Survival crisis for Wien’s sex workers during the Corona times of struggle

With around 8000 sex workers legally registered in Austria, it comes as no surprise that the Corona Virus crisis hit the sex-working industry pretty hard.

Sex Club Maxim Wien

Summer 2020 – where are the clients of sex clubs?

Going back a few months, back to the ‘never-to-speak-of-again’ 2020, we find ourselves during the summertime – a time when sex workers were able to go back to their jobs and satisfy their clients again. But only for four measly months. And during these four months, the income of sex workers decreased a lot, due to a few reasons. For starters, tourism decreased by A LOT in Austria (as well as anywhere else) which meant less and less tourist clients for the girls.

And even the regulars of sex clubs were fewer – it became increasingly difficult for them to fulfill their desires – with work from home being instated, shorter working times and many other restrictions. So, many clients decided to stay at home rather than go to sex clubs…

Going forward to November 2020 – all sex working services (sex clubs, brothels, saunaclubs) were banned because of the increasing COVID infections all over Austria. This time is referred to as “dead pants” situation.

Enter – Shiva Prugger, the dominatrix and founder of Berufsvertretung Sexarbeit (BSÖ)

Prugger came with an uncanny idea, to found a legal and professional Sex Work Association that would help struggling sex workers. Thus, came to fruition Berufsvertretung Sexarbeit (BSÖ) with its current campaign – Heffen ist sexy which translates to Helping is sexy. The main focus of the campaign is to collect donations for needing sex workers.

With sex clubs being closed and sex workers banned from doing their jobs, things began to look bad for them. Also, they couldn’t apply for a hardship fund (as anyone else could) because they didn’t have an Austrian account number. The 8000 legally registered sex workers mentioned in the beginning? Almost all of them are not natives, they’re from all over Eastern Europe.

Prugger’s association has its main headquarters in the advice center, SOPHIE in Wien. The advice center itself already supplied 1000 sex workers with food provisions during the last year, from donations mostly.

We applaud Prugger’s initiative and are waiting for more good news from her organization.

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