Since lockdown many companies shut down and huge lay off in various organisations pushed men in sex trading. After the lockdown relaxation there is increase in “overturned sex tourism”. Wealthy women heading to various destinations hire these men for sex. Demand for male escorts from an exclusively female clientele is on the rise, with struggling models to many other professionals’ forced them into male sex work. In the absence of male brothels, gigolos like Roxy are the twilight for prospective clients, mainly upper or middle-class and rich women who usually drive in their cars and have private places.
Somehow our team managed to connect Roxy; (name changed) whose wife filed for divorce when she exposed that he opted for an odd profession to earn a living for family. While speaking on the condition of anonymity said, “I thought, I will quit this job once I get a good job, I am the sole earner in the family. I have a retired father and old ailing mother. My wife was two months pregnant and amid lock down lost my job. We were hand to mouth, looking at my well groomed personality, my gym buddy, introduced me to this line of work. It is really not fun; we too face violence, humiliation while going through the demands of women.” Roxy joined the sex trade after a short stint as an employee with a multi-national event management firm in the city. “We are often not been paid by customers, if we protest, they blackmail us telling the police that we tried to rape them. And there are clients who love to stub out burning cigarettes on our bodies. These days I have begun to charge for a cigarette burn – 500 rupees per hit” he says.
Sunny, a gym trainer (out of job in lockdown) got in escort and bed buddy job for woman told Afternoon Voice, “once upon a time I used to make jokes on sex work, but trust me this is ruthless job, I am dire need of money because I have to pay various EMIs. Mumbai is a city of rich single women, from Bollywood to beauty industry, and from IT professionals to rich business women, they crave with wearied fantasies. They want man with well built body, they want man to indulge the way they want, sometimes there are many unreasonable demands, and we say female sex workers at risk but ask me how difficult this is for men.”
When we asked how you get clients, he said, “there are agents and virtual clubs. Our body descriptions, pictures and health records are available; the lady makes her choice and pays an agent”. Sometimes she picks her prey from a certain destination and I follow her blindly, sometimes locations are sent to us.”
Mobile phones and the Internet have helped facilitate business. The men usually receive upwards of 1,000 rupees an hour from their clients, and when work from female clients slows, many of these workers sell sex to other men. Thankfully, the “gigolos,” who constitute one of the highest risk groups for HIV/AIDS contraction, are beginning to bond together to speak out for HIV prevention. Whether that will be enough to curb the spread of the virus, of course, remains to be seen.
And while the vast majority — 80 per cent — of the estimated 42 million sex workers worldwide are Men, While more than 57 per cent of identified websites catered to male customers only, 11 per cent were specifically for female clients and a similar number of sites were for couples, most of the opposite sex. It is usually assumed that men are the primary market for male escorts, and while it is true that most escorts target male clients the survey suggests a significant emerging market for women who pay for sexual services from men.