Sex workers around the world have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and governments are not doing enough to protect them.
On International Sex Workers’ Day we spoke to Kate McGrew, an artist, activist and sex worker living in Ireland, about what lockdown has been like. Kate is the Director of SWAI (Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland), which has set up a hardship fund to support sex workers during the pandemic. She is also a co-convener of ICRSE (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe).
What are Ireland’s laws around sex work?
In 2017 Ireland introduced a law which criminalised the purchase of sex. Legislation which criminalises the buyer rather than the seller is sometimes called the “Nordic Model”. There are other laws in Ireland containing provisions which put sex workers at risk; for example, it is illegal to work in pairs or in groups.