Non-working girls and the Wuhan virus

Impact of China flu on the markets of flesh

Dalrymple explains that no sector has been worse hit by Chinese flu fallout than French harlotry. The effect of social distancing on prices for the strumpets’ favours has been striking.

Elasticity of demand for prostitutes’ services in a fornication market is great or small according as the amount of coitus demanded increases much or little for a given fall in sex-price, and diminishes much or little for a given rise in sex-price. In Paris today, says Dalrymple,

supply outstripping demand, such few clients are now to be found that they are in a position to negotiate downwards the prices of the services they desire.

He observes that since the filles de joie work entirely in the informal sector,

they have also been left without coverage by social security.

Anaïs de Lenclos, porte-parole of STRASS (the Syndicat du travail sexuel), has demanded that the government do more to help the cocottes. Dalrymple remarks:

It is impossible for me to pass judgment as to whether [the tarts] could, and therefore ought to, have put something by for a rainy day.

However, he warns that

those depending on the government to guarantee them a living when all else fails—and that means many millions of people—are not in a strong position to object or complain when they are subject to government interference.

In other words, if the French bawds are to receive special assistance, why should they not be taxed? He asks if prostitution,

being merely one kind of work among others, could rightfully be forced upon unemployed women in receipt of social security, who had not the right to turn down available work in supermarkets, for example. Surely, training could easily be given and certificates handed out. At least at elementary levels, no very prolonged apprenticeship could be required.

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