ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Results from a Multistate Survey of Sex Workers

Sex Work, COVID-19, and Half-truths

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have affected informal labour markets in India at large. But how have they affected sex workers in particular? Going beyond the urban-centric reportage of exploited sex workers confined to brothels with no incomes and heavy debts, how were they affected and what were their coping strategies? In this paper, we draw upon the results of a multistate survey of female/male/ transgender sex workers to present a more realistic and nuanced narrative. In particular, we revisit and complicate some of the stereotypes concerning the immobility of sex workers within informal labour markets, their indebtedness, and bondage to informal creditors. At the same time, we draw attention to the much-needed support from the state in tiding over the pandemic-induced crises.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have affected informal labour markets in India at large. But how have they affected sex workers in particular? Going beyond the urban-centric reportage of exploited sex workers confined to brothels with no incomes and heavy debts, how were they affected and what were their coping strategies? In this paper, we draw upon the results of a multistate survey of female/male/transgender sex workers to present a more realistic and nuanced narrative. In particular, we revisit and complicate some of the stereotypes concerning the immobility of sex workers within informal labour markets, their indebtedness, and bondage to informal creditors. At the same time, we draw attention to the much-needed support from the state in tiding over the pandemic-induced crises.

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Updated On : 10th May, 2022
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