The Forgotten Many: Sex Trafficked Boys

It’s naïve to think we can end sex trafficking when we’ve not begun to speak about it accurately.

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been called a feminist on many occasions. As someone who is pro-equality I embrace the label just the same as I hope I’d have been labeled a “sympathizer” during the African-American civil rights movement. Yes, I believe more women should be in power and yes I believe they should be paid equal wages and yes I think it entirely absurd that elderly men hold positions of power such that their voice is loudest when it comes to the many health topics unique to women. Hell, I even donate to the Women’s Debate Institute. **Throat-clearing finished**

For a problem to be solved we must first see it for what it is. This applies to anything from fundamental calculus to fiscal cliffs. I can’t pretend to know much about either, but I’ve learned enough in my extensive research into sex trafficking to know this: the sex trafficking of boys is essentially absent from the conversation.

This might be a positive thing if the crime itself was front and center, but it’s not. Too often, and partly because the crime involves the word sex, the victim takes center stage. I’ve heard countless speakers from all over the world define sex trafficking as something that happens to girls and women or even as something that men do to girls and women. Don’t get my wrong, men are the primarily perpetrators of this crime and girls and women are the primary victims, but to constantly frame and even define the crime in such terms is, in its inaccuracy, distorting the public’s perception of the crime and layering our attempt to combat the crime with yet another barrier. There are enough already.

In my visit to Care Corner Orphanage in Thailand I was shocked that most of the HIV-infected sex slave survivors were boys under the age of ten. I saw and learned of something similar in the Philippines and in Bangladesh. Upon reflection, I think part of the reason for my shock was because I was conditioned through the media, literature, photo and film to believe that this was a crime perpetrated against only girls and women. The photo above actually came from a video released a few days ago by Reuters titled The Trafficking Business in which the entire focus is females as victims and how millions of them are forced into the sex trade or sweat shops. While not untrue, it’s not painting a full picture either.

Speaking broadly on the topic of human trafficking – boys and men are trafficked far more than girls and women because, in part, strong bodies are needed for labor. And as it relates to sex trafficking, girls and women are victims to a larger extent. Many other crimes have such disparities but few place the disparity so high in their definition. All this is to say let’s define human trafficking and sex trafficking for what they are: horrific crimes against the most vulnerable populations. There are loads of ways to be vulnerable. Yes, one of many vulnerabilities is being a woman. But there’s also the vulnerability of childhood, of lack of self-esteem or self-worth, of being displaced after a natural disaster, of being indebted/poor, of being too trusting, of being unaware, of being human. This is not a crime against men or a crime against women and it should not be defined as such. It is a crime against us.

As I mentioned in The Other 20%, men raping boys is still a taboo topic. Even filmmakers who document the horrors of sex trafficking have told me they feel their work wouldn’t be accepted if it instead highlighted the abuse of boys. “The public isn’t ready for it,” I’ve been told. Truth is, we only speak about the victimization of boys when it’s forced on us by breaking-news scandals like those of Jerry Sandusky or The Boys Scouts of America. As the news story fades so too does the conversation. This makes it tough, then, to even entertain the idea of discussing, as I’ve heard from several high-ranking women in anti-trafficking organizations, that the sex traffickers, the actual criminals in the crime, are about 65% men. Such a statistic has a hard time taking root because there’s already the perceived and ingrained idea that men and men-only are the criminals.

Though the crime is called “sex trafficking,” the leaders of the crime are rarely caught-up in the actual act of sex itself to the extent that it impacts their job. The big-time distributor of the drug is rarely a user of the drug, and, for the sake of addressing sex trafficking, we need to at times dehumanize it and instead view it as a business model, a criminal enterprise. Of course, the number of sex traffickers who also “use” is surely higher because their “use” doesn’t get them high and alter their decision-making to the same extent that drugs do. But I believe we need to force the comparative image and take the metaphor further to imagine the human victim not as flesh and blood but as a magical drug able to be used repeatedly. After all, this is one of the major allures human trafficking has over drug trafficking. A low-risk crime with big money payouts is attractive to criminally-minded humans. Not just to men. Not just to women.

If we are going to seriously tackle sex trafficking we need to cease our limiting attempts to define and first deepen our understanding.

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Flight or Fight
Forever Boogies
Are You A Narcissist?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Cameron Conaway

Cameron Conaway is a former MMA fighter, an award-winning poet and the 2014 Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State Altoona. He is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Bonemeal: Poems, Until You Make the Shore and Malaria, Poems. Conaway is also on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today. Follow him on Google+ and on Twitter: @CameronConaway.

Comments

  1. Welcome to the world of target the majority or the perceived most vulnerable n ignore the rest activism. In this world we will fight to end violence against women, fight to end rape against women, fight to stop female trafficking. Notice a theme here? Very few people seem to give a fuck about men and quite a lot will justify their bigotry by claimign men have alll da powerrrzzz and that somehow makes them think they don’t’ need help or that womengetitworse and thus we need to focus on the women. It’s a complete mockery of equality.

    • Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius – Over 100 Articles in international law, treaties, UN security Council Resolutions … that specifically use the term Women and Children and they exclude Men. They also change child or children to Girl to make all males under the age of 16 magically vanish!

      Archy – I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again, and again, and again * this issue was raised on Al-jazeera 28 Jul 2011 (18 Months ago) and the conclusion was simple – Men are not talked about. Take subject, genderise by talking women and girls – men are not talked about, even as casualties of war. It’s amazing how the issue was looked at GLOBALLY and not just made into a NIMBY issue, or TOURIST ISSUE, to be dismissed. I have to wonder why it was not picked up on the wider net and the Twitting Gendercentric masses – but I suspect Anti-Arab bias and even Islamophobia just got played out. Some find it hard to think outside of their #140BrainCells*.

      Some of the documents raised by the experts are so bad they start by saying Women and Children and when the word sexual is used the definition is explicitly stated to be for Women and Girls – so even boys are excluded – such as the boys talked of in this article.

      It’s amazing how so many people are just made to vanish and not count due to a few words, and even how they get changed mid document. Some have been exploiting this in gaining access to Federal funds to go over seas and then only provide support to one group and not another – and you see it all the time in Orphanages, Law Projects, Micro Finance schemes – in fact It’s one of the most Insidious forms of exploitation in underdeveloped countries. It’s actually implicit racism and exploitation of women and girls, and abuse of men and boys, by supposed do gooders from the outside. I know of some who are very deliberately exploiting matters for political ends.

      Worst still – It actually has and even does empower abusers who wish to target men and boys sexually. I’m tired of kids being targeted and trafficked for cannabis production in Skunk Farms – the double crop. Weed to be sold and the kids sold to paedophiles. Boys are proffered for the market as they have a higher value in the second cropping due to supposed legal protection and it not being acceptable to abuse boys in that way. Each time I see a supposed engaged gender aware person light up a doobie, I make sure they know who is getting high and how. It’s mazing how many are pot heads and ignorant in the extreme – they have both social highs and drug induced and care not a jot for the reality of either.

      Over 100 Articles in international law, treaties, UN security Council Resolutions … that specifically use the term Women and Children and they exclude Men – and they make boys vanish so easily too that it allows outsiders to come in with minimal finance target the boys and sexually abuse them – there is no Oversight.

      Some are so bad they start by saying Women and Children and when the word sexual is used the definition is explicitly stated to be for Women and Girls – so even boys are excluded – such as the boys talked of in this article.

      It’s amazing how so many people are just made to vanish and not count due to a few words, and even how they get changed mid document.

      Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alteriusthe expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other.

      That is not just some nifty quote – it’s a actually a statement of how people think and how they use language. I would love to see it written across the top of this site to remind readers and above else writers and editors of how language and thinking works – especially their own! I’d even love a simple smilie for it so that when you quote an idiot who is denying reality through lazy words, you just put the smilie at the end and everyone gets the message. E.U.E.E.A. just don’t work as an acronym or a hashtag. Maybe #Ignorer or #BigHole or #Chasm are options

      As soon as you make it about one group you exclude all others. It’s a basic in the English Language – Implied meaning. Other languages had verb forms that are gendered which makes the subject clear – English Does Not! It’s why French if the Offical Diplomatic language at the UN and NOT English – French is more precise in Objects/Subjects and makes it clear. French/Italian/Spanish/Greek – all the Romance Languages are anti Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius.

      That is why I’m so critical of Loaded Titles – Loaded Sub titles and bad writing where lazy thinkers and writers .. you know the ones – they talk about subject and create Lumpen Masses of negative stereotypes, and expect readers to be performing seals and clap incessantly – that is why why I’m so critical and point out the errors and more importantly the OMMISSIONS. They also abreact and get ever so tizzy when you ask why they have chosen Pronouns and Gendered Language which create such divides. They deny everything, and they claim others are ignorant so they can maintain personal bliss.

      Interpretatio Cessat in Claris – Interpretation stops when a text is clear, is of course the corollary, and where you discover ambiguity or anyone taking what is stated and misrepresenting it or abusing loopholes, rational and engage persons clarify and close the loops. Only those who are intent upon expressing power and abusing resist basic cognitive, social, moral and linguistic basics.

      English as a Language is anti Interpretatio Cessat in Claris – and it is the reason why in many areas of Scientific Advance English has been powerful because it allows ambiguity and “Cusps” which is where people explore and advance. It works well with scientific method and not well with lazy people who are unwilling to keep thinking and perception in a tidy and critical manner.

      As has been pointed out by people such as Law Professor Lara Stemple UCLA law (Government Advisor), Chris Dolan Refugee law Project – and a few others – Journalists for The Guardian/Observer – there is a gross tendency to use Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius to promote the views of women and simply ignore men, and also Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius is used to create negative monolithic views of men.

      It’s like taking a leg of lamb and seasoning with Mint (Make It British) or Cumin and Coriander (Make It Arabic).

      Words are ingredients in the works and how you use them seasons the flavours people take away. It’s time for some cooks to be kicked out of the kitchen cos what they are cooking and serving up is pure slop and only works for those who like the trough. Others prefer quality feeds, and even clarity of Whine!

      You never know it could catch on #140BrainCells* – the anti meme to tell folks there is a place for real discussion and it’s called GMP.

      * Insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

  2. You aren’t the only one that’s noticed this. About a year ago I watched a 2 hour documentary that had a gender neutral title (like “Child Trafficking in America” or something like that). Not one single boy victim nor a single stat about boy victims was brought up during the whole 2 hours.

    I think there’s two problems when it comes to the conversation on trafficking as it stands. First while sex trafficking is a part of human trafficking most converage and discussion on human trafficking is limited to sex trafficking but is presented as human trafficking. (I wonder if this has to do with the idea that since non sexual slavery is no longer practiced here in the first world there is a belief that it’s no longer practiced anywhere.) Second as you say Cameron when trafficking is talked about regardless of the numbers on victims, traffickers, and clients it is still presented as “something that men do to women and girls” (for more examples of this look to rape and DV).


    Truth is, we only speak about the victimization of boys when it’s forced on us by breaking-news scandals like those of Jerry Sandusky or The Boys Scouts of America. As the news story fades so too does the conversation.

    True. I remember when the Sandusky case broke there were a few “if Sandusky’s victims were girls would anyone have cared about this?” type articles floating around. What those writers are either not seeing or are ignoring is that the only reason the crimes against those boys because a high profile story is because their abusers were themselves were high profile.

    And even the abuser(s) being high profile is not a sure bet that the abuse of male victims will actually get any notice (much less help). Look at any of those religious sects where the leaders stockpile young girls as wives. Yes I’m glad those girls are getting the help they need but how much notice is paid to the young boys and men that are often times literally tossed out onto the street?

  3. filmmakers who document the horrors of sex trafficking have told me they feel their work wouldn’t be accepted if it instead highlighted the abuse of boys. “The public isn’t ready for it,” I’ve been told.

    Bollocks – “Some” of the public isn’t ready, but that is no reason to deny reality and hide it!

    I said last year that it would be a great idea to have some guys wandering the globe with some GMP T-shirts and showing reality – The people, photos and hell even the nasty bits. I think it’s such a pity you did not have those shirts with you and could not have only brought back the stories from the real world, but shown people there that some people would listen and even care!

    It’s not even about charity cos I even know there are good men in places where like Care Corner Orphanage in Thailand who would die for the opportunity to be in contact with Good men all over the globe – again not to get charity – just support, ideas, access to other people – to know that reality is being seen and people can act all over the globe to make a difference.

    Maybe, next time? … and let me know who these film makers are. It sounds like they need some media hounding to get them making features about reality. As they say two heads are better than one – and I have three heads, each one with big fangs! P^)

  4. Cameron,

    Thank you so much for this important article. We face an uphill battle when speaking to NGO’s and other organizations that focus their efforts on saving women and girls from trafficking. We know that many boys and men are victims as well, but bringing this up to advocates in often met with silence, hollow acknowledgements, or worse statements like “but it happens so much more often to females, we need to focus our energies there first”.

    Sexual abuse does not discriminate in it’s victims. Neither should we in our efforts to address it and provide support to survivors – wherever and whomever they are.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      Christopher

      “Sexual abuse does not discriminate in it’s victims. Neither should we in our efforts to address it and provide support to survivors – wherever and whomever they are”

      That’s a good line, that will fit well on a poster or in a anti abuse commercial.

  5. Thank you so much for this thoughtful and researched post! A few thoughts: i would contend *part* of why women as criminals in sex trafficking is excluded from the media presentations on sex trafficking stems from a much broader conceptualization of women as victims. Yes, women suffer horrendous injustices at the hand of many male-identified people. I’m glad we acknowledge this in our discourses. But even in our discourse on rape we hardly hear of women assaulting other women. It’s still basic sexism – the idea that women, because we are a “powerless” sex, cannot have the “powerful” role as perpetrator in a sex crime. This lack of understanding the full scope of a criminal situation is part of a larger problem. Again, thanks for your article!

    • “But even in our discourse on rape we hardly hear of women assaulting other women. ”

      It damned sure is sexism. It’s misogynist as hell. It erases those victims, who are women just as much as their rapists are
      .
      We see this exact same thing in the discussion of rape in the military. We see stats on how many women are sexually assaulted without and break-down of who is committing those assaults, whgicgh strikes me as a passive way of lying by leaving it to the reader or viewer to conclude it is always men.

      The conventional wisdom in the Army is women have at least as much to fear from lesbians as from men on that score.

  6. Thank you so much for speaking out on behalf of boys.

  7. Andy Buchan says:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/veteran-bbc-presenter-stuart-hall-charged-with-indecent-assault-1-2676408

    ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-883365
    coblehaugh.blogspot.co.uk/
    youtube.com/user/YAYFUL1
    youtube.com/watch?v=eq8p4skwKCI
    ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-889412

  8. While we’re speaking to…speaking about…an issue accurately, “human trafficking” also refers to labor trafficking (among several other things), not just the more “flashy” sex trafficking. And it happens to adults, not just children. And to individuals who live right next to us, who aren’t necessarily of color.

    I disagree with the first comment:
    “In this world we will fight to end violence against women, fight to end rape against women, fight to stop female trafficking. Notice a theme here? Very few people seem to give a fuck about men and quite a lot will justify their bigotry by claimign men have alll da powerrrzzz and that somehow makes them think they don’t’ need help or that womengetitworse and thus we need to focus on the women. It’s a complete mockery of equality.”

    in the sense that I think that the *reason* these groups (women, children, anyone not from the U.S./West, anyone of color) are so focused on is *because* they’re the “other.” It’s “easier” for many to swallow the fact that those who are “different” than them are the ones being exploited. And, I believe that one of the major reasons we don’t see those so often in positions of “powerrrzzz” is *because* those in positions of power are often the ones making the media decisions (as they’re often the ones that control the decision-making…though, I won’t get into an argument about patriarchy, because—as a female—I operate within it just as much as the next guy to me). But essentially, people just don’t want to believe that it can happen to them.

    So, so thankful for this article. Such a huge part of a discussion that needs to be had. Well done!

    • And, I believe that one of the major reasons we don’t see those so often in positions of “powerrrzzz” is *because* those in positions of power are often the ones making the media decisions (as they’re often the ones that control the decision-making…though, I won’t get into an argument about patriarchy, because—as a female—I operate within it just as much as the next guy to me). But essentially, people just don’t want to believe that it can happen to them.
      I’m curious.

      If that is the case that doesn’t seem to explain why do even those who don’t have the “powerrrzzz” actively deny it. Surely people who are designated as “the other” would recognize that othering others just because they have been othered themselves is destructive.

      • I was saying that it’s the people in positions of power who don’t want to believe that it’s possible for themselves to be exploited, not that the “others” are “othering” the people in power. What exactly are people who aren’t in positions of power denying?

        • I was saying that it’s the people in positions of power who don’t want to believe that it’s possible for themselves to be exploited, not that the “others” are “othering” the people in power.
          Oh I figured that’s what you were saying.

          What exactly are people who aren’t in positions of power denying?
          That sharing a characteristic with people power doesn’t translate into them having power themselves.

          Male victims of trafficking are denied in part because they share gender with “the people in power”. Sounds like those male victims don’t actually have power but are just being monolithed by those who don’t want to address their victimization.

          In short its not just people in power that deny male victims of trafficking….

    • I fail to see the large effort by major anti-violence, anti-rape, anti-domestic abuse campaigns to address male victimization, even though who don’t have power don’t seem to care all that much. How many people know for instance that women raping men happens at about 1 for every 4 male on female rapes? Much higher than many realize? Surely even internet campaigns could exist and be made to try show victimization of males, perpetration of females, to go against the grain but still very few if any exist. Males are often erased as victims in our society and even campaigns full of people promoting equality, that read the stats, still don’t have any that think “Gee, men sure are getting abused n exploited a lot, surely we should make a campaign for them?”

    • @Cameron: I will walk gingerly here because I don’t know you. My experience with feminists men( I was feminists male in 1969 when I first learned of the biases against women). is that, if what they want is for there to be gender equality(?) they have a funny way of showing it. They spend so much time defending, being the feminist white knight they can’t see the forest for trees.

      And it seems that no matter how egregious the hypocrisy of feminist or how much society suffers for it, the last thing a feminist male will ever do is criticize feminism in the way it should be done. For instance, why don’t you complain about how lesbians who rape other women aren’t discussed along with men when it comes to rape and dv on the national stage?

      • Og – lenses do change vision. Myopia – Hyperopia – Hypermetropia and other issues with focus can be made better or worse through the use of lenses. Also having a fixed location means you only see one side.

  9. Andy: Not sure the point of your post in relation to this piece

    • Andy Buchan says:

      I am just introducing myself. So what was the point of your comment on my contribution? after all we are all different and this is me being me. if my experiences and coping strategy offend you fine. is controversy no longer a badge worth wearing or is it now embarrassment. let me know if I’ve missed something.

      • Andy, I don’t think that Aspire was trying to criticize your contribution, I think he was trying to understand how it fit into the context of the rest of the discussion and the point that you were trying to make with it. Were you trying to refute something another commentator said using the articles you provided? Were you trying to provide more information to support a statement made by another commentator?

        • Andy Buchan says:

          actually i am pleased that this issue has been raised. as it is mostly girls and women who are portrayed as the victims. in addition the statement that this issue should be more accurately presented was also the purpose of my contribution.

          • Were you a victim of sex trafficking? I think people are confused as to why you posted on this article about it. I myself am a lil confused, did you mean you were a male victim of abuse? If so there are other articles which are better suited to that contribution which is probably why we’re confused. Of course you’re welcome to contribute but I am failing to see where it fits in with sex trafficking?

            • Andy Buchan says:

              I was victim to the child sex trade and illegal human drug trials here in the UK. what i have in common with this article is that i am a man who was mainly exploited by women in the home and community and in child care institutions. as the main title states that boys are forgotten it entitles me to post here.

            • Andy – being from the UK I am aware of what you are referring to.

              I am also equally painfully aware of just how careful people have to be in what they say because of differences between European Law and US Law – and then throw in Oz, New Zealand, India, South Africa and other anglophone legal jurisdictions.

              I have also had to champion the rights of children in Scotland in the past – and it’s even painful to have to point out to other Netizens (Over and Over) that it is quite possible for laws in England to differ substantially form Scotland. There is a United Sates and sates have different Laws and interpretation of the same law – The United Kingdom of…. See the common Word anyone! P^)

              I make no bones about being on the front lines of HIV from the very early 1980’s – and I did out reach work with sex workers. I even did it in Scotland. It was shocking – a 12 year old girl selling herself on the streets was a scandal. 12 year old boys who had ran away from North Wales to escape child abuse in children’s homes – Not Of Interest To The Authorities – media – social workers – police – politicians …. . It took another ten years… and the truth still has not come out.

              Oh and I get the cryptic reference to a feature of “It’s A Knock Out”! There is such dissonance in the news reports and it’s not clear if it’s because the media are being given certain gendered info or displaying gross gender bias!

              I mean – when it came to BBC News in the 70’s and 80’s – Look North West (and then renamed Look North) was just about the gayest show on TV! Of course many would miss the issues cos it’s not NIMBY enough – but I hear you!

            • Andy Buchan says:

              Well i am not interested in the rights of child nor adult prostitutes but child and adult sex slaves. The kind of slave who does not get paid and do sometimes in this country get killed in the trade.

              All you have to do to understand where I am coming from is to look at my posts. Children also prey on vulnerable children for gain and that is usually financial gain.

            • Ahh my bad, wasn’t quite sure from the link I saw about the BBC reporter.

            • Andy Buchan says:

              my post should be of interest as most of my abusers were women and girls. the sex trades are not really as forced as people suggest as most people turn to it because of poverty. If you were to see it as people selling themselves and the main body being female, in it’s running, you will be able to put that out more clearly about the male being forgotten or ignored victims. But it does also matter about the sexuality of the offender and the victim. if the offenders are gay there will be less of a problem getting justice and if the victim is also gay then there will be additional problems.

              If the offender is heterosexual and a good Christian the victim will have a hard fight especially if the victim is poor. V.I.P.’s (Very Important Paedophiles) like Daisy Park B.E.M. and Jimmy Savile O.B.E. and Cyril Smith have demonstrated that they are protected by people on the highest levels in our societies.

            • “V.I.P.’s (Very Important Paedophiles) like Daisy Park B.E.M. and Jimmy Savile O.B.E. and Cyril Smith have demonstrated that they are protected by people on the highest levels in our societies.” Yes they are. Those with money and power are so often covering because they themselves have so much to lose.

              I help victims/survivors online. They come from all walks of life and many are male. They are silently suffering… and dying in silence. Why? Why is it that in this society that they fear speaking out. There are too few with ears to care and hearts that won’t judge. If any wish to help me by resurrecting the art of listening for the sake of victims.. including male victims, please step up.

              Andy, thank you for your posts.

  10. I was saying that it’s the people on power who don’t want to believe that it’s possible for themselves to be exploited, not that the “others” are “othering” the people in power. What exactly are people who aren’t in positions of power denying?

  11. What exactly are people who aren’t in positions of power denying?

    Rape culture, and their personal complicity in it.

    When a person is aware of rape in any form against any person is taking place, on a quite literal hourly basis, and they Ignore, excuse, – they just other it and allow it to be common – when they ignore and allow it to be made common and prevalent , the norm, excused in any way , tolerated…. that is Rape Culture.

    Each time the issue is raised and anyone dismiss, undermines or expresses doubt about the truth the victims speak – That Is Rape Culture.

    Each time I am presented with people who say It’s not in my back yard – it’s not my country – it’s not my gender – it’s not my sex – It’s not me doing it so go away – That Is Manifest Rape Culture.

    Some people are so blinded by their genderised righteous indignation that they are blinded to reality – and even the vocabulary that they use – and that is the very foundation that Rape Culture is built upon.

    Have a look at “UN Security Council Resolution 1325″ adopted and ratified 2000 and see if you can spot any men or boys? It’s funny – but not mentioning them means they simply don’t exist. That is one hell of a trick making 3.5 billion people vanish! It’s either one hell of magic trick or a basic fact of linguistic blindness and ignorance that after 12 years so many still can’t see the Missing Billions.

    So again in answer to your question What exactly are people who aren’t in positions of power denying?

    Rape culture, and their personal complicity in it.

    • I think what I was saying has been misunderstood, in general. I completely agree with all you’re saying about rape culture. My original comment was thanking Cameron for the much-needed article and noting how, so often, reports and commentary and anything relating to human trafficking so often focus on individuals the West seems to “other” or that are often not groups thought of as those being in the “majority” or positions of power (those individuals of color, those not located in the West (trafficking stories, at least in the US, often focus on SE Asia), women, children, etc.)) Rape culture is a huge, huge part of this (including the rape of men and boys). Power and privilege play huge roles in what stories we hear, and all I was saying was that I think those stories often tend to focus on groups in the “minority,” (meaning women, girls, those of color, those outside the borders of the US), because it’s easier to “other” than to accept that we (me, us, we, the US, etc.) are complicit in participating in a system that perpetuates the problem (e.g., focusing on sex trafficking because it’s easy/easier to deny one’s role in the sex industry since it’s harder to see that role if one isn’t actively participating in prostitution or the like, than it is to deny one’s role in purchasing goods–food, clothing, etc.–that are produced at the hands of trafficked individuals, for a really broad example). I don’t think my comments were noting anything other than why I think the focus is so often on one group of people, while completely denying or ignoring the stories and issues of so many others. And anyone involved in writing a report for the UN certainly seems like they’d be a group heavily entrenched in positions of power and privilege, so the absence of boys/men in a report in that situation is exactly what type of thing I’m noting.

      • Deborah – have you been looking at the work of Prof Lara Stemple (UCLA) Director of the Health and Human Rights Law Project? I keep raising it here but it keeps being ignored. Maybe one day! Just Google her name plus Al-Jazeera – it seems some media are not frightened of the issues and even cover them. Others don’t see wiping out 3.5 billion people as noteworthy due to personal dogma and inhuman bias.

      • And anyone involved in writing a report for the UN certainly seems like they’d be a group heavily entrenched in positions of power and privilege, so the absence of boys/men in a report in that situation is exactly what type of thing I’m noting.

        Then you might be interested to note the explicit arguments against including male victims in the agenda of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 as presented by Anne M Goetz in a presentation in 2008 by UN Women/UNIFEM. I’ll quote the 4th argument for focusing on female victims:

        Violent sexual attacks on women and girls in fact pose special challenges for peacekeepers – challenges that differ even from cases when men are the targets of sexual attack. Women and girls do not rush to report the crime, fearing the ensuing social stigma. Indeed, rape is the only crime for which a community’s reaction is often to stigmatise the victim, rather than prosecute the perpetrator.

        The implication of course being that male victims are rushing forward to report the crime against them, that sexually violated men don’t fear an ensuing social stigma and that a community will not stigmatise a male victim. That a senior UN policy advicor is ignorant/malicious (yes, I am using that word) enough to claim this is just …words fail me. It seems pretty clear that this is a willed direction and not a case of “men being the default” as some have claimed.

        For more criticism of UN’s and NGO’s bias against male victims and female perpetrators in sexual violence in conflicts you can read the Human Security Project’s new report which was recently presented for the UN.

        • Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius

        • Violent sexual attacks on women and girls in fact pose special challenges for peacekeepers – challenges that differ even from cases when men are the targets of sexual attack. Women and girls do not rush to report the crime, fearing the ensuing social stigma. Indeed, rape is the only crime for which a community’s reaction is often to stigmatise the victim, rather than prosecute the perpetrator.

          It’s just another “Perfect Example” of misleading tropes. Name – Don’t name – Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius – the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other. Name Women and Girls and make men and boys vanish. Pure Magic!

          I do like the silent words and test though “….Indeed, rape is the only crime for which a community’s reaction is often to stigmatise the victim, rather than prosecute the perpetrator … unless the victim is male – then the response is to deny existence.”

  12. Great discussion, Cameron!

    Much earlier in the semester, we read several journal publications about the origins of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the Caribbean originating in part from the exploitation of boys and very young men by sex tourists from North America and western Europe. The lengths these researchers had to go to even interview with male prostitutes and trafficking victims was pretty astounding.
    Male victims of sex trafficking experience a unique set of challenges. While it is an accepted norm that women and girls are the victims of violence (disgusting, btw), men and boys who are subjected to the same treatment face accusations of homosexuality and general jeers about their perceived weakness. Also disgusting. Accusations of homosexuality in many of these communities can get a person beaten or murdered, and is often regarded as a greater sin than violent crime or theft. Such a restrictive atmosphere forces male victims further underground, and that forced secrecy is why young men and boys are such popular targets for sex traffickers.
    Male trafficking victims exist in numbers much greater than we already know, and they require interventions that differ from those that are attuned for women. Current models of intervention require a degree of openness about abuse, which is at least somewhat acceptable for women, but not at all acceptable for men under most circumstances. It is a shame that any sex trafficking victim would be alienated for the horrors committed against them, but that is what we are working with right now. Many social changes will need to unfold before we can approach this problem in a more comprehensive way.

    • Salvice,
      “Current models of intervention require a degree of openness about abuse, which is at least somewhat acceptable for women, but not at all acceptable for men under most circumstances. It is a shame that any sex trafficking victim would be alienated for the horrors committed against them…”

      I couldn’t agree more. Any victims / survivors out there, there are people listening, hearts willing to care and arms reaching out. Whether male or female (and we listen to many males) please check out our live chat victim/survivor support site. http://www.RemovingChains.org Good Men Project I apologize for the shameless plug but the topic cries out for a place they can reach out to. So, thank you for letting the comments stay.
      Mr. Blair Corbett, founder, Ark of Hope for Children

  13. Andy Buchan says:
  14. @Cameron: This is just another example of the failure of the feminists strategy that told us,’ If it’s good for white women, it must be good for everybody.I first noticed this political talking point taking hold in the 80’s when feminists were still developing some of their newer strategies.

    This was the political horse-the only people who have important issues worth discussing are women- the Democratic Party rode to victory this fall. We all remember the “War on Women”, a narrative which was appropriately, usefully, vague and ambiguous.

    As women’s issues took center stage this presidential election season, a season that was supposed to be about an issue important to all citizens—Democrats and Republicans alike–no one seemed to complain. When it comes to abuses like rape and dv,( which I’ve mentioned many, many times before on various threads) both of which we now know affects every community and is not exclusively a male problem, MEN SAY LITTLE IF ANYTHING. Yet, feminists continue to front these issues, as if it is only men who commit these acts and more critically, as if women are free of guilt. None of this behavior is new and until men stop bitching and start doing something about it won’t change.

    For me, this kind of thing has always been one of the biggest concerns I have had with men’s groups—too G2d damn passive!? Why are you surprised that boy’s aren’t mentioned when we talk of these issues? Jesus damned Christ, when are men going to wake up! At this stage in the debate,if men are looking for a reason this is-STILL- happening, they need to go take a long look in the mirror and themselves where they misplaced their courage.

    • Andy Buchan says:

      I think that there is a bolt hole for paedophiles on Forth Street Edinburgh. i went in there after visiting the NUS at 29 Forth Street Edinburgh Scotland. It looked like a law centre I had Heard of but my diabetes was affecting my vision and it was already dull and over cast so I could not read the posters very well in the windows. I went in and I was soon to discover a theme mainly for women’s rights and Gay rights. But I was followed from their office to a food court on in The St James Centre where I was harassed by a man who touched my back pack and the same happened a second time not long after at a shop on Picardy Place on my way home.

      The church and the state operate these bolt holes for male and female sex offenders and tend to graft them on to other services. One such service was actually run by a female paedophile who was also bi-sexual but mainly claimed to be lesbian her name is Bernadette Moonie. Her bolt hole operated under the umbrella of a homeless service and also a drop in for people with learning difficulties. But I soon saw that it was mainly for people who were involved in the child sex industry either as workers and or sex offenders.

      They tried to get me to work there I said no and left the venue some time later. I was invited by a Gypsy who wanted me to meet Bernadette Moonie at her request. They are very paranoid about me as I tend to recognise things and never forget what I know although it can be slow to surface but when they harass me like early evening at forth street the memories flood back. They fear me and hate me cos I am A WHISTLE BLOWER AND i AM AS A SURVIVOR SENSITIVE ALL THINGS THAT ARE ABOUT CHILD EXPLOITATION.

      Security at the St James mentioned that their attention was drawn to the man as I had turned and stared at him for some length of time, the security monitor the centre and surrounding area for thieves shop lifters and pick pocket bag snatchers etc.. An alarm was set off deliberately they thought and I heard them mention the man and me when they were discussing everything when the all clear was given.

      http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-883365
      http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-889412
      http://www.youtube.com/user/YAYFUL1
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq8p4skwKCI
      http://coblehaugh.blogspot.co.uk/
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/tam-baillie-positive-change-must-come-from-savile-case-1-2672911

    • @Og – I have just seen again the comments of Anne-Marie Goetz, ‘Introduction’, in Women Targeted or Affected by Armed Conflict: What Role for – Military Peacekeepers? Wilton Park, 27–29 May 2008.

      Violent sexual attacks on women and girls in fact pose special challenges for peacekeepers – challenges that differ even from cases when men are the targets of sexual attack. Women and girls do not rush to report the crime, fearing the ensuing social stigma.

      It’s just another “Perfect Example” of misleading tropes. Name – Don’t name – Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius – the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other. Name Women and Girls and make men and boys vanish. Pure Magic!

      I love the hanging idea that male rape victims run so promptly and in an orderly fashion to Peacekeepers to say in perfect english (or what ever the Lingua Franca of the peacekeepers happens to be) “That Bugger Over There Just Illegally Buggered Me”, and how all UN peace keepers have been so profoundly well trained in The Rape Of Men in conflict zones it’s all so well managed. Of course The Monolithic female negation goes on with women and girls running away with social stigma and fear while the boys all celebrate in the men’s club with stiff upper lips, cool beers and rubber rings for the chaps to sit on! It’s like the whole world went to English Public School – including all those natives and guys carrying spears! … or maybe it was the Pucker Missionary types teaching English and buggering about all over the third world!

      Why are people such as Anne-Marie Goetz and her views given preferential treatment and access at the UN? Why are they given preferential head space. There has to be at least one person at the UN who didn’t go to English Public School!

  15. @MediaHound:I had no idea my last posts here were so unintelligible; It what sometimes when dyslexia meets impatience. I find the assertion that because the media–whatever that means– has failed in it’s real mission of presenting all the facts, that it is therefore a justifiable, legitimate reason for not knowing two things: that boy’s and men are victims of the sex trafficking industry and that 35% of the perpetrators are women.

    To simply blame some amorphous, undefinable,leaderless institution leaves quite a bit if legwork undone.Why? If the media is supposed to represent all of the issues of all the people, how can it be that presumably all,” media, literature,photo and film” colluded to create this immense bias of perception. If the media has only served to present part of the picture of sex-trafficking, whose narrative is dominating the storyline, and why? These are questions that Mr. Conaway’s article uncovered,but failed to address, at all. How is it that a well-traveled, obviously bright and caring writer and person not know what is easily accessed information? For instance, that Thailand and the Philippines,among other places, have been tour destinations (that’s right TOURIST’S) for Europeans, Americans and others who want to indulge their loathsome sexual fantasies involving boy’s. This is not news! Having established that point of fact, why is only one side of the story being told? Could it be that Cameron’s political persuasion and all of the limitations therein is why his vision was so….obscured?

    • @OgWriter – It’s not clear what your are referring to. It seems we have the magical vanishing comments again. If I remember correctly – my last post here was about certain people in UN agencies indicating that men and boys raped in war zones run at high speed to get help, and women don’t. So all funding and support should go to women and no men included! Bunkum and false factoid but swallowed whole by people’s biases.

      There is the whole issue of language misuse, being raised by law Professors at UCLA, but it seems such voices are bad and must not be heard. Lara Stemple – I salute you.

  16. When I was in grad school human trafficking was the topic of the moment (probably still is there) because of the amount of domestic sex trafficking that was occurring in that city. It was just a good location to move people through.

    So I did the obligatory paper and presentation discussing human trafficking, just like a bunch of other people that year. I was the only one to discuss human trafficking as it pertained to labor, adoption, using kids for war as well as sex trafficking. I was the only one that made an effort to high light specifically the barriers boys and men faced in this realm (all the other groups focused on female sex trafficking). I got a lower grade (as it was graded by the class) due to the lack of feminist focus on that paper. What really chewed on a nerve in particular of all things was the fact that desperate women like to buy children from either this country or others calling it adoption and at times are engaging in trafficking of children just by doing that.

    Anyhow, grade didn’t bother me. It was still a fine grade and I know I did the right thing. Especially with the sex trafficking of males part of it. I had a male friend at the time who was a survivor of horrific stuff in a domestic sex trafficking situation. It was heart breaking and wrong and he was essentially invisible as far as victims are concerned.

    • Thanks for that Kat – it provides a nice perspective and real world experience of how even in Eduction – grad school, 3.5 billion people are made to not count, made less. It must have been hard having friends who had been through it and then having their and your reality denied. That is the mind set which allows child abuse to flourish … so for me all those other students got a Big “F”.

  17. Cameron, thank you for this article; and to others in the comments for your contributions as well, especially those who actively work to help male victims. I agree it is wrong and harmful on many levels that boys and men are “vanished” from the media and stats by the UN, authorities, etc, even by charities and other advocate groups. Those film makers Cameron mentioned who said society “wasn’t ready for it”, that is disgusting on their part. A large part of society doesn’t know, and that is the fault of heinous attitudes like that. When the Sandusky story broke, Paterno was quoted as saying he’d never heard of males being raped. How many in the USA and globally are just like him? I saw many articles and tweets agreeing with him.

    Like Andy stated, I am also a male survivor of sex trafficking, as well as incest and all manner of abuses. My father helped run and later took over a child sex ring, in Texas (it’s not just happening in Thailand and other third world countries; I-10 is a highway for sex traffickers and Houston is a hub for them). I’ve written articles here before. I try to do what I am able to do, to help and to raise awareness. As others have been permitted to include such things, my journal blog is here: http://www.asashesscatter.com I plan to publish my poetry and I’m working on a memoir about my abuse.

    As MediaHound, Tamen and others expressed, the UN statement that women don’t report for fear of stigma and victim-blaming (implying men are somehow eager to report and don’t have these fears) is a sick piece of omission and sociological/psychological hocus pocus. The social stigma for male victims is immense and reporting is very rare. Most male survivors suffer in silence, and many commit suicide rather than tell what was done to them. Ogwriter urged men to speak up and work for change and I agree, but so many men who are survivors of sex abuse simply cannot face the horror of public disclosure and all the retraumatizing abuse that it can spark. We need men like Christopher Anderson and Blair Corbett so much. MaleSurvivor.org has been vital on the front lines for this fight, as has Ark of Hope, 1in6.org, and others. I do what I can within the physical/mental/emotional limits abuse left me struggling with. PTSD, trust problems, and agoraphobia alone limit a lot of what I can do. I can write, and I try to bring awareness that way. The in-person and in the trenches activism, public speaking, traveling to other places, like Cameron and Christopher do? Most male survivors are not equipped to handle that; many of us have to work on healing so we can cope and keep breathing. That bigger public fight would only stress me past my endurance. So I write and try to educate that way. We all need to do what we can to help.

    I can confirm what Salvice said about boys being an increasingly safer group for child sex rings to target (paraphrasing) because boys and men are less likely to tell/report. The ring I grew up in abused boys more than girls, directly. They also made child pornography, and forced boys to harm other boys and girls in films and photos, for sale. Yet another reason for boys and men to keep silent: they fear being called abusers, even though they were forced and terrorized as children to do those things, and therefore should only be called victims. Yet the “boys won’t tell” factor makes it safer for pedophiles to traffic boys; plus fewer people guard their sons as carefully, since so many believe only their daughters are at risk.

    Even within numbers of the “vanished” boys and men, gay, trans, and bisexual male victims are even further ignored. 1in6.org assures me they are working on a section for non-hetero male survivors, and MaleSurvivor.org has a forum thread for us, but it’s slim pickings in general around the Net. Most “help male survivor” groups and websites do not mention the word “homosexual” at all, except in the discussion of orientation confusion for male heterosexual victims/survivors. To a bisexual male like me, that sounds like “homosexual is bad, don’t be that”. When I’m looking for help, this is a devastating omission/oversight. Is it deliberate? I hope not. Either way, it needs to be addressed and fixed. I once went to bat with AMSOSA in private emails on this issue, and was met with a nearly hostile response, as well as my private email topic being dragged into a public altercation on Twitter that frankly horrified me. Private is private and should remain so.

    I see so few articles or advocate media informing the public that males are victims too; that women can also be perpetrators (many of my abusers were women). When Paterno said he’d never heard of males being raped, a sickening number of people parroted the statement. If media, authorities, charities, and even advocates (or feminists groups) don’t or won’t include male victims and female perpetrators (and the rarely cited fact that often parents are the abusers) in the larger discussions of abuse, how can male survivors feel safe speaking out? How can boys and men being victimized and tortured be helped?

  18. World online Vigil for #HumanTrafficking victims tonight 8-9pm EST on Ark of Hope site bit.ly/12dTbvI Comment using #WorldVigil

  19. MEDIAHOUND! i would like to ask you a question regarding the stats. You said a few stats in a toy soldier blog about percentage of boys to girls. I checked the trafficking in persons report but i cant find those stats anywhere. If anybody is reading can u help me find percentage of stats between girls and boys in the trafficking in humans report plz and thank you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] It’s naïve to think we can end sex trafficking when we’ve not begun to speak about it accurately.  […]

  2. […] fjs); }(document, "script", "facebook-jssdk")); Pin It Cameron Conway writes at the Good Men Project: In my visit to Care Corner Orphanage in Thailand I was shocked that most of the HIV-infected sex […]

  3. […] Forgotten Many: Sex Trafficked Boys: Cameron Conway writes at the Good Men Project: In my visit to Care Corner Orphanage in Thailand I was shocked that most of the HIV-infected sex […]

  4. […] – The Forgotten Many: Sex Trafficked Boys […]

  5. […] Jodie incorrectly cites this Cameron Conaway article as the source of the quote. It’s actually this one.[↩] […]

Speak Your Mind

*