There is a real and continuing trend towards individualized and independent sex work all around the world. While this has long been the norm in certain places like the United States it rather new in many other areas. Seeing countless online ads for independent escorts pop up in cities that were once full of thriving saunas, FKKs, brothels or massage parlors over a period of many months marks a real change.
While establishment after establishment closes its doors at least in part due to the pandemic an increasing number of women employed in the industry simply move on to work for themselves or in smaller groups. This is not just empty speculation. I have quiet a bit of evidence to back it all up.
Disappearing brothels and bordellos
This website uses a program that alerts me to broken links. So when a website I link to goes down I find out about it quickly. This allows me to modify the link so that I don’t send readers off into the abyss. In this case it also allows me to see when major websites go down. In the second half of 2020 I watched over thirty websites attached to major adult entertainment venues go offline. At one point there were several going offline per week.
Because of this website and the research I do to keep it updated and accurate I am also in touch with a number of sex workers and industry insiders. I have been hearing of closures and otherwise bad conditions from people working with established adult venues all around the world. People from Germany to Japan tell me of one business after another going out of business. Many also tell me about people moving in a more individualized or even virtual direction as a basic attempt at survival.
The times they are a changing
I have already written about the growing number of women moving into web-based sex work. I even done interviews with some of these ladies. It seems quite unlikely that many of them will move back into “real world” sex work even if the opportunity arises. That would jibe with overall changes in society too. To put it simply the cat may already be out of the bag.
Other women will of course continue to offer sexual services direct to customers for a fee. There is no chance that demand for that will dry up completely. And the same goes for the supply side. There’s a reason it is called the world’s oldest profession. But being aged and even resiliant doesn’t mean the commercial sex industry is immune to change. After all there were no go go bars in Victorian England and as recently as a decade ago few would have through to reach to a phone app like Smooci to book an escort.
With things going from and old normal to a new norm millions of people have already become conditioned to act in a certain way. Even if others continue to resist change there are certainly realities that can only be faced squarely. Man cannot flap his arms and fly like a bird. But he can’t make and fly an aircraft. That of course requires planes. Things aren’t all that different in the sex industry.
If a person sold sex through a sauna for years they likely want to continue their craft even if that avenue dries up. So if the saunas close permanently or even temporarily they can just move on to other options in sex work rather than retraining for space travel. With the internet and smart phones direct sales have become the norm all across society. When people can order a pack of chewing gum to their door with a few taps on a screen it is not much of a leap to contacting escorts through the internet. When the escorts have few to no other options to reach customers short of walking the streets you can bet that many will move into e-commerce.
Indeed that is what I have seen over the last period. More and more sex workers are going the independent route. It is more obvious in some countries like Germany than others. But it can even be seen in Japan. At least one of the women who worked a very popular soapland for foreigners has since moved on to finding gaijin punters directly through the help of social media sites like Twitter. That seems to be the trend all over the world and as far as I can tell it shows no signs of reversing anytime soon.