Petition : Income support to Asian and Migrant Workers who work in Massage parlours and Sex Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people all over the world. Communities that are disproportionately impacted include those who are undocumented, precarious, racialized, and criminalized. As precarious, often undocumented, and criminalized workers, Asian and migrant workers in spas, holistic centers, apartments, hotels and other parts of the sex industry often lack access to labour protections and government financial relief.  Inequalities, discrimination, heavy policing and oversurveillance of marginalized communities are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marginalization and vulnerability has increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 because some are not able to stay home, physically distance, or stop working altogether.

Asian and migrant workers in massage parlours and sex industry  have been left behind by the government due to the criminalization of sex work, their immigration status, and precarious working conditions. Many do not qualify for financial support programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.Immediate action must be taken to protect the health, safety, and livelihood of Asian and migrant workers in the massage parlour and sex industry.

Butterfly has conducted a survey, 40% of Asian and migrant workers in massage parlour and sex industry said they were either not eligible to apply because of undocumented work status, or were afraid to apply because of criminalized or undocumented work and immigration status.

The provincial and federal governments should take immediate action to protect the health and safety of these workers.

1) Expand income supports for all. The federal government must make the Canada Emergency Response Benefit available for those who do not have a SIN number.

2) Provide funding for migrant and sex work organizations to redistrbute as income support for workers who are not eligible or in fear of applying for financial relief from the government. This transfer of financial aid in the form of cash or cash equivalencies can be coordinated with local sex work and migrant organizations who are connected to community members.

3) Increase social assistance. Increase Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) by at least 40% to meet basic needs. Current rates fall below the poverty line.

4) A rent moratorium for small businesses and a moratorium on evictions. Rent subsidies should be directly provided to the small business owner, not through landlords.

5) Status for all and healthcare for all! Access to healthcare regardless of immigration status during the pandemic and beyond.

6) Eliminate racism: Create education campaigns to dispel of the racist myths around COVID-19 which lead to profiling and discrimination. Adopt an intersectional equity lens towards all law and policy making: addressing inequality and structural oppression, including racism, xenophobia, whorephobia, sexism and classism.

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