Panama’s secret male prostitution market
It is known that there are around 4,000 regulated female prostitutes in the country who are regularly tested for venereal diseases by th...
It is known that there are around 4,000 regulated female prostitutes in the country who are regularly tested for venereal diseases by the Ministry of Health.
They have carnets that identify them as sexual workers.
As opposed to their female counterparts male prostitutes tend to operate in relative secrecy.
No survey has been done to find out how many are out there, their ages, the diseases they may carry and what can be done to help them in the long term.
The psychologist Virginia Castillero from the Social Development Ministry said that male prostitution is similar to the female one, because the individuals are selling their bodies for money.
“In the case of the males they can offer their services to men and women indiscriminately. Some of them are homosexual, others are strictly heterosexual and a percentage are bisexual.
As no research has been undertaken in Panama they are very vulnerable to abuse and diseases, and are largely excluded from health program said Castillero.
“They are being exposed to AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes,” explained the psychologist.
Talking about heterosexual male prostitutes, Castillero said that they are young men who are companions and sexual partners to older women who are willing to pay for sex.
Unlike female streetwalkers male prostitutes do not have a pimp and work independently. They are normally very young and have found that selling their bodies is an easy way to earn a living.
The ones who have sex with other men are transvestites. Some men behave like women 24 hours a day and others wear female clothes only at night without their families or friends and only go out at night to offer their services.
Jose Castillero Calderon, Education Coordinator of the Panama’s New Men and Women Association, said that many of those those who dedicate themselves to the oldest profession are vulnerable young men, but there are a few older ones, usually transvestites.
Castillero Calderon, who belongs to an organization that fights for the rights of homosexuals and lesbians in Panama, said that this group is very difficult to reach, because they are shrouded in secrecy and do not want to talk about their activities.
Foreigners come to Panama attracted to Panamanian male prostitutes because allegedly they are more passionate and willing to do anything,
But, like their female counterparts, theyneed to be potected to avoid the spread of sexual diseases.