MADRID – It is evident that the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s lives. The fact that prostitutes are also suffering from the pandemic is less visible due to the nature of their work.
A Spanish survey of prostitutes in five autonomous regions aims to change that, revealing how Covid-19 has affected the hidden world of prostitution. The survey shows that the living standards of the women surveyed have fallen significantly since the start of the pandemic. Moreover, few of them have faith in a better future.
Women mainly of foreign descent
The study was carried out by the association “In Género” and was presented in Albacete on Wednesday. The work is based on surveys of prostitutes from Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Madrid, Andalucia and Extremadura. Most of the respondents are of foreign descent. The prostitutes mainly come from Colombia, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and Romania and have an average age of 38 years. Their work experience is between five and ten years.
According to this study, the arrival of the pandemic has often forced women to change the place where they prostitute themselves. They used to work mainly in clubs. More than half of the prostitutes surveyed indicate that they now carry out their work in apartments. Whereas, before the arrival of Covid-19, this was 36%.
Many prostitutes could not cover basic costs
Moreover, the pandemic has hit them hard in their wallets. 54.8% of those surveyed say they have been unable to cover the cost of housing, rent and necessities during the pandemic. 17% have even stopped prostitution in the past year. About 80% have less income than before. Before the pandemic, they earned between €1,000 and €2,000 per month and now that amount varies between €500 and €1,000. In addition, 57% of those surveyed have had to cut rates for sexual services.
On the other hand, only 6% of these women have been able to continue sending the same amount as before the pandemic to their families in their country of origin. 64.1% have needed some form of social assistance.
Hygiene measures well followed
On the positive side, more than 80% say they have not been infected with covid and that the majority of women adhere to hygiene measures (use of a mask and hydro alcoholic gel) when contacting their customers.
A gloomy picture of the future
However, they do not think positively about their future. Just over 50% think their lives will be the same or worse than before the pandemic. 33% have a more optimistic view and think it will be better.
No assistance so dependent on food bank
Miguel Angel del Olmo, the spokesperson for researchers, concludes that “with the closure of the hostess clubs, 80% of prostitutes have been left without work or social assistance, the majority are immigrants. They have experienced an unprecedented social emergency, with an increase in their vulnerability because while some depended on their family and friends, others were left alone and had to resort to institutions such as food banks.