The stunning revelation that the number of “sex servers” in Tijuana has almost doubled in the past four years has left many people in shock. According to the city’s medical services office, there are now a staggering 10,774 active permits for women who want to work as prostitutes in Tijuana. This is a significant increase from 2018 when only 5,500 permits were issued. However, Gerardo López Montes, the head of Tijuana’s Public Health office, thinks that the actual number of sex workers in the city may be much higher than this. He believes that as many as 30,000 women are currently working in the sex industry in Tijuana, even though they have not registered with the authorities.
“We’re trying to verify permits every day, we’re inspecting places where sex servers work to make sure they are registered and following protocols,” said López Montes. “We’re trying to get them to comply, this is to the benefit of all who work in this industry.”
He emphasized that it is mandatory for prostitutes to register with the authorities, and those who do not have a permit cannot work legally. López Montes’s words suggest that the government is cracking down on unregistered sex workers, which could be contributing to the rise in the number of permits being issued.
Jorge Salazar Miramontes, Tijuana’s City Manager, noted that the sex industry used to be concentrated in one neighborhood near the border. However, he now acknowledges that sex workers can be found all over the city. “We’re seeing them on the east side and other areas,” he said.
When asked about the reasons for the increase in the number of sex workers in Tijuana, Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero said that migration was the main factor. “Nowadays, it’s not just women from Mexico, they’re foreigners from places like Venezuela and Colombia who come here to work,” she said. “Some leave but others take their place, and that’s why the number has doubled.”
Caballero also announced that the government is planning to increase patrols and inspections of bars to ensure that women have their permits and are being tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases. This move comes after an outbreak of gonorrhea and other STDs in one bar. Caballero did not specify how many cases have been confirmed, but she did say that they were traced to one club.
“We are going to protect our citizens… the sex servers are also citizens so we will protect them as well, they are the ones at greater risk,” she added. In addition to gonorrhea, cases of hepatitis and Rickettsia have also been reported. Rickettsia can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and can lead to serious damage to internal organs such as the kidneys and heart.