Covid-19 pandemic, and the consequent lockdown is putting the world into an important and worrying economic crisis. The response from governments and central banks has been to make economic support plans available to citizens and businesses. Millions of demands have arrived to the social bodies charged with providing financial aids to workers of sectors most in difficulty, including that of sex workers. A worldwide cry for help launched because most of them at this time of restrictions suddenly found themselves without work.
A part of them tried to remedy the lack of direct “contact” by adopting the smart working from home, starting to offer erotic video calls to their clients who cannot visit them. But not all of them have managed to do this. According to worldwide reports, many live in a very strong discomfort and are forced to seek help from associations and NGOs to survive. If Europe seems to care little about the sector, Japan, on the other hand, has chosen a different path and has decided to offer economic support to sex workers. Prostitutes in the country, as throughout the world, have been severely affected by closures and restrictions due to the pandemic. With at least 11.958 cases nationwide and 299 deaths, according to Worldometer, Japan is also in a state of emergency with the lockdown of many activities.
To soften the economic blow, the central government has launched a massive stimulus package worth 108 trillion Japanese yen (about $989 billion). After some controversy, sex workers are eligible to apply for aid, under certain conditions, a move some activists have hailed as a sign of progress for an industry that has long suffered social stigma. CNN reported. But for many sex workers, the package offers little reassurance — and its rules for eligibility seem opaque and restrictive. Some aren’t sure how to apply for benefits without effectively outing themselves.
Japanese laws, however, are rather controversial in that regard, as they are limited only to prohibiting sexual services which include a “complete” rapport. However, these rules are easily circumvented with the offer of other types of services from “stimulating massages” to oral intercourse. Street prostitution practically does not exist, because Japanese girls generally sell their bodies at home or in other places allowed by law. According to ‘South China Morning Post’, despite authorities’ requests to close, places like oral sex bars and S&M clubs remain open in Japan with sometimes little more than cursory hygiene measures in place. Dating apps are also more active, with users on apps like Tinder and Grindr reporting even more people on the search for hook-ups.