Sex workers in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil have gone on strike for a week, demanding to be included in the group of frontline workers receiving priority coronavirus vaccines.
Thousands of sex workers in the city have been forced by pandemic-related closure of hotels, where they rented rooms to sell their services by soliciting for clients on the street.
“We are in the front line, moving the economy and we are at risk,” Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes of Minas Gerais state told AFP.
“We need to get vaccinated.”
Vieira and other women held a protest on Monday on a street where they do look for customers, waving placards with inscriptions: “Sex workers are professionals” and “Sex work and health.”
“We are part of the priority group because we deal with various types of people and our lives are at risk,” Lucimara Costa, one of the protesting prostitutes said.
The government has prioritized health workers, teachers, the elderly, indigenous people, and people with underlying health conditions for the first round of vaccination.
The country’s government said they hope to vaccinate the 77 million people in those categories in the first half of 2021.
“We are a priority group, we are health educators, peer educators. We form part of that group, since we give information about STIs for men, distribute condoms,” Vieira added.