Showing posts with label Prostitution-Male. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prostitution-Male. Show all posts

July 7, 2018

Landlords Are Offering Rooms For Sex Taking Advantage of These Men and The Rent Boom

                      Denholm Spurr, in South London     [Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed]

BuzzFeed News has uncovered dozens of ads on Facebook and other sites that reveal a new LGBT dimension to the housing crisis: young men lured into "sex for rent" contracts to avoid sleeping rough. In a multi-part investigation, we expose the truth about these landlords, as young men speak out about being raped, beaten, drugged, infected with HIV and treated as domestic slaves.
Patrick Strudwick

It took just three months for Denholm Spurr’s life to plummet, for the newly graduated straight-A student to find himself exchanging sex for somewhere to live. He did not know what he would lose, that what awaited him was a succession of men who would drug and abuse him, that he would be infected with HIV, and, on several occasions, raped.

Sometimes the men – some of the landlords – had no need to use force. “I didn’t have the strength to say no,” he said. “I became what I felt people wanted. I branded myself as this ‘sexual being’ that other people fed off… I felt that’s what I needed to do.”

Spurr’s eyes flickered as he cast his mind back over everything. “The last five years of my life would have been extremely different had I just had somewhere to stay.”

He wants people to know what happens when young men so desperate to avoid sleeping on the streets will do anything for shelter – and what lies in wait. He wants to raise the alarm.

In a multipart investigation, BuzzFeed News exposes a dimension to the housing crisis that has so far been concealed: men having to exchange sex for a place to stay.

Over the last few months, numerous stories have highlighted how landlords are exploiting young women unable to afford accommodation by offering them “sex-for-rent” arrangements. But the reports, including an entire BBC documentary, have omitted a demographic: gay men, lured into these arrangements, sometimes for different reasons, often with devastating consequences.

Today, in the first installment of this series, we uncover some of the damage done to these young men – the sexual violence – by landlords and reveal how they are being enabled by two major internet companies, one of which is Facebook. The world’s largest social media platform, BuzzFeed News can reveal, is hosting explicit posts from landlords promising housing in return for gay sex.

In multiple interviews with the men exchanging sex for rent and groups trying to deal with the crisis, BuzzFeed News also uncovered a spectrum of experiences that go far beyond what has so far been documented, with social media, hook-up apps, and chemsex parties facilitating everything.

At best, impoverished young men are seeking refuge in places where they are at risk of sexual exploitation. At worst, teenagers are being kept in domestic prisons where all personal boundaries are breached, where their lives are in danger.

The investigation began in early February, replying to the landlords' adverts – the surface. Within days, it swerved into strange and unexpected quarters. By the end, it led to the darkest of places: young men raped, strangled, enslaved, and hospitalized – one with knife wounds to the neck.

The head of a major homelessness charity described the irony that underpins the gay sex-for-rent phenomenon: Vulnerable young men enter into these agreements thinking the street would be the most dangerous place to sleep, or that traditional sex work would be the most perilous.

They are wrong.

The Facebook group is called “Gay Houseboy’s and those who hire them” and describes itself as a “group for gay men seeking gay boys to work for them as houseboys, and for gay houseboys seeking employment”. Despite adding “No nude pics" and "no 'hookup' posts” its members post adverts enticing young men to exchange sex for a place to stay.

BuzzFeed News discovered the group last month as concerns peaked over Facebook’s handling of the data breaches of millions of users and as Mark Zuckerberg, its founder, and CEO told Congress his company “didn’t do enough” to prevent it.

Facebook / BuzzFeed
Zuckerberg also took credit, in his prepared statement, for the #MeToo anti-sexual violence movement, as it was “organized, at least in part, on Facebook”. He did so while his site continued to provide a platform – as it has done for the last four years – for landlords who detail the kind of sex and men they require as payment for the accommodation they are offering.

In British law, inciting someone into sex work is a crime, according to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, whether you pay them with money or with goods or services such as accommodation. As such, last year the then-justice secretary David Lidington said: “an offense is committed when a person offers accommodation in return for sex”.


 The posts and the group itself operate under one of several disguises that conceal gay sex-for-rent arrangements, keeping such setups hidden from those who should be looking. In this instance, the disguise is simply a word: houseboy.
For many, particularly outside the West, houseboy simply means male domestic worker: cleaning, cooking. Among many gay men, however, there is another assumption, expected duty: sex. But unlike some adverts on mainstream websites that rely on innuendo, most on Facebook are explicit in the terms of the agreement: gay sex in return for accommodation.

“Looking for a white male 18-25 to come and join our household for a life in position,” reads one post on the Facebook group. “General duties will include cleaning, walking the dog, shopping, cooking and general house projects… This position would ideally include sex and lots of affection from our boy.”

Another is simply a photograph of a young naked man, with his penis exposed, standing by a Christmas tree with the words: “ISO [in search of] True HouseBoy 18-25 White Slim Clean.”   

“Live in the heart of Hollywood” is the promise in a further post, from a landlord seeking a “houseboy/personal assistant”. The landlord boasts, “My company deals with a lot of high profile clientele”, asks that respondents send photographs, and specifies, “Prefer young (but legal age) and very uninhibited types. Boy-next-door but with a wild side.”

Others insist on respondents replying with “face and body photos”, or have strict age limits, seek houseboys “with benefits”, or are suggestive of controlling dynamics. “Married couple here 40 and 46 seeking our forever boy for total and complete ownership,” says one.

Young gay men in the group posted on its page, too, asking for live-in positions. One 24-year-old wanting somewhere to stay says he is ”willing to [go] where ever I’m needed”, explaining that although he is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he has “nowhere to go down there anymore”.

Another member of the group told BuzzFeed News by private message that he has only once been a houseboy but said that the landlords “tend to assume that every houseboy is a whore… I was the opposite. I just wanted stability.” People he knows who have also taken up houseboy positions “have been kicked out…it’s really not a safe way to live…the men really think they own you.”

Not all young men are so concerned. Another houseboy replied to a private message suggesting that there can be two-way enjoyment to the arrangement, which it would seem for some fulfills a master/slave fantasy. “It really just depends on luck,” he said, “finding the right person who would take you in and basically just use you as a sex toy… I was in underwear all day doing laundry and house chores.” When his landlord returned home he would “use me as he pleased”.

The group administrator also replied. He said he has worked as a chef for a gay couple with a houseboy who “slept with them” along with a range of domestic chores. In general, he said, “the employer is usually searching for one of three things.” Among these is “a person that does the housework, is a companion and engages in physical interaction”. Another is a “couple looking for triads [threesomes]”. He added, “Most of the applicants have no prior experience but are willing to do anything to be kept.”

Despite the explicit nature of the postings on the group’s site, the administrator told BuzzFeed News that Facebook has not intervened. “We have never had an incident from Facebook,” he said. “If they [members] want to post something that will not fly with Facebook I write them and tell them what needs to be changed.”

This has not stopped explicit notices being posted.

When approached by BuzzFeed News to respond to issues relating to this group, Facebook initially replied promising that a representative would comment. That response, however, did not materialize, despite several attempts by BuzzFeed News, over several days, to invite Facebook to do so. A week after first contacting the social media company, the group remains on its site.

Meanwhile, online adverts for gay sex-for-rent arrangements proliferate in other mainstream websites – either unnoticed or misunderstood by the companies hosting them. BuzzFeed News found dozens on Craigslist's UK site and one on Room Buddies within just two months.

During this time, Craigslist in the US removed its entire personal classified ads, after Congress passed a new law against sex trafficking ads, but its UK ads, among which all the following were found, remain.

Some use the word “houseboy”; others specify their requirements in graphic terms, while others are more opaque. Craigslist removed only a portion of the most overt ads, but not before BuzzFeed News was able to respond to them. Craiglist did not respond when approached by BuzzFeed News for comment about the adverts.

This one, for example, wasn't taken down for several days:

“Looking for slim houseboy for a live-in position in South-East London (very near tube). You will clean and provide sexual services in return for free accommodation and board… I’m a mature (mid-sixties) white English male…”

Other adverts use more coded language or terms, some offer reduced rent or suggesting that it is “negotiable” based on “mutual understanding”, or if you can come to an “agreement”. Further subtle terms refer implicitly to a sexual dimension: “open-minded”, “relaxed” – or less implicit: “exhibitionist”, “naturist”. Most demand a photo.

This advert offers a room for £70 a week – about half the going rate: “Looking for someone under 35 or so. Open minded, easy going. Preference for gay/bi….Please reply back with a clear recent photo.” Another, which is still on the site, makes no mention of sex but the rent is zero “in exchange for assistance with a variety of tasks”. The landlord seeks a “fit young gay male up to about age 25”.

Some landlords entice not only gay men but also bisexual or straight men. This ad is entitled “£10 room/bed share for bi/naturist male” in Whitechapel, east London: “Open-minded bi male naturist in early 30s, looking for a well-hung bi or bi-curious naturist/nudist male or even a straight guy who would be open to experimenting and doing sexual favours in exchange for renting in my flat… I will be holding couch interviews next week.”  

Other landlords offer deals in which only a fraction of the rent is reduced in exchange for very specific sexual demands. One advert explained that the room had previously gone for £600 a month but was now only £400. But in return, the successful applicant “must be ok with receiving anal… a few times a week” and must be “bi or str8” or a “really masculine gay person”. He also expects the respondent to not be skinny and to be “disease free”. This would be “tested” to ensure it.

BuzzFeed News replied to several – posing as a young gay man needing accommodation – particularly to the less explicit adverts.

“Free lodging” offered in one advert in the Brighton area, suitable for a “gay male student….wanting a supportive safe home”, for example, made no mention of sex. But following a request for further details, the “supportive safe home” turned out, in the landlord’s email reply, to mean: “you letting me suck you off and enjoy your nipples and armpits”. This advert remains on Craigslist.

Another Craigslist advert appears entirely benevolent, even caring, offering a “sofa for the cold nights” for “any guys that are homeless and need a place for a couple of nights”. It adds, “Come get showered and warm and get a good nights sleep.” The mention of showering and specifying men prompted BuzzFeed News to respond, asking what he expects in return. “Nothing,” the landlord replied. “Just looking to help people out.” But then he sent another email: “You got a picture of yourself?”

Another landlord telephoned after BuzzFeed News asked for more details. The advert on Craigslist was clear. He wanted a man “willing to serve for accommodation… Full details can be given if you leave a phone number.”

His voice was raspy – so gravelly that at times it cut out over the phone. What he said – what he wanted – however, was clear: “sucking, fucking and role play”, as well as a “bit of bondage”. He wanted this to happen regularly. He liked wrist and ankle restraints, too.

But it wasn’t only sex. “You’d be sharing my bed,” he explained. “I would expect you to keep the house tidy.”

He lives in Basingstoke, a commuter town 50 miles from London, is an HGV driver and “slightly heavier than I should be”. He explained why he advertised: “I just want to stop having to go online all the time for sex," and said he has “a huge sportswear fetish,” before asserting: “I take it you obviously like cum”. He suggested a visit.

Instead, BuzzFeed News responded to an advert on RoomBuddies, an extensive mainstream site carrying classified roomshare ads, offering a room to a young gay man: “No rent is expected if we can agree with an arrangement.” (When approached for comment RoomBuddies told BuzzFeed News: "We rely on the support of our customers as we like other individuals can miss things. Should the user and or advert be reported we could deal with the user appropriately.")

This landlord replied by email saying he was “open-minded” and “naturist” but “not into silly sub-dom [sadomasochism] games”. He expected help around the house but did not explicitly say he expected sex – it appeared to be implied. BuzzFeed News arranged to visit him at his flat in south London. Rent in a flat-share like this would normally be approximately £600 per month.

He opened the door. Short, Northern, and 70, with grey, thinning hair, he led the way first into the dark, somewhat shabby room he was offering – a sofa-bed awaited – before walking through a kitchen and out into an unkempt garden. Rats were burrowing under the greenhouse, he explained.

As well as the chores, he wanted someone with whom to play board games or go to concerts. But when asked about his penchant for naturism, as expressed in his email, he dismissed it as merely something that “seems to get mentioned in a lot of ads, but it’s not a requirement”. Regarding what would be expected beyond the chores he simply restated his dislike of sadomasochism but specified only that he was “easy going” regarding sex and liked “normal relationships”.

It was unclear whether he genuinely did not expect sex from a lodger or whether he was shy or simply hoped it would happen organically, without demanding it upfront.

All of which raised two questions: What happens to someone who moves into a place where no rent is required but where what is really expected remains unsaid? And is that better or worse than an arrangement in which the terms – the kind of sex, the frequency – is explicit?

The answer was provided a few days later by a young man who wishes he didn’t know. Denholm Spurr sits at a kitchen table in Brixton, south London, tapping his fingernails against the cup next to him. He makes sudden gestures and movements – getting up, looking away – as if gripped by energy surges. His accent is middle-class Home Counties, almost plummy; not perhaps what you might expect.

Soon after finishing his drama degree, aged 22, he came out. The stress gestating in preparation to it, coupled with the response – his parents, he felt, did not react well – led to a breakdown. He had no money; he had debts from the university.

“I didn’t feel I could go home and it just snowballed from there,” he says. “I went out one night and the first guy that showed me interest I went home with.” With nowhere else to go he stayed with this man for several weeks.

“I was really vulnerable,” says Spurr. “I didn’t have the capacity to make decisions that were in my own interest.” The man would buy him drugs and take him to chemsex parties – group sex mostly fuelled by the class-A drugs crystal methamphetamine (meth), GHB/GBL (G) and mephedrone, all of which can drastically reduce inhibitions.

“I’d lived a very sheltered, conservative life,” he says. But suddenly he was thrown into the extremities of sex and drugs, amid poor mental health and depleted self-worth. “I lost two stone in that two months. I went down to a 27-inch waist. I felt ill.”

The relationship broke down and he moved into a female friend’s house temporarily. But it was here, a month later, that the first consequence of sex-for-rent surfaced.

“I got HIV,” he says. “I went for my first test after coming out and got gonorrhea and HIV. I think I would have recovered from that whole period of my life if that had not happened.”

Instead, Spurr embarked on what would become three years of sex-for-rent arrangements, mostly temporary, hopping from one to the next.

It is here that the second disguise that conceals this arena appears: In many cases among LGBT people, such arrangements are not advertised, not traceable, often not even verbally expressed, but the terms of which are understood by those involved – and can be as fleeting as an arrangement for a few days, one night, or even just a few hours. Apps like Grindr are the primary tool used, connecting those in need with those enticing them.  And so, having already been introduced to the chemsex scene where parties (dubbed “chillouts”) in private houses can stretch for several days and where participants can stay for the duration as long as they continue to have sex or take drugs, Spurr sought them out. “I would just go from one to the next because I thought if I leave I’ve got nowhere to go,” he says.

The requirement of intoxication rendered him unable to defend himself.

“There were times,” he says, “I went under [lost consciousness] on G and then I woke up and someone was fucking me.” He had specifically told some of those people earlier that he was not interested in them. How does he view those incidents now?

He pauses for a moment and replies flatly. “Rape.”

This was amid a whole range of sexual acts he submitted to but did not want. “I just didn’t care,” he says. “The problem was my level of caring about myself was at the lowest point possible. I had had suicidal thoughts.”

Chemsex parties, however, were just one of the situations in which Spurr provided sex to escape rough sleeping. Often, if he needed somewhere just for the night, especially at short notice, Spurr would use Grindr, assured of the fact that he could find a man nearby whose bed he could sleep in. But it meant that the choice of whether to have sex was removed.

Other times, he would go to gay saunas – sometimes staying for three, even four days – one of which had free entry for under-25s on a Monday night. Was it safer? “In theory,” he says, before segueing quickly to the realities of staying in someone’s house for several weeks when you don’t pay rent. There were, he says, occasions where people expected nothing. But mostly – he says about 75% of the time – he had to comply sexually.

“There’s a kind of underlying pressure,” he says, when the terms of the arrangement were not made clear, “that makes it much more complicated and more difficult… It becomes blurred.”

One man with whom he stayed mistook Spurr’s unresponsiveness with eagerness. “I would pretend to be asleep when he initiated [sex] but he would think that’s because I wanted to be dominated,” says Spurr. With that landlord as with others, he says, “I felt more worried about upsetting them than I did my own self-respect.” There was another reason not to say no: he could be thrown out.

Even, therefore, when this man offered Spurr the sofa rather than sharing his bed, Spurr would not take up the offer. “I would feel like I should sleep [in his bed]… I became what I felt people wanted.”  In the evenings, Spurr would begin to sense that the man he was staying with wanted sex. “All of a sudden they’re really close to you, in your personal space. There may be times when they say, ‘Do you want this?' And you’ll be like, ‘Yeah?’ And it’s very difficult because they have asked the question and you have said yes.” Consent evaporates.

For Spurr, the more unspoken the expectations are, the tougher the experience is – and the greater the fear of displeasing the landlord. He talks about a man who responded to his plea on Facebook for somewhere to stay. The man let him stay for £240 a month – less than half a typical London rent. The landlord said nothing about sex making up the rest. Instead, he “put notes under my door every day, messaging me on Grindr and Facebook. It was always, ‘I really care about you, I want to look after you.’ It was very full-on.”

But after three months, Spurr’s housing benefit still hadn’t arrived to pay him. “I felt a sudden pressure. I think he felt that was an opportunity…to go in for the kill. All of a sudden he was like, ‘I need to advertise your room unless things change.’”

Spurr felt it was clear what he meant and, concerned by the emotional intensity of the endless messages, he said that he would move out in a week’s time. “I went out that night, I got back and the locks had been changed. All my stuff had been bagged up… This was someone who had looked me in the eye and said, ‘I would never make you homeless.’”

Spurr went to his local council hoping he might eventually secure a council flat. But instead, not qualifying for housing as a single, childless man – a common barrier for gay men – he was put in a homeless shelter.

“I was the only one that was gay,” he says. “I didn’t feel I could be open about that.” Instead, he started using Grindr to secure straightforward sex work to bolster his benefits. He received £70 per week on Jobseeker's Allowance, £15 of which had to go to the shelter, leaving £55 on which to buy everything.

Conventional sex work became his salvation. After the first time selling sex for money rather than rent, he says, “I thought, Wow I actually feel quite happy because I have this money that I can do what I want with.”

In hindsight, he says, “it would have been a better choice” all along to exchange sex for money than for shelter, but that he had thought that “somehow escorting was the lowest of the low.” Through escorting Spurr paid off his debts and eventually secured a place in a shared rented house, where we now sit, two years on.

The entire experience has left lasting damage. He has flashbacks walking down the street – he’ll see a house and suddenly remember having stayed there. He stopped enjoying sex. It took him years to see himself as anything other than a commodity.

None of his experiences, he says, would have sunk so low for so long without the initial hostility he experienced towards his sexuality, which he had internalized.

“When I came out, all I had to go on was that gay was dirty,” he says. “That was the catalyst.”

Since finding somewhere stable to live and leaving escorting, Spurr has developed a career as an actor, appearing in several successful theatre productions. He seems hopeful. But just before saying goodbye, he says something that only later, as more and more people agree to speak, resonates fully: His experiences are not uncommon. In fact, compared to many, he was lucky.


Following the publication of this story, a representative from Facebook contacted BuzzFeed News to say that the organisation has spent "a long time looking into this" and that as a result of the issues raised by BuzzFeed News regarding the houseboys group "the page has now been removed" as it was found to violate Facebook's standards.

A representative from RoomBuddies also said in a statement after publication:

"RoomBuddies takes this issue very seriously and unfortunately we have seen adverts of this nature on occasion. Our moderation team is trained to spot adverts like this and remove them. We also have systems in place to allow our users to report adverts and messages, which we deal with promptly. And we have a messaging platform which we encourage our users to use, so we can help keep them safe online. Our team does their best to police our website, just as Facebook and other websites do. However, we are limited by the anonymous nature of the Internet. This opens up a much bigger discussion on online identity and privacy, especially with the imminent GDPR changes.”

This is Part One of a BuzzFeed News investigation.

January 20, 2018

Another Reason to Sell Your Body in Anti Gay Zimbabwe

TAKUNDA Munashe was only 13 years old when he started selling his body to other males while living in Mtapa, a high-density suburb in Gweru, the administrative capital of the Midlands province in Zimbabwe.
Wongai Zhangazha

For Munashe, now 29 years old, it was not because he was looking for a ticket to his next meal as is usually the case in such circumstances; he simply wanted a cellphone.

He had watched some of his friends browsing from one application to the other at school — and because his parents could not get him one — he decided to get one for himself. 
“It is not like I was forced into sex work. I have always known that I was different, but I didn’t really know that I was gay. It was at the age of 11, that I knew I was attracted to other boys. So it was my friends who told me that they could help me if I wanted a cellphone. It was just this teenage excitement of having fun. My parents who were on separation looked after me quite well and I do not blame them for the decisions I made that time when I was young,” Munashe said.

“It was then I started getting into relationships with other males. The challenge for me that time as young as I was; was not being able to negotiate for safe sex. I was living in a small town and I was not empowered enough to seek medical care. How would I approach the nurses and tell them that I was suffering from a sexually transmitted infection? I would let it heal by itself.”

As Munashe grew older, his sexual orientation became an open secret and all hell broke loose when his parents discovered that he was dating other males in 2011.

“Being born to African parents, they were in denial. They got very angry and attributed their separation to what they termed my abnormal behavior. I was taken to prophets, traditional healers anything you can think of, but that did not change me,” he said.

“I was forced into an arranged marriage — twice — thinking that it would change my ‘behaviour’. I sired three children from the marriages. I decided that I was not being honest with my life and I left to live the person that I am, that is being gay. I think my parents have just given up.”

Munashe said with three children to fend for and with no job he found himself going back into sex work.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in the doldrums with a debilitating liquidity crunch evidenced by the acute cash shortage in the market, low capacity utilization of less than 50% and the closure of hundreds of companies from various sectors of the economy. This has resulted in the increase of the country’s unemployment rate to more than 90%.  
“Sometimes I visit nightclubs to get clients, but most of the time I operate via my mobile. Some of my clients just call if they want sex. I also meet my clients online. With years of experience, I don’t run out of ways of how to attract my clients.

Depending on the type of client, day and month, I take home between US$40 and US$150 per day,” Munashe said.

His job, however, comes with numerous risks. 
“You have not graduated from sex work if you are not raped. You have to experience rape along the way in this profession. As male sex workers, we are also attacked by female prostitutes as we will be competing for the same clients. Police also harass us and take our money and because we are male sex workers having sex with men, we are not protected unlike the female sex workers because it is taboo in this country. It can get one arrested. We are extremely discriminated.”

Munashe, who is also a devout Christian, today chairs Male Sex Workers in Zimbabwe, an advocacy group that helps gay men who are economically disadvantaged.

“I go to church almost every Sunday. I am not stealing from anyone. I see God in me and I love myself. People have to accept and love me the way I am because that is me. I am not going to change,” he said.

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) director Chester Samba in an interview said there were a number of gay sex worker organizations that have been formed specifically to deal with how they can be empowered against a discriminative society.

The groups, including Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance, Male Sex Workers of Zimbabwe and Rainbow Leaders, cater for the gay sex workers’ rights and health needs.

“That is a new terrain for us, but the main challenges that the gay sex workers face in Zimbabwe are mostly health issues, the ability to negotiate for safe sex, sexually transmitted diseases and accessing health services. The attitude of nurses at public institutions is a cause for concern.

“At times nurses call each other and say come and look; we have a (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) LGBTQI person with an STI, or some bring a Bible and throw it over their laps,” Samba said. “They also face challenges of being extorted by those they would have entered into a relationship with. Hoping to get money out of it, they expose them. Law on the criminalization of same-sex also creates problems for this community.”

The constitution guarantees rights such as equality and non-discrimination, but is silent on specific rights for LGBTI community. Zimbabwe criminalizes same-sex relations.

Former president Robert Mugabe was a fierce critic of homosexuality and was known for making homophobic statements over the years, going to the extent of describing gay people as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) director Itai Rusike told the Zimbabwe Independent that his organization subscribes to the principle of leaving no one behind in order for the country to move towards achieving universal health coverage. CWGH has branches across the country.

“The ongoing political reforms in Zimbabwe need to be part of a wider effort to realize the right to health and be a critical enabler to social justice and equity. As such while we agree that the right to health is entailed to a progressive realization we call on the new Zimbabwe government to ensure that those who are currently left behind are prioritized first,” Rusike said.

“This includes the poor, prisoners, women and children and marginalized populations, including men who have sex with men, transgender persons, drug users and sex workers, many of whom are currently denied their right to equal access to health services.”

Samba, in addition, hoped that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his new government would desist from the discriminatory remarks Mugabe used to make against the LGBTQI people.

“In 2017, we recorded quite a number of cases of harassment and intimidation on our members. However, I must also say that there was a massive decrease may be because the political players have been busy with factional fights and so forth.”

March 16, 2017

Trump’s Campaign Chair Charged with Child Prostitution with Gay Boy

 An Oklahoma lawmaker was hit with a child prostitution charge Thursday after he was caught in a motel room with a teenage boy. 
State Sen. Ralph Shortey was charged a day after the Oklahoma Senate — by a vote of 43 to 0 — passed a resolution that suspended nearly all his privileges. 
Shortey is charged with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution/lewdness, according to the Cleveland County District Attorney's office.  A 35-year-old married father of two, Shortey turned himself in later Thursday at the Cleveland County Jail, local NBC affiliate KFOR reported. 
It remained to be seen whether Oklahoma would move to impeach Shortey, who represents parts of Oklahoma City, now that he has been formally charged. 
They have already stripped him of his capitol office, his parking space and state-owned laptop, scrubbed his name off any legislation he authored or co-authored — as well as his office door. 
Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, who like Shortey is a Republican, said "Oklahomans deserve to be represented by those above reproach." 
"In light of the charges filed against him, Ralph Shortey should resign from his seat so the good people of southwest Oklahoma City can move forward with electing a new state senator," Lamb said in a statement. 
Shortey was busted after police were notified that he had checked into a Super 8 Motel in Moore, Oklahoma — using his own name — around midnight on March 9 and the boy was with him, according to the DA's office. 
When police arrived at room 120, they "observed a strong odor of marijuana" and found Shortey inside with the teenager, who is identified in the charging papers as a 17-year-old named "JM." 

Image: Ralph Shortey

Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey, speaks during a Senate committee meeting in Oklahoma City on Feb. 22, 2017. Sue Ogrocki / AP

Later, they discovered an online conversation between Shortey and JM. 
"Would you be interested in sexual stuff?" Shortey allegedly wrote. 
"Yes," JM allegedly replied. 
From there, the conversation — as described in DA's charging papers — veered off from logistics to graphic lewdness and included a "smiley face emoji." 
Both Shortey and JM admitted to police that they met a year ago through a Craigslist "personal encounter ad," the papers state. And police also found an "open box of condoms" in a backpack. 
When asked what he was doing at the motel with the teen, Shortey said they were "just hanging out." according to a Moore Police report. 
This is not the first time Shortey made national news. Back in 2012, he proposed a bill banning human fetuses from being used in food, even though he admitted he did not know of any company in Oklahoma or elsewhere that was doing this. 
"There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not," he told The Daily Oklahoman newspaper. 
"As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better." 
The bill, which could have been lifted from the 1973 science fiction movie "Soylent Green," was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development committee where it died, according to The Daily Oklahoman. 
Shortey, who identifies himself as a member of the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe on his official biography, was also a staunch supporter of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and part of his leadership team in Oklahoma.


August 29, 2015

I hate to Defend but ‘Homeland Sec.’ Dons’t have real Crime to Pursue?

 I don’t think Homeland Security was formed to pursue male prostitution. There is something a lot more important to do or is it they don’t know where the real criminals are? Slow times at Justice Dept.? This is the Justice dept. headed by the appointee of the President? Is this a GOP administration already, did the elections come and go already and I forgot to vote? I hate I have to defend these millionaires scum bags but on this issue they should be left alone!  (Adam Gonzalez)                                                                
 Male Model
Who could have seen this coming? President Obama sent out the enforcers from the Department of Homeland Security to crack down on adult, consensual sodomy! (quote: Bryan Fischer)
Homeland Security must be itching for action—so to speak—because instead of monitoring terrorists or, like, keeping our borders safe, they instead decided to shut down a niche gay escort website.

On August 25th, federal authorities raided and froze bank accounts associated with, a nearly 20-year-old website that offered sex workers a platform to safely promote their work. Seven current or former employees were arrested and charged with the promotion of prostitution, including the chief executive, Jeffrey Hurant, 50.

“As alleged, attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” said Kelly T. Currie, acting United States attorney for New York’s Eastern District, in a statement.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I did watch Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson in ‘Conspiracy Theory,’ so I know a shady move when I see one.
The thing is, nothing in the federal authorities statement says anything about protecting the workers of the “brothel.” Where are the victims here? Just whom are the feds protecting, besides upholding archaic laws that they can choose to not enforce? In fact, it appears that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. The FBI reported data that showed a 50 percent drop in prostitution related arrests between 2004 and 2011, even though it continues to be a billion-dollar industry. It’s not as if these sex workers all suddenly got jobs at Starbucks.

So why now? Why, when just last week it announced a scholarship program to help escorts get an education? And why, when leading health organizations and first world countries across the globe are advancing the decriminalization of prostitution, is the United States still focusing their attention on the purveyors of sex and not the system that forces the victims of illegal sex work into the shadows, or sometimes caskets?

Let’s put the actual sex workers into perspective.

The men that advertised their services on did so on their own free will, working as free agents on a public platform that offered them guidance, respectability, and a community. Without and other sites like it, these men are forced onto the streets or into the shadows, on their own. Statistics show that street workers suffer more violence, often turning to pimps for protection, only leading to more violence and possible sex trafficking. The visibility of their profile on freed these sex workers from the violence of pimps and the sex trade.
This isn’t about a website or even money, this is about sex phobia and shame.
Just what about two consenting adults making an agreement to have sex where one party receives compensation is so wrong? We pay our dog walkers, our massage therapists, hell, I even once bought dinner for a friend in return for him shaving my back. Prostitution laws have a long and sordid history, too much to get into here, but just like our thinking on LGBT rights, marijuana laws, abortion, assisted suicide, and many more have all evolved, why are we still so focused on outlawing sex for money?

Because we’re a patriarchal culture that refuses to think of sex in a secular way. Our Judaic-Christian background won’t let us want sex, need sex, just for the fun of it. Guess what? In case you’ve never had it, sex is really, really fun, and even therapeutic (as I experienced during chemo).

Adam Ramzi, an adult film performer with a masters degree in clinical LGBT psychology, says, “In fact, it’s often therapeutic and healthy for its customers and clients. It’s a transaction that benefits both the buyer and the seller in ways that most people don’t see… Raiding a service that provides its clients with sexual and emotional relief they otherwise would not have is an unnecessary use of resources and security.”

Decriminalization of prostitution is a workers’ rights issue.

“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, in a statement.

When sex workers are able to legally disclose their work, as they can in Germany and a number of other countries, they are allowed to receive government services that all workers are afforded: police protection when something goes wrong, health services, taxation benefits, even union representation. And because prostitution is legal, customers can use credit cards, lowering the chance of violence with an anonymous illegal encounter. was the closest thing male sex workers had to legalization and protection, and now the feds have made the decision to take away that protection, and potentially thrust these workers into violent encounters or incarceration that could impact their lives for years to come.

“Arresting people who are taking agency over their own bodies and earning a living only creates this cycle of violence in which they find it harder to leave sex work when they need/want to,” says Danny Cruz, 30, a sex worker and activist. “Having a prostitution charge on a criminal record is a huge barrier to mainstream employment and sex workers who were previously arrested for this end up turning to sex work to pay fines, court fees, etc. it’s a vicious cycle built by people who think they are “rescuing” us by arresting us. I’d rather skip that rescue.”

Could this be because of the Ashley Madison leak? Or maybe a gay bias?
Let’s get real, never tried very hard at hiding what it really was doing. Advertising that escorts exchange money for time spent together, and if sex happens that’s between the escort and the client, is a thinly veiled way of promoting sex for money. Or could it have been an awesome, in-your-face, statement of independence on the current state of legalized sex shame from state and federal officials? Regardless, it’s surprising that after nearly 20 years of basically blatant promotion of prostitution, the feds decide to raid now, just mere weeks after the Ashley Madison leak.

Coincidence or not, there’s a renewed focus on sex shaming, and the feds are joining the shame bandwagon. And because targeted a niche and largely marginalized clientele, gay men, with profile langage detailing everything from penis size to personal fetishes, what better way to steer attention away from federal officials emails contained within the Ashley Madison leak? Just like George W. Bush used the issue of a federal amendment banning gay marriage during the 2004 presidential campaign, could people within the federal government be using the raid to sensationalize the news away from other distracting Ashley Madison related nuggets of news?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I did watch Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory, so I know a shady move when I see one.

Many in the LGBT community are feeling a deep sense of personal bias. Performer Justin Bond posted on Facebook, “I think that to many in our community this feels like a throwback to when the police raided gay bars in the 50s and 60s….This invasion of a consensual hook-up site which is run for and by members of the LGBT community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification…”

In a perfect world…

Prostitution would not only be legalized, but it would be regulated and taxed, guaranteeing the workers and the purveyors security, safety, and accountability. It’s really that simple.

The reality is it is not. The feds can shut down, but that’s not going to solve anything. Another website, or app, will be created and the oldest profession in the world will grow older. Instead of focusing on sites like, the feds should look to the ever growing international sex trade that’s happening all around us, in addition to the exorbitant number of trans men and women forced into sex work because of discrimination elsewhere, many of which are getting murdered. Because targeting a young man with a nice body using it to make a dime in a legit and safe way on a harmless website is like arresting the mother of a little girl selling lemonade on the corner for child slave labor.

Story appeared on Fusion
H Alan ScottH Alan Scott

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