Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Thinus Ferreira

Sizzlers was 'sex slave nest'

CAPE TOWN — A nest of sex slaves and "one of the worst places of its kind" is how a tourist from the Netherlands described the gay massage parlour Sizzlers when he was in Cape Town three weeks ago.

The 34-year-old man, a regular client at Sizzlers who has visited Cape Town up to five times a year since 1990, said the conditions under which young male prostitutes sold their bodies amounted to nothing more than "modern slavery".

Pieter (pseudonym) said from the Netherlands on Wednesday that he had had an argument with the owner, Eric Ottgar, a while ago about the "appalling working conditions" under which the young men had to work and live.

"I was very shocked to learn about what happened, but unfortunately I was not surprised. I haven't been going there recently because I told Eric he was a slave driver."

"I told him that he was exploiting the desperate situation of the young men in his house shamelessly.

"One young man, who wanted out, was informed that he first had to pay outstanding rent. Another one heard that he first had to pay advertising fees."

Pieter said Eric or one of the other managers regularly tricked their clients with the boys.

"When clients entered the room, they would not find the specific young man Eric had promised them. Sometimes the young man would be unwilling to perform the sexual services the client demanded. In winter, Eric demanded up to R1 200 from clients for a session with one of the men."

Pieter said most of the young men in gay massage parlours in Cape Town were Afrikaans-speaking and came from Gauteng.

"They live in a sad and desperate situation. They see prostitution as the only way out. At least half of them are not even gay. They are definitely not the good sex workers found in Europe that are top earners."

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Created: April 12, 2003
Last modified: April 12, 2003
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