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Coronavirus: Offline sex workers forced to start again online

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Most sex workers meet customers in person. For them, the coronavirus spells economic ruin. “The virus is a disaster for client-facing businesses – and sex work is no different,” says Goddess Cleo, a dominatrix from London.

“Most of my income is generated from one-on-one sessions and events. I [normally] only make a bit of money through online avenues.” But like many others, Cleo has switched focus to digital since the lockdown came into effect.

“It’s not so hard for established cam girls like me to adapt to coronavirus. We’re used to working [online] and from home,” she adds.

But for many client-facing sex workers, moving online is not a simple solution.

“It’s not about flashing ya nipple and earning big bucks”, wrote UK sex worker Gracey on Twitter.

“It takes ages to gain an online following and even longer for [them] to buy your content.”

Using the online platforms means having to give them a cut of earnings. And there is a need to invest in equipment, including “tripod, decent lighting, sex toys, et cetera”, which can be challenging to acquire during the lockdown.

Some support is available to these workers. For example, Butterfly – an Asian and migrant sex worker support network – has published a Covid-19 guide that recommends sexual positions that minimise face-to-face contact, among other precautions.

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