Sex Slavery in America

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. I agree that the sexual exploitation of minors is tragic and unacceptable. Men, ALWAYS make sure your prostitutes are of legal age!

  2. John Sctoll says:

    TOM: Are boys being trafficked at all. I noticed a complete lack of acknowledgment of this. Or is that boy simply aren’t victims of human trafficking.

    • From TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report 2011 – U.S. State Department.


      Recommendations for the United States: Improve data collection on human trafficking cases at the federal, state and local levels;…..

      The lack of uniform nationwide data collection remained an impediment to compiling fully accurate statistics. Activities were undertaken during the reporting period to address this issue, but differing data systems used by the diverse array of enforcement agencies now partnering on human trafficking issues remain difficult to integrate.

      The TVPA provides that victims should not be inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. NGOs reported identifying increased numbers of potential victims in deportation proceedings and immigration detention. The prostitution of children has traditionally been handled by some state governments as a vice crime or a juvenile justice issue, and the anti-trafficking approach of the TVPA has been slow to fully permeate the state juvenile justice system. DOJ made efforts to engage state juvenile justice professionals in order to increase identification of minor trafficking victims and has trained state prosecutors. In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, 235 males and 844 females under 18 years of age were reported to the FBI as having been arrested for prostitution and commercialized vice, an increase from 206 males and 643 females in 2008. Jurisdictions continued to formulate varying responses to help decrease arrests and view trafficked persons as victims; several states passed laws decriminalizing children found in prostitution, diverting arrested children into shelters and services, or allowing prostitution convictions to be expunged.

      Source – US State Dept

      The figures quoted are for the Whole USA and are for all children of all nationalities including US Citizens.

      It is odd that TIP has been produced annually since 2001, and only after 10 years did the US Government include itself in their own reports.

      That after 10 years basic data collection protocols and management are not in place is bizzare. The basic protocols for reporting matters by such means as a Phone call to one person, even on a national basis, are not hard to grasp or implement. As the matters are Civil Law and not Criminal Law, reasonable belief is all that is required to make a report and it is not necessary to hold proof sufficient to meet a criminal trial.

      It is also shocking that the TIP report contains FBI figures for 2008-09 on children detained for Vice/Prostitution as it has been illegal to treat children this way since 2008 under Section 212 – “Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of. 2008”.

      The 235 males and 844 females under 18 years of age reported to the FBI as having been arrested for prostitution and commercialised vice were treated illegally by the arresting authorities who should have acted as per Section 212 and provided assistance and not criminalisation – it is unlikely that any such figures will feature in future TIP reports – and as the State Dept admit that after 10 years there is an Institutional paucity of Data Collection it is impossible to predict if and or when there may be any figures with any form of validity to base any claims upon.

      The FBI reports also highlight gross failures to comply with obligations under UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – whilst the US and Somalia are the only two countries to have not ratified the full convention, the US Government has ratified (23 Dec 2002) the “Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography”.

      Article 8 of the Protocol is of interest, as it is illegal to make the victim of any form of child prostitution a criminal – but the FBI figures as quoted in TIP show that is exactly what is occurring. So for at least 7 years the State Dept and US Gov in general have not been doing what their own laws require.

      It is also noteworthy that the systems in place for dealing with people trafficked in any way make it unreasonably difficult for such victims to gain assistance due to the provision in place. This obstacle causes data on people who are victims to be lower than should rationally be expected.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Whether prostitution is legal or not, what does that have to do with the more severe recruiting processes?
    The proponents of legalizing it seem to want the rest of us to picture the results as a bunch of entrepreneurial escorts whose business managers actually have a degree in accounting and who work on referrals only.
    There will not be enough volunteers, nor will those under age be volunteering at all.
    Legalized or not, this wouldn’t be happening if there were not a market.
    Once you’ve made sure the prostitute you hire is of age, how do you know she chose this line of work? Being of age doesn’t mean free from coercion.

  4. David Byron says:

    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.

    * Jury service
    * Selective Service (the draft)
    * labor in prisons
    * forced to work for CS

    Are any of those considered slavery too then? Oddly enough they all effect men much more than women except the one example where people get compensation. It’s almost as if it takes a lot less to be considered a “slave” if you were born female.

    This whole article is deeply unconvincing. What’s the guy going to say? “There’s no such thing as sex slavery in the US. I should probably just be fired.” I’m reminded of the way the British Colonial Office continued to expand even as the actual number of British colonies dwindled.

    The secret appears to mostly be in the definition which for the most part has nothing to do with slavery. Anyone under 18 is a “slave” even if they are very much volunteering for the job — and why wouldn’t they considering you can earn a mint and considering the complete absence of alternative incomes. And then in addition to “force” apparently you can become a slave through “fraud”. What does that mean? Oh you fooled me! I’m a slave now. And what does “coercion” mean when it does NOT mean force?

    Actual slavery? I’m thinking it is zero.

    Kudos to Tom for trying to nail the guy down on what happens to the girls (and the unmentioned boys) after they get “rescued” from “slavery”. It all reminds me of some animal rights types “rescuing” animals from hoarders only for them to be euthanized at the pound. Some rescue!

    He doesn’t ever really answer the question though Tom tries to ask it in different ways. Good interview..


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