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Sex Workers Among The Most Vulnerable Groups In Pakistan As Coronavirus Hits Livelihoods

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Sex workers in Pakistan will be one of the groups most vulnerable to the destructive effects of the Coronavirus pandemic – with their health and livelihoods both at risk. Due to the informal nature of their employment, they are unlikely to be covered by any of the relief programmes being offered to working people to help deal with the economic losses from the pandemic.

In an article for the Independent, writer Saba Karim Khan has mentioned some of the challenges that they will be facing. With regular clientele falling, sex workers may be forced to accept whatever opportunities they can get. Such earnings come with higher health and safety risks. The negotiating power of women in sex work decreases even further due to the pandemic.

It is likely that at least some women thus employed could turn to webcam-based work, but that avenue is likely to be limited. Digital access in the country is still not at the level where a web-based work environment could be a sustainable option.

Moreover, conservative religious social mores could get in the way of efforts to collect relief funds for sex workers struggling to survive in the pandemic.

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