Choose a location
Like, really close contact. For sex workers, the coronavirus pandemic has been especially scary. If they decide to continue working in person, they put themselves at high risk. If they forgo close contact in favor of virtual dates, they substantially limit their income.
Raani Begum, a full-service sex worker in Philly, said she started to worry when all her usual neighborhoods emptied out. She lost contact with some regulars and relief organizations. During the global health crisis, Philadelphia has offered some guidance for sex workers: screen your clients for symptoms, clean your workspace, shower between sessions.
Health officials say the safest option is not to have sex with anyone outside your household. Two mutual aid organizations tly launched a relief fund for these Philadelphians, who cannot easily access government assistance. Normally, Duffy-Tumasz said sex workers have a bunch of clients to choose from — but not so much now, since people are staying home and avoiding contact with others.
That robs sex workers of a lot of their power. Fewer available choices means less ability for people to pick clients that make them feel comfortable.
It also changes how outreach workers can distribute aid. These challenges are showing up all over the country.
Some professionals have pivoted to virtual work — but that requires working way more hours and still taking a massive pay cut. After requiring proof that the applicant is a regular sex worker, such as a reference, it asks for name — not necessarily an official one, just some identifier — and the best way to deliver money.
It’s really hard to be a sex worker during a pandemic, so philly relief fund tries to help
It can be submitted by phone, paper application or online. A priority: listing any factors that might mean you need the money more than others, like unstable housing or a lack of government aid.
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