Business Review at Port Henderson 'BACKROAD' Prostitution Service

Clearly there are no physical receipts. After all, it is an illegal industry with purely cash transactions, but the prostitutes say they make a tidy sum for each sex act and their clients are mainly the well-to-do.

Professionals such as policemen, soldiers, lawyers, doctors, media workers, businessmen and bank managers make up their clientele.

"A mostly rich man in dem big vehicle come buy sex, because remember say di little man who deh pon di road, dem no have no work or nutten, so dem no have no money, unless a thief them a go thief," said Marsha, a 17-year-old prostitute, who operates in Corporate Area.

She pointed out that when the high-end vehicles pull up to the curb, shielded in the cloak of nightfall, there is no shortage of things to do. What the occupants seek is pleasure, a chance to live out their fantasies - a service which some women and a growing number of men are only too willing to supply for a price.

"All man dress up inna dem necktie and dem jacket in dem big vehicle. Policeman, all entertainer, but dem come in secret," declared Samantha Gray, who operates on Port Henderson Road, the informal 'Red Light District' in Portmore, St Catherine, better known as 'Back Road'.

NOT PROUD BUT …

Twenty-two-year-old Tina lives in Falmouth, and even though she is not proud of her occupation, she readily defends what she calls her "bred and butta".

"Police, politician and big, big men in society … . Don't let dem fool you. They are our friends in the night, but drive past us in the day. If only these walls and car seats could talk," said Tina.

"Everybody you can think of come buy sex, no matter how they high and upstanding in the day - lawyers, bankers, churchmen, business owners - but I don't do business with police, because we are from the garrison, plus they don't want to pay," said Karen, a 25-year-old mother of four who offers her sexual favours on Strand Street in Montego Bay, St James.

Tameka, a 21-year-old from Ocho Rios, has catered to more than 11 'customers' in one night - a record for the other girls - and claims to have a client base spanning all spheres of society.

According to Tameka, who left secondary school with passes in seven subjects, most of these high-end clients prefer "spit, polish and shine" (oral sex) for a quick $4,000.

She said sometimes it is not easy to tell what kind of work her clients do.

"It kind of difficult, because many tell lies about what they do, but a few times, I have had occasion to see some of them making presentation on TV, then you know how big they are," said Tameka.

DOING ALL RIGHT

While not rolling in dough, the prostitutes say they do all right once the clients come.

"On a good night, mi wi make a $15,000, maybe more, sometimes all $20,000. "It depends," said 21-year-old Khendra Johnson, who plies her trade in St Catherine and the Corporate Area.

"When things slow, the least mi wi go home with a $8,000," she added.

Eighteen-year-old Rachel Smithreels off her prices with a basic rate of $2,000.

For a full package, which she says includes mutual oral sex, the charge climbs to $6,000.

For Catherine Shaw, who also operates from Back Road, her minimum charge is $1,500 for 10 minutes and, "the longer you stay is the more money you pay".

But business is not as bright in Old Harbour, St Catherine, where the prostitutes claimed that the declining economy is forcing them to slash rates.

"Right now, people taking all five bills ($500) or a gran' ($1,000).

"Big man, you get name-you-price as the time hard and nutten nah sell so mi nah hold no price," said Melissa, who has been on the streets of Old Harbour for some time.

A short distance away, our news team saw a group of 20 commercial sex workers with some lifting their already skimpy outfits to offer a quick look at the merchandise as they try to entice passers-by.

SPECIAL DEAL

"If you deal with me and mi friend together, you can pay we $1,500, but if you don't have that much we can work something out. So what you say, deal or no deal?" asked one of the prostitutes, who seemed the youngest of the group.

But there is no such concern at Back Road, in New Kingston or on the Hip Strip in Montego Bay, as according to most of the prostitutes who spoke with our news team, the men who frequent these areas can afford to and will pay for the kinks they want.

The black market tracking agency Havoscope last month estimated that Jamaica's prostitutes earned US$58 million (J$6.3 billion) a year, and male prostitute Toni Brown, who operates in New Kingston, has bagged his share.

Brown says he has several professionals on his client list.

"You have all type of people coming to me, including police, journalists and artistes," said the young man, who dresses in female attire when hitting the road.

"So all when an artiste come to me, me tell him a $5,000 or higher and if him a bawl mi say alright give me $4,500," said the young man.

"We look pon di man and decide how much fi charge dem. We charge dem according to the vehicle, too, because if you a drive big vehicle and a come buy sex, you fi pay big money," said Gray, who just recently returned to prostitution after a two-year break.

She figured that on her best weekend, she can rake in up to $50,000.

Names changed on request.

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