The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the livelihood of many workers, particularly those who work in unprotected industries and lack access to traditional forms of income support and employment-related benefits. This pandemic has been especially devastating for sex workers who are unable to work – many of whom are experiencing a drastic loss of income without employement benefits, sick days, EI, and facing barriers to federal financial support programs. Without supports, sex workers find themselves trying to balance between self-isolating versus putting themselves at risk to continue meeting clients (some of whom are taking advantage of the situation to pressure workers for higher risk services for lower wages).
In the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis our sex working communities are struggling to access basic services and protections without facing stigma, violence, shame or barriers. This is especially true for sex workers who are homeless or do not have safe housing, are Indigenous and/or racialized, are trans, two spirit and non-binary, are surviving violence in their home, have precarious immigration status, and for sex workers who are living with chronic illness or disabilities.
With the help of some generous donations and emergency funding, Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) has established a COVID-19 Sex Worker Relief Fund to directly support sex workers during this difficult time. This SHOP Relief Fund will be used to help sex workers most affected by the pandemic continue to stay housed, pay bills, put food on the table, and survive the pandemic.
If you are a sex worker living in St. John’s or surrounding communities who identifies as a woman or a marginalized gender, and you would like to apply to the SHOP Sex Worker Relief Fund, please fill out our online application form (on your own or with the help of someone else), or get in contact with SHOP staff if you do not have access to the internet. We’re currently able to offer one-time funding and applications will remain open until we’ve reached capacity. If additional funds are available, we will update this on our social media. The form can be reached at the link embedded above, or by copying and pasting the following into your browser: shorturl.at/huQUZ
If you would like to contribute and donate to this fund, please visit the Canada Helps page of the St. John’s Women’s Centre and specify that you’d like the funds to go to “Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP)”. All donations during this time will go directly to sex workers in need, with the goal of prioritizing members of our community who have been most affected. The more donations we receive, the more people we can support. Help ensure that no one is left behind during this pandemic. Please consider making a donation, and share this widely!
For more information about this Relief Fund, please contact:
SHOP Program Coordinator