Last night I watched a documentary called Men For Sale. As the title implies, it is about male prostitution and the sex trade industry. The setting for this film by Rodrigue Jean is in Montreal, Quebec and all of the sex trade workers as well as the man asking questions are French speaking, and thus the film is subtitled. The director had access to these men by way of Action Séro Zéro – a Montreal community organization that provides free healthcare and HIV prevention services.
Men for Sale follows eleven sex-trade workers over the course of a year, recounting their struggles to survive alcohol and drug-related addictions, abuse and stigmatization – and, their troubled pasts. Trapped in a vicious circle of prostitution and drug, they pursue their hardscrabble lives, knowing their prospects for the future are dim. An unflinching portrait with neither voyeurism nor false sympathy, Men for Sale acknowledges those society prefers to ignore.
The film was incredibly honest, disturbing, and heartbreaking all at the same time. These are the lives of these boys/men. They either came from bad families or they just made one bad choice one day and tried crack – the rest is history. Once they start doing drugs, gay or straight, they discover they can get a lot of money fast by selling their bodies. These people are so far gone and I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to be their family or friends – constantly and helplessly worrying about their safety.