Ashley Greve for human trafficking center.org, wrote, “If ‘male prostitute’ is an uncommonly heard term, then ‘male sex trafficking victim’ is rarer still. “
“There was this predominant narrative out there that this is an issue solely affecting girls. Then we found all these boys.” This is why Chris and Anna Smith wanted to not only shed light on this issue, but also create a safe place for those seeking asylum. Their goal? to “Restore One’s goal is to see DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) survivors live in complete freedom, and to generate communities that are intolerable to the problem of human trafficking and human exploitation.”
It is commonly thought that women and girls are the main victims of this crime. Most victim-advocacy work has focused on the crime’s prevalent image: girls and young women forced into prostitution. But researchers are starting to upend that model, uncovering signs that many more boys are trapped in the illegal sex industry than previously believed.
You can find evidence of this in media coverage, early literature, and legislation of sex trafficking, it would appear that the commercial sexual exploitation of men and boys is a something we are just beginning to learn about or, something that didn’t even exist until recent years. When in fact Greve states, “Men and boys are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in many countries around the world, and they even outnumber female victims within certain subcategories of trafficking. To ignore these facts is not only inaccurate, but also dangerous – it has led to the oblivious abandonment of tens of thousands of victims.”
NBC reported, in their article Invisible Boys: Inside the Push to Help Unseen Victims of the Sex Tradehthat “estimates reflect a more modest proportion of male victims — as low as 3 percent. But no matter the methodology, advocates say, there are clearly a lot of boys who need help.”
Even for girls, restorative care is hard to find. The Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., estimates that in 2016 there are only 529 shelter beds in America for victims of human trafficking — those sold for sex or for slavery.
But the survey found that only two of those beds were set aside for boys.
After long and careful planning, funding and backlash from communities, The Anchor House finally opening in the fall of 2018. They are housing men and boys, 12-18 years old who have been sex trafficked or sexually exploited.
You can learn more about The Anchor House here