13040 The Xochiquetzal House: cheerful women

April 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

by Bénédicte Desrus
with “Women, Xochiquetzal fighting for their dignity, AC”
Mexico City, Mexico, America

The Xochiquetzal House is a shelter unique in the world, which provides a home for women who ever or even today, have engaged in sex work and to grow old, living on the streets. Located in Mexico.

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The report

This open place, with simple rules to be followed by the people, provides shelter, food and comprehensive care, while encouraging community participation in the settlers.
It is a commitment to the dignity and peace of mind in old age, for a population socially invisible. His creation realized how few people had noticed imagine what happens when women get older sex workers – not them. The street, which was once their display, also becomes the only refuge.

Born in 2006, this lodge nestled in the historic center of Mexico City, represents the joint efforts between the Government of the Federal District, which gave the house and provide food as well as women’s intellectual and artistic environment that encouraged by a sex worker, created a civil partnership can receive donations from society, to address the remaining needs. Thus arose and this is how it continues to hold.

In the years of the project, six to-date, has supported more than 250 women. While it started getting to women over 60, are required lowering the age, and today people ranging from 55 to 85 years. Today there are 17 residents in the House Xochiquetzal.

Share one roof has not been easy, because although many of them were known for years on the streets, competing for customers. However, step by step, cohabitation has been achieving. One way of achieving this has been to workshops and activities, establishing roles to wash the toilets and food preparation. So, one by one does something for the other, feeling part of a community. Are women Xochiquetzal House and it is theirs.

The author

Bénédicte Desrus. France, 1976
Documentary photographer represented by SIPA Press. Focuses its work on social and human issues.
Personal Projects: obesity in the world, Xochiquetzal-House shelter for women sex workers in Mexico seniors, the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda, killing of albinos in Tanzania …

Awards and Fellowships: Open Society Institute-Moving Walls 18-NY; Contest-Mexican Foundation Contemporary Photography and Film Arts, Open Photo 2012-Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, PDN Photo Annual 2012, New York Photo Festival 2012, XIV International Award Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography (Group exhibition); Humanity Photo Awards 2011; Pride Photo Award, Kuala Lumpur International PhotoAwards 2012
Publications: NY Times, Harper’s magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Courrier International, Le Monde, Marie Claire, Internazionale and The Sunday Times, among many others. And in the book “40 years of photojournalism: Sipa Generation”.

The project

Xochiquetzal House – shelter for sex workers seniors who were on the streets. This house is located in the historic center of Mexico City.
The project Xochiquetzal House was created in 2006 to respond to the needs of sex workers seniors excluded from society and their own families had to spend the night on streets.
Knowledge of this situation originated in 2005, a proposal of women sex workers to intellectuals like Martha Lamas, Elena Poniatowska and Jesusa Rodriguez to address the issue, the Chief of the Federal District responded to the request, combining government institutions as the Ministry of Health of Mexico City, DF Inmujeres, DF Safety Secretariat and the Institute for the Care of the Elderly, with the idea of ​​creating a group home in which they provide a decent life for these women, so Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador authorized the loan of a building of the Historical Center of the civil organization “Seeds”, in order to enable and serve for shelter.

The award recipient group are “Women, Xochiquetzal fighting for their dignity, AC”. The XochiquetzalHouse task force is comprised by:
the journalist Jesica Vargas González, Director,
the Social Anthropologist Miguel Angel Mendez Cruz, Administrator,
the LTS Brenda L. Martinez Vazquez Social Worker;
the activist and trainer-rights of women Edelmira Lomeli Hurtado, responsible for liaison with the community and
T. Secr. Enoe Esther Hernandez Morales, kitchen chef.
A committed team to the multidisciplinary tasks. We provide support to women victims of violence, so we remain very sensitive and continuously updated on human rights, sex work, elderly and violence. Bringing people’s dreams to a successful, is to comply with ours. Bringing people’s dreams to fruition, is to fulfill ours.

The entity

“Women, Xochiquetzal fighting for their dignity, AC”

Xochiquetzal House is a unique project in the world, which has sought to give a home to those women who were devoted to sex work and to grow old, living on the streets. For them, the past six years, this home nestled in the historic center of Mexico City, is a shelter, food, activities and the ability to live peacefully. It is an effort of the government and civil society.


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