translated from Spanish: The pandemic: virtual sex for some and anguish for all

The pandemic paused pretty much everything. The global situation regarding coronavirus left millions of people disoriented and unable to reactivate their activities, projects and pleasures. And while there are many professions that were able to adapt to virtuality to continue producing, many others did not. Prostitution and sex work, for example, are dying today as it is the street’s their everyday scenario and is, in turn, where you can’t be. Still, the options for whores to generate income in this context, exist as long as they have the necessary tools to be able to do so. In general, such tools (cellular, workspace, Internet connection) are expensive and inaccessible. Many of the sex workers or prostitutes live in pensions and earn to survive day by day. Before we start telling you the story of Nadia Karenina, some pertinent clarifications. Whenever these issues are discussed, intense frictions and debates arise within feminisms as sex work and abolitionism are one of the key discussions within the movement. In this note you will find the voices of three whores and definitions as «sex work» and «prostitution situation» divided because I think they are different things. On the one hand, there are and exist those who choose to be part of the Association of Meretric Women of Argentina (Ammar) and decide, on a daily basis, to work and offer a service related to the sex market. We refer to them as sex workers, beyond the recognition of them as such from the State and are not given the security and rights of formal work. On the other hand, women who are in prostitution because they want but cannot work for anything else. Because this system didn’t give them opportunities to develop some other kind of trade and they basically need to labble to survive. Having done these pertinent «footnotes» and with a very complex situation outside, both whores and women in prostitution are now in trouble and many of the conflicts exist because of the marginality in which they carry out their work. Eat and at home

Nadia Karenina by Agustina Sandoz.

The street, in addition to being hostile at the time of work, today became a forbidden place. That’s why some sex workers chose to adapt to the virtual world and transform it into their main livelihood.         «I work as a whore more than four years ago, I have built a profile marked or image created based on the practices that I make, which has perhaps more to do with the BDSM, but as I also like the challenges. If you want me to dress like Barbarella and read you a poem by Alejandra Pizarnik while I have a vibrator on inside my underwear, see me sending you a happy birthday dressed in my Japanese seifuku and playing with a lunar scepter, or humiliating you by having the very small and comparing it to objects telling you that it’s going to be impossible for you to please me, too. This is how Nadia Karenina (@karenyna.x) presents he is, who today, unable to perform her work in person, works only recording porn videos, hot photos and fulfilling the fantasy to hundreds of people from home. Karenina is, in addition to a sex worker, image and sound editor and during this pandemic found her turn and not only records but also edits her own content. «I’m a sex worker in general, doing porn and everything about capitalizing on erotic is also sex work. In addition to making face-to-face encounters, he’s been making personalized virtual content. But during quarantine, it became impossible to continue the encounters, so many people who exercised face-to-face sex work had to look for other strategies to survive. In this case it was to turn full to the virtual,» he explains. Plate in hand? Another story

Nadia Karenina by Agustina Sandoz.

Chaturbate and Cam4 are two of the most used mainstream pages in our country and while the system to consume this type of services is basic and intuitive, when we talk about monetizing on these platforms, it is usually a difficulty for those who work on them. «I have recorded videos that buy me through MercadoPago and send me by Google Drive», explains Nadia and adds: «I when selling a service like a video call or selling photos, I can use these methods, the theme is that when I have to ‘camear’ on a foreign page that pays in dollars, there are certain cards that are enabled to work with certain pages and not all, then it is complex». Most of the platforms used by sex workers are U.S. portals, and in that country, in the wake of the FOSTA SESTA Act, virtual sex work is very difficult to practice. FOSTA stands for Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and SESTA is the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The purpose of this law passed by President Donald Trump on April 11, 2018, is to combat human trafficking for sexual exploitation and its online offering. But as is often the case with the rules that seek to attack and fight against human trafficking, who are also harmed by its application, are sex workers. If his work was already marginal because it was not considered work, with this type of regulations, the difficulties in carrying out the work, multiply. «The law censors and prohibits the virtual sex trade by not knowing how to discern sex work from sexual exploitation or human trafficking. Today I’m working little of that because you work for a penny. And besides, you’re only collecting from the time you get to a hundred bucks, just there you can take the money out of the bank with these cards. And if that adds that in our country the exchange rate system is also complex, worse,» he explains. It’s harder to understand a webcamer’s collection system than to show your ass live,» ironic resume, Nadia.But those platforms aren’t the only option to generate content. There are everything from erotic videos, porns that fulfill endless fantasies to audios with groans, voices, readings or just talks. The world of virtual sex work is wide, although the collection, for example with the Payment Market app, also has its traps. «If Mercado Pago finds out where that money is coming from, they’ll shut your account and chau, say goodbye to that money,» the sex worker clarifies.  It’s not just any context. Outside there is and breathes a pandemic that left everyone locked up, in isolation and, in many cases, in great solitude. That’s why, while fear and alertness can have disastrous consequences on our libido, there is also a lot of push to consume such services. «Porn is entertainment: just as you pay Netflix or Spotify, you also pay someone for their service to generate content for your own enjoyment,» says Nadia. How hard it is to inhabit the margins

While she found in virtuality a place where she can work and generate some kind of income, she clarifies over and over again that it is not the same job or the same gain. «I earned a lot more working in person per hour than selling my virtual content. I find it more exhausting to think of the whole perfo of being in front of a screen, predisposed, with my best face, than to carry an agenda where I know that such a day I will see a client», explains.» The lack of physical contact by quarantine shows the loneliness of people but also leaves us expuestx and vulnerable to those of us who are engaged in integral sex work, by not having a job recognition or rights, we had to find another way to solve our economy,» he says. During this pandemic, the situation of sex workers and prostitutes went from terrible to tragic. And while some solidarity plans were activated since the state, many whores are now evicted from the pensions where they live. That’s why, on this note, I didn’t want to stop adding their voices. The voices of those who work on the street and who today cannot do so, of those who are in total vulnerability to a historical global reality like this. «The situation is emergency. Not being able to go out on the ground and live half a day to day, we have a lot of uncertainty. The owners of the hotels where many companions come want them to evict because, of course, they did not get to pay because they can’t labble. It’s very hard to stay at home when you live in a super precarious and expensive place. We are talking about very large conditions of vulnerability,» says sex worker Sofia Tramazaygues.   «There are many companions going to popular pots to eat, many who are fed to tea. There is uncertainty and despair,» adds Tramazaygues, which reinforces the importance of bonding with colleagues, popular neighbourhoods and solidarity moves when it comes to minimally covering the basic need for food. «This global pandemic situation came to highlight the lack of rights and vulnerability that sex workers find ourselves in,» adds Valentina, Ammar’s reference in the city of La Plata. The whorehouse is one of the places where the workers are looking for help. Active in this particular risk situation, many sex workers implement solidarity chains and stop evictions that, in addition to being unfair, are prohibited during this pandemic.  «The union is here to deal with real and concrete emergencies that are too palpable right now. So we’re in that, popular pots, furniture collection, clothes, food, everything. We’re also trying to find some emergency family income. We use all the tools we can to help our companions who have the worst time,» sofia says. Regarding virtual work and the difficult task ofgive all the sexual capital to the screens, the two agree that very few could and can generate income through the web.  «You have to have the means, you have to have the Internet, you have to know the methods of collection, how it is done, whether they are international or not,» reflects Sofia and Valentina adds: «Several of our colleagues who have these resources work with this modality but are very few. In general, we workers are in an absolutely unfavourable, fragile and terrible situation.» In this note:

Original source in Spanish

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