In the days of quarantine and social distancing, something as intimate as sex work has been been dramatically affected. Amid the worldwide pandemic, many sex workers are having forced to decide between protecting their health and earning money.
As the series of lockdowns began in India, hundreds and thousands of sex workers across the country have been rendered jobless. The sex workers who belong to the lower economic strata and are abandoned by their biological family due to gender non-conformity are the ones most severely affected by the pandemic. Many of them are struggling to meet their financial needs and many are dealing with severe mental health conditions. Many cases have been reported where the sex workers are abused by their alcoholic partners due to their inability to bring home any money. Domestic violence and abuse has become one of the major issues faced by the sex workers during Covid-19 pandemic.
Amid the distress, the sex workers have found a new way to continue earning their living. Virtual sex work has become the new normal instead of traditional sex work, where the sex workers are using the internet to provide sex services. While many are making use of the internet, many don’t have the knowledge or the accessibility to such technology. This has also brought in many privacy concerns for the sex workers. From sharing personal details with unknown people, not having the private space to make their content to hiding their faces, scared of being recorded and their identity being revealed. They are also earning very little as compared to their traditional sex work and are often scammed by the clients and this has posed numerous concerns about their future.
From being ostracized by the society to being unrecognized by the government, the sex workers in India have suffered a lot. Even though many activists and NGO’s have offered a helping hand towards this community, the government is yet to show some solid actions.
Visuals by : Kunal Kaustav Duwarah
Article by: Dipakshi Goswami, The North-Eastern Chronicle