people seeing and recognizing me, I could do something else with my life and for my daughter, without fear of being on the street and having my profession mentioned to me in front of her”.

The decision

The 26-year-old girl entered the world of prostitution thanks to the fact that a friend who worked for her mentioned the earnings she generated. That is when she got “hooked”, because the salary from her previous job was not enough to support her child or to pay for basic household items.

“She told me about this job, she was a friend of mine for a long time, I met her at a beauty salon and over time we became good friends, when she saw me drowning and without knowing what to do, it  was when she gave me that option, with nothing else to do, I accepted it, I remember that she was sorry while she told me, but I don’t judge her, now that I’m in this world I can understand many people, women and men who do this job”, she mentions.

The next day she quit her job and supported by her friend, began as an independent escort, since she still did not know of a brothel or nightclub to enter. Those were Natalya’s first steps in a world that leaves her money to live comfortably, but also exposes her to many dangers and illnesses.

Difficult moments

The most difficult moments of her profession have been when well-known people have seen her practice her trade, since in addition to her ex-boyfriend, she has had meetings with former schoolmates and some teachers.

“I have come across many acquaintances, some who were my classmates at school, they recognize me and tell me what I am doing there, I am speechless, I don’t even know what to answer, I just smile and tell them: ‘so you can see’, and there I start with my service, I am very ashamed every time this things happen,” she says.

Another hard moment was when a former teacher arrogantly said many obscenities to me while I was doing the service.

“I remember that the disgusting old man told me: ‘it’s not going to be for 10, but for about 1000, until I’m going to do it with you’, as a good worker and professional I just laughed, I didn’t even know what to answer, old cynic, he was always a pervert in high school, the truth is I remember him and it makes me mad and impotence, because who knows if he will have the same thought with his current students,” she added.

She was once attacked by a client who refused to pay her the agreed figure, something that also marked her.

“I remember that he hit me very badly, after we finished doing what we went to, he threw me a 200 bill and said: that is it’, and obviously I claimed that this was not what was agreed, we argued until he started beating me, that happened in a motel that is at the north exit of Mazatlán, I was lucky he left me alive, but he did not pay me anything, he even took the 200 pesos bill that he threw, I could not file a complaint because there was no evidence, They didn’t identify the person,” she says.

These types of situations have caused her low self-esteem and on several occasions, she has been on the verge of leaving the activity.

“My psychology is fine, it always affects you and makes you want to throw the towel, but whenever I see my daughter I know that I am going to do this and more for her, she is what makes me strong, the one that makes me forget the hard moments, because ultimately there are more beautiful moments with my daughter, it is because of her that I keep going ahead and I do not let the bad times bring me down”.

Well paid job

If the young woman works seven days a week, she earns between 10,000 and 16,000 pesos. This has given her economic stability that allows her to pay someone to take care of her daughter; In addition, she already has her own house and car.

“In economic matters, I have not suffered anything, and my daughter lacks nothing, be careful, I am not rich, or anything, but that is the income that I bring daily if I work from nine at night to six in the morning, It is a matter of knowing how to stay in one place, because it is not a fixed salary, I earn between 10,000 and 16,000 pesos a week, if they are good days, because there are times when clients do not come and you earn less, all that is with everything and tips. The least I’ve brought is 5,000 or 7,000 pesos in a week, this is because it’s not always full, sometimes it’s empty or customers come with girls they already know, like this when new guy come and come with me, if they you treat them well, they always come back”.

Diseases

Among the dangers that her profession entails, in addition to the risk that a client will hit her, as already happened, or that they could even kill her, there is the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Natalya says that both she and her companions in the brothel take great care of her, but even so they have had suffered human losses, either due to violence or a disease, specifically AIDS.

In Mazatlán, in the year 2022, 123 new cases were detected and there were 15 deaths due to this disease, according to figures from the Sanitary Jurisdiction number 5.

Throughout the Jurisdiction, which covers the municipalities of Elota, Concordia, San Ignacio and Mazatlán, there are currently 527 patients receiving treatment and medication, where the highest prevalence is in men; In Sinaloa there are currently just over 6,000 detected cases, distributed among IMSS, ISSSTE and the State Health system.

In the four years that Natalya has been in the world of prostitution, two coworkers have died from a sexually transmitted disease. She knows that every night she goes out to work, she practically risks her life, since she doesn’t know her clients, she doesn’t know if they are aggressive or if they have a disease that they could infect her with. She is there out of necessity, because it is practically an easy way to earn good money and be able to support her daughter, even though she lives exposed and marked for practicing the oldest trade in the world.

It also happens in men

Santiago Ramírez Espinoza is a very particular case, because beyond the necessity, he was completely rejected by his family when they found out that he was homosexual; That’s when he began to dress as a woman and practice her trade on her own.

“I remember that because I was gay, no one in my house supported me, I liked men since I was a child, it’s not a trick, it’s something normal for me,” said “Santi”, as he is popularly known.

His first service was at the age of 17 and while her mother worked at night, she dressed as a woman and went out for a walk.

“I remember that I dressed as a woman because some friends invited me to a gay club, I had 200 pesos only, I was walking to the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood, along Alemán avenue, and a truck driver called me and when I turned around I saw him masturbating, he told me: “I’ll give you 500 pesos,” and I went as if nothing had happened, imagine, they paid me and I did something that I liked at the time,” he says with a laugh.

Santiago is currently 26 years old and after almost a decade of working as a sex worker, he regrets entering that environment.

“I regret it because for this job I lost many things, like my partner and many stages in my life, since I was young, I have been in this and it is not good at all.”

Only for what suits them

Although his mother was totally against her son’s homosexuality, she encouraged him to go to work in places, such as the popular Boyas hotel or the “La Corona” intersection.

“She sends me, tells me to hurry up, that she alone is not going to be able to pay the household expenses and that’s where I’m going to “period”, it makes me sad, because my homosexuality is seen only as something that can be used to make money, but not something for which they accept me at home, they tolerate it because it is part of what keeps the home going, but that’s as far as it goes”.

Moments that marked him

He remembers that the moment that marked him the most and that he will always remember was when someone he told was “his crush” arrived drunk for a service, that’s when Santiago felt that the world “came upon him”.

“He saw me, without knowing that it was me, he told me while touching me from behind and invited me to the motel, we went in and I told him that I charged in advance and he told me that it was fine, and when I turned around he recognized me with the wig, he told me : Santiago’, and I was shocked, he told me: ‘you’re not going to charge me, if you liked me’, I told him yes, he missed it before, that day when we finished the act, he told me : “If you had proposed something like this to me before, I would have said yes”, that’s when I got sad, because I realized that my complexes were beyond me, without imagining that there were people the same as me, I had the opportunity to go out with the one I loved I liked it and left me”.

Another difficult moment was when his ex-partner found out that he worked in this business. It was there that he decided to end their relationship, because he did not consider it healthy to go out with a “prostitute”, as his now ex-boyfriend called him.

“He told me that it was best to separate, that it was not healthy for either of us to be dating if I dedicated myself to this, he said that it was not healthy in any way, neither mentally nor physically, and with time he told me that out of fear of illnesses was why he left me”.

Everything that Santiago has experienced has affected him emotionally, he even fell into the world of drugs.

“You know that you are not well when you get in to drugs, having to use them is a sign that you are extremely ill, that is how I feel, but I hold on, I don’t know why, the truth is, sometimes I feel that I have lost my way, but I try not to think so much about the bad, because I know that good things also happen in life”.

There are 300 sex workers with permission in Mazatlán.

123 new cases of AIDS were detected in 2022 in Mazatlán.

15 AIDS-related deaths occurred in Mazatlán in 2022.

According to the latest INEGI census, during 2021 in Mexico, 4,662 HIV-related deaths were registered. Of these, 3,896 (83.6%) corresponded to men and 766 (16.4%) to women.

Source: El Sol de Mazatlan