There’s no material difference between what male sex workers like Jo-Vanni Roman in the United States do, versus their counterparts in China. But there, in cities like Shanghai, the vast network of “money boys” is operated by fly-by-night websites and mobile phone numbers, where out-call “massages” are offered for about USD$73 for a “quickie” or $88 for the whole night. It’s a business of “selling smiles,” as it’s known, and involves workers moving from one crowded house to another, to keep clientele from viewing the offerings as stale. At least one pimp claims to take only about $15 per service rendered, a decent fee compared to America’s small businessmen. In a good month, prostitution will earn a worker around $300 — about twice the national average for all Chinese workers.
The story reporter Xing Zhao tells isn’t exactly new, as the below Current segment shows. But Zhao does reveal what’s being done to assist male sex workers, such as assisting them with STD treatment.