Sex workers reveal their struggle to survive the coronavirus
Many workers are facing an uncertain future and an immediate financial struggle, due to the coronavirus outbreak around the world. And for one industry, the impact has been unavoidable. The ECP, made up of current and former sex workers, is calling for government to support independent escorts, who are currently not recognized as workers, and so are not entitled to the sort of government support available to others during the COVID-19 crisis. With the lockdown measures in place, many hookers have lost almost all of their clients. Due to this they are also demanding recognition that sex work is work so they can get the benefits. They are demanding that now so they can get the money which everyone is entitled to in this crisis to keep going, and not to have to go out and do any more sex work because their life is also important. It is the same situation as the other European countries. For example in Spain, even prostitute or escort who work for third parties are not recognized as workers by the government, and so are not entitled to government support if they are temporarily laid off which is so unfair to these women.
In reality, all these private whores who work 100% of their time in Adult sex work are affected and unprotected by confinement because of COVID-19, the speaker from the unofficial union of Spanish Sex Workers (OTRAS), Conxa Borrell told this. The women who recruit their clients on the street, those who work in flats, villas, clubs, massage centers, or even freelancers are all affected economically by this pandemic. These escort models do not want charity but agree with the demands of the ECP. And demands labor rights only.
In France, the Fédération Parapluie Rouge (Red Umbrella Federation), which represents working girls in the country, has asked the government for a replacement income during the lockdown period “without any condition of the regularity of stay”. The estimated 35,000-53,000 adult companions in the whole country are classified as freelancers but are not entitled to the €1,500 of aid that has been promised to workers by the state because they do not fall in the category of labor. There is so much tension amongst the associations and unions that some financially weak hobby hookers will find themselves violating confinement measures to survive which would be the last scariest thing anyone would want to do for themselves. “It’s a terrible situation to be put into,” says Mitchell. “And it’s the government’s responsibility to take care of the prostitutes.” The French Secretary of Equality, Marlène Schiappa, has said that “it is very complicated to compensate a person who carries out an undeclared activity such as prostitution or an escort service”.
One option is available to those who have the equipment and space to do so, is to take their sex work online. Many, however, just don’t have this option. Some sex workers have moved to virtual work, but unfortunately, very few can do so. Most of them do not have their administrative situation regularised and that prevents them from even having a current account to which they can redirect the income obtained.