Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Male prostitution in Karachi Pakistan

‘Just an eye contact and the rest is understood - Karachi's Male Prostitutes:

KARACHI: Wearing shalwar kameez and a cap on his head, a young man stood at a traffic signal near the Empress Market apparently waiting for a friend.

Humidity had settled in after the sizzling heat of the day as pushcart vendors and gypsy women selling dry-fruit under umbrellas had packed up and left. Suddenly, a car turned around the signal and stopped near the young man. There was only eye contact between them and some indiscernible gestures. The young man sat in the car and they drove away.

One would find it hard to believe that the Empress Market located in the heart of the city is the hub for male prostitution. Everyday in late evenings, dozens of such prostitutes rush to the site to stand there in search for potential customers.

Besides the Empress Market, male prostitutes also seen at the corner near the United Bakery in Saddar town search for potential customers. There are many other such places in the city as well.

To find a group of male prostitutes to speak about their lives, this scribe wandered around the Empress Market and found a teenager ‘A’, who after a lengthy discussion with one of his partners, agreed to take this scribe to his rented home where he lives with two others, also in the same profession. Together with A, this scribe drove to Cantt Station to meet his fellows.

After passing the small lane between the booking office of an air-conditioned coach service and famous fleabag hotel near Cantonment Railway Station, we entered his home.

It was an old-fashioned place with only two rooms and a verandah, a reminder of one of the traditional dairas of a remote tribal village.

In one room, decorated with posters of Indian actors, two young men were sleeping on a straw mat beside which a stereo stood on a wooden bench and some cassettes and CDs were scattered all around.

Both of them greeted us with black kahwah and we started talking about their lives. On the conditions of not disclosing their names, villages and background and also not to take their pictures, they agreed for an interview.

The youngest of them was the first to disclose how he ended up in this business. “I was molested by my schoolteacher when I was only 11 years old... it was very strange and one of the worst experiences of my life. But as time went on, I started enjoying it.”

He further said that after sometime, his elder brother found out about the situation at the school and gave him a severe thrashing. He was then taken out of school to work as a mechanic at a garage. However, he added that the ‘syllabus’ there remained the same.

He then came to Karachi and now works as a male prostitute at the Cantt Station.

None of them had ever brought any customer to their home, they said. “It’s up to the customer where they take us. Sometimes we are taken to the customer’s house, at times to a hotel, or we have to give our services even inside the car,” said one of A’s friends.

There are countless cheap hotels around the railway station offering rooms to any one on hourly basis. They told this scribe that they have many friends who work as male prostitutes in different areas of the city. “However, some do it just for fun and don’t accept money,” said A. The male prostitutes could possibly be between 15 years of age to 25, but some are even as old as 40.

The Empress Market, Saddar, Tariq Road, Bahadurabad, Mazar-e-Quaid, Al-Asif Square, Baldia Colony, Merewether Tower, Cantt Railway Station, Hill Park and the posh areas like Zamzama, Seaview are hot spots for these prostitutes and their customers.

On some occasions, they are forced for their services without any payment. “Sometimes, police or night watchmen catch us and force for sex without payment, but it rarely happens as we avoid going to places where they are present,” he said.

When asked how male prostitutes find their customers on the streets, A said that it’s very simple. “It’s all about eye contact and the rest is understood,” he said.