On December 17, 2005, two transgendered sex workers in Guatemala City were shot in the head, one fatally. Witnesses—including the survivor—alleged that police forces shot the victims. Human rights advocates have argued that the attack was part of a broader social cleansing campaign that has targeted all sex workers.

Sex workers in Latin America are subjected to violence regularly. This violence varies greatly, but its pervasiveness and the impunity for perpetrators are two common themes. Violence against sex workers comes from many different sources: police, pimps, johns, serial killers, gang members and others. The violence also takes many forms, including arbitrary confinement, physical and sexual assault, torture, and murder. The police often do not consider violence against sex workers to be a crime, and therefore do not try to investigate or prosecute known perpetrators. Other times, the police are the perpetrators of the violence.

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