Men: The Forgotten Victims of Sex Trafficking and Abuse

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This week is featuring a guest article from a good comrade in the conservative movement. She is as passionate about ending human trafficking and paying attention to male victims of sexual abuse as I am. I asked her if she was interested in writing an article, so here it is! Hope you like it and leave a comment! 

Human trafficking, while certainly not a new issue has caught the attention of mainstream media, and perhaps more importantly every day citizens. This is an issue that has been on my heart and mind for almost 20 years now having been approached by a pedophile at age 16 on a college campus. My story had a good ending but sadly that's usually not the case. While any attention to this issue is encouraging, I can't help but notice that there is a demographic of victims that are almost always overlooked. Male victims of sexual abuse. 

The despicable treatment of Milo Yiannopoulos by both liberals and conservatives started a fire in my belly years ago and forced me to take notice at the difference in how our culture treats men versus women when it comes to the damage caused by sexual abuse. It boiled my blood to see the glaring hypocrisy in how Milo was treated knowing how a woman would have been treated in the same circumstance. As I did more research on the effects of sexual abuse on men, I was struck not only by the lack of resources for them but the lack of compassion and voice they're given entirely. Shamed, mocked, ostracized and forgotten, Milo paints a disgusting picture of how our culture treats men who have been sexually abused. 

Even in extreme cases of sexual abuse, like sex trafficking, men are either not believed or not given a real platform in which to share their stories. Our society sees men as only perpetrators and therefore incapable of being victimized.  While statistically women and girls make up the majority of sex trafficking victims (according to The international Labor Office in 2008 it was reported that 98% of global sex trafficking victims were women and girls) yet the same year it was reported that 45% of trafficking victims in New York were boys.  

Another study in 2016 showed that boys make up 36% of victims in the U.S. alone. A huge part of why there is so much inconsistency and inaccuracy in these studies is that men don't come forward the way women do. The stigma of being a male victim of sexual abuse keeps men silent. Based on personal accounts I've read from men who were trafficked and their reasons for being hesitant to share their stories vary from, being worried that people will just think they're gay and question their masculinity, will think they're just a sex addict or shame them because they should have been strong enough to get out of it because they're boys. In a time when boys couldn't be more under attack it is vital that both boys and men know that they are believed, heard and valued as much as women, otherwise it makes a mockery of our outrage. The famous Martin Luther King quote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," is as relevant today as it was when he said it. Not just on issues of race but human dignity in general. I read a poem from a male survivor of sex trafficking who was forced into the porn industry. He says he neither views himself as a victim or a survivor but a thriver. The ending of his poem goes:

Look into my eyes and what do you see?
My image restored, the real me.
A voice, restored and meant to be heard.
Look in my eyes, I want you to see.
No broken child, but a man who is FREE.
-Sean Wheeler, author and speaker

If you suspect somebody may be a victim of sex trafficking contact National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 888-373-7888 or text: BeFree (233733) 

Organizations that benefit victims of sex trafficking: North Star Initiative (a Christian rehabilitation center that provides housing, education and counseling for women who have been sex trafficked) 

Biography: My name is Lindsey Cunningham. I'm 33 years old and was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I'm a hairstylist with a love for anything artsy having also studied photography and played violin most of my life. I developed a love and interest in politics post 9/11-America around the age of 18. I have had a heart for the issue of sex trafficking since I was teenager and now work for the organization called North Star Initiative that provides housing, education and counseling for woman who have been trafficked.
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