From May to November 2011 The Cyrenians carried out a scoping exercise and some exploratory work to consider the nature and extent of male sex work in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In April 2012 funds were secured to support a 12 month project 'MAP' (Male Action Project) to further develop the evidence-base regarding the needs of 'survival' male sex workers; and to undertake a programme of campaigning activities to stimulate and facilitate policy change at local, regional and national levels.
As our initial scoping activities show, male sex workers appear to be some of the most excluded individuals within society. They are generally left on the side lines when sex work is discussed or studied. The MAP project will operate to address the following key issues:
- Silence and the double-stigma of male sex work
- Discrimination and family rejection
- Chronic exclusion factors, including substance misuse and homelessness
- Health and well-being
- Violence and crime
MAP Outreach and Health Packs;
MAP organise night outreach sessions on a weekly basis. Outreach is an opportunity where men can meet with workers and talk in confidence about the situation they find themselves in. MAP also work intensively with a small case load of 6 men, using a holistic approach and working in partnership with mainstream services.
Safer working packs are also available for all the men we have contact with, which include sexual health resources and information and some fun extras!
What Agencies Need to Do
The findings of the scoping study highlight the need for a significant package of activity to be undertaken at the local and national level in relation to male sex work. This includes:
- The continuing development of a robust evidence-base regarding the nature of the male sex industry.
- The development of more proactive service delivery models in relation to the mainstream needs of male sex workers, even if this causes a short-term increase in case load.
- The development of efficient reporting systems within a regulatory framework, to ensure that instances of exploitation, assault and abuse are dealt with in a co-ordinated and appropriate manner.
- The development of comprehensive government policy around prostitution and exploitation that recognises the specific needs of male sex workers.
For updates on the project or get involved in MAP contact Ian Fiddes, MAP Development Worker, I.Fiddes@tcuk.org
To find out more about The Cyrenians’ policy and campaigns work contact Rhiannon Bearne, Assistant Group Director – Policy, R.Bearne@tcuk.org or 0191 256 2918Through our research, policy and campaigning work we think about, shape and change agendas which affect socially excluded people.