Last month, Jane Woolf, a 35-year-old sex worker based in Western Massachusetts, was down to 41 cents in her bank account, relying on an upcoming appointment to make ends meet. Then her client, who she calls an “absent-minded old man,” canceled because he’d lost his wallet.

Normally, one cancellation wouldn’t have been a huge setback. Woolf would have simply met another client through one of her classified ads on Backpage.com. But the site had just shut down its adult services section under government pressure, eliminating the nation’s most bustling online marketplace for sex work — and cutting Woolf off from her most reliable source of clients.

Frustrated, Woolf took to a private Facebook group for sex workers and ranted about her current predicament. Soon, she learned that many of her peers were in a similarly dire situation. But that didn’t stop them from becoming her lifeline. Woolf was messaged by Molly, who co-organizes the Sex Workers’ Mutual Care Collective, which fundraises for sex workers in need. Molly asked for Woolf’s account details on a payment processing app — which Molly asked Vocativ not to identify — and, before she knew it, $100 was deposited into her account. “Often, unfortunately, the poor among us are trying to help the even poorer among us,” Woolf said.

 

Read the full article:

After Backpage: Cash-Strapped Sex Workers Take Care of Their Own by Tracy Clark-Flory

Vocativ – April 2018