‘I have not slept well. I have had to borrow money from a client – how else am I going to pay my bills?’ sex worker says
Maya Oppenheim Women’s Correspondent
Campaigners said the freezing of bank accounts, which leaves prostitutes unable to withdraw money or make payments, marginalises sex workers and makes them increasingly vulnerable to “exploitation and violence” because a lack of funds means many are forced to take on riskier work.
Two bank bosses, including NatWest Group’s chief executive Dame Alison Rose, stepped down last week, with Ms Rose admitting she was the source of a BBC story stating Farage’s bank account was shut on commercial grounds.
Audrey Caradonna, a spokesperson for the Sex Workers’ Union, told The Independent: “For sex workers, suddenly losing access to your bank account and your money isn’t a freak occurrence but an all too common nightmare.
“Both banking institutions and payment processors regularly refuse services, or freeze access to, sex workers’ accounts simply because of what we do for work – despite the fact that for many workers, selling sexual services is legal.”
Ms Caradonna, who works for the only dedicated sex workers union in the UK, warned the issue was exacerbated by the wider shift to an “increasingly cashless society”.
She added: “If we don’t have a bank account, how are we supposed to pay our rent or bills? How can we, if we choose to, exit sex work and apply for another job without the means to get paid?
“Many of us don’t receive a warning prior to our accounts being frozen, or offered any potential for recourse to challenge that decision, we are simply notified that our money is no longer able for us to use.