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Sex worker Concepcion de Maria Jarquin, 46, waits for clients in Matagalpa's downtown, km from Managua on March 27, Jarquin and other sex workers applied to the Supreme Judicial Court of Justice to be volunteer court facilitators.
Raped by a neighbor at age six, she dropped out of school in shame and left home to escape the rebukes of her mother, who blamed her for what happened.
Forty years and countless humiliations later, this lively, smiling woman is studying part-time in a conference room at the Supreme Court to learn the basics of the Nicaraguan civil and criminal codes. She will then be sworn in to act as a liaison between residents of her impoverished neighborhood and an often inaccessible justice system.
It is part of a broader initiative that has trained 4, facilitators across Nicaragua in the past 17 years to mediate in neighborhood conflicts — arguments between neighbors, disputes over money, etc. The program has been so successful at reducing the caseload of the overburdened court system that eight other Latin American countries have adopted it.
For Cony, it is a chance to serve her community and regain some of the dignity lost doing her other job. Cony, who has light brown skin and delicate features, turned to prostitution to raise her two children, and continues working to support her three grandchildren.