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COVID-19 Support: Financial aid services for sex workers

The current climate continues to impact the livelihoods of many, including sex workers who have lost and continue to lose business due to the pandemic.

As a result of the current situation, many sex workers have adapted to new ways to make money, such as turning to webcam and phone services to continue generating business.

Though moving your business online can help, there are also many schemes, grants and support networks available to further provide you with additional help. 

Vivastreet has put together a list of useful information to help support you through these uncertain times.  

Government grant

The impact of COVID-19 has seen the government recently introduced a new income support scheme to help self-employed workers. This means that if you have registered as self-employed and have lost income due to the coronavirus, you may be eligible to apply through HMRC for the ‘COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme’. This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. It may be extended if needed. In order to apply for this scheme, you must meet the following criteria.

  • You have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2020-21
  • You traded in the tax year 2021-22
  • You are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2022-23
  • You have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Woman sitting on bed with laptop, paperwork and checking mobile phone

More on the criteria required for this grant and how to apply can be found on the official Government website here

If you need to register as self-employed read our article on how to become a self-employed sex worker here.

Universal credit

Just like the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme’, if you are self-employed you may be entitled to Universal Credit to help support your business. To get this support you will need to be able to show that:

  • Your self-employment is your main job or your main source of income
  • You get regular work from self-employment
  • Your paperwork is organised if required for proof of employment (you have invoices, receipts etc)
  • You expect to make a profit via your work from self-employment

More information on Universal Credit including how you can apply and whether you are eligible can be found here.

Renters protection

The Government has introduced measures to protect renters affected by COVID-19. With these in place, no renter in social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home. From 26 March 2020, landlords are now required to give all renters 3 months notice if they intend to seek possession of their property.  

More information on renters and landlord rights can be found here.

20th century edwardian terraced houses

Hardship funds

There have been a number of hardship funds set up to help protect sex workers who are most in need. Vivastreet have also announced that we will be matching donations to sex worker support initiatives – primarily SWARM’s hardship fund – up to £100,000 and a further donation of £10,000 to Umbrella Lane’s hardship fund.

You can find out more about SWARM’s fund on their site here. Likewise, to find out more about Umbrella Lane’s hardship fund, click here.

If you are reading this and are in position to be able to make a donation, then we urge you to do so. 


If you’re in need of additional financial support, we hope the above can help you during this difficult time. If you seek further support or advice, our resources for sex workers page details a comprehensive list of all relevant organisations for sex workers in the UK. 

Likewise, if you’re interested in setting up a webcam and phone service with Vivastreet to generate more revenue, get started here


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