There is a lot to read and digest in the article linked below. I think some of us might find it very surprising to learn that what we commonly see portrayed as “human trafficking”, is only a small portion of what is actually happening. I know that any major media outlet doing a story about human trafficking is likely to have a young, attractive, and probably white, female in the header image.
If you close your eyes, I bet you can see that too.
But that doesn’t begin to cover the reality of who gets trafficked, and why. For example:
Boys who fall victim to human trafficking in the United States make up as much as 40 to 45 percent of the total victim population in some cities, studies have indicated. Despite this, men are severely neglected in an already hidden problem when it comes to resources, services, and public awareness campaigns—which focus predominantly on women.
The perception is so widely accepted, that boys have a hard time even realizing they are being trafficked:
“Boys are just far more reluctant” about revealing their abuse, Lung said. “It’s not supposed to happen to us, we’re supposed to be able to stop it, or we’re supposed to say no, or we’re supposed to be stronger than girls—and it’s preposterous.”
“When the message is, ‘It’s only girls,’ that message is received by law enforcement, that message is received by the public, that message is received by human services, that message is received by the victims who are told ‘Oh no, it’s only girls,’ so the victims don’t even believe that they’re victims.”
The reality that there are lots of boys being trafficked, and lots of children and adults of all races being trafficked, not just for sex but also for labor, is kind of lost when we talk about trafficking. Which means that we also miss how victims become vulnerable, and who is victimizing them:
Geoffrey Rogers, co-founder and CEO of USIAHT, told The Epoch Times that boys are often forced into trafficking at a younger age than girls, on average by around 11 months, with most occurring around the age of 10 to 12 years old. He described how girl victims predominantly were lured by a trafficker or pimp skilled at targeting girls with low self-esteem, grooming them by acting like the victim’s boyfriend, and fostering a feeling of love.
For boys, Rogers said the cases were all different from each other, and rarely did the luring methods resemble those used on girls. He said it’s unlikely a Stockholm syndrome-type relationship would develop between boys and their traffickers, adding that there were also cases where the perpetrators were women.
This is an important quote for two reason. Notice first that girls are not “grabbed at the mall by strangers” typically, the way social media would have us believe. They are targeted and groomed over time. Second, notice that this isn’t how it works for boys. There were a wide variety of ways that boys were targeted and trafficked, by men and women.
Oh, but there was one thing they found that most boys and girls being trafficked had in common:
“We’ve seen studies that say about 70 percent of kids who are trafficked in America come out of the foster care system …
Now, I’m no expert on the foster care system. I have no first-hand experience with it, and honestly don’t know too many people who have well enough to have sat down and had a lengthy discussion about their own experiences. But I know we have a problem here. That much is obvious when we look at a statistic like this, or even just looking at the number of people in jail who have gone through the foster care system.
I’ll leave it to others to suggest how to fix it, but I’m willing to hear some ideas. Let’s talk about this and keep more people from being trafficked or ending up in prison.
As I said earlier, this is just a few small snippets of the article. Please go read the whole thing.