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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. This article explores strategies and barriers to increase safety among men and trans sex workers and clients of men in Vancouver, Canada. Drawing on a socioecological framework, thematic analysis of interview transcripts was conducted utilizing ATLAS.

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Narratives indicate that gentrification and urban planning led to social isolation and loss of social support networks among men in the sex industry. Narratives reveal how the Internet can provide greater opportunities to negotiate terms of sex work and enhanced screening using webcams, reducing risks of violence, stigma, and police harassment for both workers and clients compared with the street.

This study highlights how losing Boystown led to a loss of community and solidarity: key protective measures for sex workers. Recent legal reforms in Canada to further criminalize sex work raise ificant concern for human rights and health of individuals in the sex industry, and point to the critical need to include voices of men and trans sex workers and buyers in policy discussions.

Men Vancouver craigslist male escort buy and sell sex worldwide are vastly heterogeneous and while they may experience an increasing burden of health and social inequities, the current understanding of various contexts, needs, and risk or protective practices among men sex workers and men sex buyers is very limited Baral et al. This latter point ifies that men sex workers have been largely excluded from the majority of research that tends to focus on men who have sex with men MSMtrans women, and women sex workers.

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There has been increasing effort by governments, media, and pressure by the prohibitionist movement on economic players to shut down the sex industry online e. However, this research has almost exclusively been drawn from women sex workers Shannon et al.

The available literature, based on research conducted primarily in higher income settings i. Men sex workers continued to be pushed out from newly gentrified neighborhoods in Vancouver.

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Men sex workers have been largely displaced from the streets as local police enforcement efforts were scaled up Deering et al. The loss of Boystown due to gentrification and urban planning mirrors earlier efforts to displace visible sex work in the s and s and yet there has been little research to examine how this has changed the structure and organization of the sex industry for men or shift to online sex work.

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Given the limited understanding and paucity of available data in Canada on the experiences and voices of men in the sex industry and how various structural factors of urban de, criminalization, and policing shape working conditions for men sex workers and buyers, this article draws on a community-based participatory research project to explore the impact of the loss of Boystown and the transition from the street to online on strategies and barriers to violence prevention and negotiation of safer sex among men sex workers and clients of men in Vancouver, Canada.

Eligibility included being 19 years of age or older, self-identifying as a man, and buying or selling sex within the past year.

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Given the lack of research and voices of men in the sex industry, the interview guide was exploratory, eliciting narratives to better understand the diversity of men in sex work e. Interviews could be conducted anonymously, and men chose an alias for ing the consent.

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Interviews lasted approximately 1. Following informed consent, all interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The research and community partners discussed the content of interviews, emerging themes, and coding framework throughout the data collection and analytic processes. Drawing on a socioecological framework, an initial codebook was developed through a participatory approach by the research and community team members. Initially, each coder worked independently on the same transcript and after comparing codes and establishing intercoder reliability, the remaining transcripts were divided equally among the two coders, with continuous checks for intercoder reliability.

The initial coding framework was based on key themes e. A socioecological framework for conceptualizing health and well-being of sex workers and clients emphasizes that health is an outcome of social, structural, and environmental conditions Farmer, In moving beyond individually focused and behavioral understandings of risk and safety, this approach foregrounds the interconnectedness of environmental, social, political, legal, and economic forces, in shaping the health and well-being of individuals.

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A key element of the present study is the active co-leadership and involvement of community members and partners throughout the research process. The sociodemographic characteristics of participants are described in Table 1.

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Trans persons included transgender, transsexual, and otherwise gender nonconforming. Participants described the loss of Boystown as a consequence of urban planning and gentrification of the area in the years leading up to the Winter Olympics.

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As street-based sex workers were displaced from Boystown, many workers expressed that their social networks and sense of community had been disrupted. Coinciding with this gentrification was a shift to online sex work, which many participants describe as creating heightened competition among workers and social isolation. The narratives suggest that losing the tight-knit community that had been established in Boystown has reduced the level of social support and solidarity among workers.

One participant explains the atmosphere on the streets of Vancouver for men sex workers:.

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This city is quite cold on the streets. Like especially on the corners but like, since then you only see people by themselves so, just goes to show. About a year after the Olympics like I never went down the stroll again for working.

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Heightened competition online has forced some workers to consider other avenues for advertising and integrating sex work with more comprehensive services for clients, such as massage. One worker describes his efforts to combat the online competition:. It was easier to hook in Calgary.

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Like put an ad in the paper or something like that. Some street-based workers reported that since being displaced from Boystown and the rise of online solicitation they have had a harder time attracting clients and, as a result, are earning less money. The ensuing economic hardship may force workers to offer more services to increase their income, including services that are riskier.

For one worker, losing Boystown has made finding clients so difficult that he has started including anal sex in the services he offers—a transition he has made reluctantly in the past year, as it carries a higher risk for HIV and STIs sexually transmitted infections :. Both ways so. And I only started doing that because they shut [Boystown] down.

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I never had to do that my whole life. Things have slowed down. Boystown was shut down? And the Internet.

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For workers who have not made the transition to the Internet, the challenges on the street are exacerbated by the criminalized environment for sex work in Vancouver, and their safety and well-being are put in jeopardy. Narratives about the shutdown of Boystown were particularly laden with incidences of police violence and harassment.

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Street-based men sex workers were subjected to extreme experiences of police violence and harassment, especially just prior to or during the Winter Olympic games. One Indigenous sex worker describes:.

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Lights on. Like jack your name up. And like what are you doing down here?

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You know that. Because of the cops, and the abuse that they would do. They do it a lot. No one will care about you. Kind of is the way.

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Given the vast overrepresentation of Indigenous sex workers in this study, and health and social inequities faced by Indigenous people, this narrative highlights the urgency of including the voices of Indigenous men sex workers in research and policy discussion and the need for Indigenous sex work—led research that includes men sex worker and buyer experiences. Another worker described why his preference is to solicit online, particularly in regard to the heightened risks associated with working on the street. He commented on the amount of time and effort required to work online, which could potentially lead some workers to defer to the street in cases where a quicker turnaround is desired:.

The security of doing a car date then [15 years ago] to doing a car date now is basically the same. Both workers and clients who operate online expressed little concern about the legal aspects of sex work and rarely encountered police officers in any capacity, as both online advertising and purchasing of Vancouver craigslist male escort were not criminalized at the time of data collection:.

Could be a police officer, kinda thing. If I found out if they could do that I would be worried. One of the most prominent themes to emerge from the narratives was that the shift from the street to online sex work provides sex workers with greater control over the terms of their work, enhancing safety and the ability to implement protective strategies.

All participants noted that sex work for men in Vancouver now predominately takes place online. Many narratives referred to this transition to online solicitation coinciding specifically with the shutdown of the outdoor sex work stroll for men Boystown in the past several years. An outcome of this transition is a more centralized and accessible space for the sex industry:. Online workers are able to choose from a wide range of websites and reach a much broader audience of potential clients than on the street. Workers reported that being online makes it easier to connect with buyers and has increased their overall income:.

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Working online is like a whole new world. All the male prostitutes were pretty much moved online. Soliciting for clients online enables sex workers to create online profiles detailing the terms of their services and the narratives relayed that many buyers also have online profiles; including photographs and detailed information about what type of experience they are looking for.

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Having the opportunity to screen prospective clients based on their online presence prior to meeting can reduce the risk for violence, particularly if the sex worker wants to refuse the date. One worker explained why working online is safer than when he used to work on the street:.

You either say nay or yay. And you can say no online and not worry about bringing retribution of violence right, so. Another worker, who identifies as heterosexual and provides services to men and women and has purchased sex from womenexplained his screening process of potential clients:.

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I read their and I just, get a sense. Or I listen to them on the phone or their text and, I just generally get a sense of like, based on their grammar and their spelling and. Um, you know, like determine whether I wanna work with them or not. I mean, what kind of things are you wanting. One of the ways in which screening has been enhanced with the Internet is with the use of webcams.

Webcams can serve as valuable protective screening tools against workplace violence and workers reported meeting clients several times through webcams prior to meeting in person, and felt that this reduced the risk of finding themselves in violent situations:. ZIP: 98684 98664 98665 98660 98661 98662 98663 98682 98683 98687

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