Sex Slavery in America

The Good Men Project interviews a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations about sex slavery in the U.S.—which is far more common than most people think.

The promise that we’re working to effectuate is actually the 13th Amendment promise that no one in the United States shall be subjected to involuntary servitude. It doesn’t matter whether that’s in a farm, in a brothel, or as a domestic servant. If somebody is being forced to work against their will, if they’re trapped, can’t get out, then that it is somebody who would be considered a victim of modern slavery.

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. State Department


We have written extensively about the many facets of the sex industry, making clear that there is indeed room for many points of view when it comes to pornstripping, and even prostitution. But now I am going to talk about an under-reported problem that is less morally ambiguous: sexual slavery.

Sex trafficking within the U.S. is legally defined as commercial sex acts induced by force, fraud, or coercion or commercial sex acts in which the individual induced to perform commercial sex has not attained 18 years of age. The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is between 12 to 14 years old.

The federal law is very clear on this issue: Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation keep victims involved in the sex industry. Sex trafficking exists within the broader commercial sex trade, often at much higher rates than most people realize or understand. Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues of the overall sex industry, including residential brothelshostess clubs, online escort services, brothels disguised as massage parlorsstrip clubs, and street prostitution.

To understand this problem on the ground, I recently spoke to a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

MATLACK: How do you define human trafficking?

AGENT: Two ways: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Labor trafficking is basically modern-day slavery, people working and not being paid for their work, living in god-awful conditions. And then the other side is sex trafficking, people that are forced into commercial sex acts against their will.

MATLACK: When you’re dealing with young girls, does the definition of the girl being young enough make it human trafficking?

AGENT: If the girl’s a minor, she doesn’t need to be forced into it for it to be human trafficking. If it’s a 15-year-old girl and you’re her pimp, even if she wants to go out and have sex for money, that’s still considered human trafficking. Once somebody’s an adult, you have to be able to prove that through force, fraud, or coercion that this girl was forced into those sex acts.

MATLACK: And so what’s the breakdown in terms of the cases that you’re pursuing between minors and not minors?

AGENT: I would say it’s almost 50-50.

MATLACK: Can you help me understand how common it is?

AGENT: It is a lot more common that people think. Most people can’t differentiate between human trafficking and human smuggling. People think that this could never happen here, when actually it’s there. You just may not see it, may not know about it, may not hear about it. But, believe it or not, it’s a pretty common occurrence.

MATLACK: So how much of what you’re doing is folks who are bringing girls and women into the country?

AGENT: At Homeland Security Investigations, we’re usually dealing with foreign nationals. But that’s not to say we don’t have cases that involve sex trafficking with U.S. citizens, whether they’re minors or adults. But for the most part, we tend to see more foreign nationals. I’m on a task force that’s made up of several federal and state law enforcement agencies.

MATLACK: So when you find confirmed sex trafficking, are you then trying to prosecute the johns, the pimp, or what?

AGENT: For the most part we focus on the traffickers. Unless the john’s having sex with a 12-year-old girl and it’s readily apparent she’s a minor, then that’s a whole different thing. But for the most part, the johns don’t necessarily know that this girl is being forced into sex. Most of them think, “OK, she’s a willing prostitute, I paid her for sex, she had sex. She’s OK with it, I’m OK with it, no problem.” It’s the traffickers and their organizations that we try and prosecute.

MATLACK: Are they mostly sole proprietors, or are there larger networks of human traffickers?

AGENT: There are networks. Some are just very small, one or two people—maybe a couple of brothers or something—and others are a little bit bigger. For the most part, it’s not like a drug organization, where you have 100 people, from the ones that pick the coca leaves, to making it, turning it into cocaine, and then bringing it from Columbia to wherever, into the United States. They’re usually not that intricate. They do have people in foreign countries that help provide girls, and so there are multiple players that have their own specific roles.

MATLACK: So just walk me through how it works, and how the coercion works, and what kinds of girls end up in this position.

AGENT: What’s common in some of the sex trafficking from other countries, like Mexico, for example, is that it kind of tells a story. The girls meet this guy who treats them like gold, and promises them the world and tell them, “Hey, we can go to the United States, there’s work over there, and we can make money and send money back our families, and save money so we can build our own house in Mexico eventually …” So they get these girls and basically jerk them around, into falling in love with them. And once they’re here in the U.S., all of a sudden, the grass isn’t so green, or work’s not there, and then right off the bat it’s sort of, “Hey, well, you’re here now, you belong to me, this is what you’re going to do.” Or they sometimes take a little more of a softer approach: “You know, times are tough, we need to pay rent, this is something you can do to help. You don’t need to do it for long, just bring in some extra money.” So psychologically, a lot of the times the guys take over these girls, and next thing you know, the girls are being forced against their will into it.

And usually, when the time comes where they say no, there’s a lot of physical abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse. I mean, a lot of these women feel like they’re worthless at this point, and they don’t know what else to do. Some girls think this guy really loves them and knows what is best. It’s amazing—we have girls in front of us that we know are victims, and even though they didn’t want to do this, they don’t see themselves as victims right off the bat. They thought that they were doing it because they love this guy, and he’s the best thing ever, and he wouldn’t do that to them. The guys have such a hold on them mentally.

And there are times where they’ll force these girls in with drugs. They’ll get the girls hooked on narcotics, heroin, cocaine, whatever it may be. Then it gets to the point where girls can become so addicted to that that that’s the only way that they’ll be able to get their fix is to go out and do this. Between the mental, physical, and verbal abuse, the traffickers usually have such a strong hold over these girls that they have no control over what is happening to them. And they have no control, for the most part, of being able to get out of it.

MATLACK: What’s the youngest girl in a case that you’ve been involved with?

AGENT: I think she was 13.

MATLACK: So if you can’t get them to admit, you can’t prosecute, even if you have other evidence?

AGENT: We can. We can use other evidence that has been gathered during the investigation to use that against her traffickers.

MATLACK: So in the cases where you are able to intervene and prosecute, what happens to these girls?

AGENT: We have a guy that’s assigned to us full-time; he’s called the victim assistance coordinator. He’s not a gun-carrying, badge-carrying person. He’s a licensed therapist. If we find the girls, besides him being able to talk to these girls, he also helps set up getting them to a shelter, getting them whatever sort of treatments they need. That’s what we try to take care of first. If it’s a minor, obviously they go right to a shelter because of her age. But, again, she has to want that. We can’t force anything on these girls.

And then, later on down the road, depending on where the person is from, if she is from another country and here illegally, there are things that we can do to help give her status, whether it be temporary or permanent while we investigate and seek help.

MATLACK: Do you know what the recidivism rate is?

AGENT: I don’t know, but that is always a concern of ours—that the girl could go back to what she was doing. Often, too, these traffickers will threaten the girls’ families, and that’s one of the big problems we have because these girls have been told, “I know who your mom is, I know who your sister is, where they live. If you ever say anything to the police, we’ll kill your family, and we’ll kill your kid.” There’s usually a lot of threats that keep these girls from running away or turning themselves in to the police.

MATLACK: How do you convince them to believe that those threats aren’t real?

AGENT: Well, we don’t necessarily try to convince them that the threats aren’t real, because we don’t know if they are. But we just try to explain to them that the situation that they’re in is not right, and that we can help them. We do our best to convince them that what has been done to them for so long is evil and wrong. At the end of the day, it’s really up to them. We can’t force them to do anything or say anything, but we do everything within our power to help them realize what happened to them, and what they can do with themselves.

MATLACK: Is there anything that you’re trying to do on your side to offer an alternative, other than getting these girls into a safe place? Or is that just not part of what you’re focused on?

AGENT: Well, it is. There are things in place for us to be able to provide these girls with some sort of immigration relief. I’m talking about a girl from a foreign country. There are visas for trafficking victims, that, if she is a documented trafficking victim, she can apply for. So, that being said, besides the help that we offer them right off the bat, trying to get them into the shelter, I do my best to explain that, first of all, it isn’t right what was done to them. Nobody should ever have to go through that.

But they need to ask, because, at the end of the day, if the girl is from a foreign country and just says, “You know, send me home, I’m illegal, I want to go back to Mexico,” or “I want to go back to Brazil,” if that’s really what she wants, and that’s what she asks for, we can’t stop that from happening. But we do what we can to make sure that doesn’t happen, because we know that she’ll go back there, and she’ll be back in the same position.

MATLACK: And in terms of the federal government’s stance on this being human slavery, how seriously do you think the government’s taking this?

AGENT: They take it very seriously. Human trafficking is basically at the forefront of my agency, Homeland Security Investigations. There’s lots of attention, lots of resources, lots of money put into it to make sure that we can do our job as effectively as possible.

MATLACK: I was listening to the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department talking about how we’ve measured human trafficking all around the world and never measured ourselves, and now we’re beginning to do that because, obviously, there is human trafficking here. Do you have any sense of how we compare to other countries?

AGENT: I really don’t know. But we can’t be too far behind, and I think that our government is realizing that, and the people are realizing that. People do think, “Oh, that happens somewhere else, not here in the United States,” but every day it seems to surface somewhere. So if I were to take a guess, I would say we’re about as high as most countries. We’re probably not at the top, definitely not at the bottom, but I don’t think we’re lacking in terms of human trafficking that is occurring in the United States.

MATLACK: How do we solve the problem?

AGENT: Like anything else, education and information. Like I said, I don’t think most people really realize what human trafficking is, but more and more people know what it is. I find myself having fewer people say, “Oh, human trafficking? You mean like the people just jumping the border from Mexico?” And then I have to explain to them that no, that’s not it. But education, educating the populace, putting it out there, letting people know what it is and how they can stop it.

Do I think it’ll ever stop? No. It’s a moneymaker, and therefore there will always be somebody who will want to make an easy dollar. Whether or not that’s manipulating another person to make that dollar, it doesn’t matter.

MATLACK: How do you think about it compared to the sex trade in general, whether it’s stripping or non-human trafficking prostitution, or whatever? Do you think they’re related in any way, or is it a completely different kettle of fish?

AGENT: Like just regular prostitution?

MATLACK: Regular prostitution, stripping, porn. There’s obviously a great proliferation of the sex trade in general. I’m just wondering whether you think that’s at all related to sex slavery, or if it’s just a kind of completely different thing.

AGENT: I don’t really know. Do I think that the porn industry has anything to do with human trafficking? No. Prostitution, obviously, like everybody says, is one of the oldest businesses, one of the oldest jobs in the world. It’s not going away. Are there outside things that influence it? Yeah, probably, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the porn business, or the stripping, or stuff like that, really has anything to do with it. It’s not even a fine line. It’s a pretty distinct line between willing and not willing. So I can’t really say one way or the other. But there’s a big distinction between human trafficking and just prostitution.


In the United States, because there is such a correlation between child sexual abuse and child prostitution, a lot of times it might be somebody who has that ability to figure out which are the vulnerable girls, whether it’s eighth, ninth, tenth graders. Maybe they have been abused at home. Maybe they’re willing to run away from—mom has a new boyfriend or what have you or they might be wrestling with an addiction.

The pimps seem to be able to look at the women around them, look at the girls around them, find that vulnerability. But then, they basically offer glamour, a better life, even love. So it’s very similar to what we see with international trafficking as well. It’s basically they offer hope, and they deliver with a nightmare.

We have a president who has the Emancipation Proclamation in his office, not a copy, the Emancipation Proclamation. And I think that he sees it, and I certainly see it in the work that I do, as we’re delivering on a promise that was made 150 years ago by President Lincoln and by the people who went and fought for freedom. So I think it’s entirely appropriate for us to call this a modern abolitionist movement.

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. State Department

Learn more about human trafficking at Polaris Project, an NGO dedicated to “combating all forms of human trafficking and serving U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children.”


More from Sex Week at the Good Men Project:

Benoit Denizet-Lewis: The Dan Savage Interview

Amanda Marcotte: What Women Don’t Tell You

Ed Fell: 10 Secrets to Satisfying Sex

Andrew Ladd: A Billion Wicked Assumptions

Emily Heist Moss: Does Size Matter?

John DeVore: Multiple Inches of Love

Joshua Matacotta: Do Gay Men Fear Intimacy?

Hugo Schwyzer: Mythbusting Bisexual Men


About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.

    Many thanks for sharing!

  2. If you do any hard factual research and not listen to the government, media, and anti-prostitution groups, you will find that the victims of sex trafficking are mostly adult consensual prostitutes. Doing sex work of their own free will. The police and government will say the women are victims, but the women prostitutes won’t say they are victims, because there are not! The police and government won’t believe them and will force them to be “rescued” which means forcing them to do whatever the government tells them to do. So it is actually the government who are forcing the prostitutes.

  3. If you do any hard factual research and not listen to the government, media, and anti-prostitution groups, you will find that the victims of sex trafficking are mostly adult consensual prostitutes. Doing sex work of their own free will. The police and government will say the women are victims, but the women prostitutes won’t say they are victims, because there are not! The police and government won’t believe them and will force them to be “rescued” which means forcing them to do whatever the government tells them to do. So it is actually the government who are forcing the prostitutes.

    Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Sex Slavery is used by many groups as an attempt to outlaw all consensual adult prostitution around the world by saying that all women are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims. This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, Government officials and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims.

    They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult sex worker. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing.

  4. i like to be a sissy male maid for someone all the time and tie me up and turn me into sex slave well i am tie uup to

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  6. SnakeEyez says:

    Actually the Village Voice has come out with a few articles that is skeptical of how large a problem ‘sex trafficking’ is in the United States:

    One of the contentions of the story is that statistics in Estes and Weiners’ study, ‘Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S’, have no basis in reality. The Village Voice has been running several such stories recently. It should be noted though that the Village Voice does own the web site backpage that runs adult services ads.

    It would be nice if other news agencies would investigate the Voice’s claims.

  7. Two quibbles, one in each direction.

    1) An *average* age of 12-14 in the U.S. (b.t.w. why not just say “average age of 13?”) is problematic considering just how many women become prostitutes in their 20s. I’m pretty sure the confusion arises in selective inclusion or exclusion of three or four distinct types of prostitution: 1) very young children offered by parents or near relatives, usually in exchange for drugs or to placate “boyfriends;” 2) teenagers who enter prostitution facilitated by peer- or near-peer pimps or “boyfriends” who may or may not be involved in gangs; 3) adult women of all ages who resort to prostitution to support substance or other survival/street issues; and finally 4) conventional escorts and other kinds of “middle-class” prostitutes. If you include #1 then ages age drop to a point where an *average* age of entry could conceivably be 13. Same if you ignore #4, which many people do (possibly because relatively few can be meaningfully counted as “trafficked.”) Anyway, yes, if you include all four groups there’s no realistic way to get to an average of 13 unless one heck of a lot of children become prostitutes before age 10. But generally speaking I’m pretty sure they mean that of those who become prostitutes *as children* the average age of entry is around 13.

    2) Tom posed this all in terms of women and girls being conscripted into prostitution, which strongly implies that *only* women and girls are conscripted into prostitution. Since I’m aware that “Good Men” really isn’t a euphemism for “Straight Men” I expect this is an oversight. But it is a *very* common oversight in discussions of prostitution and trafficking.

    Oh, and 2a) a perpetual bugaboo of mine is the assumption that only “sex trafficking” victims are coerced into sex. And thus that only sex trafficking is a “real” problem. Instead, rather obviously, men, women, boys, and girls who are merely trafficked for their labor are subject to extraordinary levels of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape on their “off” time.


    • The lprimary source for these figures is likely to be the “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S. Canada and Mexico” by Estes and Weiner. Their figures pertain to the “commercial exploitation” of a “convenience sample” of “children under the direct care of either a law enforcement or human service agency”. In other words, limited to your category #3 and #4 only. It is entirely inappropriate to represent these figures as applying to US sex workers generally.

      Oh, and 2a) a perpetual bugaboo of mine is the assumption that only “sex trafficking” victims are coerced into sex. And thus that only sex trafficking is a “real” problem. Instead, rather obviously, men, women, boys, and girls who are merely trafficked for their labor are subject to extraordinary levels of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape on their “off” time.

      I’m somewhat perturbed by your wording here which implies that non-sex trafficking is only a “real problem” because of the sexual abuse inflicted upon the victims. I’m sure that wasn’t what you meant.

      • Yes, definitely, by complaining that trafficked labor is also sexually exploited I had no intention of denying that people for trafficked for sex wouldn’t be. (I do dispute the assertion of some parties that by-definition all sex work = trafficking. But I also dispute the equally partisan assertion that sex workers are effectively never trafficked.)


      • In other words, limited to your category #3 and #4 only.

        Sigh! This is what happens when you try to restructure a sentence and screw up. What I should have said was: “limited to your category #2 only”.

  8. The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is between 12 to 14 years old.

    Do you have a source for that statistic?

  9. I am curious as to why my comments have been pulled. If there is a new moderation policy or if I have been banned then I think it is appropriate to inform people of that. However, since the anti-male comments by Sil remain, it appears that only critical comments were pulled. I find this most disturbing since the issue was addressing male victims of sex slavery. I understand that with this being a feminist blog discussion of sexual violence against male is a taboo and unwelcome topic, but I think that if you want to have a open discussions you should have open discussions.

    It is unfortunate that it appears that The Good Men Project does not want to acknowledge male victims of sexual exploitation, and worse that it appears to now block anyone who mentions them.

    • Jacob, comments being pulled for simply being the “offensive” truth, being YOUR opinion or being politically incorrect seems common. We do deserve some real answers as to why non-feminist genuine male concerns get banned all too often.

      Non-PC truth is VERY offensive to many.

      Sex slavery IS VERY common, BUT most of it exists in 3 ways this article and most fail to face.

      1- Women who use sex to lead men around (enslave them) and get them to do whatever they want and spend trillions on them or just give total control of their money over to those women altogether which is common (women control 70+% of all disposable income, and ussually through sexual coercion – slavery). To free themselves, men need to realize that women actually do like sex as much as or even more than men. This amounts to costing far more than the most expensive hookers, constantly, and most men don’t add it up. Knowing that, just stay away from the ones who use their sexuality to enslave (most women).

      2- Women also sexually enslave by tricking many men into getting them pregnant (and many more by not tricking but just realizing they can enslave men later into a marriage by making false abuse allegations. Others and I find in interviewing thousands of divorced fathers that 3/4 of divorces with children end with false abuse allegations, used to gain in divorce) and then divorcing and enslaving them for 18 or more years, all for having sex with them. Not slavery? Not sex slavery? Not the PC type you want to even hear about??? This slavery gamut is very LARGE, very alive and VERY well, and all but ignored. Even the foreign women are taught they can make false allegations to enslave a man of their choice and be put on the fast track to citizen ship as a reward for enslaving a man. You hear the rumors of bad men bringing foreign women here to enslave them, but the truth is that this are RARE while the other is exceedingly common and REWARDED.

      Do you want to loose your house, your money and your future earnings (slavery) ? Do you want to be thrown in jail if you don’t pay up and perform on that? Then just order a foreign mail order bride so she can make very common false abuse allegations to hit the jack-pot!!! It’s PC to tell that foreign women comming here are often brought here as sex slaves, but the truth, much more common is that more of them come here to enslave a man, to use that to get fast=track citizenship. That’s far more common. Many more married women enslave their husbands by telling them “now because they have children together that she now has the power to wreck his life and enslave him by making false abuse or rape allegations at any time and have him thrown in jail (no evidence needed – what you subsidize you get more of).” So, she very effective threatens that she will enslave him if he does not do everything her way now… We see lots of these cases. Why does TGMP bury them? Thus, either way (false allegations carried through with or not) he is now put on notice and is already at this point 100%effectively controlled and held hostage to do all her bidding (enslaved for having had sex with her).

      There is however ONE clever WAY OUT of these three prolific crime scenarios: Be the nicest guy on earth and give her everything she wants with no reciprocation whatsoever, treat her like the princess she is (be her slave already) and she will maybe, just maybe, have mercy on your pathetic slave soul.

      Others and I have observed and interviewed countless US male slaves from these scenarios which are condoned by so many. Does TGMP condone this?

      • David M says:

        One word… balance!

        Anyone with the emotional and mental maturity to be interested in this blog will nto be in teh demographic of men you describe.

        The article is in fact speaking about /women/ who have the same mental problems as those of men who are abused by women.

        There is /no/ difference, its the same problem.

        Man up.

        • “Man up.”

          The shaming language of the White Knight.

          Busted. You just showed you have nothing to say. You just showed you have no place on a blog devoted to men’s concenrs.

      • Actually, I routinely disagree with most of the authors here (especially Hugo) and I find this site to be the least heavy-handed in moderation.

        That being said, if you include web links for citations, I found out the hard way that you need to insert a space in the beginning of a link: ht tp. And near the end: .ht ml or .o rg

        TGMP has a heavy-handed anti-spam bot that patrols against people spamming with commercial web-pages.

      • Why was advoc8’s comment not pulled. It is obviously a discriminatory attack on women. Or maybe we should ask this guy for statistical proof of his claims.

  10. David M says:

    I’ve been on this site for a while but the above bile from ‘David’ has forced me to comment.

    Why is it that this site, which as far as I’m aware is supposed to be about open communication and honestly looking at issues, is constantly trolled by angry small-minded men?

    All I see in the above article is someone trying to raise the issue of sex slaves, how we think about them and what we might do about the issue. Not being ‘pro-women’ at the expense of men.

    Yet, ‘David’ feels he must attack anyone who speaks up about this… why?

    Its as though he (and the others of his ilk) have some kind of agenda to distract, confuse, misdirect and otherwise obstruct the mature and honest discussion of any issue where someone has ‘dared’ to speak up about troubles facing women.

  11. Tom, thank you for sharing this story. I’d like to point out something. You open the article saying that this blog has covered other topics of the sex industry where differing points of view are considered, but this issue is less morally ambiguous. On the surface, this would indeed seem to be true, but I’m curious how this agent can confidently say that there is a clear distinction between sex-trafficking/slavery and the general sex industry (to include porn, stripping and prostitution).

    Where are these girls going after all? My understanding is that they are being put into prostitution (as confirmed by the agent) and also pornography. So how can there be no correlation? And furthermore, if there are willing women who are in these industries by choice, why is there such a need to force some into the industry? Because the demand is greater than the supply? And if this is true, than it would certainly follow that part of the solution, a big part, is to reduce the demand. And since a customer of the sex industry has no way of knowing if the girl/woman he is paying to view or have services from is truly willing or being forced…well, then the answer is obvious.

    I think it’s also important to look at what the agent said about some of these girls returning to “what they know” even after they’ve been freed. This means they are willingly returning to the sex industry, and it is that “choice” that defenders of the sex industry use an argument, but right there you have an example of how those choices can be skewed by previous abuses.

    We defend the sex industry so vehemently in this country while ignoring how it’s growth is in fact hurting many people. What is the right answer? I don’t think there is one right answer, but I do know that we have to stop letting our fear of being returned to puritanism get in the way of looking at the reality of these issues.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Velvet fair point. That is why I asked the question. You’d have to talk to him as to why he believes that. But what I think he meant was that a John doesn’t usually know whether a prostitute is being threatened or beaten or not. Both are wrong (in my view) but sex trafficking is a federal felony, a much more serious crime. I do think there is a difference. That isn’t to say they aren’t connected. But stripping or being a prostitute is something we might debate about. Sex trafficking is not.

      • Tom, thanks for the reply. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that when we debate about the seemingly more morally ambiguous topics, such as stripping or prostitution generally, we have to introduce into those debates issues such as this. Instead of asking, “is going to a stripper club cheating?”, we need to delve deeper. We can’t win the war against human sex trafficking without decreasing the demand, and that requires that we all take a more honest look at the deeper issues.

    • Agree with Velvet – there is a connection between the feeder industries of porn & prostitution into sex trafficking. We can keep putting on the band aids, but until the real problem is addressed, that’s all we’ll be doing. Here’s a link to the nonprofit website that I work for which has studies and cases showing a link between pornography and sex trafficking – Thanks for the article!

  12. Atlanta has the biggest problems with human sex trafficking.

    • NYC and LA are pretty bad too. Most urban centers. Lotta fronts… massage parlours and other types of joints have these hidden basements. Sick.


  1. […] that provides support for men and boys at risk, recently featured an article by Tom Matlack about sex slavery in the United States. Matlack interviewed an agent from Homeland Security. It was a good column that offered a lot of […]

  2. […] Sex trafficking is slavery as defined by the 13th Amendment.  That’s why Homeland Security has become involved in investigating the problem throughout the U.S. (see: “Sex Slavery in America”). […]

  3. […] While we might debate the impact of the  increase in sexually explicit material of all kinds that floods our national consciousness–and I have met plenty of people who see porn and strip clubs as relatively harmless if not potentially beneficially forms of sexual liberation–the one area of the sex trade that hopefully we can all agree is incredibly damaging is the exploitation of teenage girls and boys.  I interviewed a Homeland Security Agent for the Federal Government investigating Sex Slavery.   […]

  4. […] Sex trafficking is slavery as defined by the 13th Amendment.  That’s why Homeland Security has become involved in investigating the problem throughout the U.S. (see: “Sex Slavery in America”). […]

  5. […] realize that there are issues that impact women much more heavily than men. Issues like sex trafficking, porn, and the glass ceiling, I am 100% on board with speaking up and taking actions to create […]

  6. […] Good Men Project Magazine recently featured an article by Tom Matlack about sex slavery in the United States. Matlack interviewed an agent from Homeland Security. It was a good column that offered a lot of […]

  7. […] Don’t get me wrong; I am all for a national discussion of child abuse. But my question really is: Where have you guys been this whole time? When the Catholic Church scandal broke here in Boston, no one called sports radio to advocate the firing squad for Cardinal Law. We don’t get hour after hour after hour of rehash on the national morning shows on the trafficking of minors for sex. […]

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  9. […] sex trafficking is despicable. That’s why I have written about it as often as I have. (Here, here, and here.) But to lay the whole issue at men’s feet is gender war talk, and it is disturbing […]

  10. […] work. The NoH post will contain working links.] Over at the Good Men Project, founder Tom Matlack posted an interview with a nameless agent in the Department of Homeland Security regarding the problem of “sexual […]

  11. […] at the Good Men Project, founder Tom Matlack posted an interview with a nameless agent in the Department of Homeland Security regarding the problem of “sexual […]

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