Even though bars, hotels, strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services across the nation, have been closed or very limited in hours of operations due to required lockdowns, this has done nothing to curb the demand for commercial sexual services.
We have heard from many women who work in strip clubs. They still need to make money like we need to. In most cases there is not unemployment, being primarily a cash business.
SO what do they do?
They do what they know and probably even more than they really imagined. They do what has been normal for them.
The pressure is on, so they feel constantly pushed past their boundaries (that were already pushed past what they had thought). Many are working in full prostitution*, web-camming, and/or creating amateur porn for subscription based websites.
*Full prostitution: Selling full sex and any added requests. Normally, small sex acts are performed in strip clubs in ‘stalls’ or in 'party rooms'.
Did you know that commercial sex industry fuels sex trafficking. They are interrelated businesses that are preying on the vulnerable. 70% of female trafficking victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. That means that they are working in porn, escorting, massage parlors, street prostitution, and strip clubs.
Maybe you still question the idea of trafficking and exploitation as a sex industry. Let me explain. Both are a supply and demand issue. If there were no demand for sex, there would be no supply and people wouldn’t be exploited to meet the demand.
What makes an industry?
The demand for a product(buyers), a professional marketing & selling that product (a pimp/trafficker/porn company/strip club/massage parlor), and then a ready supply of vulnerable people to be manipulated/coerced into being the product: a thriving Sex Industry.
Since the pandemic, and the lockdowns of businesses, we are seeing evidence that the demand has actually increased. Streets are busier with people being sold, major porn sites have reported an instant increase in the percentage of porn use, new sites and new users have appeared daily, and sex appointments be made in homes and in hotels.
When you look at sexual addiction and the triggers for someone to engage in these habits, it makes perfect sense that the sex industry is thriving even more during this un-normal time we are experiencing. Most people are increasingly socially disconnected, isolated, and anxious, which lead to the triggers like loneliness, depression, validation, anxiety….
All of these things are triggering users and buyers and driving demand- however they can get it!
We haven’t even dug into what it looks like when they are under the control of a pimp/trafficker. The pimps/traffickers are driven by power and money.
They have felt the pressure too. How do you think that has played out upon those being sold? Being on the street is riskier business. The hotels are less busy, now they may be more noticeable using the hotels. They want more money not less. They will do what they need to do too.
We are still reaching out to these women. We are still praying even one is pushed to courageously step away and try to find other opportunities to grow and make an income.
We are still working hard to raise funds to open our restorative care home for women. A home that sees them as a whole person, providing opportunities to heal in every way they have been broken: physically, emotionally, psychologically, relationally & spiritually. A home to build a foundation to become whole, to have the first real chance to become who they were made to be!
Chaplain Krista Hull
Founder & Executive Director of Redeem and Restore Center