In Nevada, which reported its first confirmed death from coronavirus infection on Monday, the country's only legal brothels have been ordered to close, along with strip clubs, casinos, restaurants, gyms and other public gathering places.
addition, sex workers who take private clients have reported widespread cancellations, according to a report by McClatchy News.
But the crisis has not been confined to sex workers in the U.S.. According to an Associated Press report, the world's
supposedly oldest profession is suffering a sudden slump. Over the past week, business has gone down by 50 percent, Berlin brothel operator Johannes Marx told the AP. Another Berlin sex worker told the AP that, 90 percent of all dates are being
canceled anyway. As always, we're left to fend for ourselves.
Sex workers in Australia report a similar economic crisis due to the pandemic, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. There's no stimulus package available. We
don't have sick pay, we don't have annual leave, one sex worker identified only as Anya told the network.
Chatbots posing as sex workers engaged 15,000 people in conversations between 2016 and 2018 in response to a fake advert triggered by a search for sex online.
During a two-year period, a moralist campaign group, Seattle Against Slavery posted fake
online adverts that connected people with chatbots that initially posed as sex workers, before delivering a deterrence message. The campaign, which also involved placing more than 2m Google adverts warning people of the risks of buying sex online, led to
a 50% decline in online searches for keywords such as teen escort.
Robert Beiser, former executive director at Seattle Against Slavery, who is presenting the findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Seattle on
Friday, said: In a fairly short length of time we were able to reach hundreds of thousands of people who had searched for common terms. In Seattle, we were able to impact the marketplace pretty dramatically.
Between 2016 and 2018 the organisation also
began to post fake ads apparently offering sex that would appear in response to keyword searches. These would contain a mobile number to text, which would trigger a chatbot designed to pose as a sex worker. Beiser said that developing the chatbot was
quite straightforward because the conversations were so repetitive. There were lots of 'Hello, where are you? What do you do? Where can I meet you?', he said. The chatbot would sometimes add a little bit more colour to the conversation.
There's plenty of prostitution going on in D.C., and while streetwalkers are the most visible, escort agencies and well-hidden brothels abound -- and one city councilmember, David Grosso has been trying for the last two years to rid the city of the laws
that throw these sex workers in prison or rehab, giving them criminal records that can prevent them from getting other employment and/or certain city services.
Joining Grosso in sponsoring the sex work legalization bill, titled Reducing
Criminalization of Commercial Sex Act of 2019 , are fellow councilmembers Anita Bonds, Brianne K. Nadeau and Robert C. White, Jr. The current bill is a minor revamp of a version introduced in 2017, and while it makes clear that sex trafficking and
non-consensual sex should continue to be illegal, it would strike language from several sections from current law titled Prostitution; Pandering , which has been on the D.C. books since 1935.
The bill would also have the effect of
legalizing brothels in the city, and allowing sex workers to rent rooms for assignations.
Finally, the bill would require the D.C. mayor to establish a 15-member task force to study and make recommendations regarding the effects, both positive and
negative, of the current bill and to make recommendations regarding additional changes to the criminal penalties for commercial sex and to provide support for sex workers and others engaging in commercial sex in the District. It would also study the
impact of sex work on society, provide guidance to the mayor on improving sex workers' health and safety, including tracking violence leveled against them and their access to health and social services.
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