What about male sex trafficking victims?

I found a YouTube video discussing the sex trafficking of boys. From the YouTube summary:

Are there male victims of child sex trafficking? Do they need help too? Interview by Fernanda Mejia (Project For Healing Humanity) with Blair Corbett (Ark of Hope for Children).

The interview does not go into depth about the topic, however, it is good to see someone talking about this issue. Like Blair, I do not believe there is a single country where the sex trafficking of boys and girls does not occur. I also doubt that girls make up the majority of victims. When one looks at sexual abuse against children, one finds that the rates of abuse between boys and girls is similar, 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 respectively. Many of the researchers who study sexual violence against boys believe the 1 in 6 rate is a low estimate, so the rate could be 1 in 5 or even 1 in 4. But as it is, 16% of boys and 25% of girls are abused, and that is just abuse in general.

How likely is it that people who willing to abuse 16% of boys would decide never to traffic them? It is not very likely. It is more probable that boys who are trafficked simply remain under the radar because no one looks or them, no one asks rescued boys whether they were sexually abused, and because few likely want to come forward out of fear that no one will believe them.

General sexual abuse cases can sound unbelievable because they do not fit our preconceived notions of what sexual abuse is like. Sex trafficking stories can sound more unbelievable because they are so completely outside of our common understanding of abuse. It is hard for people to understand how a child could be sold to different people, especially in countries like the United States, Canada, or Germany.

When one hears that a child is part of some sex ring organization, people look for the holes in the stories, the things that sound unreal, like a child telling someone at school about the abuse only to have that person also be in on the sex abuse ring. (The irony is that if one changed “sex ring” to “church group”, people would have no problem believing that a seemingly random person in a given community might be a part of the same organization as the child and therefore report what the child did to a church official. )

When one hears about the things done to children, the beatings, the rapes, and sometimes the murders, again, it strains people’s credulity. Yet we have seen this happen in reform schools, such as what happened in Florida with the White House boys. Many of them were raped and beaten with the full knowledge of the staff, and some of them were killed as a result of the abuse.

Given how people may judge them, it is understandable that victims of sex trafficking would keep it to themselves, especially male victims.

However, it makes no sense that as a culture and society we ignore male victims of sex trafficking. We rarely talk about them and rarely hear anything about them. The articles I have written about that covered the topic are literally the only ones I have come across, and that is after looking for them. Half the time when I search for articles about male victims of sex trafficking, I end up reading my own posts.

It is sad that we do not talk about this, and I am glad that someone decided to. Hopefully this post will get the video a few more views.

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6 thoughts on “What about male sex trafficking victims?

  1. I’ve tried talking about it, i.e. with homeless youth outreach workers, and I could see the double take on their part. Yet, trying to get organizations, people in charge of programs to do anything…. I ran into the “pink wall of silence”. Because, “that doesn’t happen.”

    Yes, it’s very sad indeed. I’ve heard a few of their stories and it makes me want to cry.

  2. I went to street outreach training with the Salvation Army here in columbus ohio and they do encounter and offer assistance to male prostitutes and/or traffick victims tho the majority that they meet are females. Traffick victims in general are hard to locate and not found on the streets much anyway. They are sold out of cat houses, hotel rooms, etc. I believe child porn is rife with males as well , those victims of either gender are especially hard to locate

  3. The only times I ever see public discussion of trafficking it refers only to the sex trade and ONLY of females.

    According to Adam Jones the significant majority of all those trafficked are boys and men for forced labour. That never seems to get a mention at all let alone those males trafficked for sex trade purposes.

    As with everything else it is only female suffering that registers.

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