The Covid-19 pandemic has wrought major changes on the world. This site has reported on the global sex industry for the better part of a decade. It only seems right to report on the effects the pandemic and related shutdowns have had on sex work and sex workers.
Without harping on doom and gloom we can make an honest assessment of what has happened over the last few months. It is also possible to make an educated guess about what will follow in the near and long term future.
A lot of things are clearly still up in the air. And I am sure some are even tired of hearing about corona virus. Since this site was only ever meant to entertain I can understand the desire to find enjoyment on Rockit Reports. But in the interest of balance I present what will likely be my last reporting on this subject for a while.
Now and forever
Some effects of the pandemic on the sex industry are clearly temporary. For instance the Swiss Health Minister recently announced that sex workers in Switzerland could start plying their trade again legally on June 6. So there are not any outward permanent effects or restrictions there that we can see.
Things aren’t so rosy in other parts of the world however. I have already reported on efforts to use the current crisis as a reason to end prostitution in Germany. A fight to reopen the industry there has followed. Time will tell how things turn out. But I don’t think Germany will be the only place where the pandemic will be used in the ongoing effort to end prostitution.
Economic fallout and farang in Thailand
Of course legal restrictions and lockdowns aren’t the only threat to sex work. The economic fallout of the near global shutdown is also having a major effect on sex workers and their places of work. It’s safe to say that most adult entertainment facilities around the world closed for a while. But it seems that a significant number of these places may never reopen. Especially since many were complaining of bad business as far back as December of 2019.
In the early days of the coronavirus crisis I reported that Club Nevada in Pattaya had closed. The go go bar wasn’t all that popular in recent years but it had operating for decades. So it’s shuttering was notable. I have no way to know how much the Covid-19 crisis had to do with the decision to shut the place down forever. But I am quite sure it didn’t help.
While a few Bangkok places like Wood Bar aka Dr BJ’s have managed to stay open without officially “being open” many other places may have closed for good. Several places in Nana Plaza have closed or gone up for sale. This isn’t that unexpected. Both London Calling and Mandarin in Nana Plaza actually closed themselves before the lockdown was even enacted in Thailand. Business was just that bad.
It is now said that PlaySkool, London Calling, and the long standing and popular Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 3 go go bars in Naza Plaza are closed for good. The ladyboy bars Casanova and Mercury will not reoopen either. The Hillary 4 bar just outside of the plaza is finished too.
Patpong has also been hit hard when it comes to the Big Mango. The long running hostess bar Cosmos has closed. Well known go go bars XXX Lounge and Glamour are apparently up for sale too. The Hooters branch in Silom even seems to have gone under during the epidemic. At least the Patpong Museum survived.
There are rumors of several other adult oriented places around Thailand closing for good. Some of them have been around for many years. Some people with inside knowledge of the bar business in cities like Pattaya have privately voiced concern that as many as half of adult oriented bars may never reopen. This might seem startling or even outlandish. But then so could the fact that over 40 million people have applied for unemployment in the United States.
Covid-19 and sex shop closures in Japan
Japan is another place where the adult entertainment industry has been particularly hard hit. The part of the industry catering to foreigners that really started to blossom in the country in recent years has been dealt especially devastating blows.
First it was announced that the Paradise soapland in Kawasaki would close for good. Now it has been announced that the Paradise soapland in the historic Yoshiwara section of Tokyo is also closing its doors. These were the only two soaplands in Japan that were set up specifically for non-Japanese customers. Their disappearance will be noticed by many. Some of the women on staff have even gone online to voice their sadness.
The Tokyo Hentai Club escort service is still open and operating. But they have scaled things back to a single office in Shinjuku. The availability of women hasn’t really been curtailed that much so this is something punters in Tokyo might not even notice. Still it is worth noting especially when considering how fast THC has grown in recent years.
The Tokyo Style erotic massage service also remains in business. This doesn’t surprise me either since Tokyo Style was one of the first major adult businesses to open up and orient themselves to foreigners in Japan. I expect that they will weather the storm and stay in operation but for now it must be very tough with visits to Japan by gaijin reportedly down by over 99 percent.
The fetish shop Milky Baby in Tokyo continues to do business too. They are taking certain precautions and limited their schedule which corresponds to recommendations from the government on reopening the city of Tokyo. Most of Milky Baby’s customers are Japanese but the place is open to foreigners. I would guess they are feeling the effects of the crisis like most others. Though they are a somewhat special place that seems set to stay open and move forward.
In any case prostitution will certainly not disappear from this world. Many have tried to stop it. None have been successful. At least not on a permanent basis. But things do change and tomorrow’s brave new world might look a lot better from the good old day’s of yesteryear. Even before this virus appeared old timers could pine for the days when “long time” was standard in Angeles City. Similarly, taxi drivers in Dongguan remember being much busier just a few years ago when their city was home to tens of thousands of sex workers. Things change and that’s the way it is. In the meantime we still have access to adult webcams and male sex toys even if we’re stuck at home.