Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis

March 30, 2020

The COVID-19 virus is a global crisis. There is not a single community that hasn’t been impacted by this pandemic. Businesses are shutting down, people are being laid off in droves, and the systems many of us depend on for survival have been suspended for the foreseeable future.

Sex workers are a financially vulnerable and criminalized community, and thus their lives are greatly impacted by times of uncertainty and strife. In the same way that the financial crisis has endangered the vocations of gig workers, street vendors, performers, and service workers, sex workers have seen their livelihoods turned upside-down in a matter of days.

Sex workers are incredibly resilient. Many are pivoting to online content, finding other ways to hustle and to survive. Community members and allies are sharing resources and establishing grant funds, organizing to prepare for the coming months. Organizations like SWOP BrooklynLysistrata Mutual Care Collective, and the Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Worker Support Network are working to provide emergency relief to those most in need. Others have created harm-reduction guides and social support resources for sex workers and allied communities.

DSW has created a database of relief materials, offering critical support in these uncertain times. Our COVID-19 Resource Guide can be accessed here. We urge you to email us additional resources and share the guide with your networks and anyone who might be in need.

From the DSW community to yours: stay safe, stay inside if you are able, and support one another. Now more than ever is a time for sex workers and allies to come together and show the world our strength.

This was the Red Umbrella Installation from the Sex Workers’ Pop-Up in New York City. The exhibition closed early to support NYC’s containment effort around COVID-19. (Photo: DSW, 2020)