Steven L. Procopio, ACSW, LICSW
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IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens spent a year investigating the commercial sex trade of children, a lucrative business where
more than1 million kids a year are abused. This is the fourth of 10 columns in the EXPLOITED series. Read the article here.

Another in the series is here:
Swarens: Sex trafficking survivor says he was sold during Indianapolis 500

Sex trafficking affects youth regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Nola Brantley is a sex trafficking survivor and advocate in California.

Even though she primarily works with girls and young women, Brantley is
concerned about another hidden demographic of trafficked children: boys and trans youth.

"Sex trafficking of young men and LGBTQ youth is just as prevalent as it
is for girls, if not more," Brantley said. "We shouldn't be paying attention
to one group more than the other."

Despite the narrative that commercial sex traffickers prey on girls,
advocates and survivors say that known risk factors - like sexual abuse,
foster care and juvenile justice involvement, homelessness and childhood trauma
- can affect all youth, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Read full article here:

Read: More Awareness Needed
About Boys Who Are Commercially Sexually Exploited
, By Steven L. Procopio | June 20, 2017 | Youth Today

Counting the Cost, Boston Pride Guide 2017

The sexual trafficking of boys does not always involve the typical victim-trafficker-john triad.

Sometimes it doesn’t even involve a pimp or third-party.

In these situations, some may see the boy as an offender. However, the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act views anyone under 18 who engages in a commercial sex act to be a trafficking victim. The absence of a pimp or third-party doesn’t matter.

The literature contains references to boys trying to avoid the stigma of commercial sexual exploitation. Boys may portray their actions as a choice and similar to self-employment or entrepreneurship. Holding this perspective helps them maintain the appearance of self-control and avoid association or self-identification as a victim.

Steven Procopio, ACSW, LICSW, with the Brookline, MA-based The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute identifies several ways that boys involved in sexual trafficking define “the life”:

Escorts are “on call” to usually five to 12 male clients. Encounters often occur at a hotel booked by the escort. Clients typically pay escorts by credit card after the encounter.

A Street Worker is on a “track” where boys hang out and potential buyers drive-by. Cash payment occurs up front. The boy and buyer typically drive to an isolated area for the encounter. This is common in Houston and on the West Coast.

Internet “dating” involves buyers visiting websites for straight, gay or transgendered youth. The “hook-up” cost and location is negotiated online. About 45-50% of encounters are brokered online.

Technology enables a variety of commercial sex transactions, including “Skype Sex”. By using a webcam, the youth and buyer can see each other while in different locations. Arrangements are made online and payments may involve a third party payment website to conceal identities.

Club boys are often transported from club to club. Corridors include Washington State–Mexico, Minnesota—Houston, and along the East Coast. Club owners are often aware of the encounters involving “go-go boys” and may receive a portion of the transaction. While “Escorts” are viewed as holding the highest status, “club boys” hold the lowest status.

There is also:

A Drive-by Pimp is where boys are at a location and a buyer drives-by asking if a youth would like to make money that evening. The youth is then driven around the area by the pimp to find clients on the street for encounters. The drive-by pimp gets a portion of the money. This can be a one-time event, with the pimp and youth never seeing each other again.

Apartment sharing involves a man “aged out” of “the life” who has a home with several bedrooms. A youth may live and perform sex work there, paying “rent” to the owner from sex work earnings.

If a youth opens up to you, do not allow your body language to communicate shock or negative feelings. Speak to them in their language. Avoid judgmental terms. Don’t dispute the facts. Don’t blame or shame.

The Sex Industry's Shadow Victims, by Nina Strochlic

There might be as many underage boys trafficked in the U.S. as girls—so why is nobody talking about them?
Close your eyes and picture an underage sex worker: a victim of abuse, a runaway, homeless, kidnapped, bought and sold. It’s a profile we know all too well, depicted in various on-screen portrayals, articles, and awareness campaigns. Is your imagined victim a girl?

If stereotypes about participants in the sex trade run the gamut, there’s one overarching one that is so ingrained it barely registers: gender.

Estimates by some advocates put the number of boys in the commercial sex industry at potentially equal to that of girls. And while the Department of Justice estimates that boys make up 10 percent of trafficking victims (at least, of cases they're involved in), with an estimated 300,000 children in the industry, that still translates to tens of thousands of young males. And not only are boys entering prostitution at a younger age on average than girls, they also are often victims of violence and abuse, and are consistently denied assistance by child protective services and the juvenile justice system.

A study called “And Boys Too,” conducted this spring and released to the media in late August, finds that this one-sided approach has pushed male victims to the fringes of assistance. Aiming to reverse the tacked-on phrase “and boys too” that often supplements discussions on sexual exploitation, the U.S.-based branch of international organization End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) launched a study examining 40 youth agencies and service providers.

Read the full article here:

Demystifying the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Boys - Our Forgotten Victims

Child sex trafficking is a phrase with which most of us are familiar and in many ways a fashionable topic to discuss in the media nowadays thanks to the publicity the issue has generated from celebrities and activists, as well as from websites like  and Craigslist  which have sparked furor for allegedly facilitating trafficking.

Yet, in thirteen years since the adoption of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – which defined anyone less than 18 years of age induced to perform a commercial sexual act as a victim of trafficking and not a criminal – one group has been noticeably and consistently ignored in all of the research, policy and practice…young boys.

Read the full article here:

YOYO WAS 14 when he was thrown out of his house. He knew even then he was gay, but coming out to his family left him homeless and broke. He lost one job after another. He thought about suicide. He traveled around, voguing in ballroom dance events and looking for work. Then one of his women friends suggested they try to make money "escorting," to use the popular euphemism. Soon enough, Yoyo was in "the life."

A large, dark man with sensitive eyes and daisy tattoos on his arms, Yoyo, now 27 and a counselor for other young male victims of sexual exploitation, speaks in a reedy voice with a hint of his native Dominican Republic. He tears up when he describes, with disarming frankness, the years he spent being used for sex: the shame and self-loathing; the bouts with sexually transmitted diseases; the ever-present threat of violence from his "clients" or the older men who controlled him. He hit bottom several years ago in Miami's South Beach. "I was sleeping on the beach, turning tricks for $20 behind the Dumpster," he said. "I realized then, this life isn't for me."

In the past few years, the scourge of human trafficking has started to receive the scrutiny it deserves: States have passed new laws that treat prostitutes as victims instead of criminals; dozens of anti-trafficking organizations have been raising money and recruiting well-known figures like Demi Moore and Salma Hayek; public awareness ads ran during the Super Bowl. Last week the Senate added language to the Violence Against Women Act that allows child victims of sex trafficking to receive help through the law.

Read the full story here.

I recently met with a 15-year-old named Brian - his name has been changed to protect his identity - who had a family history of domestic violence and drug abuse. He also had a desperate need for money - money that he planned to use to escape his abusive home. He found his opportunity online. Brian learned that he could make money selling "Skype sex."

Desperate and in need, Brian started to sell his underage body on the Internet and fell victim to the seedy industry that is the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Read the full article here.

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