Country director of Namibia sex workers alliance Rachel Love Gawases said although the Covid-19 lockdown impedes their finances, it is essential Namibian sex workers look at this with a critical eye and understand the lockdown from a holistic manner, rather than from a monetary perspective.
Gawases said the lockdown contributes to the wellbeing of the nation.
She said if sex workers are not adhering to the rules of the lockdown, it shows they are not collaborative and adhering to the rules and regulations of the country.
Sex workers are affected by the lockdown, as many plied their trade in bars, clubs and hotels.
Gawases noted some sex workers travelled and traded both inside and outside the country.
She said the lockdown would not have made any difference even if sex work was decriminalised in the country because they would still have to adhere to the prescribed regulations.
“Our services are essential; however, we need to collaborate with the government and understand the stance of government and make sure as sex workers we protect our clients and ourselves to ensure we are not infected with Coronavirus,” she counselled fellow sex workers.
Gawases said Namibia has between 600 and 700 sex workers who fall into three categories: circumstantial sex workers, sex workers who trade for fun and professional sex workers.
She said although sex workers earn between N$2 000 and N$3 000, most of them spend the money as it comes hence the need for financial literacy.
She pointed out she has been encouraging sex workers to open bank accounts. “Sex workers are breadwinners and look after families,” noted Gawases.
Gawases feels it will be difficult for them to get the emergency income grant of N$750; however, she said they are Namibians regardless of the fact that the are sex workers - they are entitled to State grants.
Rights not Rescue Trust Namibia founder Nikodemus ‘Mama Africa’ Aoxamub said after the tourism sector was affected, it also touched them because tourists are their biggest clients.
Mama Africa said even though sex work is illegal in the country, they were trading nonetheless and want them to benefit from the emergency income grant as informal business owners.
Mama Africa also encouraged the sex workers not to engage physically with clients to minimise the spread of Covid-19 but to do their activities online. – firstname.lastname@example.org