Prostitution in Cuba
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    The Oldest Profession

    The Oldest Profession / Ignacio Estrada

    Posted on April 3, 2013

    by Ignacio Estrada

    Havana, Cuba. The oldest profession has returned to Cuban streets and

    provides a stable source of income for a vast number of mostly young Cubans.

    Regardless of time or weather, there are no shortages of sex workers in

    Havana to satisfy a sexual appetite. The revolution of 1959 promised

    equality for all but the largest share of its benefits went to those in

    positions of power, their cronies or closest relatives. In its wake and

    in spite of shutting down the old nightclubs and brothels, prostitution

    has returned as one of the best paid professions today.

    The trade is practiced by those we least suspect — coworkers, neighbors

    or even classmates. Large numbers of people in recent years have changed

    their morals like chameleons change colors and lead double lives.

    I have nothing against those who choose to become prostitutes. Quite the

    opposite. I believe that it's time that the Cuban government legalize

    the practice, unionize the workers and allow them, as is done in other

    countries, to be licensed as legitimate Sex Workers.

    Male and female prostitution is not only practiced in the Capital but it

    extends to every territory. There are known brothels, escort services

    and red zones, the last which are prone to violence and crime. Charges

    are different for citizens and foreigners and are even higher when part

    of the profits go to a broker or a pimp.

    Without sanitary practices and health screenings, prostitution has

    caused an increase in the spread of veneral diseases. The rate of

    HIV/STDs is now higher than it has ever been in the nation's history.

    There needs to be a call to action to demand that all who provide or use

    these services follow safe sexual practices.

    While some parents are proud because their children bring home new

    clothes, perfumes, gifts or other items, others mourn the loss of a son

    or daughter to violence, to abuse or to illnesses such as HIV. There are

    also those who are happy that their children have managed to leave Cuba

    to live elsewhere and can return to visit them carrying gifts.

    As a nation, we need to put an end to injustice and legitimize this line

    of work so it's treated the same way as any other profession.

    Legalization would provide protection under the law as well as

    protection from officers of the law who abuse their power to extort and

    harass the sex workers.

    It is important that parents, family and citizens safeguard children,

    supervise their activities, know where they are at all times and ensure

    that they are not exploited or misled, especially for sexual purposes.

    While I have nothing against prostitution, I condemn those who take

    advantage of minors for sexual favors in exchange for gifts or money.

    The foreign press and other outlets report that child prostitution

    exists. I am unaware of any such case as a reporter but if I learned of

    one I would have no problem denouncing it in an article.

    Legalization of sex workers does not condone civil disobedience. We need

    to find a way to keep our streets and neighborhoods clean and safe, to

    protect the workers and the customers from disease and to regulate and

    legitimize a commonly practiced trade.

    Translated by: Vivian S. Bedoya

    25 March 2013

    http://translatingcuba.com/the-oldest-profession-ignacio-estrada/

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