The sex industry is a tricky space to regulate and ensure worker rights. It is not uncommon for workers to suffer abuse in the hands of pimps, and clients. Places like Germany have legalized prostitution but these government efforts have been more of a boon for clients than sex workers. To combat this abuse, organizations like Global Network of Sex Work Projects work tirelessly around the world to support NGOs and groups which advocate the rights and wellbeing of sex workers. Many of these groups focus on the health concerns or legal challenges facing sex workers. Although these are pressing issues, the question of how can sex workers receive fair compensation is also a key problem to solve. Bitcoin might provide a solution.
Abuse and Wage Theft
Late wages, stolen wages, heavily taxed wages are on-the-job hazards. There are many reasons why this is the case- but a good portion of this stems from sex work being a largely cash-based industry. Making the money transfer from client to service provider increases the chances of women getting paid. Some homeless populations, another vulnerable demographic, are already handling their finances using bitcoin. Bitcoins provide a frictionless transfer of money for those who are not part of the formal economy.
Having bitcoin wallet would allow workers to have more control over their money. Bitcoins and cryptocurrency would make it harder for pimps, and brothels , or the government to siphon off wages gained from prostitution. When sex workers have more control over their own money they are better able to avoid violent or dangerous situations. They would also have a higher sense of well-being by having more control over their working conditions.
The Next Step
Along with condoms, and personal safety tips perhaps sex-advocacy groups should arm workers with pathways to financial independence. Sex workers running their business on the blockchain is not unprecedented. Last year women from Montreal attempted to use the bitcoin to pay other sex workers a decent and fair wage.
Good places to start to help sex workers monetize from their labor would be the Satoshi box where workers can create and sell content- this could be a good source of passive income. Alternatively, women can set up a bitcoin wallet through bit pay and have their clients pay them directly. Here is a video tutorial to help get advocates and sex workers learn more about bitcoin.