Advocates for sex workers and bar hostesses are currently fighting against the Japanese government’s decision to exclude vulnerable workers from receiving coronavirus stipends for parents unable to work during school closures.
Japan Times reported that a support group had sent a letter on behalf of all marginalized workers, arguing that all affected workers should receive benefits while they’re unable to work due to the pandemic.
The Japanese government has arranged payments of ¥4,100 ($38) a day to those unable to work between February 27 to June 30 due to school closures.
In spite of the handouts, the government decided not to include the sex and hostess industries due to prior issues surrounding illegality and legal grey areas associated with the form of employment.
On this point, a labor ministry official said, “Not just with this particular assistance program, but with all subsidy programs regarding employment, people in these types of occupations are ineligible. We determined that it would be inappropriate to use public funds to subsidize even business operators who have obtained legal permission under the Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business, etc.”
Lawyer Asuka Yasui, who has been offering consultations to sex and adult entertainment industry workers, has seen his consultations triple in March.
Yasui inquired about “applying peacetime requisites at a time of an emergency like the new coronavirus outbreak,” while signaling how sex work has become something of a social safety net for women in disaffected rural areas where the minimum wage remains relatively low.
However, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike demanded patrons to stay away from such nightly venues, saying: “There are many cases in which it is speculated that people have contracted the virus at establishments operating at nighttime.”
According to Mainichi, the Cabakura Union, which operates on behalf of sex workers, said the following in statement: “Particularly in the service industry and among nighttime occupations, the slump in business will become even harsher. Without any compensation or benefits, all we can do is to wait for our lives to collapse.”
While SWASH, a sex worker organization, said: “the right to life of all parents and children should be protected.”
Despite sending a request on April 2 for the Japanese Labor Ministry to reconsider their decision, at a press conference on April 3 Labor Minister, Katsunobu Kato, said he had no intention to review the current payment arrangement.
Sex workers on every single continent–except Antarctica–have demanded action from their government to assist them financially during a time of social distancing within the global pandemic.
National File reported:
The coronavirus has hit people around the world hard–especially hard. Although elderly patients and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk from the deadly Covid-19, a new demographic has come out seeking financial assistance during the global pandemic.
Sex workers across the world are asking for all forms of help during a time where quarantines are enforced and social distancing is the order of the day.
Promiscuity has become increasingly frowned upon as people attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Now, sex workers in every single continent–with the exception of Antarctica–have announced either suspension of services or requests for financial at a time were their client base has dried up.