LOS ANGELES — Tasha Reign has created a Change.org petition urging Congress to recognize independent contractors acting as small businesses in the sex industry.
In response to the overwhelming financial impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and independent contractors, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide financial assistance for American workers, families and businesses.
However, those working legally in the sex industry have been deliberately excluded from receiving financial aid from the CARES Act, including access to funds made available by the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The stipulation on the application for assistance states, “The applicant does not present live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, or a prurient sexual nature.”
A spokesperson for the Small Business Administration (SBA) noted the federal agency will “probably not” waive the Clinton-era language that excludes “prurient” sex workers and sex businesses from applying for CARES Act disaster relief.
“That’s me, and all the people who receive compensation for promoting, supporting and advocating for sexual pleasure, nationwide,” Reign said. “In these uncertain times, it’s important that we come together, and remind people that a majority of sex workers are legally employed, pay taxes, support the economy and deserve access to the same social programs as everyone else.”
Reign said strip clubs and lobbyists are now suing the federal government for access to coronavirus stimulus dollars.
“Congress holding an ambiguous judgment of morality during a pandemic that directly affects all lives, regardless of class or industry, is fundamentally immoral,” Reign concluded. “Signing the Change.org petition and gathering as many signatures as possible is the first step in giving a voice to the voiceless.”
To read and sign the petition, click here.