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I'm going back to male prostitution'

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MATSAPHA–B. Castings of Mbhuleni, outside Manzini, is probably the first male Swazi to declare that he makes a living out of prostitution.

He claims he quit in November last year through the assistance of the Future of Kwaluseni (FUKWA), a non- governmental organisation that assists troubled youths of the area.

However, due to unemployment, he has resolved to hit the streets at night, looking for female customers who pay up to E200 per sexual encounter.

"When I quit prostitution to find a proper job in November, I was of the assumption that employers would be sympathetic with me," he said in an interview this week.

"However, after unsuccessfully knocking on the doors of many employers around Matsapha Industrial Site, I have decided to go back to my old job. I have a lot of responsibilities that require me to have steady income. Therefore, with no jobs available, my only option is to sell my body to desperate women. At least they pay very well," he said.

Prostitution is illegal in Swaziland as per the Crimes Act of 1889, and if found guilty, a prostitute may be sentenced to three years in prison, with an option of E1 000. In addition, the convicted male prostitute may be subjected to whipping not exceeding 24 strokes. Despite the fine, and possible imprisonment, Castings maintains that he must put food on the table. He explained that work hours normally start at sundown, where he leaves his home to look for customers.

"Some of them still have my numbers, but the normal routine is that i go to a bar to look for women who want a good time. We negotiate the price, then go to a location preferred by the customer. Most of them take to their houses where we complete the deal.

"One of the problems i face when working is that some customers refuse to pay the full price, especially those who buy me drinks before we proceed to have sex. However, women generally pay well, but they insist on secrecy. Although they have my numbers, they always insist that i look the other way whenever we meet in town during the day," he said, adding: "Most of my customers are wealthy single women, while some have husbands."

Castings said he insisted on a condom and was happy that most of his customers were enlightened on the dangers of unprotected sex.

"That is why I went for an HIV test in November when I decided to quit. I found that I was still HIV negative, that is why I wanted to find a proper job," he said.

Kwaluseni is located outside Manzini, and is home to thousands of textile workers. The area is also notorious for violent crimes and being a haven for fugitives.

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