“The sex work network we have been building is saving us during COVID-19”

Source (institute/publication)

OpenDemocracy has published an article from Graciela, a member of Ammar Cordoba, on their work supporting sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. AMMAR Córdoba​ is a sex worker-led organisation in Córdoba​, Argentina, fighting for human rights and access to labour protections.

In the article, Graciela outlines the unfairness of a career that does not give her access to a pension or social security, and the targeted violence sex workers experience at the hands of the state. She also emphasises the severity of the situation sex workers now find themselves in during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I and my four kids and two grandchildren are in extreme need, and it seems that our lives do not matter. All of us are informal workers and usually get paid under the table, so now we have no income.

My job as a sex worker brings in half the family’s income. We don’t even have the basics these days. We can’t buy food.”

In the absence of government support, the one thing saving sex workers in Córdoba, according to Graciela, is their support network.

"This is a big challenge. But this network has saved us during the lockdown. We have organised fundraising campaigns to get food and economic support. Ammar Cordoba started a campaign called: “Sex workers’ lives also matter”… Thanks to the network, I have learnt that my work is not illegal, that I have rights and that there are laws against police violence. I have learnt how to defend myself and avoid sexual exploitation.”

Read Graciela’s full interview on the openDemocracy website.