Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
French sex workers are asking the government for an emergency bailout saying they are forced to break lockdown and work as they have no money to eat.
Associations representing French sex workers have reportedly been hit hard “by extreme financial insecurity” since the beginning of lockdown and are asking the government to create an emergency fund to help keep them off the streets.
Many reportedly do not want to break lockdown but say they have no choice but to take to the streets again to sell their bodies because they are out of cash and out of food.
The associations are appealing directly to French President Emmanuel Macron for help.
Anais de Lenclos, an “escort girl” in Paris who is also the spokesperson for the STRASS (Syndicat du Travail Sexuel; the Union for Sex Work) said: “Some women have no choice but to start working again when they actually do not want to break the lockdown.”
She added: “We are in a situation where we have nothing to eat and nothing to pay our rent with. We will soon end up in the street.”
She also said: “I think the government has completely failed and has not thought about precarious segments of the population that are literally dying of hunger.”
Lenclos said that “there is a demand. it is more rare but it is there. And clients take advantage of the situation to negotiate rates and practices…”
The Federation Parapluie Rouge (Red Umbrella Federation), which represents a number of health organisations for sex workers, has written a letter stating that “an emergency fund must be created in order to allow for the replacement of income during confinement, without any conditions” regarding whether or not the applicant is on French territory legally or not.
Sex workers are reportedly being kicked out of their apartments and hotel rooms because many cannot pay their bills or make rent and they do not qualify for the state’s 1,500-EUR (1,323-GBP) emergency compensation fund for freelance workers.
Fundraising initiatives have started to appear online, but the associations representing sex workers say “it is not enough, the state has to take responsibility too”.
The associations say it is the “only solution to prevent risk-taking associated with engaging in sex work.”
They added: “It is a question of public health, for us, but also for the customers, and the whole population.”
However, an unnamed member of the entourage of the Secretary of Equality between women and men, Marlene Schiappa, told the Huffington Post: “By definition, it is very complicated for the state to compensate a person who carries out an undeclared activity such as prostitution.”
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