COVID-19 Quarantine Continues
As quarantine has moved into month two, sex workers and clients are still stuck at home, and like most other industries, the sex industry continues to be taking a financial hit.
And the Impact is Global
All across the world, though, sex workers are also coming together to demand access to the social support and benefits alongside other workers. Sometimes understanding the global struggles and changes that are happening simultaneously can add some perspective to the importance of community for providers:
- Sex workers in Canada are reporting a fear of applying for benefits [Aldergrove Star], while also discussing increased surveillance when they do try to work after having been left out of the country's relief fund [iHeart Radio].
Canada employs a modified version the Nordic Model, criminalizing the buyer and involved third parties. Last year Canadian group AIDSLaw published "The Perils of Protection" to describe how well that's going:
- Despite France's creation of a fund meant to aid workers, sex workers are not able to apply [The Local], and are demanding change.
France also has semi-recently adopted the Nordic Model, and a 2018 study reported on the many failings [Open Democracy] this model of criminalization has had there.
- Sex workers in Colombia report that they are facing unprecedented financial challenges [Yahoo News] during the quarantine.
- Sex workers in Kenya are petitioning the government [Face2Face Africa] to add them to the list of "essential professions."
- After Bangladesh ordered the closure of 12 brothels in the country, the government has begun food deliveries to support the sex workers who are now not seeing clients (sex work is legal in Bangladesh.) This came after a sustained effort from the workers [Reuters] for governmental support.
- In South Africa, sex workers are calling on the President to add them to the list of applicants [Face2Face Africa] to the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme.
- UNAIDS, an international health organization, specifically calls for sex workers to be included [Newsweek] in the COVID-19 country responses.
- Sex workers in India are calling for more support and awareness, and report similar hardship [Al Jazeera] under the country-wide quarantine which went into effect March 24, and is now reported to be in place until May 1.
- Thai sex worker organization EMPOWER has sent a letter to the Thai government [ASEAN Post] to demand support during the crisis.
- Japan is considering whether or not to include sex workers in the country's relief funding [Kyodo News], with organizations calling the current exclusion "occupational discrimination."
The Shift From Offline to Online Work is Very Apparent
Amidst the crisis, a lot of sex workers have been forced to change the medium of their work, trying to shift to working remotely alongside everyone else. While some have been able to sustain their work [Allure], others are finding that significant barriers exist to making a full living virtually [HuffPost], as well as finding a market flooded by those new to sex work [Rolling Stone] who are now looking to supplement lost income from straight jobs. Even some strip clubs have found ways of moving into a virtual market [VICE].
This crisis has also more people realize that sex may be a good thing as porn is taking the edge off [Fast Company] for many people stuck at home during the crisis.
In this article specific to India [Times of India], where there was a 33% uptick in porn streaming – compared to most countries' reports of only a 10% increase – there are fantastic graphics on the increases. There has even been a rise in Coronavirus-themed porn [Happy Mag], which really does prove that everything is someone's fetish.
Sex Workers are Still Coming Together
But even under these trying circumstances, sex workers have refused to stop organizing. Here are just a few of the incredible upcoming virtual events to keep everyone informed and connected:
Still fighting, still winning
Amidst everything going on, it is still important to champion and celebrate the victories – now maybe even more than before. After years of fighting, survivor of trafficking Alexis Martin has been granted clemency [Ohio Dispatch] and is set to be released (pending a negative test for COVID-19, of course).
Alexis' commutation has come as part of the wave of releases of incarcerated people [NPR], especially of those incarcerated on low-level charges, which have been happening in states across the US.
And while this movement is about workers, not managers, a brothel in Wells, Nevada was approved for one of the Small Business Association loans [Sierra Nevada Daily] meant to keep small businesses afloat while being closed.
And lastly, here's a list of every zoo and aquarium live-streaming animals right now.
Back to the grind