Protesting sex workers arrested

1,158Views 5Comments Posted 03/06/2017

SOME 15 sex workers demonstrating over  police abuse got short shrift  from the targets of their protest on Friday afternoon, June 2.

They were arrested in front of the the National Police HQ , in the district of Ancón.

They had marched peacefully   from Plaza 5 de Mayo, to the headquarters to demand the cessation  of police abuse against them.

The demonstration ended with clashes when  riot police officers appeared, and alleged that the protesters  obstructed the road.

The women workers had hoped to deliver a document to the National Police  director of, Omar Pinzón, asking  for action  letters against police abusers.

The detainees were transferred in  patrol wagons to the San Miguelpolice headquarters of, including the leader of the sex workers Gladys Murillo and the president of the Association of Men and New Women of Panama, Ricardo Beteta.

Marilyn Gonzalez, of the New Partnership ProIgualdad, claimed that the demonstrators were  given permission allowed to carry out the march and said they await the the Police statement  giving  the reasons why these people were arrested and if is not made, a criminal complaint will be filed.

Officials of the Ombudsman's Office visited  the police station in San Miguel to verify the conditions in which the detainees were. members of four organizations  including a journalist Sharon Pringle.

Gladys Murillo complained that numbers of  her companions are detained every day, and fined. She  said that many of them, out of fear, do not dare to file complaints and their human rights are violated, reports El Siglo.

She added that abuses happen more against “autonomous” sex workers, who do not work for pimps.

Irina Ceballos, who has been a prostitute for 10 years, alleged that she was a victim of police abuse on April 1, when she went to defend a comrade who had been arrested and taken to the San Miguel barracks. There she was verbally harassed by a policeman.

“When I arrived at the barracks and asked a police officer  for my partner, he treated me rudely. He pepper sprayed scuttled and kicked me, and smashed me into a car,'” Ceballos complained.

She hopes with the march to sensitize  policemen and realize that the sex workers also have family.

The National Police reported that 15 people (11 women and 4 men) were detained because they were obstructing free vehicular traffic at the police headquarters and preventing the departure of  police support staff and ambulances .

It was reported that those arrested were released, at around 9:00 p.m., after mediation by the rector of the University of Panama, Eduardo Flores Castro.