IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens spent a year investigating the commercial sex trade of children, a lucrative business where more than 1 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
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.”
Read full article here: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/analysis/boys-in-the-life/28325
The sexual trafficking of boys does not always involve the typical victim-trafficker-john triad….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.” Read the article here.
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.
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 Backpage.com 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.
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.
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).