COVID-19 and sex work

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Douglas Fir Premier
COVID-19 and sex work

Coronavirus Fears Are Decimating The Sex Industry

“I’m already seeing women in danger of moving into homeless encampments or losing custody of their kids,” said Suzanne Myers, a Seattle-based escort who also does outreach and community organizing. (All of the sex workers quoted in this article are using pseudonyms due to fear of law enforcement attention.) “For single moms or people working to keep their heads above water, having a dry week is difficult. Having two or three will be devastating.”

[...]

For sex workers, the coronavirus could not have arrived in Seattle at a worse time.

Since 2015, the city has experienced an unprecedented spike in homelessness and drug addiction — two factors that have increased the number of people selling sex. Then, in 2018, Congress passed two laws (known as SESTA and FOSTA) that banned escort advertisements from the internet, a move that pushed more sex workers into outdoor prostitution. Now, the collapse in demand for sex work due to the coronavirus is driving even greater numbers of people onto the street to make up for the lost income  

All of these factors combined are making sex work significantly more dangerous. “When there’s more girls outside and less demand, people start doing things they wouldn’t normally do and end up in situations that are very unsafe,” Myers said.

[...]

None of this bodes well for sex workers or for public health in the long term. Myers pointed out that the lack of income and housing support for marginalized groups like sex workers and homeless people will make them more likely to get the disease — and also to spread it. 

“If someone starts feeling sick and they only have one appointment that week, they might take it anyway,” she said. “That’s a terrifying thought, but that could mean daycare for their kids or paying their rent.”

Douglas Fir Premier
Paladin1

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Rhapsody Bluth: How to Support Strippers During COVID19

Sit at home and EMT strangers money. Right.

Ken Burch

Paladin1 wrote:

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Rhapsody Bluth: How to Support Strippers During COVID19

Sit at home and EMT strangers money. Right.

Yes, because this situation is causing lots of innocent people to suffer for no reason, so doing that is one of the few safe ways to help anyone.  What would the "center-right free enterpriser" alternative be?  Tax cuts for the rich for staying home?  Or do you think you're entitled to make a profit out of going around passing the virus to people in the name of "individual liberty"?  Or do you just see this as a pretext for launching a military intervention against some non-European country?

Paladin1

Ken Burch wrote:

 Or do you just see this as a pretext for launching a military intervention against some non-European country?

Hi Ken,

Could you flush out this comment a little more and explain the conext you're using it in?

Douglas Fir Premier

Paladin1 wrote:

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Rhapsody Bluth: How to Support Strippers During COVID19

Sit at home and EMT strangers money. Right.

It's a list of suggestions from a sex worker on how we can support one another during this crisis. I didnt realize it needed to be said, but to make the implicit explicit; they're suggestions only for folks who are care to support sex workers. For everyone else, carry on.

Ken Burch

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

 Or do you just see this as a pretext for launching a military intervention against some non-European country?

Hi Ken,

Could you flush out this comment a little more and explain the conext you're using it in?

It was a response to your utter dismissiveness of the idea that we should respond to this situation with any personal generosity at all.

Huge numbers of people are facing not only the risk of viral infection, but severe economic hard times and none of them can be said to have done anything to deserve those hard times.   The decent response to this, the human response to this, is to NOT put selfishness and a fixation with holding on to "your" money-none of us have the funds we have solely due to our own efforts-above doing something mildly unselfish in the name of helping us all get through.

Your response sounded as though you aren't willing to do anything whatsoever that asks you to give up anything or do any sort of sharing-it was almost a parody of the libertarian/Conservative/Trump supporter response to all of this-it sounded as though you felt you owed no one anything and had no obligation to think of anybody's needs other than your own. 

And what you posted, whatever your intent, made you sound flippant and callous.

 

Does that clarify to you why I responded as I did?

lagatta4

I support decent and salubrious employment for all, not forcing marginalised women, girls and other groups such as poor young gay men and transpeople into an extremely hazardous form of work. There is a key difference between sex, which is fine and usually positive, and sexual exploitation.

Douglas Fir Premier

lagatta4 wrote:

I support decent and salubrious employment for all

As do I. This thread (and forum) is specifically about sex work and sex workers.

Ken Burch

lagatta4 wrote:

I support decent and salubrious employment for all, not forcing marginalised women, girls and other groups such as poor young gay men and transpeople into an extremely hazardous form of work. There is a key difference between sex, which is fine and usually positive, and sexual exploitation.

Agreed.  But there are still these people doing this work at this moment.   While we can and must oppose any form of human exploitation, the suggestions in the opening post are simply about helping these people survive this particular moment.  And since the suggestions essentially amount to an agreement to treat people doing this work far better than they are currently treated, aren't they merited as a short-term response?

Paladin1

Ken Burch wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

 Or do you just see this as a pretext for launching a military intervention against some non-European country?

Hi Ken,

Could you flush out this comment a little more and explain the conext you're using it in?

It was a response to your utter dismissiveness of the idea that we should respond to this situation with any personal generosity at all.

Huge numbers of people are facing not only the risk of viral infection, but severe economic hard times and none of them can be said to have done anything to deserve those hard times.   The decent response to this, the human response to this, is to put selfishness and a fixation with holding on to "your" money-none of us have the funds we have solely due to our own efforts-above doing something mildly unselfish in the name of helping us all get through.

Your response sounded as though you aren't willing to do anything whatsoever that asks you to give up anything or do any sort of sharing-it was almost a parody of the libertarian/Conservative/Trump supporter response to all of this-it sounded as though you felt you owed no one anything and had no obligation to think of anybody's needs other than your own. 

And what you posted, whatever your intent, made you sound flippant and callous.

 

Does that clarify to you why I responded as I did?

 

That clairifies it to a T, thank you.

In hindsight you're right it does sound dismissive and shitty of me. I think it's a biased reaction to what I've read in the past about demands for reparations but that's a different thing. I actually donate to and volunteer at food banks regularly, but this is again a different situation.

Out of curiosity will you be sending money to sex workers to help support them through what will be a financially difficult time?

Ken Burch

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

 Or do you just see this as a pretext for launching a military intervention against some non-European country?

Hi Ken,

Could you flush out this comment a little more and explain the conext you're using it in?

It was a response to your utter dismissiveness of the idea that we should respond to this situation with any personal generosity at all.

Huge numbers of people are facing not only the risk of viral infection, but severe economic hard times and none of them can be said to have done anything to deserve those hard times.   The decent response to this, the human response to this, is to NOT put selfishness and a fixation with holding on to "your" money-none of us have the funds we have solely due to our own efforts-above doing something mildly unselfish in the name of helping us all get through.

Your response sounded as though you aren't willing to do anything whatsoever that asks you to give up anything or do any sort of sharing-it was almost a parody of the libertarian/Conservative/Trump supporter response to all of this-it sounded as though you felt you owed no one anything and had no obligation to think of anybody's needs other than your own. 

And what you posted, whatever your intent, made you sound flippant and callous.

 

Does that clarify to you why I responded as I did?

 

That clairifies it to a T, thank you.

In hindsight you're right it does sound dismissive and shitty of me. I think it's a biased reaction to what I've read in the past about demands for reparations but that's a different thing. I actually donate to and volunteer at food banks regularly, but this is again a different situation.

Out of curiosity will you be sending money to sex workers to help support them through what will be a financially difficult time?

Thank you for the thoughtful reply.   If I knew of a way to do so, I probably would donate.  As I see it, it's irrelevent what their job is-what matters is that they are among the many people being affected by the pandemic.

Douglas Fir Premier

COVID-19: Emergency Support Fund for Sex Workers

Help Maggie's Toronto and Butterfly: Asian/Migrant Sex Worker Support Network build an emergency fund for sex workers in crisis.

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has threatened the health, safety and livelihood of sex workers everywhere, placing many of us in a precarious situation. The impact of COVID-19 continues to demonstrate the impact of Toronto’s wealth gap as poor and working class communities are hit hardest by the shutdown of vital services such as drop-in and meal programs, emergency shelter services and access to community services.

As precarious workers, sex workers are often barred from accessing basic labour rights and protections on the job. Many of us are experiencing loss of income due to appointment cancellations, a decreased demand for services, workplace closures, and sickness. Since sex industry jobs do not offer a salary, sick days, or benefits, there is little to no safety net when we are unable to work.

In the midst of a public health crisis our communities are marginalized and struggle to access necessary heathcare services and protections without facing stigma, shame or barriers due to cost. This is especially true for Queer and Trans, Black and Indigenous Communities of Colour (QTBIPOC), migrant sex workers, particular those who have precarious immigration status, and those living with illness or disabilities. Sex workers with precarious status, for example, are largely unable to access employee or COVID-related benefits.

While social distancing is strongly advised, it is particularly challenging for contact sex workers (full service workers, strippers, massage workers, professional dominants, etc), queer and trans sex workers, Black and Indigenous communities of colour at the margins, migrants and otherwise low-income workers to adhere to these recommendations. The loss of income that would result from such social distancing measures prevents them from working, and makes the difference between affording basic needs such as food, medicine, childcare, rent, etc. Accessing other forms of work and government relief efforts is difficult if not impossible for many sex workers given the criminalized nature of the industry, and migrant sex workers face additional threat of imprisonment and deportation when making contact with any government agency or authority.

How can you support sex workers in crisis?

1. Donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

Please support the sex worker community during this difficult time. We know that times are tough and we welcome donations of all sizes from $5-$5000+. Please give at a level that is meaningful to you. What we give will depend on what we raise here.

2. Share our fundraiser with your networks.

Sex workers are your community members, and providing support is a community effort. Our content gets shadow-banned and limited from wide online circulation because they relate to sex work. Helping to spread the word about this fund so that people can apply and donate, is a huge help.

3. Share our COVID-19 & Sex Work Resource Guide

susan davis susan davis's picture

hello babblers! here is an article about what is happening with sex workers during the pandemic;

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/sex-workers-say-theyre-at-risk-have-been-left-out-of-canadas-covid-19-response?fbclid=IwAR1ZT8lz7TYGSPuzHjNsiMtVEgAPxlEuvpdMq7shiHfc1xGznwuKcQgmIL0

i would like to remind posters that this section is for discussion from a "sex workers rights" perspective and that discussions about sex work as exploitation no matter under what circumstances - lagatta's comment about the difference between sex and sex work - are meant for the feminist forum...although to me...it is not a feminist perspective at all....

some sex workers have received their CERB and many are respecting the social distancing requirements and not working at this time. for people living in extreme poverty or facing other challenges, it is not so simple. especially for those forced to live on un-livable benefits from government and who do not qualify for any emergency benefits.

social assistance and disability are not enough money to live on and most who are part of these groups must enegage in the undergound economy to survive. whether sex work, collecting cans, selling drugs....these people are the most at risk...

newly unemployed people are being given $2000- $3000 with recognition from government that this is the minimum and also falls short...of what a person can live on. meanwhile, those on assistance are given an extra $300 provincially and nothing federally with the assumption, they have lived on $780 a month so know how to and don;t need any extra...

a complete failure.

for those who wish to abolish sex work or deem it all exploitation, maybe now is the time to fight for something that would make a difference to the choices people are forced to make... universal basic income...rather than attacking the ways people pay to eat and house themselves, fight for better supports over all....

just  my perspective....

really tired of people referring to the "two sides" of this debate...

what happened to evidence based policy decisions and ethical research as a foundation?

who cares! abolish sex work whatever the cost to sex working people and their families!

and to top it off, banks are holding checks to first nations people from their Bands and whcih are intended as emergency benefits during the pandemic. the excuse? FN Bands and Status cards are not "real" government ID or government checks.... they are holding them for 4 days...money intended for FOOD and HOUSINF during a national emergency...

but what the hell, let's hold onto that money earn a profit! want to be mad at someone? get mad at the friggin banks!