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  • This is an intriguing term to me. “Mujer libre” - Free Woman. Prostitute. 

It needs no explanation. 

    It suggests a contorted and distorted definition of the concept itself, at first.


As it happens, all the women I talked to, in the last rural Fututinas I was able to find, explained to me that they have no regrets about what they left behind when they entered "the life".

    “Los Cueros” (I would explain what cueros means) have often "chosen" the oldest profession in the world to get away from abusive lovers and families. Sometimes while pregnant, sometimes after brutal beatings.

    Settling for their nightly routines, they realize they can now earn a living, doing what they would be doing otherwise for free.

 A lot of them said that at least now they feel “in charge” of themselves, and even if they are stuck in such a tough existence, it is not any worse than their previous way of life.

    They say they can earn a living, sometimes support their kids and old parents.

In other words, in one of the terminally sick social paradoxes of the beginning of this 21st century, these women were telling me they have found some sort of freedom in their slavery and in the sale of their only asset: their body.

    “Los Cueros” have an unwritten code of ethics and behavior. They exercise it amongst themselves and enforce it with their clients and protectors (the Fututina owner or manager).


Occasionally there are fights in the Fututina. Murders are bloody. Like in a prison environment.

    Knife-fights, razor blades or acid are often used to permanently disfigure a competing “Cuero” who plays dirty to fetch the best clients.

There is, at the same time, a strong sense of bonding and fellowship amongst the girls.

    They feel "in the same (appalling) boat”: "working" in windowless cubicles, next to one another, a number painted on their door. A pervading smell of old sweat, greasy food and dried up bodily fluids is the perfume of their kingdom.

    The bond that keeps these girls together is strong. 
The bond of “lifers”. 

    The Fututina is also their fortress against the world.

    Music :
    "La Chiflera" performed by Armando Rosario
    Recorded live on location by Giovanni Savino
    © Giovanni Savino / Magnetic Art Productions
    Audio CD distributed by
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