In May, Sex Work Donor Collaborative (SWDC) and Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) ran a global webinar to share sex workers’ experiences of COVID-19 and what funders can do to support the movement. View the webinar below or on the NSWP YouTube channel.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated sex worker communities across the globe. Even in the pre-pandemic world, many sex workers struggled to pay for rent or food, access healthcare, or live free from violence, discrimination, and criminalisation. The pandemic means that now many sex workers have to choose between risking exposure by continuing to work and not being able to pay for basic needs. Humanitarian and governmental aid does not reach most sex workers, particularly migrant and undocumented sex workers, leaving them without any means of support in this crisis. Authoritarian governments are using this moment to close public spaces, erode democracy and attack human rights. Sex workers are among the worst impacted by both the pandemic and the response.
Sex worker movements have built solidarity and have the capacity to support their communities, if they have adequate resources and support. Sex workers were some of the very first to set up mutual aid funds to share resources, are experts in harm reduction and prevention, and have long used internet platforms to increase their safety. Our philanthropic pandemic response is incomplete unless we are listening to sex workers. We have an opportunity now to transform our grantmaking – for a more resilient, just, and compassionate world for sex workers and for us all.
Moderator: Erin Williams, Global Fund for Women
Cleopatra Kambugu of UHAI-EASHRI
KayThi Win, President NSWP
Ruth Morgan Thomas, Global Coordinator NSWP
Voices of Sex Workers From Around the World:
Grace Kamau, African Sex Worker Alliance (ASWA)
Jules Kim, Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)
Trajche Janushev, Sex Worker Advocacy Network (SWAN)
Leida Portal, Plataforma LatinoAmerica de Personas que EjeRcen el Trabajo Sexual (PLAPERTS)
Ceyenne Doroshow, GLITS Inc., SWOP-USA and SWOP behind Bars