Perpetuating invisibility of male trafficking victims

While the sex trafficking seminar in Roger City for middle school girls was good in theory, in practice, it left out almost half of the children who are also at risk of being trafficked: boys.

Many sex trafficking advocates and campaigns falsely state that sex trafficking almost exclusively victimizes females. This could not be further from the truth. A 2016 study from the Department of Justice reports that 36% of child sex trafficking victims are boys, roughly 60% are girls and less than 5% are transgender.

However, depending on the city or region, the number of girls and boys sex trafficked is almost equal. The number of boys trafficked, though, is underreported. Boys are stereotyped to be stronger than girls and therefore should be able to escape or they are deemed as being young and sex-driven, not victims.

Additionally, many boys are afraid to report or seek help due to shame. Because of these ideas, many people, even those in law enforcement, are not trained or are unaware of how to identify a boy who is being sex-trafficked. Instead of only educating females on trafficking, we need to educate everyone of all demographics and provide services that cater to all genders, not just females.

Failing to do so puts boys at further risk of victimization.

LAURA RHUDE,

Alpena