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Sex Workers are Asking to be Declared 'Essential' and Allowed to Get Back on the Job

Source - Australia's peak sex worker organisation the Scarlet Alliance has warned against police "targeting" sex workers as the impact of the coronavirus lockdown continues to hamper the industry.

Restrictions on travel and "non-essential" visits have been hitting hard for people like Paige*, who has been a sex worker "on and off" for five years.

It's her major source of income, but as a subcontractor, she only gets paid if she gets a booking and for the past couple of months, bookings have for obvious reasons dried up.

However, Paige told she supported the government's measures.

"The less people violating social distancing regulations, the less time it will take to flatten the curve," she said. ...

While preventing the unwelcome return of the government's intervention into the sex lives of consenting adults, the grey area left is even less clear for Paige and other sex workers. 

She believes in some cases, sex work should be considered an essential service – particularly if the client is "physically or mentally challenged".

"All people deserve to feel loved in any capacity," she said.

Admit it. While all of us have been worried, and rightly so, about our health care workers, first responders, and out-of-work members of our service industries, we haven't given much thought at all to how the shutdown is affecting our neighbors in the prostitution business. And sure, you can argue that sex work is some sort of a luxury we can live without, Paige* here has a good point. Tell that to someone who can't get sex on their own. Either because they're physically or mentally challenged. Or even if they're just ugly or otherwise not appealing. And what if they simply don't have the means to take care of business on their own. It's like that old expression, I wept because I had no one to give me a handjob; Then I met a man who had no hands. 

I'm not advocation we just suspend all the guidelines of social distancing for Paige and her co-workers. But they deserve some sort of consideration. We can't just shut them down. Their work is important. After all, they're having the sex with the men no one will have sex with for free. Besides, theirs is a cash business, so it's not as if they'll be getting a check from the IRS transferred into the bank account they used the last time they filed a 1040. That's one more stimulus they're missing out on in all this.

So maybe we as a society can figure out a way to let the sex workers earn a living in a responsible way. Drive thru handies with all the proper PPE. Reach-arounds so they and their clients aren't breathing the same pathogens.  Hazmat-suited dry humps. Footjobs, if that's your thing. Toys attached to the ends of six-foot poles. Let them get creative in ways that flatten the curve while putting their own curves to good use. But regardless, when all this is behind us, we're all going to have to pitch in and help these workers get back off their feet. Best of luck to Paige and everyone in the Scarlett Alliance. Be safe and this will all blow over in time.