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Suddenly, many of our lives consist mostly of unending video calls and being apocalyptically horny in an indefinitely unfulfillable way. We may as well make the best of it and get creative. Like many workers, strippers were being forced to go into work before the lockdown even when it was unadvisable. Many strip club bosses wanted to keep earning money from house fees the money strippers pay to work , even though there were few or no customers, and many workers were finishing shifts having made little or nothing — or even in debt to the club.
Some were fined for not coming into work when unwell. Like many out-of-work strippers and other sex workers, Gemma has started doing online sex work to make some money. It would be diverse and exciting, and it would be safe. She feels that organising a collective-run event has felt better than using established sex work platforms, though.
As is always the case with online work, the centre of power lies with the tech giants running the platforms. Zoom has been criticised in recent weeks for being less secure than its founders made out, with no end-to-end encryption and easy-access for trolls. Transgender activist, musician and writer Evan Greer says that sex workers online face additional threats because of criminalisation and harassment.
Greer is currently running a campaign with Fight for the Future to get Zoom to fix its shortcomings and keep users safe. The reality is that enormous numbers of people in all kinds of industries have no choice but to use video conferencing platforms like Zoom in order to continue working and supporting themselves during this crisis. The union has been a lifeline for many sex workers at this time of crisis. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.
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