Reed, Sarah Orleans and Caroline Skinner. 2023. Street Vending and Market Trading During the COVID-19 Crisis: Pathways of Impact and Recovery in Nine Cities. WIEGO Resource Document No. 38.
This report draws on interviews with street vendors and market traders in nine cities – Accra, Ghana; Ahmedabad, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Delhi, India; Durban, South Africa; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico; New York, USA; and Pleven, Bulgaria – in mid-2020 and again with the same workers in mid-2021. Key points include:
- Earnings: By mid-2021, while eight out of every 10 street vendors and market traders were back at work, average earnings had recovered to only 60% of pre-COVID-19 levels.
- Decreased demand and increased prices of inputs: As restrictions were eased, reduced customer demand and lower purchasing power among their clientele converged with rising prices of stock and input, explaining reduced earnings.
- Harassment: Over one-quarter of street vendors reported harassment by law enforcement officers between mid-2020 and mid-2021. Reports were particularly prevalent in Lima (80 per cent), Delhi (66 per cent), Ahmedabad (39 per cent), and Durban (28 per cent).
- Food security: In mid-2021, 63% of respondents reported skipping meals or eating a low variety of foods in the past month, 32% of interviewees reported adult hunger and 25% child hunger in their households.
- Street vendor organizations were a key source of support to their members, facilitating access to government support measures and initiating interventions to protect their members’ health and well-being.
- Recommendations include a call to “do no harm” – an end to punitive practices of ticketing, confiscation, and evictions – and to provide access to well-located workspaces with appropriate infrastructure and clear and fair regulations.