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UNAIDS issues statement calling for sex workers worldwide to receive emergency protections.

LOS ANGELES—Sex workers in countries as diverse as France, JapanSouth Africa, and Bolivia have seen their incomes devastated by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, while their governments sit by and allow them to suffer.

On Wednesday, a United Nations agency issued a statement calling for the exclusion of sex workers to end. 

In those countries and others, governments have specifically shut sex industry workers out from the financial relief packages designed to allow people to endure the widespread lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that have brought economic activity to a near-standstill, though sex workers were among the first groups to feel the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In its statement, UNAIDS—the U.S. body created to battle the four-decade HIV/AIDS pandemic—called on “countries to ensure the respect, protection and fulfillment of sex workers’ human rights.”