09.04. | Corona-Virus: What Sex Workers (and Everyone Else) Should Be Aware of Now
A. The corona-virus in Germany
- The risk to the health of the general population currently estimated by Robert Koch Institute: high
- The risk to the health of people belonging to risk groups currently estimated by Robert Koch Institute: very high
- Number of confirmed infections in Germany: 108.202
- Number of confirmed deaths due to Corona in Germany: 2.107
—> Daily updated case numbers in the federal states and worldwide.
B. The situation for sex workers in Germany
Since mid-March, all prostitution facilities, brothels and similar establishments in Germany have been closed. According to the German government, all services close to the body that are not medically necessary are currently prohibited. In addition, many federal states and cities have explicitly banned all forms of prostitution. In our work we cannot keep a distance from our guests. Therefore the risk of infection is very high for us.
We understand that any kind of sex work with customer contact is prohibited until further notice. The BesD e.V. recommends sex workers in Germany to temporarily stop any activities that bring them into physical contact with clients.
- In the case of a violation of the current ban on prostitution, sex workers are threatened with disproportionately high fines – the BesD strongly opposes this. More about this in -> our press release.
- The BesD has successfully initiated a lifting of the ban on overnight stays in brothels during the Corona period. More about this in -> our press release.
- For sex workers* who fall through all safety nets and are not entitled to state aid, we have created the -> BesD Emergency Fund – you can find out more under „D. Financial Assistance“.
We know, of course, that many of our colleagues do not have sufficient savings and are urgently dependent on their income from sex work. Read more under „D. Financial Assistance“.
If you don’t see any other option and continue to meet customers in person, find a few tips to reduce your risk further down in this article under „E. Precautions“.
C. What is important to know now
As in other countries, we in Germany are currently trying to delay the spread of the virus with all our strength and a concerted effort from society. On the one hand, this is intended to protect people to whom the corona virus can be particularly harmful. On the other hand, it is essential to avoid overloading the health system as long as possible. The situation is serious.
The time gained will be used to develop protective measures for particularly vulnerable groups, increase treatment capacities and develop antiviral drugs and vaccines.
- We don’t want to get sick ourselves.
- We do not want our customers to get sick.
- Together we want to protect people for whom an infection can be particularly dangerous. We work and live together with many of them.
Particularly at risk are people who:
- have a chronic disease (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and diseases of the respiratory system, liver and kidney as well as cancer)
- are over 55 years old
Take special care, if you:
- live together with people over 55 years old
- live together with people suffering from chronic diseases
If you feel sick and suspect you’ve been infected:
Contact the health department in your area by telephone – regardless of whether you have health insurance or not. You can find the addresses and telephone numbers of the health departments at www.gesundheitsaemter-deutschland.de. Alternatively, you can also contact the hotline of the Independent Patient Advisory Service Germany or google your local Corona Hotline.
To reduce social contacts:
As part of the measures to restrict social contacts, citizens in Germany are required to reduce contacts with other people outside the members of their own household to an absolutely necessary minimum. Here you can find the current guidelines of the government. Stay at home if possible.
It is very important to practice good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze properly and to avoid close contact. The main transmission route of the viruses is happening via mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes) or indirectly via hands, which are then brought into contact with the mucous membranes. It helps to regularly wash your hands/use disinfectants and to avoid touching your own face. The most important tips for hygiene can be found at the website of infektionschutz.de (here is a direct download of information graphic in English).
D. Financial Assistance
The BesD is in close contact with counselling centres as well as local and national authorities. HERE you can find our constantly updated overview on state financial aid for sex workers.
If you are not entitled to basic income support or other state aid and are in an emergency situation:
Contact a counselling centre for sex workers in your town or region. They can refer you to the right places. You can find the addresses and telephone numbers of many of these counselling centres at www.bufas.net/mitglieder.
If state aid is not applicable, the counsellors can apply for a grant from the BesD Emergency Fund for you, or you can contact our team yourself via firstname.lastname@example.org.
It does not matter whether you are registered, or what your residence status is. Neither a „whore passport“ nor a membership with BesD is necessary to apply for help from our fund.
With a percentage of uninsured, already poor people and people without residence status, sex workers are hit particularly hard in the current crisis. Many of foreign sexworkers have been residing in brothels – since their sudden closure, many of them are homeless. They cannot return to their home countries at the moment as there are entry stops and in most cases there is no money for an unplanned trip anyway.
We also have a high percentage of people in sex work, who have just enough money to pay for food and rent. There is a percentage of survival sexwork. Combining lack of a personal financial emergency fund and the lack of entitlement to state benefits means, that even now, as the crisis is coming to a head, some people still have to engage in sex work and look for customers on the street or on the internet. The poorest of the poor are in existential difficulties due to the current crisis. They need immediate financial help to secure housing and food. In the current situation, no sex worker should (have to) continue to work out of money pressure and thus endanger her- or himself and others!
Therefore we have created the BesD Emergency Fund. All donations go to sex workers in emergency situations, who are not entitled to state aid. Please follow THIS LINK or click on the picture below, to learn more on how you can help.
E. Precautions for sex workers
What sex workers, who see no other possibility than to meet customers in person, should be aware of:
- Never accept clients with a cold, cough or other cold symptoms. If you notice that a customer has symptoms, decline the job.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 30 seconds or use an antiviral disinfectant spray on your hands.
- Ensure that each guest first washes their hands with soap for at least 30 seconds or, if necessary, uses an antiviral disinfectant spray on their hands.
F. Alternative earning opportunities
Webcamming, phone and direct chats as well as the sale of adult content (photos, videos) on platforms, where no physical contact takes place, are obvious choices within the industry. An exemplary selection of platforms are: adultwork, streamate, Big7, my dirty hobby, onlymevip, chaturbate, sexpanther or adulttime.
In our members‘ forum we exchange information about alternative earning opportunities and support each other. Here you can fill out the membership application form easily, anonymously and online – we also have a free trial membership.
G. More information
If you can read German, you can find the daily updated information – as well as all currently available answers to questions about the coronavirus and how to deal with it – on these official sites: Government | www.infektionsschutz.de. There are english versions of all articles from the Robert Koch Institute. In this (german) podcast Christian Drosten, Head of Virology at the Charité hospital in Berlin, provides daily updates on new developments.
Difference to influenza and other viruses:
- In contrast to seasonal influenza viruses, there is still no basic immunity to the new corona virus in the population.
- A specific therapy or vaccination directed against the corona virus is not yet available.
- More people can become infected more quickly.
- Particularly vulnerable groups are protected neither by drugs nor by vaccination.
- Depending on the spread of the infection, the available capacities and the countermeasures taken, a high burden on the health care system may arise.
- The symptoms of coronavirus differ from a cold/flu in that coronavirus is often accompanied by fever and dry cough, but rarely by a dripping nose.
In the long run, the corona virus – like the already known flu – will occur worldwide. The individual risk of falling seriously ill in the event of an infection still seems to be low. However, we now know that an infection with the new virus poses a higher risk, especially for the elderly and people with chronic illnesses, and increasingly leads to severe disease progression.
State of Research:
The danger of an infection draws its threat mainly from the fact that no immunity to it yet exists in our species. A specific therapy or vaccination against the novel coronavirus is not currently available, but international research – among others between the Health Security Committee of the EU, the Global Health Security Initiative of the G7 and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) – is working hard to develop a vaccine and research more about the virus.
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