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Janira Salazar

Colectiva Venus
International Women's Day - Front Line Defenders Campaign

25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action flagged 12 areas of critical concern, WHRDs are fighting to advance our human rights and to ensure these rights are protected.

Colectiva Venus represents, in Front Line Defenders's campaign, the grassroots struggles for "Women and the economy", on their fight for equal rights for sex work in El Salvador. Sex worker rights are human rights!

At first I didn't identify as a sex worker. I worked at a guest house and wouldn’t even leave at lunch in case anyone saw me. I started identifying as sex worker around 2005, after I had spent one year learning about health and human rights from Flor de Piedra, El Salvador's first sex workers rights organisation. I have identified as an WHRD since 2010, when I began leading workshops, trainings, and outreach coordination for sex workers who face violations from many parts of society.

Colectiva Venus is a network of sex worker rights defenders and community members working in two regions of El Salvador: Aguilares, San Salvador department, and Chalchuapa, Santa Ana department, both of which are removed from major cities and severely lack basic health and legal resources for sex workers. Colectiva Venus provides trainings and workshops for sex workers both in support groups and at their places of employment, covering topics including sexual health, human rights, access to justice, navigating the judicial system, and violence prevention.

Janira is now one of the six leaders of Colectiva Venus, which has more than 30 members throughout the two regions. She is in charge of public appearances, coordinating attendance rosters for human rights workshops in the sex worker community, maintaining communication with members, and developing security protocols for outreach work at sex work establishments in Aguilares.

El Salvador

The human rights defender community in El Salvador is regularly subjected to campaigns of defamation - they are labeled as 'traitors of the nation', 'terrorists' and 'subversive'. This tactic employed by the authorities is designed to discredit and undermine the work of human rights defenders by isolating and marginalising them, making them a vulnerable target for abuse. Community leaders and environmental activists who are opposed to large-scale mining projects face death threats and violence.

Abortion is criminalised in El Salvador and, unlike in many other countries where this is the case, the law is enforced. HRDs campaigning for the release of women imprisoned on suspicion of abortion have been subjected to threats and intimidation.


Colectiva Venus - La voz de Las mujeres en la pandemia covid19 (In Spanish)