Translated by Fulano from an article in El Mexicano.
TIJUANA – “My hunger is satisfied and my thirst is quenched. It gives be protection and shelter in their breasts and in their thighs, based upon my loneliness.”
The preceding was part of a massive toast to a little more that 30,000 people at the Plaza México, made by the famous bullfighter Rodolfo Rodríguez, “El Pana.” before he retired from the bullring, and he did so in thanks to the concubines, immoral women, prostitutes, fallen women and bunnies, as he lovingly called them.
This had been one of the few public recognition’s received by that social group, composed of women like “Tanya,” who upon seeing they were in a desperate situation to raise their families, decided to practice one of the most criticized professions in society: prostitution.
And it is that every large city in the world has its famous “red zone,” where throughout history governments have implemented a completely stimulating escape valve for certain physical conduct which presents itself in individuals who make up society.
For that, streets like Coahuila, a part of the Zona Norte in Tijuana, is home to hundreds of sex workers who make up, one by one, the nearly 7,000 people (both men and women) who are prostitutes in the city. These figures are based upon studies by COLEF, and published in the Official Gazette of the State of Baja California.
One of those 7,000 is “Tanya,” who contrary to any other 22-year old girl who could be studying for a career at a university, she has to occupy her mind and her efforts to provide for her four little children. In addition to that is the problem that her husband has been in the El Hongo Penitentiary for almost two years.
“Tanya” is far from the glamour sold by the sex industry. She is not a stunning woman artificially created by surgeons and silicone under the skin. Her face is no longer fresh and attractive, all underneath an innocence that refuses to leave her.
The slenderness of her body, which highlights her pronounced neckline, worthy of envy from other women, shows off her greatest pride, her breasts, which have been given to various men, so that — she very strongly affirms — her children have food and clothing.
“My husband does not know what I am doing, and I don’t know what he will feel about it if he finds out. We have been together for six years,” said the young woman sincerely, while she said that her brother is the only one who knows about her profession and no longer wants her to continue doing it.
In the meeting with “Tanya,” that was done just underneath the screen the city acquired and where it will be inaugurated in front of the Plaza Santa Cecilia, the Sun was trying to cling to her brown skin and legs, which have never yielded, as she had said, and which have to carry to weight of her entire situation.
“There are times I don’t earn anything, and when I do, it is 300 or 400 pesos per night (US$20 to $27), with three customers,” said the woman, who said that it was in the famous “Callejón” where she carries out her activities.
“No, I don’t work for anybody. I work just for my own account,” she said when asked if she had a “pimp.” Meanwhile, she mentioned that the only ones who have taken her money are the municipal police officers.
“If we don’t give the police money, they arrest us. They demand 200 pesos (US$13) and up. One time I did not give them any money, and they put me in the patrol vehicle, that was because they said I was fighting, but I did not have any argument, as we have everything in good order and because of that I always have by Health Card.”
She recalled when she became a prostitute, and said it was one of her neighbors who told here that this type of work paid well. But she never mentioned how bad one feels the first time one sells her body for money to a man she was not interested in being intimate with.
“The first time I felt very bad. When I was getting undressed in the room I felt very depressed. When it was over I had no urge to leave then,” she said, she was looking in the mirror and questioning herself.
However, it was either have these feelings or not bring home food and leave her children hungry, and “Tanya” very well knew it. But now it was clear, she no longer feels content with this and is looking to leave that world and to have her brother’s support.
There are thousands of stories like that of “Tanya” in the city, where the women who work as prostitutes are at times seen only as a crude object, without knowing that behind the high heels, rouge, perfume and short dresses are also feelings, dreams and families to support.
Although society has a hurtful adjective, like “puta,” there are women like the writer Anne Smith, who say that it is more dignified to sleep with 1,000 men for money, that once with your husband’s best friend.