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What About The Boys & Men

 

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  • Males remain a largely invisible population within the dialogue on sex trafficking. According to a 2008 study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in fact, boys comprised about 50 percent of sexually exploited children in a sample study done in New York, with most being domestic victims.
  • Experts say that the law enforcement’s attitudes toward male victims are still weighed down by gender biases in trafficking discourse, which pins females as victims and males as perpetrators. Therefore, male victims in custody often fall through the cracks of services that could be offered to help them because they are not properly assessed for sexual exploitation.
  • Men are the most overlooked victims of sex trafficking. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that 98 percent of people trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation are women, but what about the other two percent? Male survivors of sex trafficking are the silent victims of an already hidden crime. Rarely does the public hear about cases of male sex trafficking and due to feelings of shame or humiliation, victims are unlikely to report the crime. As the number of people forced into human trafficking has increased, so has the number of male victims.

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The physical and mental health impact of human trafficking on men and boys who may have experienced physical and sexual abuse and threats of violence, deprivation of basic nutrition and sanitation, and loss of freedom of movement.

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Many people also mistakenly associate male prostitution with homosexuality, when a majority of the trafficked youths are not gay, said Steven Pricopio, program coordinator of Surviving Our Struggle, an aftercare center for young male trafficking victims.

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While some governments have made progress to improve the anti-trafficking response for male victims, much work remains to ensure men and boys are not overlooked or under-served. Governments should ensure services are sensitive to the needs of all victims, regardless of gender, and adapt methodologies as needed.

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Most programs established to assist trafficking victims do not focus on meeting male survivors’ needs. In many countries, even when authorities identify a male trafficking victim, there are few anti-trafficking programs able to provide men or boys specialized assistance, especially safe housing.

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