AF3IRM NY/NJ

Dec 31, 2020

3 min read

THE SEX TRADE IS NO RATIONALE FOR SUBSISTENCE WAGES

By AF3IRM NY/NJ

It is unfortunate that some women with a share of State Power find it easy to consider prostitution as a “side gig” remedy for the perennially low wages given to women.

It is unfortunate, as such an acceptance of yet another layer of exploitation to poverty begs the question of why women, who have held down the essential work in this pandemic, continue to receive subsistence wages — and must sell their flesh to survive.

It is even more unfortunate when women wielding state power and shilling for the sex trade as work, share identities with AF3IRM members: women of color, of immigrant ancestry, from a working-class family, and with long-standing ties to our grassroots communities in New York City.

We in AF3IRM know full well that poverty is not a cause but the result of class-based, race-based, and gender-based exploitation. Adding the layer of sex trade exploitation to the multi-tiered assault by capitalists on our lives does zilch, zero, nada, to resolve the issue of how much we need to be paid at our jobs to survive.

From the Big Apple Oriental Tours to, as Audre Lorde described: our sisters and daughters “who line 42nd Street”, from Hunts Point to Harvey Weinstein himself, to Jeffrey Epstein, New York City has long seen the relationship between the exploitation of the most marginalized and the sex trade.

More than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment in New York City because of COVID-19. However Black, Brown, and Immigrant communities are facing the brunt of COVID-19 economic impacts. As of June 2020, citywide unemployment rates are now 21.1 percent among Asian residents, 23.7 percent among Black residents and 22.7 percent among Latinx residents, compared to just 13.9 percent among white New Yorkers. These numbers and inequalities increase daily.

The most marginalized people and families rely on solutions for stable housing, healthcare, and food from the politicians they fought for and voted into office. The same politicians who should be the first and most outraged by dystopian stories of female first responders forced to enter the sex trade to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, that was not so; instead, we saw a shocker of a tweet virtually justifying the sex trade as a side gig for women on subsistence wages. Lost was the opportunity to push for higher financial subsidy for everyone, especially front liners; lost was the opportunity to underscore the need to eradicate the gender wage gap, the gender employment gap, the gender job promotion gap. Lost was the chance to contrast this predicament for women of color with the astounding wealth growth for 631 US billionaires.

Bear in mind that the combined wealth of the 631 surpassed $1 trillion in gains since the beginning of the pandemic. The $600 federal subsidy for ordinary citizens is laughable, considering how one Florida businessman spent half of his $2 million COVID Relief Funds (Payroll Protection Program loan) ON A YACHT.

To even mention the sex trade as “work” in the middle of a pandemic is just pathetic politics.

Do they want the 1.5 million who lost their employment to prostitute themselves?

We call on the self-proclaimed “progressive” politicians to consider these statistics and facts and glaring inequalities. Before they prescribe “working” in one most dismal trade.

We are quite open to sitting down and providing them with information about the sex trade from our members who have been there. We are quite willing to give them ideas to help increase federal relief funds. And since they like listening to Capital, here are some quotes to pay attention to:

“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. … I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes, but I’m glad to — if I’d had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine.” — Bill Gates.

“I need to pay higher taxes. I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes.” — Warren Buffet.

Take them at their word and tax them, instead of telling women to enter the sex trade.