Biography & Net Worth: How sex workers navigated pandemic rescue efforts

Sex, tax, COVID-19: how sex workers navigate pandemic rescue operations

Some of the tools sex workers trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credits: Ryan Conrad, Courtesy of the author

With COVID-19 keeping Canadians at home and many leaving their jobs, people in many areas were confused about which income replacement program they were eligible for.

Sex workers in particular – the unstable legal situation and de facto criminalization – seem to have never been explained in any program.

Several progressive organization scholars pointed out that sex workers are likely to be excluded from new programs such as Canada’s Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) and the redesigned unemployment insurance (EI) system.

Both had to file income tax returns in 2019 due income of at least $5,000. Because of the stigma and fear, sex worker-led emergency mutual aid funds were created across Canada.

As a member of an organization that implements this type of emergency financial assistance for sex workers, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of COVID-19 on their financial security. However, over time, as income replacement programs evolved, they began to question the notion that sex workers were not accessing these programs.

our study

Cooperation with Ottawa Prostitutes – Work, Education, Resistance (Power) We have received a small grant to investigate sex workers in Metro Manila. We created a small bilingual survey that asks sex workers about working conditions during COVID-19, access to social safety net programs (old and new) and tax filing habits.

Survey started in June 2021, 304 surveys were completed in 6 weeks.

A full detailed report on the findings will be published soon, but some preliminary results are timely and will be useful for future policies, so I want to share them. As sex workers fighting to de-criminalize the industry, we will come back to the Supreme Court at any time and the social safety net program is evolving and we need to share this information.

Percentage of participants who filed income tax in 2019. Credits: Ryan Conrad and Emma McKenna

sex workers and taxes

There is a lot of speculation about whether sex workers file income tax – often because of the fear of criminalization or stigma attached to working in the industry. And unfortunately, it’s hard to find data on sex workers’ tax filing habits.

While many researchers focus on the sexual health and physical safety of sex workers, others confuse sex work with trafficking. Overview of Power The research repository itself shows this. Thankfully, there is growing research into the working conditions of Canadian sex workers to which our research contributes.

Like workers in other sectors, sex workers are a heterogeneous group. Some work full time, some work part time, and some work casually as gig workers. Some operate as small business owners while others are working in third parties.

76.6% of survey respondents reported sex work as their primary source of income, 16.3% as supplementary income, and 7% reported sex work as occasional gig work.

According to our data, about 75 percent of these workers earn income tax. Not all sex workers take all their income from sex work, but most of them say so. These findings directly refute the anecdotal claim that sex workers do not file taxes.

The majority of sex workers in our survey said they regularly file income tax, which is a regular part of their business practices. Some workers say that by focusing on income, they have gained access to other income-related resources, including social support and social safety net programs such as mortgage contracts. ,

For less than 25% of sex workers in this study, claiming income from sex work remains difficult. He said taxes cause worry, fear and anxiety, as many people are concerned about the impact of their tax returns. Income related to legal and illegal activity.

Sex, tax, COVID-19: how sex workers navigate pandemic rescue operations

Percentage of participants using the social safety net in 2020-21. Credits: Ryan Conrad and Emma McKenna

sex workers and CERB

Before the pandemic, 41% of survey respondents reported that at some point in the past, they had access to social safety net programs (such as EI and disability). This shows that a large number of sex workers have successfully conducted social safety net programs at the federal and state levels.

Between the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 and the end of the survey in July 2021, respondents using social safety nets or the new emergency relief program received one or more financial aid. I reported.

Nearly half of the respondents (48.5%) used CERB at some point in the first year of the pandemic, while another 54.5% experienced periods of non-financial support. Overall, only a quarter (23%) of respondents said they never quit their jobs, despite the risks.

what will happen next

This study shows how diverse sex workers are and cannot talk about them as a monolithic group. Working in the stigmatized and criminal sectors of the economy requires skill, knowledge and nerves. It reveals how sex workers carried out both epidemic and rescue operations in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

As the pandemic progresses, more sex workers will continue to have access to the social safety net. These workers are aware of their rights and demand that they be included in future policies.


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Citation: gender, taxes, COVID-19: how sex workers advance pandemic relief efforts (December 14, 2021) https://phys.org/news/2021-12-sex-taxes on December 14, 2021-covid-workers – pandemic.html

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