Is selling sex criminalised?
Sex work is dealt with at a local level by each of the states in Mexico. Some regulate sex work and in other states it is illegal. An example of regulation is provided by the city of Tijuana. Here, sex work is regulated, sex workers must register and undergo mandatory health checks to receive a health card and work legally. If you have a health card you can work outdoors in designated zones or in licensed establishments. If you work in any other way it is illegal and you are criminalised. There are more people working in illegal sex work in Tijuana than legal sex work. A similar system operates in Chiapas.
Is buying sex criminalised?
Is organising/managing criminalised?
Organising/managing is criminalised. Procurement is illegal and brothel-keeping although possibility of licensed establishments in some states.
Is there mandatory HIV/STI testing?
Yes to work legally
Is there mandatory registration?
Yes to work legally
If sex work is regulated, is it in line with other work, or are the regulations unfair or overly restrictive?
No - regulations are onerous
Is sex work conflated with trafficking and/or people smuggling?
Mexico’s anti-trafficking law conflates human trafficking with sex work. It is dangerously broad and includes ‘living off the earnings of prostitution’
Is sex work decriminalised with limited regulation?
Sources/further reading
Female Sex Workers and the Social Context of Workplace Violence in Tijuana, Mexico, MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY QUARTERLY, Vol. 24, Issue 3, pp. 344–362;…; Elaine Mossman International Approaches to Decriminalising or Legalising Prostitution for New Zealand Ministry of Justice,,-(2007b),-International-approaches… Sexual Rights Initiative Database, available at NSWP, Mexico Case Study,…
Extra info
There are significant regional differences in the laws in Mexico as sex work is dealt with at the local level. Some states regulate sex work and in others it is completely criminalised. In 2019 in Mexico City the city congress voted to remove laws that made sex work an administrative offence.
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