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Sex Work and Corona

At a glance

  • Project leader : Michael Herzig
  • Project team : Nina Brüesch, Nadine Khater, Manuela Müller, Carmen Steiner, Anja Trümpy, Lisa Tschumi
  • Project budget : CHF 60'000
  • Project status : completed
  • Funding partner : Foundation (Stiftung für soziale Arbeit), Internal
  • Contact person : Michael Herzig


Due to the Corona pandemic, political measures to contain it have been adopted in the canton of Zurich (Switzerland) (period March 2020-current), which have a great influence on the living situation, the living environment and the coping with life of sex workers (e.g. occupational ban). Sex workers are socially and politically identified as a special risk group. In addition to the health risks, the pandemic leads to financial problems. If income is lost, no assets are available and access to state income replacement claims (social welfare or claims from various social insurances) is restricted or impossible, e.g. due to residence status, there is a quick threat of destitution and loss of housing. Media and political stigmatisation as well as social isolation further increase the burden.
The research project "Sex Work and Corona" examines the effects of political measures to contain the Corona virus on the living situation of sex workers in the city of Zurich, the coping strategies they have developed during the pandemic, and what this means for the effectiveness of the measures to combat the pandemic.
Qualitative interviews with professionals and sex workers will create a database from which a "vulnerability model" for sex workers will be developed.