KOLKATA: As homosexuals and bisexuals in India slowly come out of the closet, there seems to be a rise in gay prostitution in Kolkata.
The joints are same as those used for the flesh trade three to four years back. Due to constant police raids, many such joints were forced to close down and the owners even saw their kitty drying up.
Now, suddenly, with homosexuality coming out of the closet over the last couple of years, owners of these joints have got the opportunity to reopen shop.
The only difference is that previously a woman escorted a male to these joints. Now, instead, a homosexual sex worker accompanies the customer.
Jeevan (name changed), the owner of such a joint in central Kolkata, told DNA that although the new trend has helped him earn some money, income is not as high as in the traditional flesh trade.
“Previously, I took Rs 250 for an hour as room charges. Now, I cannot charge more than Rs 100. Apart from this, the income of a homosexual sex worker is much lower that that of a female sex worker. Hence, my commission from them is also lower,” Jeevan added.
He said the only positive aspect of this new trade is that there are no chances of police raids or trouble from the local goons, which was the main concern with the traditional flesh trade.
People Like Us (PLUS) is an organisation working for the welfare of homosexual sex workers. According to its statistics, around 1,000 homosexual sex workers are currently active in Kolkata.
The figure has risen from around 100- 150 even two years back.
“Interestingly, young homosexuals from the suburbs in Kolkata, are now coming to Kolkata in search of clients. Some of them hail from well-to-do families and are college students. They take up this profession to make a quick buck,” a PLUS spokesperson told DNA.
According to him, currently, of around 1,000 homosexual sex workers operating in Kolkata, 70 per cent are from the suburban towns of Barasat, Habra, Duttapukur and Howrah.
Another interesting factor has come to light. Women sex workers from the suburbs who frequent Kolkata everyday in search of clients are mainly from these towns too.
Pranjal is one such young sex worker. His outlook is simple.
“I come from a middle class family, and, at the same time, I love partying. But my parents cannot afford my lifestyle. I am homosexual and I arrive in Kolkata each weekend and serve some of my regular clients in the evenings,” Pranjal told DNA.