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“The illegitimate and stigmatized nature of this work makes handling money feel really dicey and kind of stressful,” said Savannah Sly, president of the social justice organization the Sex Workers Outreach Project.
It’s also why sex workers are sometimes excluded from the mainstream financial industry.
“I try not to keep that much (cash) on hand so that I can afford to lose it,” says Mc Neill.
“I have a safe, it’s not a big one, I don’t want to keep around more than I can fit in that safe.” The sex work blog “good girls don’t” advises, “one thing you should invest in is a good fire-proof safe.” The post goes on to recommend, “Don’t hide cash in obvious places, like your mattress, the freezer, your toilet tank, and so on.
Checks, which are unreliable and can reveal a sex worker’s identity to their clients, are generally off-limits as a form of payment.
Many online payment services, like Pay Pal, have policies against “certain sexually oriented materials or services,” and you better believe sex worker Tumblrs are keeping a running tally of which services are sex worker friendly.
She still gets clammy going to the bank to make deposits.(Late last year, an appeals court ruled that Dart’s actions violated First Amendment rights.) Of course, all of this cash tends to raise questions about taxes.It’s a frequent topic across sex worker advice sites, and the message is almost always: do them.Kate D’Adamo, national policy advocate at The Sex Worker’s Project, says policies like Pay Pal’s further marginalize sex workers and push them into “more and more isolation and into more and more vulnerability.” She explains, “If someone knows you work in the sex trade, they know you probably have money in your house, so you’re that much more likely to get robbed,” she said.“Having to be paid in cash because you can’t use Pay Pal means that you’re walking home at night or getting in a cab somewhere with five-hundred dollars on you.” And, of course, if a sex worker is robbed, he or she is likely less comfortable reporting it to police.