How Should Sex Workers Fend For Themselves In A Lockdown Situation?

sex workers are now finding it difficult to fend for themselves


Hotels were closed down in Mexico city to control the spread of Covid-19. This has left sex workers homeless and without work. Most of them worked and lived in many such hotels.  In Australia, some dominatrix practitioners know they were safe because their work was legally recognized. It does not come into the category of sex workers and therefore such individuals cannot claim social benefits because this line of physical gratification is highly stigmatized world over.

For some private sex workers, work from home strategy is working. But these cases are a few and carry a huge risk of contraction and spread of the corona virus.  New Zealand is one of the few nations that has already thrown open a safety net to protect its sex workers. But not every nation is going to do this and this lot of women are now left to fend for themselves.

Overall, prostitution is not recognized in many countries as legal work. Therefore, sex workers are now finding it difficult to fend for themselves and cannot even claim unemployment benefits from their respective governments.  In Germany, the story is somewhat the same.  There are thousands of foreign nationals working as prostitutes in Germany. Here, prostitution is legalized. However, the pandemic has lead to closing down of brothels. Social distancing is the mandate to follow and the brothel owners have to adhere to it.

Termed under non- essential services, brothels, like restaurants and night clubs remain out of bounds to general public.

This has resulted in many women turning homeless and unable to even reach back home as borders remain closed to all.


 Germany is one of the few countries where sex workers are recognized under self employed individuals who pay taxes and can receive benefit from the government in contingencies like the corona virus pandemic. However, those who are not registered are at the receiving end.  Susanne Bleier Wilp is a part of a lobby group in Berlin that protects the rights of sex workers. She shares with the media that of the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 prostitutes in Germany, about 80% are foreigners mainly from Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and Ukraine.


In Asia, the story is no different. In India for example, there is a bigger fear of HIV transmission as sex workers live hand to mouth with literally no savings of their own. Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) in India are not covered under government aid. Unlike daily wage workers, they are not entitled to any social support. Role of CSW in India, especially South India where there are more than one million of them, has been crucial in controlling HIV spread. It now stands stalled as many of them might have to go in for unprotected sexual encounters.

About U.J.M

Embark on an enlightening journey with U.J.M, a storyteller weaving tales that spotlight the intricacies of workers' rights. Through concise narratives, U.J.M seeks to foster understanding and inspire change, advocating for a world where every worker's dignity is upheld.

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