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COVID-19 Updates

The latest news regarding how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the adult entertainment/sex industry and the individuals who work within it.

Sex Workers have been disproportionately affected by the crisis leading to the industry having to pull together to support each other. Below are links to hardship grants to support people throughout this time, please donate if you can. Useful resources/articles/blogs/project updates regarding the situation can also be found on this page.

Link to donate here.

Useful resources regarding the crisis here.

To find out more how to access help during this time click here.

Link to donate here.

Statement regarding what is needed to support sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic here.

How to take action here.

Access the latest news regarding the crisis here.

Link to donate here.

Link to apply for the hardship grant for sex workers in Ireland here.

Link to donate to Umbrella Lane here.



Tue, 26 January 2021 ICRSE Coordinator

ICRSE welcomes the inclusion of sex workers in the European Parliament resolution of 21 January 2021 on the EU Strategy for Gender Equality. In particular, ICRSE applauds the clear recognition by the European Parliament of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sex workers and their increased risk of poverty and human rights violations in this crisis. In this newly adopted resolution, the EP ‘urges the Commission to establish a concrete framework for the rights and protection of sex workers during and after a crisis; further insists on the importance of including measures and strategies that tackle the discrimination faced by sex workers in access to funding, housing, healthcare, education and other services’ . As documented by ICRSE, sex workers have been gravely impacted by the current health crisis. The exclusion of sex workers and the lack of recognition of sex work as work in many member states has limited European governments in providing adequate measures to sex workers’ communities. In many countries, including countries where the Swedish model of client criminalisation is implemented, sex workers were excluded from economic and social measures afforded to other workers or marginalised communities. ICRSE welcomes the timely recognition of the need to include measures and strategies beyond the COVID-19 crises to ensure sex workers rights are protected. Responses to the COVID-19 crisis and strategies addressing discrimination faced by sex workers must be developed and implemented through meaningful partnership with sex workers and their organisations. Whilst the report also includes problematic and ambiguous paragraphs conflating sexual exploitation and sex work, the wording by the European Parliament on sex workers’ rights marks an important step in recognising hardships faced by sex workers and the need to include sex workers and their organisations in any policy and law making. ICRSE is ready to assist the European Commission in developing strategies and measures addressing structural discrimination faced by sex workers.

Changing Lives - 2 new reports from Changing Lives regarding the impact of COVID-19:

NET REACH: Learning from online outreach with women selling sex during Covid-19

Changing Lives produced this report to highlight their concerns that a worrying number of women are advertising to sell or exchange sex, across specialist paid platforms as well as mainstream community selling pages, as a direct result of the financial hardship created by Covid-19. They are calling for action to support women with existing vulnerabilities such as homelessness, addiction and poverty, who consistently slip through the net.

Access the report below:

Net Reach Report- FINAL (1)
Download PDF • 1.10MB

Nowhere to Turn

Sexual violence among women selling sex and experiencing sexual exploitation during Covid-19

October 2020

This report looks at the impact of the first 4 months of Covid-19 lockdown on women accessing the services of Changing Lives, who have experience of selling sex and sexual exploitation. Data from related services across the country was analysed and showed a 62% increase in the number of women disclosing that they had experienced sexual violence – although there are reasons to believe that the actual figure is much higher than this.

Access the report here.

National Ugly Mugs

NUM has been working hard during the pandemic to support sex workers. In March they surveyed sex workers to find out what they most needed from NUM. Money and financial advice, health and well being support (including mental health support) and work advice were all cited. NUM secured funding, information and resources to help provide support, read more about it in their impact report.

Dr Caroline West

A fabulous podcast by the Host of the Glow West podcast & Covid Care Podcast, Freelance writer & Sex & Relationship expert at Bumble Ireland

Episode 6 of her podcast mini series the Covid Care podcast is out now and looks at the experiences of sex workers in Ireland during the first Covid-19 lockdown. Kate McGrew and Adeline Berry from Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) join her to explain how sex workers were cut off from financial support, how they interacted with clients and police, and how marginalised sex workers were supported by SWAI. Apple: Spotify: Bulletin - Sex Workers and COVID-19 - Media Coverage sent in by our network

ECP share a selection of media coverage, both national and international regarding COVID-19 and how it has affected people working within the sex industry, sent in by women within their network. Access it here.

The Multiplying Threats Facing Sex Workers Today

With many governments around the world imposing drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, sex workers have been pushed to the brink of financial desperation. Read an article here by Stacey-Leigh Manuel of the Open Society Foundations.

Sex work, Covid-19 and the UK lockdown

Paige Murphy and Tayler Hackett discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown on the lives of sex workers in the UK

Read the article here.

Can Sex Workers Survive COVID-19 When the Government Won't Give Aid?

Sex Workers' rights advocates have been demanding decriminalization of their work, but now under the pandemic regulations even legal forms of sex work like strip clubs have been targeted by the federal government and alienated from government aid.

Listen to the issues here.

ICRSE - International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe

Policy Demands - The Impact of COVID-19 on sex workers in Europe and Central Asia and recommendations for policy makers

Read the briefing paper here.

ICRSE and SWAN publish an Assessment on the Impact of COVID-19 on Sex Workers’ Access to Health Services in Europe and Central Asia

Read the Assessment here.

COVID-19 and its impact on sex workers: United Kingdom

In this video series from ICRSE, the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers,local sex workers rights activists summarise the situation for sex workers amidst the COVID-19 crisis

Watch the clip here.

Sex Work, Ending Demand, and 'We Told You So' in the Time of COVID

Sex Workers Alliance Ireland & DISCS

Sex Workers, like all workers, have been hit hard by the current crisis. But the reality is that the coronavirus has only exacerbated the existing difficulties faces by sex workers working in Ireland.

Covid-19: Health needs of sex workers are being sidelined, warn agencies

Sally Howard

Read the article here.

Resources - see our resources section for tips on how to work safely during COVID-19

Project/Services Updates

How have outreach projects maintained support for people in the sex industy?

MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health)

MASH_Coronavirus_v2 (1)
Download PDF • 1.39MB

Changing Lives GAP & MAP are working with Sunderland University to capture the impact covid19 has had on those selling sex. The survey for individuals who work within the adult entertainment/sex industry can be accessed here.


This link gives details of all of the sexual health and contraception services open in Newcastle during lockdown, including the New Croft Centre, Mesmac and Shine, as well as where you can get free condoms, femidoms, lube, DIY STI testing, online testing for HIV, pregnancy testing, contraception and emergency contraception.

Blog by Dr Natasha Mulvihill regarding the impact of the crisis on people in the sex industry here.

Coronavirus: Sex workers fear for their future

Vivienne Nunis

With social distancing rules in place and strip clubs and brothels closed, sex workers around the world have seen their incomes disappear almost overnight as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Fearing for their livelihoods, as well as their health, some are offering services online to keep their business going, while others are turning to charities for help.

Read the article here

and a 20 min radio broadcast here.


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