1. French photographer Bénédicte Desrus spent six years documenting Casa Xochiquetzal – a shelter for elderly sex workers in Mexico City.
The home provides the women with food, health services and courses helping them rediscover their self-confidence and deal with traumatic aspects of their lives.
Casa Xochiquetzal was opened by Carmen Munoz, a retired sex worker, in 2006.
3. According to Slate, Munoz spent 20 years trying to convince the government and NGOs to open the shelter before Mexico City’s municipal government provided the building and resources.
Portrait of Jimena, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, at the shelter.
4. After earning the women’s trust, Desrus teamed up with journalist Celia Gómez Ramos and the pair created a book entitled “Las Amorosas Más Bravas”(The Toughest Lovers).
They said they wanted to show the women’s stories of survival.
6. Laeticia, originally from Chihuahua, left her husband when he brought another woman into their house.
She abandoned everything, including her children, and has reportedly tried twice to commit suicide.
At Casa Xochiquetzal, she practices yoga daily and also stays active by knitting, embroidering and reading the Bible.
9. Despite remembering her childhood fondly, Norma was abused by one of her brother’s friends when she was 9 years old, as well as being assaulted by a priest where she lived.
She later found work as a waitress in various red-light districts. She apparently always liked watching the dancers up close, “but not so close she’d get burnt”.