Profiling Tepehua – November 2022

In Mexico, prostitution is legal under federal law, however, each of the 31 States enact their own policies and only 13 States allow and regulate prostitution. It is not legal in Jalisco.  Mexico City has its´ red light district, regulates the activities and even has retirement shelters for ex-prostitutes. Most of the states are not that forgiving. In this age of the computer even prostitution has changed. You can find on line the areas and kind of service you require, with activities mainly indoors and arranged prior to the meeting, except in cities where chance encounters and back alleys are still the norm.

Our paradise in Chapala has its darker side but more clandestine than the open markets of the cities. One small town Lakeside briefly had a ‘working’ bar, until the angry wives of the town insisted on its closure and local police pulled down the ‘pleasure barn’.  All that remains now is a piece of facade  and dumped vehicles, portraying the decay of morals past.  The young girls that sold their souls there used to be picked up by the Tepehua Team to have regular check-ups free at the Tepehua Clinic, no questions asked. The prescriptions were a lot of advice, a few pills but never judgement.  After the barn closed down some of the girls went back to school and with a little help from Tepehua counselors and family support became happy in their new found youth. A few others went back to the city to be lost in the mean streets continuing ‘mostly legal’ prostitution. The Tepehua Community Clinic is still open for ‘no questions asked’ treatment, advice and help, especially for the very young.

A few studies have shown that cities with red light districts, indoor sex and decriminalized prostitution between consenting adults have less rape, disease and sexual violence against women. Rape cases are usually an act of violence associated with rage and can happen to male and female alike. This is not a ‘weakness of the flesh’, this is a federal offense.

During 2020 some women turned to prostitution to feed their families and there was a rise in domestic violence and femicide in the Mexican villages, a rise in patients with STD’s and unwanted pregnancies, but slowly the violence dropped again as covid released its grip and men found casual labor, as did their women and children went back to school.  Peace returned to the village…almost.

Bringing the needs of the flesh out of the shadows and addressing them with dialogue can only help to understand them. Then women especially can seek help without fear of repercussion.

When women are picked up for soliciting either sex or drugs they are driven straight to jail. The law is different for men – they are given the choice of a rehabilitation center or jail time, unless they committed an infraction whilst under the influence and are sentenced first for drying out time in the rehab. then transferred to jail for eventual trial.  There are no rehabilitation centers for women locally. A lawyer to get out of jail is needed and there are no pro-bono lawyers hanging around the jail looking for clients. If there are no family members outside the prison walls to support them, they go back to soliciting within the walls for survival. They can even get their preferred drugs within the walls.

Mexico has all the right laws in place for the protection of women and children, especially children in cases of incest, though they are seldom implemented, especially in the rural areas where everything usually stays in the family.

We all have broken wings from flying close to the ground, and need help one way or another. And we definitely need contact with our fellow man.  Most of us can get the comfort we need, but there are some who cannot and have to seek it at a cost or with strangers. Do those of us who are not being driven by want, have the right to judge those who are, or those who supply that comfort out of needs of their own? A wise man said “Before you judge me make sure you are perfect”…and yet another said “There is no such thing as perfection…all is imperfect to another”.  The conclusion being:  It is apparent there is no universally accepted standard of an ideal Human Being.


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com


Moonyeen King
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