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English>>China Society

High price of being a ‘money boy’

By Yin Lu  (Global Times)

16:25, November 30, 2012

Editor's Note: Due to the sensitive nature of this story, pseudonyms have been provided for all male sex workers mentioned to protect their identities. At the request of the Beijing Zuoyou Information and Consulting Center (BZICC), an NGO that supports male sex workers and helped Metro Beijing source interviewees, journalist Yin Lu posed as a volunteer with the organization to obtain quotes for the story that revealed the lives of them and the discrimination they face. Yin later contacted the NGO to seek sex workers' consent for the story, which was given. Real names of NGO officials have been used.

Neat, stylish and with chiseled facial features, Xiao Nan hardly stands out among the sea of young male migrant workers who come to Beijing seeking a better future.

The 27-year-old native of Henan Province originally worked at a fancy hotel and restaurant, but soon became a pimp to female prostitutes. Six years ago when he came to Beijing, he became a male sex worker for men - an occupation known as "money boys," or MBs in prostitution circles.

Xiao has been an MB for more than five years. "Business is fine these days. Recently, I have had at least one customer daily," Xiao told Metro Beijing.

Beijing is home to thousands of homosexual or transgender sex workers, based on BZICC estimates.

Most male sex workers are homosexual, although there are exceptions. Xiao is bisexual and his roommate and colleague, Zhang Shuai, is heterosexual. Many come from low-income families from other parts of the country with a high school education at most.

The average price for a sex act is 400 yuan ($64.15), with this price doubling for overnight services. Extra is charged for additional services, such as massages requested by clients, according to Kent Zhu, a 23-year-old project assistant for BZICC.

Money might seem easy, but Zhu insists it isn't. Experienced MBs, such as Xiao, can charge about 100 yuan more than the average going rate. Actually, he earns more than 10,000 yuan in a good month.

"When I was at my busiest, I used to take 70 to 80 calls monthly," said Xiao.

"It was very tiring. For some clients, I had to take erectile dysfunction drugs to improve my performance," he said.

However, during quiet months or when police step up crackdowns, he can barely pay his share of his apartment's 1,500 yuan monthly rent.

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