Underwear of Uncertain Origin

The bidding opens at 25 cents. High above our heads, two television screens light up with images of the next batch of goods up for sale: women’s underwear. There are frilly slips and glossy satin negligees, brightly colored panties of different sizes and, um, styles. “Lot number 26. Lote número veintiséis,” says the auctioneer, a thickly built man in a white polo shirt and camo-pattern cap. “Assorted”—his voice catches—”intimate clothing. Ropa íntima.”

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