The Silenced Minority: Sex Trafficking of Males

The Silenced Minority: Sex Trafficking of Males

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Citations

[i] Memorandum on Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Women and Girls, 412-13 (March 11, 1998), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/WCPD-1998-03-16/pdf/WCPD-1998-03-16-Pg412.pdf (emphasis added). President Clinton later stated he wanted to “ensure that young women and girls are educated about [trafficking] so that they will not fall prey to traffickers’ tactics of coercion, violence, fraud, and deceit.” Id. at 413 (emphasis added). He directed the Attorney General to “review existing U.S. criminal laws and their current use to determine if they are adequate to prevent and deter trafficking in women and girls” and for the Secretary of State to “expand and enhance anti-fraud training to stop the international trafficking of women and girls.” Id. (emphasis added).

[ii] Kelly E. Hyland, Protecting Human Victims of Trafficking: An American Framework, 16 Berkley Women’s L.J. 29, 60 (2001). The TVPA was embedded into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was aimed at stopping violence against women and vulnerable groups. Michael T. Tien, Human Trafficking: the Missing Male Victim, 18 Pub. Interest l. rep. 207, 208 (2013).

[iii] In 2000, the United Nations adopted what is commonly known as the Palermo Protocol (Protocol). Not only does the Protocol’s title specify women and children, but Article 2 makes that specification, stating that one purpose of the Protocol is “[t]o prevent and combat trafficking in persons, paying particular attention to women and children.” General Assembly resolution 55/25, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) (emphasis added).

[iv] Samuel Vincent Jones, The Invisible Man: The Conscious Neglect of Men and Boys in the War on Human Trafficking, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 1143, 1162 (2010). “The iconic victim is described and perceived to be a female of European descent, trafficked for sex, waiting helplessly for law enforcement officials to rescue her.” Id. at 1162.

[v] Id. at 1162. See also Anthony M. Destefano, The War on Human Trafficking: U.S. Policy Addressed

38 (2007); Karen Bravo, Exploring the Analogy Between Modern Trafficking in Humans and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 25 B.U. INT’L L.J. 207, 249 (2007); Jennifer M. Chacón, Misery and Myopia: Understanding the Failures of U.S. Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking, 74 Fordham L. Rev. 2977 (2006).

[vi] Samuel Vincent Jones discusses an April 4, 2010 episode of Larry King Live where the panelists discussing human trafficking make at least 25 references to women and girls as victims but do not reference male victims the entire segment. Id. at 1143-44.

[vii] Samuel V. Jones, Ending Bacha Bazi: Boy Sex Slavery and the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine, 25 Ind. Int’l & Comp L. Rev. 63, 65 (2015).

[viii] See id. (discussing the practice of Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan, where men will prey on vulnerable boys and bring them to parties where other men will exploit and rape them); Jones K. Adjei & Elizabeth M. Saewyc, Boys are not exempt: Sexual exploitation of adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, 65 Child Abuse & Neglect 14 (2017); Carol M. Nicholls et al., Research on the sexual exploitation of boys and young men, Barnardo’s (Aug. 2014), https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/sites/default/files/files/cse_young_boys_summary_report.pdf (discussing findings regarding the sexual exploitation of males in the UK).

[ix] 18 U.S.C § 1591(a)(1) (2021).

[x] Id. § 1591(a)(2).

[xi] Id.

[xii] Id.

[xiii] Id. § 1591(a)(2).

[xiv] “Victim of trafficking” is defined as “a person subjected to an act or practiced described in paragraph (9) or (10).” 22 U.S.C § 7102(17) (2021).

[xv] 18 U.S.C § 1591(a)(2). Buyer here does not only mean the exchange of money for sex. The exchange could be for “anything of value”, such as food, shelter, or clothing. In 2015, Congress included ‘patronizes’ and ‘solicits’ as prohibited acts under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1). It was changed to create criminal liability for buyers who purchased sex acts with adults trafficked by force, fraud, or coercion, or with children. Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114-22, 129 Stat. 227.

[xvi] 18 U.S.C § 1591(c).

[xvii] This section will address pre-existing vulnerabilities of boys, the ways in which boys are recruited, and how boys are being sexually exploited. This section will not address cases filed in state courts or international courts or the many instances of sex trafficking of men and boys that were not reported and/or prosecuted. There are studies and research that discuss vulnerabilities, recruitment methods, and forms of sexual exploitation that are not discussed in this article. See United Nations Children’s Fund, Research on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys: Findings, ethical considerations and methodological challenges, UNICEF (2020) (hereinafter UNICEF); ECPAT International, Global Boys Initiative: A global review of existing literature on the sexual exploitation of boys, ECPAT International (2021); Boys and Young Men at Risk of Sexual Exploitation: A Toolkit for Professionals, Northumberland County Council (Mar. 2018) (hereinafter Toolkit for Professionals); Emerald Lacy, The Rising Danger of Child Trafficking in Online Gaming, ECAPAT USA (Dec. 23, 2019), https://www.ecpatusa.org/blog/2019/12/11/the-rising-danger-of-child-trafficking-in-online-gaming; Human Trafficking Victims: Male Perspective, Collective Library, https://collectiveliberty.org/blog/human-trafficking-victims-male-perspective/ (last visited Nov. 23, 2021) (discussing the prevalence of online recruitment through multiplayer videogames, social media, and chat apps). According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of teenage boys in America play video games. Andrew Perrin, 5 facts about Americans and video games, Pew Research Center (Sept. 17, 2008), https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/17/5-facts-about-americans-and-video-games/.

[xviii] United States v. Zacharias (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00679).

[xix] United States v. Edwards (N.D. Ala. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00509).

[xx] United States v. McWilliams (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 1:20-cr-00358); United States v. Gobenciong (N.D. Ill. 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-00258); Alfaro v. Gandy (S.D. Tex. 2018) (No. 4:18-cv-01761).

[xxi] United States v. Edwards (N.D. Ala. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00509).

[xxii] United States v. Edwards (N.D. Ala. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00509); United States v. Camposeco-Montejo (S.D. Fla. 2019) (No. 9:19-cr-80147).

[xxiii] Alfaro v. Gandy (S.D. Tex. 2018) (No. 4:18-cv-01761).

[xxiv] Complaint, United States v. McWilliams (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 1:20-cr-00358)

[xxv] Complaint, United States v. Gobenciong (N.D. Ill 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-000258).

[xxvi] The defendant, acting in both capacities as the escort and the manager, requested and received CSAM from the victim.

[xxvii] The defendant, acting as the escort manager, told the victim that the client was a talent coach and could help the victim as a new model.

[xxviii] Complaint, Alfaro v. Gandy (S.D. Tex. 2018) (No. 4:18-cv-01761).

[xxix] United States v. Ahmad (N.D. Cal. 2013) (No. 4:13-cr-00374); United States v. Gandy (S.D. Tex 2012) (No. 4:12-cr-00503).

[xxx] United States v. De Sear (D.N.J 2013) (No. 212-cr-00553); United States v. Lyons (W.D. Ky. 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00049); United States v. McWilliams (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 1:20-cr-00358); United States v. Otero-Otero, (D.P.R. 2016) (No. 3:16-cr-00364); United States v. Shortey (W.D. Okla. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00195); United States v. Gobenciong (N.D. Ill 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-000258); United States v. Gandy (S.D. Tex 2012) (No. 4:12-cr-00503); United States v. Crosby (S.D. Ga. 2018) (No. 2:17-cr-00061); United States v. Randazzo et al (E.D.N.Y. 2014) (No. 1:14-cr-00189); United States v. Wilkins (C.D. Cal. 2016)( No. 2:16-cr-00093); United States v. Frazier (N.D. Ga. 2019) (No. 1:19-cr-00279); Alfaro v. Gandy (S.D. Tex. 2018) (No. 4:18-cv-01761).

[xxxi] United States v. Berrios-Berrios (D.P.R. 2014) (No. 3:14-cr-00334); United States v. Navarro-Rodriguez (D.P.R. 2013) (No. 3:13-cr-00740); United States v. Sebastian (D. Mass. 2020) (No. 1:20-cr-10170); United States v. McWilliams (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 1:20-cr-00358); United States v. Zacharias (N.D. Ohio 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00679); United States v. Otero-Otero, (D.P.R. 2016) (No. 3:16-cr-00364); United States v. Vega-Valentin (D.P.R. 2016) (No. 3:16-cr-00790); United States v. Billy Edwards et al (N.D. Ala. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00509); United States v. Randazzo et al (E.D.N.Y. 2014) (No. 1:14-cr-00189); United States v. Patrakis (D. Haw. 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-00109); Jean-Charles v. Perlitz et al (D. Conn. 2011) (No. 3:11-cv-00614); Doe v. Nygard et al (S.D.N.Y. 2020) (No. 1:20-cv-06501).

[xxxii] United States v. Otero-Otero, (D.P.R. 2016) (No. 3:16-cr-00364).

[xxxiii] See United States v. Lyons, Complaint, United States v. Lyons (W.D. Ky. 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00049) (communicating with the victim through Grindr and asking to perform sex acts on the victim in exchange for $50); United States v. Shortey, Complaint, United States v. Shortey (W.D. Okla. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00195) (discussing exchanging money for sex with the victim through the app Kik and arranging a meet up at a hotel); United States v. Frazier, Complaint, United States v. Frazier (N.D. Ga. 2019) (No. 1:19-cr-00279) (using Instagram to communicate with the victim and set up two meetings).

[xxxiv] Complaint, Jean-Charles v. Perlitz et al (D. Conn. 2011) (No. 3:11-cv-00614).

[xxxv] Complaint, United States v. Navarro-Rodriguez (D.P.R. 2013) (No. 3:13-cr-00740).

[xxxvi] Complaint, United States v. Billy Edwards et al (N.D. Ala. 2017) (No. 5:17-cr-00509).

[xxxvii] Brett M. Figlewski & Lee W. Brannon, Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Young Men and Boys, in Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking 151 (Jill Goodman and Dorchen Leidhold eds., 2013). Figlewski and Brannon describe two models which they call the triadic model and the dyadic model. They discuss how females tend to follow the triadic model, which is described as“[T]he trafficker or pimp exists as one corner of a triad, distinct from the purchaser and the victim.” Id.  In contrast, they discuss how boys tend to follow the dyadic model and “are often subjected to commercial sexual exploitation by an initial patron or at the behest of a peer.” Id.

[xxxviii] “Male minors don’t usually work with a pimp, although they may work with a ‘market facilitator’ to sell themselves.” Timothy A. Bastedo, The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Male Minors in the United States: A Snapshot with Strategic Implications for Prevention Education, Love 146 at 7.

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[xxxix] Criminal Complaint at 2, United States v. Otero-Otero, (D.P.R. 2016) (No. 3:16-cr-00364).

[xl] See also Complaint, Jean-Charles v. Perlitz et al (D. Conn. 2011) (No. 3:11-cv-00614) (engaging in sexual acts with minor males by drugging the victims or exchanging for shoes, clothing, money, or other necessities); Complaint St. Louis v. Perlitz et al (D. Conn. 2013) (No. 3:13-cv-01132) (engaging in sexual acts with minor males by drugging the victims or exchanging for shoes, clothing, money, or other necessities); Plea Agreement, United States v. Crosby (S.D. Ga. 2018) (No. 2:17-cr-00061) (giving minors money in exchange for sex); Superseding Information, United States v. De Sear (D.N.J 2013) (No. 212-cr-00553) (traveling with a minor victim to Europe); Magistrate Complain, United States v. Frazier (N.D. Ga. 2019) (No. 1:19-cr-00279); Criminal Complaint, United States v. Gobenciong (N.D. Ill 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-000258) (portraying himself as an escort, escort manager, and client in order to have sex with the child).

[xli] See Bastedo, supra note 41, at 7-8.

[xlii] Figlewski & Brannon, supra note 40, at 157.

“This tendency for boys to rely on peers rather than on pimps or parent-equivalent adults can be problematic in viewing sexually-solicited boys as victims of CSE [child sexual exploitation]. Presumably, when juveniles are pimped by adults, they will tend to be seen as victim, and when they take a more active role in soliciting sexual activities, they will tend to be seen as offenders.”

Id.

[xliii] See also United States v. Abernathy et al (W.D. Pa. 2014) (No. 2:14-cr-00009) (finding the defendant produced and distributed CSAM); United States v. Crosby (S.D. Ga. 2018) (No. 2:17-cr-00061) (possessing CSAM); United States v. De Sear (D.N.J. 2012) (No. 2:12-cr-00553) (possessing CSAM); United States v. Frazier (N.D. Ga. 2019) (No. 1:19-cr-00279) (producing CSAM); United States v. Gobenciong (N.D. Ill. 2017) (No. 1:17-cr-00258) (possessing CSAM); United States v. Harrell et al (C.D. Cal. 2017) (No. 2:17-cr-00404) (producing and distributing CSAM); United States v. Lamphier (W.D. Wis. 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00149) (distributing CSAM); United States v. Lyons (W.D. Ky. 2020) (No. 3:20-cr-00049) (possessing and distributing CSAM); United States v. Parker (M.D. Pa. 2017) (No. 3:17-cr-00234) (possessing CSAM); United States v. Wilkins (C.D. Cal. 2016)( No. 2:16-cr-00093) (possessing CSAM).

[xliv] Some of the images were of the victims of the traffickers, while others were of unrelated children.

[xlv] One example is an ex-police officer, who after watching a 10-year-old boy being sexually abused, began talking to boys online “with an eye toward raping them.” Jones, supra note 5, at 1150.

[xlvi] There are many other barriers that male victims face in disclosing sexual exploitation and trafficking that will not be discussed in this article. This article focuses on three main barriers explored in Valentin Luz, Sex Trafficking of Males, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, (July 2, 2020), https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/sex-trafficking-of-males/; See also Listening Sessions on Men and Boys, NHTTAC (Sept. 2020), https://nhttac.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/Men%20and%20Boys%20Listening%20Sessions_Meeting%20Summary_508c.pdf (hereinafter Listening Sessions).

[xlvii] See UNICEF, supra note 20, at 14. Some male victims fear reporting their exploitation for fear of being perceived as weak and being met with a hyper-masculine response. Toolkit for Professionals, supra note 20, at 12. If a male victim is exploited by a male perpetrator, it can lead to fear, shame, and confusion that prevents them from disclosing the sex trafficking. Luz, supra note 49.

[xlviii] Jones, supra note 5, at 1145.

[xlix] Id. “[I]f the only narrative is that of males as perpetrators, we risk amplifying barriers to identifying and supporting male victims and survivors.” Id.

[l] Jenifer B. McKim & Philip Martin, Unseen: The Boy Victims of The Sex Trade, Part I, GHB (Apr. 5, 2021), https://www.wgbh.org/news/unseen-the-boy-victims-of-the-sex-trade-pt-1 (quoting Steven Procopio, a social worker in Boston).

[li] Jones, supra note 5, at 1145.

[lii] Id. at 1173.

[liii] See e.g., FRONTLINE PBS Official, Sex Trafficking in America (full documentary), YouTube (Mar. 30, 2021), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waRNXRaHH34 (focusing only on female victims, even though the title of the documentary is Sex Trafficking in America, which would, and should, include males); Exodus Cry, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, YouTube (Jan. 16, 2020), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFaDHgXPbUg (focusing specifically on the sex trafficking of women and girls).

[liv] While the best data that we have so far indicates that there are more female victims of sex trafficking than male victims, the reality is that male victims tend to be underrepresented in these studies because they tend to be under-identified.

[lv] McKim & Martin, supra note 53.

[lvi] Id. This can go into the previous barrier discussed. If the victim was forced to have sex with other men, for some who hold strongly to traditional notions of masculinity, they may only be able to see one of two choices: either the victim is gay and therefore wanted the sex, or the victim is not really a man because he would have protected himself.

[lvii] Figlewski & Brannon, supra note 40, at 156.

[lviii] Id. A survivor in the Connecticut trafficking ring also brought up this similar fear to a health care provider, saying he was worried and embarrassed people would think he is gay when he is not. Collins, supra note 1.

[lix] Luz, supra note 49.

[lx] See Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, app. F at 94-178 (2020) [hereinafter Combat Trafficking].

[lxi] See id. For many of the 150 recipients, their websites state they help “all victims” or “victims” of human trafficking without giving any specifics to gender. While some of them may very well assist male survivors of sex trafficking, the recipients’ websites do not list services specifically for males.

[lxii] There have been some recent safe homes opened for male survivors of sex trafficking. One organization is the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT). The organization has a safe home in Florida for individuals assigned male at birth under the age of 18 who have been sex trafficked. In Texas, there is a safe home for male survivors ages 18-24. The home is called Bob’s House of Hope.

[lxiii] Below are only a few recommendations. There are many other steps that can be taken to help male survivors of sex trafficking. See Listening Session, supra note 49.

[lxiv] Boys Documentary (Vimeo Apr. 27, 2020). In the documentary, several male survivors share their stories of sex trafficked in the United States.

[lxv] See Jessica Moore et al., Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: A Case Series of Male Pediatric Patients, J. of Interpersonal Violence 1, 12 (2020) (discussing the need to create and implement domestic minor sex trafficking screenings, testing, and interventions for male patients). There are some examples of trainings specifically on the sex trafficking of men and boys. See International Association of Chiefs of Police, Sex Trafficking of Men and Boys, ICAPlearn, https://learn.theiacp.org/products/sex-trafficking-of-men-and-boys (last visited Nov. 23, 2021); U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, Identifying CSEC Boys, USIAHT, https://usiaht.org/identifying-csec-boys/ (last visited Nov. 23, 2021).

[lxvi] See e.g., Meagan Fitzgerald et al., Development of a Multi-Session curriculum Addressing Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking for High-Risk Male Youth, 30 J. of Child Sexual Abuse 667 (2021). A curriculum entitled “Addressing Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Involvement: Male-Focused Intervention Curriculum” was developed in 2017. Id. at 669. The purpose of the curriculum was to prevent and raise awareness of “male involvement in DMST [domestic minor sex trafficking] as victims, perpetrators, or sex-buyers.” Id. The curriculum was piloted in a state juvenile detention center. Id. at 671. A similar type of curriculum, with an additional component of resources for male survivors, could be developed and presented in other settings, such as schools and homeless shelters.

[lxvii] Michael T. Tien, Human Trafficking: the Missing Male Victim, 18 Pub. Interest L. Rep. 207, 210 (2013).

 

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