Sunday, December 22, 2013
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A sex worker who has admitted to working in more than 12 sex shops in Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril, has described conditions in many of the establishments as “worse than slavery”, with girls as young as age 14 working, often without pay.
The sex worker, who gave her name only as ‘Diamond’, wants the police to investigate the operations of the shops and the treatment of the girls.
“At one place you have to work 24 hours, and if they catch you sleeping is $3,000 draw from yuh pay. If a man walk in and yuh say yuh don’t want to ‘catch’ that man because yuh don’t feel like doing business with him, is a $3,000 charge,” Diamond told the Jamaica Observer.
“But different from the $3,000, if that man was going to pay for an hour, you get that hour charge. So if the man picks you and you refuse, you have to pay for that hour. And the hour is for $7,000. So that $7,000 comes from your week money that yuh work already. At the end of the day, don’t bother think yuh have any pay leave, because they try find everything to charge yuh for and draw out of it,” Diamond said in an interview with the Sunday Observer recently.
“It come in like prison — I don’t even know. If yuh eat a lunch and yuh leave the empty box on a counter, is a $1,500 charge. If yuh give a man yuh number and they find out, is a $3,000 charge. And on top of that, yuh have 14 girls and four beds. Sometimes it is five to a bed, sometimes four, depending on if the girls can get along.”
Continuing the list of charges levied on the girls by the sex shop owners, Diamond said: “If yuh go on the road, even to buy food and five o’clock catch yuh, that is a $3,000 charge. You have to come back by five o’clock, because you have office girls there, yuh know. They leave from there go to work and come back after they leave their office work and they still charge them if they come in late. Everything is a charge. If yuh shout, is a $1,500 charge. Many of us use the room and if yuh tear the condom paper and it drop in the room, even if yuh don’t know is who, just take it up because if yuh don’t take it up is a $3,000 charge. They just going to charge everybody who share that room $3,000,” she stated.
Diamond said that some of the owners will give each girl one condom for each customer, and if that one condom gets damaged before the session is over, she is left at her own risk.
“Yuh see if something is not done fast, AIDS going to spread in these places. And some wife going to be home and some man carry some serious disease go give them. The way the girls pretty in those centres, let me tell you, I have been at a centre and a man come and give me $20,000 to have sex with me without condom. Another time a man gave me $30,000 to have sex with him without condom. But what I do is take the 30 grand, tell him I was going to use the bathroom and put in my female condom. So I would advise the girls to always have female condom and know what yuh doing. So that is why I feel that the Government should really have a set of people who go into these places and really check it out and make sure that the girls have ID, and they do their test (for sexual infections) and so. Some places, I don’t think they do testing, and some of the girls will even have sex with each other,” she said.
According to Diamond, the girls are forced to do things that they do not want to do, like have anal and oral sex, and if they refuse, they are again charged.
“At the end of the day, yuh not going home with any money,” she said, even as she admitted that the girls make money from performing
“Everybody who work there have to do it. All of us. This is how we make money so we can eat food in the mornings, ’cause they don’t give us food. And remember, is every two weeks we get pay. So when we do [it] the men will pay us $2,000, $2,500 or $3,000 and they pay us directly. The boss don’t see this money,” she said.
According to the sex worker, the girls use that money to do their nails and hair, and buy outfits “cause if yuh repeat clothes, they charge yuh too. But like when the big, top man dem come in — big man, real big man” they will pay $7,000 for oral sex.
She said that these “real big men” include some of Jamaica’s prominent politicians.
“When they visit, yuh will get yuh pay for the night and yuh can even done work. But yuh can’t really done work for the night because the boss would charge you $3,000 same way. So, if every time a customer come and yuh say yuh not working, that is $3,000, so yuh just have to continue work.
“And if yuh do business with a man and him come out and say him never enjoy it, yuh have to pay $3,000. So I’m saying that is ridiculous. People need to know what is happening,” Diamond said.
Along with all the other charges comes another $2,500 weekly withdrawal for accommodation, she said.
“And if you try to talk for your rights you get charge, so everybody fraid to say anything,” she added.
Diamond said that from working in numerous sex shops/massage parlours across the country, she has come across girls as young as 14 years old employed as sex workers.
“There is one in particular in Negril. They have 14-and 15-year-old girls. It carry a lot of young girls. And there is another in Montego Bay,” she said, naming the establishments.
“There is one off the Boulevard (St Andrew), too. The Government need to go in and take out the little girls from out of them,” she said. “Some real young girls are there and they do it for the money, but trust mi, when you see them buying some big TV, some things that they have to go through, you wouldn’t believe it.
“Sometimes some big men come in and the man pay for an hour. Can you imagine a man having sex with you for an hour? Imagine what those little girls go through,” she said as she explained that those men are the ones who apply substances to delay ejaculation.
She related the story of a 15-year-old who came running from a room crying a few weeks ago at the establishment in which she was working. When she was inspected, her vagina was swollen and sore from the encounter with a customer. She was unable to complete the job, but could not mention it to the boss as she would have been charged $3,000.
“Even when the man buss them up, they still expect you to continue working just the same,” Diamond said. “It worse than slavery.”
She said that if the room door remained closed a minute after the time is up the girl working in that room is charged.
“As the hour up they knock the door, and as soon as the door knock yuh better pull it open while you and the man naked. Because if the door still close, yuh get a $3,000 charge, ’cause they saying you still collecting from the man for extras,” Diamond claimed.
The sex worker said that some of the establishments guilty of ill-treating their workers can be found on Lyndhurst Road, the Port Henderson Road, popularly referred to as ‘Back Road’, Swallowfield, Gold Terrace, Burlington Avenue, Zaidie Gardens and Washington Boulevard.
She said that a number of shops are opened in “respectable complexes” and the occupants are unaware of what is taking place right next-door to them.
“They can be right next-door to you and you don’t know,” she said. “Because every week two more open.”
Diamond said that sex shop owners can make up to $300,000 on weekend nights off 15 girls. From this, $150,000 would be divided among the girls. However, from the girls’ portion, there would be deductions for accommodation for each, along with all the charges that they accumulated over the two weeks.
“They might still don’t go home with any money when they done charge them,” she said. “And you not checking day money or during-the- week money that they make.”
On top of being treated unjustly, Diamond said that even when the girls are menstruating they are still forced to work.
“They want their money, and this is not really right… The girls must go home,” she said.
“The places need to come under some order and the bosses need to be fair… and pay the girls their money. There is a centre that the girls group up and burnt it down because they wouldn’t pay them their money. That man opened a new place off the Boulevard. It really funny that you don’t want to pay the girls and you work them out for two weeks. Some of them heartless,” she said.
The sex worker said that what many bosses do is take as many girls from the rural areas as they can, who do not know their way around Kingston, or underaged girls who run away from their homes and have nowhere else to go.
The girls, she said, are afraid to speak out because of what they feel others might say about them and the profession that they are in.
“I used to operate a place and I never treated the girls like this,” Diamond admitted. “But I went away and come back and see that this is what is happening, so it unbelievable to me. I could take two days and buy my ticket to travel and buy four girls ticket and me and them go away… to hustle for a weekend. Because I used to have ‘top a top’ politician coming to my place. I never even used to charge them accommodation.”
She said that she operated her own place for four years before closing it down and deciding instead to work from other parlours. Now, she said, she has been to sex shops where girls shed tears because they were tired and sore but had to continue working.
“Look here, these bosses don’t sorry for us. I have been at centres and see girls a bawl ’cause they can’t go anymore, the way how them buss up,” she said.
Some of the establishments, she said, need to be visited by public health inspectors because they do not have proper showers, the girls are not given tissue or wipes, and men have to use their own merinos or underpants to clean themselves afterwards.
But while she is calling on the authorities to intervene, she said that she has witnessed police officers going to one so-called massage parlour and collecting “brown envelopes” from the boss.
“When the girls them go make complaint at the station, is dem yuh buck up in and dem run yuh weh and a tell yuh say yuh should go home and tomorrow yuh go back up there for yuh money,” Diamond said.
As for the bosses, they will come in the nights and collect their money in boxes, yet still refuse to pay the girls, she said. “They need to be fair and they need to deal with the girls properly. And they should at least find a meal a day for the girls.”