Photographer Bènèdicte Desrus compiled a riveting set of photos, picturing former prostitutes who now live at a safe haven called Casa Xochiquetzal in the city of Mexico.
The images -which were published in a book called Las Amorosas Más Bravas, together with texts from writer Celia Gómez Ramos- were taken along 8 years. They document the lives of former prostitutes, who managed to survive their hard situations, and now have this shelter to provide for their needs.
The safe haven, Casa Xochiquetzal was founded in 2006. Mexico City’s government gave the building and covers the costs of food for the women who stay there. It also receives public donations of all kinds, such as medicines and everyday household objects.
More than 250 former sex workers have already gone through this safe house since it was opened, and there are 26 presently living there.
The whole idea was conceived by a former sex worker herself, a woman called Carmen Muñoz. She felt something needed to be done with the older prostitutes who were forced to live in the streets, in horrible conditions.
It took Carmen 20 years to come up with the support she needed, but in the end, she finally made a safe place for these women.
Apart from a roof over their heads, the house provides these women with a sense of support, belonging and dignity.