The Xochiquetzal shelter for prostitutes has been operating successfully in Mexico City

24 May 2024

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The Xochiquetzal shelter for prostitutes has been operating successfully in Mexico City

Mexican putas have been working legally for decades, but not all of them manage to build a successful career or leave the industry in time to immerse themselves in family life. And when the peak of demand passes, it is no longer so easy for these escort girls to find customers to earn a normal standard of living. Therefore, many elderly prostitutes in Mexico City find themselves without income and at home, not knowing where to go. However, even in such a difficult situation, there is a way out - it is a one-of-a-kind shelter for elderly or dysfunctional night priestesses called Xochiquetzal.

The story of the founder of the unusual social institution

Although the welfare of the home is now largely handled by government agencies and social services, the idea for the home came from former Mexico City prostitute Carmen Muñoz. Many years ago, at the age of 22, the young Mexican woman and her husband came to the capital to find work and provide for their children, the youngest of whom could not even walk yet. At first the girl hoped for help from a local priest who sometimes recommended his parishioners to work for more successful families, but apart from simple physical work Carmen could not do anything - not even write or read.

It was at this point that the crying young Latina was approached by a woman who advised her to try prostitution. One of her clients was willing to give her 1,000 pesos (quite a large sum for 1993) to try something new. And although the girl did not immediately understand what was wanted from her, she had no choice, and after a few weeks Carmen, in defiance of her husband, became one of the regular prostitutes of Mexico City, having worked on the streets of La Merced for almost 40 years.

Unable to withstand the tension and jealousy, her husband left the family after two years, but the girl had already fully provided for a large family. But over time, her appearance faded, and clients became many times less, and the night butterfly wondered what happens to people like her, when it is no longer possible to attract men. And while the Mexican woman used to work to give food and a roof over her children's heads, she later decided to fight to help prostitutes who had nothing left.

The long road to success of the shelter for prostitutes

The idea of creating a social shelter where former Mexico City (CDMX) escorts could find a new home came to Muñoz almost immediately when she thought of options to help, but it took a long 13 years to materialize. The individual beat the thresholds of government agencies in the hope of help and involved in the disclosure of the problem familiar artists and former clients whose opinion means something among the capital's beau monde. In time, the active position bore fruit - the state allocated a large house in the area of Piazza Loreto for the new social project.

This building was built in the 18th century, but its condition was quite tolerable, so even the first visit here gave the former prostitutes of Mexico City a long-awaited hope. In 2006, after extensive repairs and renovation, the establishment was named Xochiquetzal in honor of one of the Aztec goddesses of love and carnal pleasures and finally opened its doors for the first guests.

Not only elderly prostitutes, but also putas who for various reasons ended up on the street are admitted here. They are provided with medical, psychological and legal assistance to sort out their life difficulties and recover. Some stay here for a couple of years or months to return to Mexico City's intimate service environment after recovery, while others live out their remaining years because they have no place to return to. Those who wish to do so are given the opportunity to learn literacy, learn a new profession, or get involved in local businesses - the residents of the shelter make custom jewelry, artificial flowers and plants, and make baked goods and local sweets.

According to Bordelero, over the past 11 years, the Shochiquetzal house has sheltered more than a hundred lost women, and even now there are about 25 women between 60 and 85 years old who live here permanently. This is their new home, which exists not only thanks to the help of the state and benefactors, but also thanks to the efforts of the prostitutes themselves, so they are ready to fight for its well-being to the last.

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