Since March 17 2020, sex work has been prohibited in Austria, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means talking about more than 3,500 people only in Wien, who stayed, from one day to the next, without their financial income. The business opening measures taken in early May by the Austrian government did not cover sex work. A task that in itself every year has to face growing restrictive and prohibitive policies, harassment and police violence, rejection and social judgment. The international whore day or international sex worker´s day, is celebrated annually on June 2 of each year, honoring sex workers and recognizing their often exploited working conditions. The date commemorates the occupation of the Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon by more than a hundred sex workers on June 2, 1975, to draw attention to their inhumane working conditions. It has been celebrated since 1976. This date and the demands that accompany it, always remind me of the demands that women have been making every year for decades: respect, equality, recognition of our work, payment and dignified conditions.
I, Jenny Olaya-Peickner, spoke with Kelly, sex worker and activist of the Red Edition association and Renate Blum from LEFÖ, about the situation of sex workers in Austria in the days of Covid-19. At the time of the interview with Renate Blum, May 18, the specific situation regarding sex work was: On April 30th, the law that sex workers could not work until June 30th came out. What it means de facto, a work ban of almost four months and which does not guarantee either, that with the first of July the sex workers can return to their work.
Kelly von Red Edition und Renate Blum von LEFÖ