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 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.
Read more here.