COVID curfew drives sex workers to streets in broad daylight

May 29, 2020

When the nightly curfew was first implemented in March as means of containing the coronavirus, some 'ladies of the night' immediately began experiencing decline in business. With entertainment venues closed and people being required to be off the road early at nights, sex workers have had to tranform themselves into ladies of the day.

"The past several weeks have been extremely rough," one sex worker who gave her name as Tash told THE WEEKEND STAR.

She said that that prositutes like herself are forced to start working as early as 2 p.m. when the chances of getting customers are greater. While it is not uncommon to see sex workers on the road during the days, their numbers have increased in recent weeks.

When THE WEEKEND STAR visited the 'red light district' of Ripon Road in Kingston earlier this week, a strong contingent of scantily-clad women had taken up positions, hoping to attract spenders.

Tash* said that not only has her clientele decreased drastically since COVID-19 but also she and other sex workers have to be constantly on the lookout for cops. Prostitution is illegal in Jamaica.

"Dem bad we up more time. We did have a likkle sex house weh we build up but dem bun it dung di other day. More time dem will give wi a bly during the day, but as soon as it get near curfew, a badness dem say," Tash said.

Likewise, Bumpa*, pushing out her buttocks in an attempt to attract a potential customers, told THE WEEKEND STAR that many clients are now demanding major discounts on services.

Full package

"Some a the man dem start move mean since corona come about, but mi naah give nuh discount on my work. All some a dem wah offer five bills ($500), and a seh dem want sex, but mi rather beg a ting than accept that from anyone. The least mi a work fah is $1,500 or $2,000 or a $3,000 for a full package," she said.

But while COVID-19 is causing headaches for some of her colleagues in the trade, one practitioner, Cindy*, is unbothered. She said that she spread her wings and as a result is reaping bigger bucks.

"Mi do escort service and more time me do the videos online," she said, adding that she can get US$50 (approximately $7,000) for one video. "Even this morning me go link a client uptown and get 15 grand ($15,000). Mi get that dis morning and then mi come out in the evening, so even if nutten nuh gwan out here, mi still have a money inna mi pocket," she said.

*Names changed to protect identities.

- S.M.L

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