Male sex work in Polland

Male sex work in Polland

Homosexuality is neither especially protected nor prosecuted in Poland. Sexologists describe it as one of the sexual orientations; some authors use the term of "atypical sexual behaviour, characterised by a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex, either women or men".

The law makes no different between male and female sex work: it is allowed for people older than 17 years. Customers are not prosecuted for having sex with prostitutes, older than 17 years. Persons, encouraging or urging others into prostitution as well as those who make profits out of prostitution (pimps) will be prosecuted.
According to the Polish law, people older than 17 years may conduct an active sexual life. The same rule applies for prostitution.
Prostitutes younger than 17 years may be prosecuted. Youngsters, who sell sex are usually placed in an education centre for girls or boys. However, if a juvenile prostitute commits an offence he or she will be placed in a borstal. Customers of juvenile prostitution (provided either by boys or girls) are prosecuted as well.
In Poland exists no specific gay movement. The gay life is generally concentrated on gay clubs and discos, which exist in bigger cities only. Due to catholism and the traditional role models, homosexuality is still a big taboo issue within Poland.
Gay clubs and discos do exist in larger Polish cities, such as Warsaw, Poznan, Wrocaw, Cracow, Szczecin, Gdansk, Katowice and Bydgoszcz (mainly at weekends). Some of those clubs accept men only; others are visited by everybody, including heterosexuals who do not mind about homosexuality or who have homosexual friends and want to spend some time together.
There exist several departments of LAMBDA, an association of gays and lesbians. LAMBDA is a nation wide organisation but each regional group has its own programme based on the general objectives. Other gay organisations are formed regularly. They are dissolved soon after they were founded, because they couldn't obtain any funding for their activity.
There are some monthly magazines, which are very popular in Poland. The most popular and the oldest one is "INACZEJ". Others are called "FACET, "MEN", "NOWY MEN" and a new one titled "GEJZER". Those magazines include articles concerning safe sex, stories, gossip columns, and news – description of past events (workshops, conferences, and new books) as well as information about future events. It is usually all-Polish information.

Men sell sex to men in parks (Szczecin,Warsaw), streets ( Warsaw ), saunas (Warsaw, Poznan), public toilets, brothels (Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia,Warsaw) which offer commercial male sex to women and men, railway stations where the supply increases before arrival of international trains. Other places for selling sex are gay restaurants, discos (dark rooms) and erotic cinemas. Customers, who prefer a more anonymous and private setting react on adds in several newsapapers and magazines.

Condoms are much more popular within Poland than 5 years ago. The knowledge concerning safer sex practises is bigger than 4 or 5 years ago. It may be a result of influence of NGO-s which are trying to spread an information about reproductive health, sexual education and prevention using books, liflets, organizing meetings, conferences and informing and educating media .But the lack of full and proper sexual education in primary and secondary schools is still a problem in Poland.
The following organisations support male prostitutes:
  • MONAR – engaged in treatment of drug addicts;
  • LAMBDA – described above;
  • TADA – carrying out STD prevention activities by doing outreachwork;
  • POWRÓT Z U – organising psychotherapy of addicts and support for their families;
  • United Nations Development Programme and National AIDS Center- providing financial aid, organising conferences and workshops, publishing books, brochures, posters and other instruction materials concerning STD.

All above-mentioned organisations are non-governmental and nation wide.
Outreachwork is done in the following places: gay clubs and discos, streets, parks, saunas and railway stations.
Men who sell sex to women usually work within Escort agencies or by advertising in newspapers and magazines. A lot of agencies employing men are situated on the Gdansk Coast. Their customers are mainly seamen's wives. In Szczecin doesn't exist such an agency, though it is a port city.

HIV and STD tests are offered by all organisations that work with seropositive people, i.e. MONAR, TADA, POWRÓT and others. Those NGOs can't offer HIV testing by themselves, but refer to anonymous HIV Testing Centres or to venereological outpatient clinics. Everybody can access the Anonymous Testing Centres, regardless of their nationality and their legal status. Pre- and post- counselling is included. If a
person wants to be tested in a venereological outpatient clinic he or she has to be insured; otherwise fees have to be paid.

Hepatitis B vaccinations are offered for free in April every year (within the so-called "yellow week"). Normally, only new-born babies and insured patients waiting for surgical operations are vaccinated against virus hepatitis for free.
Free Health Services are provided for insured people only, i.e. employees, pensioners and registered unemployed people. Illegal migrants and uninsured people cannot access free Health Services. They have to pay for any medical service except the services offered in the special HIV- and STD- Testing Centres. Till 1998 TADA employed a venereolgist for offering services free of charge to male and female sex workers. Due to financial problems TADA had to finish their agreement with the venereological outpatient clinic.
There are several producers of condoms in Poland. The qualitative best one is Unimil producing also condoms for anal sex called Duet. Those condoms are bought by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. They are delivered to those non-governmental organisations, which are engaged in STD prevention and distribute the condoms for free.