When I was a child, I didnt have a family. I never knew who my
father was, and my mother died when I was still a little girl. I had no one to care for
meto raise and love me.
I started to be used in prostitution when I was still a girl. The first time, a man
raped me. When I was fourteen, I escaped prostitution when a man married me. I had a son
with him, and I divorced him two years later. I had no other choices, so I returned to
prostitution to get money to support my son. Things happened very quickly.
Later, I was living with another man, as my partner. He was unfaithful to me, so I left
and ended up in prostitution again. I didnt become involved in that by myself. I was
led there. I dont believe anyone gets into prostitution by herself.
I worked for many years in very unpalatable conditions. Nobody in my familymy
kids, no oneknew what I did. I had to do this to survive. I had to sacrifice myself.
What I did, I did for my children. I have lived in the same place for 24 years, and no one
knows anything about this. No one associated with the prostitution knows my real name. We
always use different names. I am the sort of person who is very private. I dont have
many friendships. If anyone said to one of my friends that I was in prostitution, they
would say they didnt believe it.
I was trafficked, too. I was trafficked to Trinidad and Tobago. The clients in Trinidad
and Tobago were of Indian descent and Chinese. I got into this through a man who used to
go to different places where the women were in prostitution, and ask, "Would you like
to go to Trinidad and Tobago? Who wants to go?" On one occasion, I said, "I want
to go." The man who arranged all this charged each girl around 6,000 Bolivares
(approximately US$11). After a weeks work we were expected to pay him this amount.
Around ten of us from the Dominican Republic, Columbia and Venezuela would gather in
Carupano, a port city in Venezuela. We were transported by sea in a little boat to
Trinidad under very dangerous conditions. There was always the risk that the boat would
capsize. We went without legal documents. We were allowed to take only our handbags. If we
were caught by immigration, we would be taken to prison and remain there for five, six
months. When we arrived, we were taken to an apartment, which belonged to the man who did
the negotiation. We were forced to work everyday whether we were ill or not, whether we
had our menstrual periods or not. I was trying to save money to buy an apartment, but when
I returned to Venezuela, the customs officials took all the money in foreign
currenciesdollars and Caribbean dollarsleaving me with only a few Bolivares.
I needed more money to live with my son, so I accepted an invitation from a Venezuelan
pimp to go to the Dominican Republic. A friend took care of my son while I was away. He
gave me an airline ticket and a passport to go to Puerto Plata for nine months. We were
forced to work every day whether we were ill or not. Although prostitution in the
Dominican Republic is illegal, many underground situations exist.
In Venezuela there is a great problem with how the police treat women in prostitution.
The police can come whenever they want to places where we are working, demanding to see
our papers. The way they treat us is horrendous. Even when we had I.D. cards and all our
papers in order, we were taken to prison and had to pay a certain amount of money to be
let free. If a girl didnt have papers or her papers were out of date, it was very
likely that shed be raped.
I know of case of a campaniera who worked with me. One day, on a Sunday morning,
we exchanged greetings and said, "Goodbye, see you later." On Monday, the
headlines in the newspaper said that the body of a girl had been found in the Guerre
River. They identified her as a woman who sold imported clothing. We were totally unaware
that it was our campaniera who had been killed, and the investigation continued to
be carried out. On Tuesday, the police arrived at our place of work, and ordered all of us
downstairs. They began to ask questions and showed us pictures. Suddenly, we realized that
the murdered woman was our campaniera. The inquiry continued for about two weeks.
Each day, for fifteen days, they would come and question us. Supposedly, our campaniera
was waiting for a taxi at 12 oclock at night when she left work. The last time that
she was seen was when she called on the cops. The next day her belongings had disappeared,
and she was naked. And when the police went to her room, where she lived, they found a
policemans uniform belonging to her boyfriend.
We surmised that she was beaten up, and then thrown into the river while she was still
alive. She died there. The police were confronted with a very unpalatable situation. The
chief of police did not want to admit that one of the police had actually been involved in
this case because it was a prostitute woman who had been killed. Journalists bombarded the
chief of police, and he had to admit the truth. He didnt want anybody to know,
particularly her family, her sisters,and so on.
In the end we still dont know what happened to her. There are rumors that the
police killed her. This is the way it goes when we talk about victims, about women in
I was in prostitution for about 20 years. Then I came across a Sister from the Good
Shepherd community who was also there. And I became involved in training programs that
they hadbeauty training, sewing, and embroidery, and others that they offer. I
followed the whole gamut of programs that they offer, and became a graduate of those
programs. I also met a very good man who I married. Im glad I left prostitution. I
left behind all the problems that I had to confront with the police and the beatings by
the owners of the different businesses. It was such a horrendous experiencetoo much,
After my own experiences in prostitution, I want to ensure that all women can get out
of that situation. My experience of twenty years in prostitution is something that I
dont want for anybody. What was most beneficial to me in getting out of prostitution
was to become involved in the programs offered by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Community. They helped me a great deal and enabled me to get out. The way the sisters used
to deal with me, they used say, "Alexia, youre not cut out for this sort of
work. You dont belong to that work." And I was saying to myself, "I have
two children, there is something that I need to do for them." Finally, I wanted to
leave, and I left.
I want to say that even though I was part of this world I never smoked. I hated drugs.
I never became involved with alcohol. I was able to bear it because of my children,
because of my family.
Prostitution should never be legalized. Can you imagine if it becomes legalized?
Everything will be chaos. Labor laws in Venezuela allow for minors to work with parental
permission. At the moment we have an avenue, LaCuņa Avenue, in Venezuela where you can
see young girls of 13, 14 years of age, soliciting. It is a disaster.