Thousands of sex workers are facing hunger and the threat of being beaten by their pimps due to the coronavirus pandemic, said a Reuters report. 

Sex workers in Bangladesh are currently experiencing hardship due to the pandemic, said a UN Aids report. 

It has already been three months since the country closed its borders to prevent the spread of the virus 

There are currently 100,000 sex workers in Bangladesh, said Reuters. Charities working with them estimate that 7 out of them are having a hard time to survive. 

The lockdown affected the sex workers like other informal sector workers, said UN. Due to the fact, that the sector lost their source of income.

In addition, relief services and social support is difficult to access.

However, the situation is worse for sex workers on the streets because most of them don’t have their own houses.   

KSM Tarique, deputy director of the Bangladesh-based NGO Lighthouse said many workers lack food. In addition, complaints about violence and abuse have considerably increased. 

“In January and February, we used to get 7 to 10 complaints per week,” he said. However, by May, the complaints increased and from 7-10, it became more than 200. 

The reason for the increase is due to the lockdowns, Tarique said. Moreover, various groups verbally abuse or beat sex workers, working in the streets.

Another reason for the increase is because of the physical abuse sex workers experience inside the brothels. Pimps beat the workers staying in the brothers if they cannot pay them.

Sex Work After Lockdown

Although the lockdown restrictions have already been lifted, the sex work industry is still down, as per Reuters. 

The Bangladesh government said that they are coordinating with charities to help support workers. 

In fact, they distributed food to registered brothels during the lockdown. Recently, they distributed rice to the 1,300 sex workers in Daulatdia, one of the world’s largest brothel. 

However, charities said that the government has to do more to help sex workers who are working in unregistered brothels.

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