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New Yorker writer has the sads: “Sex workers” don’t qualify for coronavirus aid

May 26, 2020

prostitute.jpg

Image: Adam Smith Institute

Coronavirus! Ho’s “Sex workers” hardest hit!

Only in the New Yorker: “The Fragile Existence of Sex Workers During the Pandemic”

By late March, most of New York’s strip clubs had shut down—clubs in much of the rest of the country did, too—and, now, like hundreds of thousands of other workers, at the very least, in the sex industry, dancers are facing not only a drop in employment but also discrimination and stigma as they search for relief….

Like undocumented workers who are barred from getting government benefits in exchange for their labor, and prison laborers who receive little consideration of their rights as workers, sex workers have few places to turn for help. Federal law bars the issuance of disaster loans and grant assistance to applicants who “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature” or who earn income “through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature.” Strippers, pornography performers, and owners of sex-toy and other adult-entertainment businesses are ineligible. Sex workers who make their money on the street and cannot access public assistance are also wary of trying to access social services, for fear of being arrested.

We need to change the law so we taxpayers can subsidize out-of-work streetwalkers.

Not to mention out-of-work “pornography performers.”

Why? Because capitalism.

Sex is unlike any other commodity. It is, for some people, tied to emotional beliefs about morality and pleasure and power. It is, for many others, tied to those same things, but it can be transactional and unsentimental, too—a service. Despite many parts of the sex business becoming legal, its laborers still see themselves either glamorized in popular culture as high-earning hustlers or portrayed as victims of trauma and manipulation. Political and social stigmas limit the recognition of their basic rights as workers. “People don’t realize that most labor is exploitative under capitalism,” Meagan, an organizer and former escort and stripper in Washington State, told me. “Looking at sex work from a puritanical view is deeply ingrained in society.”

My favorite “sex worker” in the article: Maya.

Maya, a sex worker and undocumented immigrant from Honduras, has worked on and off for several years in different sectors of the industry, from pornography to full-service escorting. When President Trump entered office, in 2017, and threatened to disband the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, of which Maya is a recipient, she decided to restart sex work and go into it full time. “I wanted to insure that, if I lost my right to work, I would still be able to earn an income underground and survive,” she said. It also lets her pay her DACA renewal fees. Undocumented people who are found prostituting, which is classified as a misdemeanor in the state of New York, can be arrested and deported.

Let’s see now: Maya is an illegal immigrant pursuing an illegal occupation. But it would be mean to deport her! Oh, and she’s also a DACA “dreamer.” People like Maya are why we have DACA.

Another “sex worker”‘s woes:

One young single mother, who works as an escort and performs in Internet pornography in California, told me that most women she knew in the industry were trying to provide for their families. “They grew up in poverty, and they want to make sure their kids don’t have that same life style,” she said. She added that she was trying to decide if she could safely break quarantine and see clients by letting her daughter stay with a relative; every time she posts an advertisement, she becomes anxious and takes it down.

And if being a “sex worker” and a mother at the same time weren’t hard enough:

As states reopen, the most marginal workers in the sex industry will have to endanger their health to survive.

I have an idea for these ladies: Get out of “sex work” and do something useful for a change. But nah, that’s too “puritanical.”

Posted by Charlotte Allen

From → Uncategorized

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