How the epidemic has changed the sex work industry

Updates (August 25, 2021, 11:35 am): When FiveThree Eight released this video in July, longtime sex workers described their experiences with censorship across platforms in the past and told us it was only a matter of time before OnlyFans kicked them off their platform. On August 19, OnlyFans announced that it would ban sexually explicit content. The company’s chief executive blamed the decision on pressure from banking partners. On August 25, Only Fans announced that they were reversing the decision after receiving assurances from payment processors.

During the epidemic, many sex workers found themselves without support. Even sex workers – like strippers – whose jobs were legal were deprived of unemployment benefits and stimulus money. As a result, a number of private sex workers have turned to online work. But online performers have struggled to get paid year after year long before the epidemic. As the industry changes and more actors move online, will the same platforms that sex workers made famous launch them?

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