Although men are integral to sexual exploitation of all kinds, little empirical research exists about them in the context of sex trafficking. Research and treatment of sex trafficking have been based primarily on the experiences of women and girls as trafficked victims. The networks of traffickers, the characteristics of men who consume sex, and the experiences of boys and men, including LGBTQ youth as victims are not well understood. This panel addresses these issues. The panel begins with an examination of the characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of men who buy sex. The next presentation explores the dynamics of men that become human traffickers. The focus then shifts to boys and men as survivors. The special vulnerability of LGBTQ youth is discussed. Finally, the lived experience of one survivor is presented, with suggestions for best practices in working with male survivors. Finally, the Discussant will outline the links between sexual exploitation and masculinity ideology, setting the stage for a more general discussion.


Outline/Structure of the Panel

The panel will have multiples presentations, format as follows:

Opening remarks - Nancy M. Sidun, PsyD, ABPP, ATR

Sex Trafficking: Men as Consumers - Louise Bordeaux Silverstein, PhD

This presentation describes demographic characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of men who buy sex. In general, men who buy sex are mainstream men: including poor, working class, and wealthy men; married and single men; working men and students. Some of the men, i.e., judges, police officers, prison guards, are often the very people charged with enforcing the laws that they violate by buying sex. Overall, the research has focused on trying to change women's behavior, e.g., encouraging women to insist on condom use, rather than changing men's behavior. Similarly, policymakers have tried to legalize prostitution, rather than helping women leave prostitution.

Men: Traffickers, Facilitators, and Perpetrators - Nancy M. Sidun, PsyD, ABPP, ATR

Human traffickers perform may functions, from recruitment, to transportation, to training, to exploitation of trafficking victims. These trafficking functions are carried out by a broad spectrum of persons. How these functions are managed varies, ranging from a single individual performing all to an organized network of associates, including organized crime syndicates. Human trafficking initially was thought to be largely controlled by organized crime. However, additional research and practice has revealed that is just one form of traffickers. Although, human traffickers do not have an established profile, research suggests that the most effective recruiters are those that can and have established trusting relationships with potential victims. They might be relatives, neighbors, or people from the same area. This presentation will explore the dynamics of men that become human traffickers of both men and women.

Commerical sexual exploitation of boys/adolescent males - Steven Procopio, LCSW

Because of a reluctance to acknowledge that men and boys males are commonly traumatized by violence, the research community has largely ignored the prevalence of male victimization in sex trafficking. This presentation will describe the prevalence and related psychological and sociological issues of abuse of boys/adolescent males, which possibly lead to prostitution and human trafficking victimization. The mental health community must learn to better identify clients "in the game" and at risk for human trafficking in order to direct these youths to appropriate prevention, assessment, education, and counseling services. Case presentations will be shared to illustrate the various forms of male victimization: its psycho/social effects; and the behaviors that compromise effective psychological and social development.

Invisible victims of human trafficking: LGBTQ youth - Irma Barron, PhD

A disproportionate number of youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) are homeless. These youth are frequently forced out of  their homes due to their sexual orientation. Shunned by family, bullied by peers, and ostracized by their community, the majority of homeless LGBTQ youth have been sexually victimized as compared to heterosexual homeless youth. Within 48 hours of being on the streets, 1 in 3 homeless youth will be recruited by a trafficker into commercial sexual exploitation. Due to their sexual orientation and history of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, LGBTQ youths are extremely vulnerable to being victimized again. Traffickers regularly control these youth by using fear, drugs, and/or alcohol. Across the nation, shelters receive as many as 500 requests per week from LGBTQ youth searching for a bed. If there is not a bed for that night then the risk of being trafficked increases. Out of desperation, these youth will trade sex for shelter and food. Many faith-based organizations contribute to the victimization of LGBTQ youth by turning a blind eye t their suffering due to their objections to same-sex behavior. This presentation will present data relevant to the victimization  of LGBTQ youth and the barriers to their being helped.

Thriving, not just surviving: One man's experience with being a victim of sex trafficking - Joel Filmore, EdD

Within the confines of helping victims of sex trafficking there is, rightly, a focus on assisting the victims in becoming survivors. The all-too-real truth is that not all victims survive their experience. While this work is incredibly noble and necessary, the unfortunate truth is that we don't really know a lot about what happens to the victims after they become survivors. The focus of this presentation is to place emphasis on the survivor's experience and to help professionals assist them in not only being survivors, but then to transition into Thrivers. The presenter will discuss his own personal experience as a victim of sex trafficking, becoming a survivor and then pushing on to become a Thriver. The presentation will address best practices for working with male and female survivors.

Masculinity ideology and its connection to sexual violence - Christopher Kilmartin, PhD. - Discussant

Learning Outcome

1) At the end of these presentations, participants will be able to identify demographic characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of men who buy sex.

2) At the end of these presentations, participants will be able summarize the many functions of a trafficker.

3) At the end of these presentations, participants will be aware of the psycho/social effects of being trafficked as a boy and/or an adolescent male.

4) At the end of these presentations, participants will  understand of increased vulnerabilties of LGBTQ populations.

5) At the end of these presentations, participants will be able to identify best practices of working with male survivors of sex trafficking.

6) At the end of these presentations, participants will understand the connection between masculinity ideology and sexual violence.


Target Audience

Clinicians, researchers, survivors, policy makers, law enforcement,

schedule Submitted 7 years ago