Brothels in Switzerland draft roadmap out of lockdown, complete with sex positions that MINIMIZE Covid-19 transmission
Sex workers’ association ProKoRe released an exhaustive list of hygienic guidelines earlier this month, hoping to secure the Swiss government’s blessing for brothels to reopen when the next round of lockdown measures are rolled back on June 8.Also on rt.com Sex work is key work? Morality aside, is Covid-19 the time to rethink the ‘vital’ public health role of prostitutes?
While sex work would seem to be incompatible with social distancing, ProKoRe did its best to find a workaround, advising the use of sexual positions that keep the client and prostitute’s faces as far apart as possible – “a distance of at least one forearm,” the guidelines helpfully recommend - ensuring “droplet transmission is low.” For those with limited imaginations, they include some thoughtful suggestions: “doggy-style” and “cowgirl/rider.”
Customers will have no time to waste on discussing the finer points of positioning themselves, however. Sessions are to be limited to 15 minutes, kept to a strict schedule, with rooms aired out for 15 minutes in between clients, and sheets washed after every visit. Even lingerie is to be washed with disinfectant detergent in between sessions, suggesting employees will be spending a lot of their pay replacing skimpy outfits that have disintegrated after repeated washings.
Lest anyone get any ideas about touching faces – their own, or their partner’s – the guidelines repeatedly rule that out. Not only is kissing off-limits, but “no face-related services are practiced.” The association even recommends “wearing a mouth and nose cover” for “all services,” apparently taking “safe sex guidelines” very, very seriously.
The group also mentions “training and information campaigns” to reduce infection risk, though it’s not clear if they plan to force the johns to sit through these instructional sessions or whether they’re just for the employees. A provision likely to be controversial requires brothels to keep customer contact information for up to four weeks to aid with contact-tracing in case someone does get infected, and contactless payments are also encouraged.Also on rt.com Big Brother benefits: Covid accelerates transition to cashless society – but does it mean more safety or less freedom for us?
ProKoRe is concerned the continued lockdown restrictions, which have unsurprisingly devastated an industry so dependent on physical contact, are driving prostitution underground, leaving sex workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Brothels, legal in Switzerland, were shuttered alongside most other businesses back in March, and while other industries have come back online, the impossibility of avoiding physical contact in sex work has kept these establishments’ doors shut.
The country’s lockdown has also taken a heavy toll on the poor, and growing numbers of people can be seen queuing for free food handouts weekly in cities like Geneva. Switzerland has over 30,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and just over 1,900 deaths as of Tuesday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
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