Of Journalism

September 1, 2009

Male prostitution, a hidden shame: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 3:06 pm

By Fawad Ali Shah

KARACHI: Male prostitution remains a taboo in our cultural setup and it is as well hidden in our society as are the problems that are caused by it.
Despite the fact that the phenomenon is increasing by the minute, no government body or NGO has conducted a survey to find out exactly how many men are in this business.
People are also as blissfully ignorant of the diseases that male prostitution contributes to the city.
The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) Regional Promotion Manager Salam Dharejo, told Daily Times that although there are many organisations working in the city for the protection of children and women’s rights, no one has ever dared to address the issue of male prostitution because of the strong social taboo attached to it.
However, he said that there was a need for the collection of the exact numbers of males in the prostitution business as well as their customers to spread awareness about the diseases that sprout from the phenomenon. “There are almost 30,000 street children in the country, who are usually the victims of sexual abuse, as time progresses these children are so used to being exploited that they decide to use the exploitation to earn quick money,” he added. Male-prostitutes are without a doubt spreading many diseases however, no one cares about it, as the issue for most people is non-existent, Dharejo adds.
There are many organisations such as War against Rape (WAR), Hamdard and Green Star health centres that are working across the city for many sex-related causes but none of them have bothered to think outside the box and address the issue.
Ironically, even the health department of the province also has no data or records related to male prostitution. The health department officials claim that the department has never been asked by the higher authorities to work on the issue and that is the only excuse they have to offer.
While most the city remains shut to the idea of male prostitution, many young men have become its victims. One such boy is Riaz Khan, 19. He is often seen standing at the footpath between the boundary of Jahangir Park and Dr Daudpota road, looking for customers. On a usual day in the business, the roads are jammed and the nearby shops are packed with clients. On Khan’s left, a barber works, unaware of his surroundings and on his right many other teenage boys are lined up, waiting for customers.
“I started this business when I was 11,” says the clean-shaved boy, wearing black clothes with embroidery on the front. He has a womanish touch to his voice. His hands are running through his hair. After completing his sentence, he winks.
Riaz is one the hundreds of teenagers who provide sexual satisfaction to homosexuals. Nowadays, Jahangir Park is where all the action goes down and it can also be referred to as the central point of their business. Most of the teenaged male prostitutes start their business in the afternoon and the dealing reaches its peak in the evening.
This scribe observed the activities of these male prostitutes for four days at Jahangir Park. Their customers, pederast, are from all parts of the society. You can see people coming, dealing and picking these ‘chokras’ in cars as well as in rickshaws. Although to people they are simply male prostitutes but all of them have reasons for joining the profession.
Riaz did not join the profession by his own free will. When he was in class three, he was a victim of the sexual thirst of one of his neighbours. “He took me to his house by offering me a parrot that he had and once there he sexually abused me,” the youngster says, wrinkling his forehead while he takes a puff of opium ‘to lessen his tension’. “I did not know what he was going to do,” he says in a childish voice. Though he was not given the parrot but he got Rs 1 for toffees. The man, who was a taxi driver by profession, then started sexually harassing him on a regular basis and whenever he opposed the driver, he threatened him. “He told me that if I disobeyed him he will tell my father about what happened, who in turn will kill me,” says the boy, but ironically he starts laughing as he lets out a stream of smoke.
The taxi-driver, a married man, also made him popular with his accomplices. “Every time they used me, I got Rs 10 to 20 as a reward,” the fair-skinned boy revealed. At the age of 13, he was addicted to homosexuality. Consequently, an innocent schoolboy had turned into a male prostitute. He was beautiful and people started hiring his services for the whole night since then he knew what his price was. He could not pass a day without having sex with some male.
At the age of 17, his parents threw him out of house as soon as they found out about his addiction. He took shelter with a male pimp. He was happy with the knowledge that he is not only getting sexual satisfaction but also money for it. Going back home was never an option but now he will not do so even if given the choice.
“I am satisfied with my present profession,” the youngster adds. He is not ashamed of what he does and is perfectly comfortable with the thought of working as a male prostitute in the long run.
All the male prostitutes at Jahangir Park mostly wear skin-tight shirts and pants. They are clean-shaven and all of them have a feminine touch to their voices and actions.
One can find any kind of male prostitute in the area depending on the choice. Their prices range from Rs 50 to 1000, depending on their age and skin colour. The male-prostitutes mostly belong to the underdeveloped areas of Karachi like Banaras, Metroville and Ittehad Colony.
The customers can be as young as 23 years of age or as old as 65. Half of the customers, Riaz claims are married. Most these youngsters are kicked out by their parents and share quarters with each other or are living with pimps. They provide services at night. “Before going off with a customer, we inject opium which heightens our instincts and the pleasure,” claims Riaz, with a smile just turning the corners of his mouth. Meanwhile a person winks to Riaz and he walks towards him. Psychologists opine that having homosexual sex with males is addictive. “After boys are abused a few times they get addicted to it,” says Sultan Jabbar, a psychologist, who is doing a research on gays for the last ten years.
“They are first bribed or threatened to do the job,” he says, “however, at the end of the day they end up being commercially involved in the sex provision.” He says that those addicted to having sex with children do not stop even after they get married.
“It is all about the addiction,” he adds with remorse, once they get addicted, they continue using children till the end of their lives.



1 Comment »

  1. This is an epic piece; obviously penned down after a lot of research. I applaud your effort! However, I slightly disagree on the psychologist’s view. Recent studies involving monozygotic and dizygotic twins(to remove bias created due to differences in environment) have shown that genes have a link with one’s sexual orientation. And environment is another important factor, which has been duly highlighted in this article. But, it is important to realise that however high the correlation of genetic make up with sexual orientation, the hideous techniques use to lure children in to male prostitution are worthy of the utmost rebuke. Inhumane acts like using the poor for slavery or prostitution is a common norm in Pakistan. And attention-worthy. We are yet to realise, in its true potential, the essence of human rights. The future seems murky, though, as the people in power benefit greatly when it is left the way it is now. Anyways, brilliant prose, Fawad!

    Comment by Usman Farooq — September 2, 2009 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

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