Sex worker rights organisation Scarlet Alliance and their community of state and territory member organisations have joined together to launch an ongoing mutual aid fund to support sex workers struggling through income insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Delta Variant lockdown.
Launched in partnership with community platform Chuffed.org, the organisations are seeking a donation target of $100,000 which will be made directly available as weekly payments to sex workers struggling with a loss of income.
At the time of writing, the fund has accumulated $31,500 in donations.
Scarlet Alliance is the national peak body of sex workers and sex worker organisations in Australia. They advocate for the health and safety, self-determination and human rights of sex workers.
“We make your donations directly available to sex workers who need emergency financial relief in order to support them to stay safe, housed and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chuffed have written.
“This fund is being overseen by sex worker organisations and run by sex worker organisation staff and volunteers across Australia. All money donated goes directly to sex workers in need”.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on sex workers, continuing to cause snap lockdowns and other restrictions that impact sex workers’ incomes, including the recent restrictions for regional and urban sex workers in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
Sex workers don’t have access to sick pay and holiday pay, and many have no superannuation or savings to fall back on.
The stigma and discrimination sex workers face leads to difficulty accessing government support, and the nature of sex work can make it impossible to prove lost earnings.
While Scarlet Alliance have said that they stand behind health guidance and lockdown regulations, Government restrictions have left many sex workers without income. This loss directly impacts sex workers’ ability to maintain housing, buy food and essential items, support their dependents, and access healthcare and prescriptions.
This fundraiser provides emergency relief for sex workers currently unable to work under COVID-19 restrictions that do not meet government or other financial support eligibility criteria.
Relief applications are assessed regularly, and payments are administered weekly through a transparent sex worker-led organisation structure. Allocation is dependent on funds donated at that time.
Scarlet Alliance member organisations provide services, events, peer education, networking and other forms of support in each state and territory of Australia.
They are a sex worker-led, community-driven organisation with over three decades experience in health promotion and sex worker rights.