Relaxed COVID curfew excites sex workers

June 30, 2021

The much-anticipated extension of the hours for the nightly islandwide curfew starting on Thursday has been met with excitement by several commercial sex workers who ply their trade along Port Henderson Road in Portmore, St Catherine, more popularly known as 'Back Road'.

For the past year and a half, the Government has been implementing various measures, including lockdowns and curfews, that have restricted public movement with the aim of controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Sex workers have been among the groups hurt financially as they rely heavily on public movement in order to earn.

But with the pending reduction of curfew hours and relaxation on crowd gathering, the 'ladies of the night' are now delighted with the changes.

"A di best thing Anju (Prime Minister Andrew Holness) could a do fi we ... memba say a wah day wi a tell unuh that we would love for the curfew to go up 10 or 11 o'clock because a di only way wi can mek a change. Mi would prefer the whole night but mi can sekkle fi dis," said one worker who gave her name as Baby Momma. She is also adamant that the services offered by sex workers should be treated as essential.

Although there has been a steady increase in business over the past two months, another sex worker, who calls herself Blackie, said that the restrictions on the entertainment sector have also hit them hard financially.

"Most a wi clients dem a di man dem weh a come from party and feel nice ... mi fi one did a consider fi leave dis and start a different hustle," she said. The sector will also reopen on Thursday, but events will have to follow strict guidelines.

According to Cheryl*, who does laundry for the sex workers, the Government should offer more support given the importance of sex workers.

"Mi read something the other day weh a lady a say di Government must build somewhere for sex workers dung a MoBay. If yuh look into it, Back Road a one of the most important places ina Jamaica. Why not invest ina it to so the workers dem can feel valued?" she said.

*Name changed

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