Cataracts cloud her eyes and arthritis stiffens her spine, but Maria Luisa Torres, 70, still walks the streets of the Merced selling her body, as do many elderly women in the downtown heighborhood…Among the thousands of prostitutes in North America’s largest city are hundreds of women in their sixties, seventies and eighties who continue to sell themselves to earn cash to buy food or medicine…
Some of the prostitutes are eighty-five years old.
Men know she is not young, but she chooses to think that "an antique can be more valuable than something new," she explained. She strolled through Jardin Loreto, a nearby park, saying to passing men: "Amor, vamos?" or "My love, shall we go?" After agreeing on a price — often $5 or less — she leads her customer to one of the many run-down hotel rooms nearby. She has been doing this for decades, since she left the coconut fields in Western Mexico. At first she had higher hopes and opened a little sandwich kiosk. But "not even a fly would stop" at her stand, and she turned to the only sure money she could find.
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