Coronavirus: Out of business, money, lockdown brings sex workers in Thailand, Singapore, Germany on streets

With brothels closed and no means of earning money, sex workers especially in Thailand, Singapore and Germany have come on streets

Coronavirus lockdown has affected people from all walks of life. This measure off being under lockdown and quarantine is necessary to save one's life, but here is how it has affected the lives of sex workers in various countries.

With lockdown order, hotels, bars and clubs have been closed. Even if the shops are open, ban on tourists travelling to other countries especially Thailand, Singapore and Germany among other countries has made sex workers in these countries out of business. Most sex workers who hardly make enough for their families to survive are now at a point in life where they are out of business but need money to buy essentials.

Sex workers facing crisis


Many of the sex workers who are either trafficked or voluntarily join the work are from other countries and are stranded without money or means to survive. Though no census has been made of sex workers in Thailand by the government, it is estimated that there are at least 300,000 sex workers in the country. With hotels, bars and clubs closed, sex workers are said to have come to streets to make money for their living.

But it is also said that scare of virus spreading has let them with no customers and even other people are keeping them away as there is a notion that they are vulnerable to be carrying the virus. Recently the Thailand government had announced to give 5,000 baht ($150) for three months to those who have turned jobless under the emergency scheme. But this list of jobless people excludes sex workers as it cannot be proved as a formal employment.

According to Empower Foundation (an advocacy group for Thailand's sex worker), entertainment venues make around $6.4 billion a year by selling sex. Pattaya also is estimated to have 50,000 sex workers. Many are said to have returned to their home towns, but others who are stranded are trying to make a living by coming out on the streets.

Bangkok's Soi Cowboy is considered as a large red-light district that has more than 1,000 sex workers closed on March 17, leaving many of them on streets as they do not have a place to stay nor means to buy essentials. Meanwhile, the situation in Singapore is also not different as bars, nightclubs and cinemas are closed till April end.


Prostitution is legal in Germany for two decades attracting thousands of sex workers to the country. With lockdown and closure, thousands of sex workers are said t be stranded in Germany. Most of the have become homeless as brothels have been closed down. Sex workers in Germany not only pay tax but are also entitled to financial assistance from a government fund to help freelancers.

According to Association for Erotic and Sexual Services Providers, the estimated number of prostitutes in Germany goes up to 200,000 and at least 80 percent of them are from foreign countries including Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and Ukraine.

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