Emergency Relief for Sex Workers

The potential impacts of COVID-19 on SWers within so-called Australia

On top of the already precarious flow of income within the industry, many SWers in so-called Australia are experiencing financial stress because of COVID-19 panic. Many workers have to take time off to protect their wellbeing but cannot do so without risking their housing and access to food. Others are losing clients to the fear spread by the media and state. 

SWers do not receive paid sick days, nor is their income ever guaranteed, meaning many already live cheque to cheque. The additional weight of financial stress in a time of such uncertainty is emotionally exhausting and can flare chronic illnesses and PTSD. 


I decided to set up this relief fund after sharing a post asking if SWers were in need of financial support as I anticipated the panic surrounding COVID-19  may affect the income and wellbeing of many. Those who reached out expressing interest in a fund being set up were both known to me and had seen the post shared by friends.  

I'm currently self-isolating because I have CFS and am limited in my capacity to involve myself in physical mutual aid efforts. I decided organising financial aid would fit with my current abilities. 

Personal, structural and financial transparency

The intention of the fund is to provide financial aid to SWers adjacent to my immediate online community within so-called Australia. My reach is limited to my networks and I acknowledge that not everyone in need will be able to access this relief fund. The reach of this fund is not equipped to support the many variants of needs that SWers have. I encourage others to organise and fundraise within their immediate communities at their capacities. 

Due to my health and the nature of being a person existing in a very precarious moment in time, I have a limited capacity which is also impacted by the frequency of donations and the time it takes GoFundMe to release funds.

I'm aware of a few initial oversights I had, as well as my lack of diligence in being honest and transparent here. The fundraiser gathered a lot of steam before I was able to take a breath and reorganise my efforts. Thank you to the people who reached out to me with concerns about the structure and integrity of my organising, for keeping me in check and passing your learnt knowledges onto me. 

At the moment, the structure of fund distribution is as follows:

**Applications are currently closed as the internal structure is being reorganised**

Workers who are at risk of losing their housing, who have medical needs, have dependents or express an urgency to their situation are being prioritised. This process is led by the honesty of those applying for funds.  Those who feel they are less at risk will either receive the amount they have requested or a uniform amount. I’ve made the decision to cap payments at a maximum of $500 in order to ensure that everyone is looked after.  Currently, the sustainability of the fund depends on the frequency of donations and it doesn't have the capacity to provide for everyone who applies. 

The structure may change as better protocol arises, people join the organising efforts and workers advise me of best practice.

If any funds remain, they will be donated to Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance. 

Please email [email redacted] for more detailed information on financial transparency. 

Image by Kitty Chrystal

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River A
Melbourne VIC

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