Men in Barbados are now said to be making significant inroads into one of the oldest professions known to women – prostitution.
According to youth activist and Director of Drug Education and Counseling Services (DECS) Roger Husbands the offering of sexual favours for money is just as prevalent these days among men as it is among women, especially in areas in and around The City at night.
Husbands spoke during a press conference at the DECS’ Bay Street, St Michael headquarters at which he blamed the upsurge in male prostitution on the economic situation. He said many of those he spoke to said it was a last resort for them but they were in need of the money.
The DECS head further revealed that several married men were among those buying services.
“I know fellas who are not in my programme but they are out there selling their bodies just to survive,” Husbands told reporters.
He said “a lot of youngsters come [to this facility] and they talk to you. When I talk to some of them, it is about quick money; they just want money now.
“One fella said to me that one man introduced him to the option of having sex for money and he has a girlfriend and a child that he cannot support . . . so he went and had sex with the man and then it became one day, and then three times, and then four times.”
Husbands said the man also introduced the male prostitute to other men and now he was having sex with other men as well, as he tried to support “not only his child but his girlfriend and where they live”.
The DECS head said that while he had no empirical evidence, he was aware that the trend was becoming a societal issue and needed to be looked into by officials.
“Some people know about this already and they see it. I go and speak at churches and workshops and I bring up this issue and people already know what I am talking about. It is a reality that this is a problem in our society.
“It is happening and it is increasing whether it increases by two or three males a year going to do this. Fellas are finding ways however necessary to get money and they don’t care what they have to do. As one fella says, ‘it is all about eating and survival’.”
The outspoken youth activist added: “If you go into Bridgetown you would see some of them standing up there waiting for men to come up in their cars. Some of them walk all around and flag down cars to get favours from men. So they won’t do it early on mornings but late at nights into the wee hours of the morning making an industry for themselves.”
Husbands said one young man told him he makes a $1,000 a night on sexual favours “so you have these issues that are out there and need to be addressed”.
The youth activist pointed out that he did not have the solution to this problem. However, he believed that young males needed to be empowered and it should start in the school system. He said while he was hearing from these young men that they were not finding moral jobs, he often urged them to seek employment overseas.
“I have spoken to my young people about traveling and working overseas because you can go overseas and find jobs,” he said.
He also commented: “I still do not understand how it is that a boy can leave primary school, secondary school and still cannot read and write. I have them in here that don’t have the basic knowledge of how to read and write. So we need to go back to our education system and find out what is going on.
“I saw a report [card] the other day that had 38 per cent and that person came first, so at the end of the day we [have] got problems with our education sector too. But we would wait for somebody to come from overseas and evaluate to tell us that we have problems.