Things That Matter

Despite The Pandemic, The Sex Trade Is Still Booming Along The U.S.-Mexico Border

As the Coronavirus pandemic ravaged communities, workers were faced with an impossible choice. Stay at home, be safe, but risk going hungry or broke. Go out, earn a living, but risk your life and of those you care about. For so many in Mexico, this was the choice they were given.

It’s already a difficult choice to make – even if you work as an Uber driver or a restaurant worker. But imagine having to make that choice if you’re a sex worker.

The pandemic has slowed the sex trade along the U.S.-Mexico border by some degree, but in many parts it remains business as usual. So many sex workers are having to make that nearly impossible choice to work and make money or stay at home to stay safe.

And although the border is technically closed to nonessential travel, thousands of Americans are still crossing into Mexico to pay for sex, looking for a kind of fun that can’t be found legally in most of the U.S.

Mexico’s sex tourism industry is still going strong despite a global pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to close the border to nonessential travel. However, tourists have still traveled south to cities such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez in search of nightlife, drugs, and sex.

In Tijuana famed red-light district, called Zona Norte, which is walking distance from the border, the area’s main strip is usually teeming with a frenetic action bathed in neon light. Women in short dresses and the highest of high heels stand along the sidewalks. Massive strip clubs, some with hotels attached, act as de facto brothels.

And now, although the city’s strip clubs and brothels may officially be closed due to the health crisis, many are welcoming customers through back doors. Last month a team from Baja California’s Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COEPRIS) carried out inspections in Zona Norte after receiving several complaints that it was pretty much business as usual in the area. 

They reported that many places are open as usual. “We sent COEPRIS and they shut them down. Yes, they were disguising it, the front door was closed, but they were entering from behind and all the same activities were being held there with the doors closed,” Governor Jaime Bonilla Valdez said.

The newspaper El Universal reported seeing a drunk American stumbling down the street to hire a young prostitute, and witnessed a trio of tourists being offered marijuana and methamphetamine in full view of COEPRIS inspectors and police officers as they inspected businesses on Coahuila Alley.

Some sex workers are doing the best they can to protect themselves…

Credit: Luis Acosta / Getty Images

Although so many sex workers are forced to make the difficult decision to stay at home or keep working, those who decide to work have other choices to make.

“I’m so scared for my health,” said Alejandra, a sex worker in Tijuana, who spoke to CNN. “I don’t know if the person I’m with has the disease or not.”

Some sex workers, such as single mother Alejandra, say they are taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus, such as making their clients wash their hands and shower prior to the act, and requiring the frequent use of antibacterial gel. But social distancing is impossible when you’re a sex worker.

Meanwhile, a former tourism official is urging cities to promote the sex trade to boost the economy.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A former tourism director for Tijuana is urging the city to “remove the taboo” of prostitution and brothels and promote them as tourist attractions instead. Pepe Avelar made those comments after being asked about night club and bar closures due to COVID-19.

“We should let them operate and exploit their appeal as much as possible, allowing for more regulation,” he said. “We should approve a promotional campaign for an activity that is historically synonymous with the city of Tijuana.”

“Let’s talk openly about this. I’m a firm believer that we need these open 24/7 in areas dedicated to bars and houses of prostitution because, in the end, these are also tourism products,” he said

As an example, Avelar used the city of Las Vegas, Nev., where tourism is promoted as “an adventure, as romantic and as a sexual destination.”

Cities on the U.S. side of the border have far higher numbers of cases putting Mexican border communities on alert.

Although Mexico’s border communities have been hit hard by the virus, it’s nothing like what’s happening on the U.S. side. For example, across the border from Tijuana in San Diego, there are 33,220 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, whereas 4,349 people have become infected in Tijuana according to official data.

This is largely why the land crossing between the U.S. and Mexico remains closed to nonessential travel. It was all done with the intent of slowing the virus’ spread.

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Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

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Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

Photo via Twitter

Ted Cruz is, once again, in the headlines. The Texas senator took a break from feuding with celebrities on Twitter to take another trip to Mexico. But this time around, Rafael Cruz wasn’t fleeing his state for a quick Cancun getaway.

This past weekend, Senator Cruz took a trip to the U.S./Mexico border along with 18 other Republican senators. Their mission, ostensibly, was to shine a light on what they deem to be a “border crisis”.

Instead, what ended up grabbing headlines was Ted Cruz’s bizarre documentary-style video of the trip that he released on Twitter.

Surrounded by tall grass, Ted Cruz addresses the camera in hushed tones, much like he was hosting a nature documentary. “So it’s past midnight. I’m standing on the shore of the Rio Grande. I’m down at the Texas border along with 18 senators who made the trip to see the crisis that is playing out.”

In the grainy video, he continues: “On the other side of the river we have been listening to and seeing cartel members – human traffickers – right on the other side of the river waving flashlights, yelling and taunting Americans, taunting the border patrol.”

Later, Ted Cruz also visited a migrant shelter and attempted to film the migrants for his social media posts.

A worker intercepted Senator Cruz and repeatedly asked him to respect the migrants and stop filming. “Please respect the rules sir, and give the people dignity and respect,” says the woman. “Full heartedly I ask you, please respect the people. This is not a zoo, sir, please don’t treat the people as such.”

Indignant, Sen. Cruz refused to comply. “You were instructed to ask us to not have any pictures taken here, because the political leadership at DHS does not want the American people to know,” he responds.

Despite Rafael Cruz‘s goal of bringing attention to what’s happening at the border, his nature documentary ended up being what really captured the internet’s attention.

As is usual with Rafael Cruz, the internet couldn’t help but see his Crocodile Dundee-style documentary as the ploy that it was. And because Rafael is so easy to drag, that’s exactly what the internet did.

Mainly, Twitter mocked Ted Cruz for the irony of him being in Mexico when he was just there weeks ago under very, very different circumstances.

The jokes kept coming…

And coming…

And coming.

The bottom line is, Ted Cruz never publicly cared about the huminitatirna crisis of border camps (which, by the way, are problematic) when Trump was president.

But now, Ted Cruz is using the increased migrant numbers as an opportunity to virtue signal and fan the flames of fear among Americans. As Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar said, Cruz’s Rio Grande trip was “political theater”.

“These are people who are about to engage in political theater, use the border as a prop, [and] do a whole lot of complaining and finger-pointing,” she said in a recent podcast interview. “But these are the same people who’ve been in the Senate for a number of years.”

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Want To Make Money On OnlyFans? It’s A Lot More Complicated Than You Might Think

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Want To Make Money On OnlyFans? It’s A Lot More Complicated Than You Might Think

CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Technology has changed the way we do a lot of things, with sex work being one of the industries that’s seen some of the biggest shifts. Where in the past people would have to contact producers, directors, and agents before getting started – with them taking profits and calling the shots as a result – it’s not possible to make sex work for you.

One of the platforms that’s exploded in recent years is OnlyFans, which is allowing content creators to charge a monthly fee that allows customers to see pictures and videos. With OnlyFans comes the added benefit of freedom, with creators choosing what they post and when, giving the platform 20% of profits and keeping the rest. But, it’s often touted as something of a get-rich-quick scheme. But is it?

OnlyFans is different from other platforms but just how much?

In effect, OnlyFans is one of the rare spaces where sex workers have the power. The biggest difference between OnlyFans and other platforms of its kind is that it allows sexually explicit content, and its pay model is similar to camming sites in that it allows for tipping and pay-per-view content on top of the subscription fee.

The model’s brilliance is in its simplicity, and it’s revolutionary in how it prioritizes the agency of creators, offering them the ability to have autonomy over their bodies, their content, and their prices.

The company also offers free legal services to all of the creators, working quickly and swiftly to remove any leaked content (and yes, a lot of the sexually explicit content is leaked to PornHub). Of course, this isn’t a charitable enterprise: OnlyFans takes a 20 percent cut of its creators’ profits, and with 75 million active users, the company has been turning a profit of its own since its inception. 

So how much can you realistically make?

With claims from the company that they’ve paid out $725 million to its 450,000 content creators, and celebrities including Cardi B, Blac Chyna, and Tyler Posey registered to the subscription service – not to mention Bella Thorne, who claims to have made $2 million from it in less than a week – it’s easy to see why it’s an attractive option. Like any form of work, though, you get what you put in, as evidenced by those who use OnlyFans to sell photos.

Subscriptions to an OnlyFans account start from $5 and move their way up to $25 a month. Although there’s no cap on what you make, it does vary a lot between smaller and larger creators, so it’s important to be realistic.

What kind of content should you be uploading to the site?

OnlyFans is primarily for adult content, but there are a number of creators who use it for different reasons. Some food and fitness influencers share premium recipes and workouts to their paying subscribers.

You have absolute choice over what you post but, as mentioned, you’ll likely get requests from subscribers for specific things. Although you might make extra money from these requests, only ever do what you feel comfortable with.

Before you get into things, perhaps write a list of absolute ‘no’ content, and this can act as your benchmark for what you’re happy to do. From there, it’s just about your own creativity and imagination.

Now, how do you get those followers and their coins?

For established adult performers, the fans you have already can be translated onto OnlyFans. However, all of the creators we spoke to said that the main way they found their loyal subscriber base was through interaction and finding a niche.

Honey Gold, an award-winning pornstar who posts content on OnlyFans said: ‘It takes no time at all to find out exactly what your fans want, making it easy to provide them with the best content and keep them on-board as subscribers… ‘It’s really important to interact with your fans too – a lot of your subscribers will be paying for this reason alone. By doing this you can find out exactly what content to put out and build a really dedicated fanbase as you go.’

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