Sex work has been listed in the most dangerous category of professions by Japanese medical institutes. It is the only non-medical profession in that category. In India, over 12,000 sex workers could die if red light areas are reopened. Social distancing is impossible during sex. Sex workers should be empowered with new skills to find lower risk occupations or risk their own lives and infecting, hospitalizing, and killing their customers.
The people who interact closely with sex workers and those who live close to red light areas, including local businesses, police personnel, NGO workers, and the local community are at higher risk. If you are in this category then share this issue with others like you.
Customers of sex workers have a very high risk of infection. They could also infect their families and many other people. Contact tracing can also lead to them being identified as customers causing problems with family members.
An Andhra Pradesh-based collective of survivors of commercial sexual exploitation including leaders of Vimukti and ILFAT has asked the government to plan for an exit strategy for the sex workers, including “transitional housing, bank loans and alternate employment”
Red light areas have pushed medical systems in countries over their limit and overwhelmed them. The high number of cases caused by red light areas will continue to push countries past their peak medical capacity much sooner, especially in vulnerable areas, leading to a higher death rate. If red light areas opened in India then over seventy percent more medical capacity would be required at the peak versus if they remain closed.
Red light areas across the world will likely push medical systems past medical capacity leading to an alarming number of preventable deaths.
Truck drivers are some of the most frequent customers to red light areas. They are at major risk of infection through sex workers and the other truck drivers they interact with as they may be infected. Truck drivers can spread the disease to less infected areas causing new breakouts in stable areas.