This is a wonderful article that talks about the lack of research done on boys who are sold for sex. The only information gathered on the issue of child sex trafficking is based on girls who are victimized, yet no one has taken the time to research boys who are also forced and or coerced into the sex industry as a child. We need to stop ignoring the boys who are often victimized as well. remember human trafficking is not a women’s issue, this is a HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. We at FCAHT believe that more research needs to be conducted on this issue and more services should be made available to boys who have been victimized and forced to work in the sex industry.
ATLANTA, GA (WABE) – No one knows how many juvenile boys are sexually exploited. Research, while often comprehensive and specific to the conditions girls face, gives only a cursory mention of boys.
The latest fact sheet’ published by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families is titled, “Georgia’s sex trade problem.” It talks about children. Victims. But the statistics are based entirely on girls.
“It’s really an issue that’s yet to be addressed as it should be, in my opinion,” says Ray Newman. He focuses on ethics and public affairs for the Georgia Baptist Convention. Churches often lead the fight against underage trafficking, and reach out to its victims. Mention exploited boys, and even advocates don’t know how to respond, if they acknowledge the problem.
” that’s something that would open up an entirely area in this, and it certainly does need to be dealt with.”
A recent article in the journal Social Work concludes underage sex trafficking exists, in part, because of a culture of tolerance on the issue.
But for boys, it’s often intolerance that leads to victimization, says Tana Hall, a Licensed Professional Counselor with Atlanta’s YouthPride.
“The number one thing we get on our helpline is I’ve been kicked out and I don’t know what to do and I don’t know where to go.'”
YouthPride provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Hall says teenage boys who she councils often find themselves kicked out of their own homes. Others run away because their families are hostile towards them and their sexual identity.
She says that creates a situation ripe for exploitation.
“If you’re vulnerable, and you need to some place to be, then that’s when predators are gonna say, Oh, well how about this? I’ll trade you this experience for you to stay here,’ whether it be having sex or being prostituted out or dealing in drugs. There’s a tit for a tat.”
So-called “couch surfing.” Trading shelter, clothing, food, for sex. For survival. It still falls into the legal definition of sexual exploitation.
There’s no one reason boys – or girls, for that matter — fall victim to such abuse. But when society looks for solutions, it can’t avoid answers that are most obvious, says Hall.
“If we had a society that was more accepting of sexual orientation difference then our young people wouldn’t find themselves in situations in harm’s way, and there would be less sexual exploitation of young men.”
Sexual exploitation of girls is no more or less egregious than abuse of boys.
It is better understood.
Jim Burress, WABE News.