Let’s talk about the impact that the COP26 conference is having on sex work & Sex Workers in Glasgow.
Some journalists are already looking to stir up some sensationalist headlines by implying that during COP26 we’ll see an increase in Sex Workers flooding to Glasgow. However, the reality is that most Sex Workers that usually work in Glasgow (or that would travel to Glasgow to work) can’t afford to get accommodation during COP26 and so are having to work elsewhere, only work out calls (where they go to the client), work on the street or are just not working at all during COP26 due to the increased difficulty of getting around.
Whenever there are large events that bring in lot’s of people from other countries/areas (the Superbowl in America, the Olympics, etc.), there will often be stories that pop up in the news about increased sex trafficking or stories about Sex Workers in the area of the event. This is usually just another tactic to bring on moral panic during a time of high emotions and to attack Sex Workers whilst they try and make a living.
What’s more likely to be happening is that there is an increase in the number of people seeking Sex Workers in the event area, so in this case it’s Glasgow. After all, with so many people visiting and sitting through long meetings, it’s no wonder a number of them will be looking for some more hands-on entertainment.
However, due to COP26, most hotels are fully booked and many Airbnb’s have upped their prices or are fully booked. This means that Sex Workers are struggling to find anywhere to work in Glasgow during COP26. Not to mention the road closures, transport services strikes and other ongoing issues will mean getting around Glasgow City Centre is likely to be really difficult, so even if a Sex Worker were to offer outcalls (where they go to the client), they’d likely be struggling to get around. It’s also not very likely that Sex Workers from outside of Glasgow will travel in as they would face the same problems as the locals but with the added cost of their travel into Glasgow.
Many Sex Workers are also still very concerned about COVID19 and the increase in people visiting Glasgow is too much of a concern for them to consider working during COP26. Especially as rules are relaxed and testing becomes less common among the general public. People being double vaccinated is helping ease anxiety but many Sex Workers can’t afford to risk getting sick for extended periods of time and so would rather not risk getting COVID19 at all.
All in all, COP26 may see some Sex Workers being busy and making a profit but a large group of Glasgow based Sex Workers will likely be avoiding Glasgow and either working elsewhere or taking the time off if they can afford to.
Want to be a supportive ally to Sex Workers during COP26? Support Sex Worker led organisations, pay for your porn, send tips to local Sex Workers and call out your friends/acquaintances if they say something prejudiced/stigmatising about Sex Workers. Don’t blindly follow groups or people that talk about “saving” Sex Workers and call people out when they refer to sex work as “violence against women” – there are plenty of male Sex Workers and more often than not those groups are campaigning for things that would cause great harm to the Sex Worker community.
Whatever you’re doing during COP26, stay safe & be happy x
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