Whips may be a common toy for kinkier brothel visitors, but a group of prostitutes in northern Peru probably weren’t expecting to have their behinds smacked when a group of vigilantes overran a nightclub to protest the region’s sex industry.
A video of the raid, which occurred at a nightclub called Alondra ('Skylark') in the Andean city of Cajamarca, shows masked men chasing dozens of women garbed in bras and short skirts, whipping them and shoving them around. The vigilantes were part of the Decentralized Committee of Urban Rounds of Cajamarca and they sent a video to local media outlets.
The purported prostitutes were forced to stand lined up against a wall – many half-dressed, crying and wearing no shoes – while their ethical attackers berate them and lash them with whips. Along with the women, a group of men who worked as bouncers and bartenders at the club were shown confronting the vigilantes before being overwhelmed and forced to ground for a round of penance push-ups.
Local media reports stated that the vigilantes stormed the club after receiving a tip that a number of thieves were hiding out there. While no crooks were allegedly found, the group's spokesman, Fernando Chuquilín, justified their actions as an effort to eliminate prostitution and crime.
Prostitution is legal for women over 18 years of age if they register with municipal authorities and carry a health certificate. Brothels must be licensed.
While it is nominally overseen by the government, most Peruvian sex workers are unregistered and work in the informal sector where they face health problems and abuse.
Another video surfaced later that shows the vigilantes hitting up another club in Cajamarca, where besides whipping workers they set on fire chairs, sound equipment and lights in the street. As the flames quickly get out of hand, the vigilantes are seen frantically whipping the flames to prevent them from reaching power lines.