COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the long-standing disparity between nations around the globe. These inequalities disproportionately affect impoverished and marginalized groups in society, sex workers being the most
disadvantaged ones. COVID-19 has unfolded several conditions and magnified existing inequalities, especially on the hidden, marginalized, and vulnerable members of society. Thus, the study aims to understand the untold experiences and challenges of commercial sex workers.
A qualitative research method is used to address the objective of the study. We selected 7 female sex workers with a Snowballing sampling technique. Face-to-face interviews were conducted according to the agreed-upon timetable. Thematic qualitative data analysis is used to analyze the data collected from the participants.
Our research revealed that commercial sex workers are suffering from financial difficulties as a result of the current pandemic. Despite the pandemic, most sex workers returned to work after the restrictions are relaxed, but at very low wages, since they have no other source of income. Our respondents reported that they are feeling anxious about their health and safety, as they are unable to follow preventive measures due to the nature of their work. The pandemic, coupled with the lack of support from the government and the stigma from society has put commercial sex workers in a dire situation.
Our study concluded that sex workers have faced several challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Multi-sectoral collaboration is required to effectively respond to the impact of pandemics without compromising the lives of the most vulnerable populations. Read the full research report here.