Sex work in the time of COVID-19: Investigating the pandemic's effects on the global sex industry

Denton Callander, Deputy Director of Columbia University's Spatial Epidemiology Lab

Recommendations of ‘social distancing’ and home quarantines to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic have implications for sex and intimacy, including for commercial sex work encounters. Despite numerous journalistic reports of the economic and personal effects of COVID-19 for those involve in the sex industry, little is known about how the pandemic has affected sex work and in way ways sex workers are adapting their practices and norms. This study harnesses the potentialities of digital data to conduct new kinds of social inquiry in order to support those involved with sex work navigating the complex terrain of COVID-19 and identify lessons that can be applied to supporting population health into the future.