by FP Intern- Bethany McArthur
A common delusion about America is that all Americans are free. We are taught in our schools that slavery ended in the United States after the Civil War and the outlawing of indentured servants. However, if you are reading this now, you know that this simply isn’t true. Slavery has taken on a new form in modern times and America is no exception. Slaves are forced into labor, sex, organ donations, and domestic bondage. Human trafficking is a 32 Billion dollar worldwide industry, and women and young girls aren’t the only people victimized in this callous business. With human trafficking, most attention always centers on the young women and girls forced into slavery. Men and boys are often over looked.
Although the majority of NGO’s and non-profits focus on female victims, in 2009 the U.S State Department released some very shocking numbers to show the reality of male slavery in the United States. It stated, “45 percent of the 286 certified adult victims in 2008 were male, a significant increase from the six percent certified in 2006.” This disturbing increase in victims indicates a growth in the demand for males. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that the increase was due to an enlargement in labor-trafficking cases. 76 % of males trafficked were victims of labor trafficking and 17 % were victims of sex trafficking. Also, 16% of American boys are molested by the time they are 18. Although these numbers are definitely smaller than those of female victims, these numbers represent reported cases only. Often times males cases go unnoticed because of the attention centered on female victims.
While females are without a doubt the majority trafficked in America, we can’t and shouldn’t be single-minded in this fight against human trafficking. Male trafficking happens every day in the United States. The intent of this blog was to encourage American’s to fight for the freedom of all victims. We must pay attention to these men and boys in bondage and work together to raise awareness of their struggle and prevent them from being enslaved and exploited. If traffickers don’t play into gender politics, why should we?