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The struggle against human trafficking usually focuses or examines the issues surrounding women and children victims. This concentration leads us to forget that men, and adolescent boys are victims also.
They could be called the forgotten faces of the trafficking business, overlooked even when the obvious signs of exploitation that would sound alarms with women and children are present. “Trafficking in human beings is most commonly associated with women or children”, writes Rebecca Surtees of the NEXUS Institute, a Vienna-based organization that studies modern day slavery. “Far less common is a consideration of trafficking in males… and yet there are signals in many countries that males are being exploited and violated in ways that constitute human trafficking”
Why is it that this segment of the trafficking industry has been overlooked or ignored?

Victims of human trafficking are treated temporary, replaceable items -- not individual human beings. Amnesty International has recently shined a light on one group of people who are particularly treated as such -- migrant laborers in South Korea.

Maybe it is because one of the frustrating evils of human trafficking is how very little we are able to learn about it in general, let alone specifically. It might be that all of those who have been, or are trafficked, are the invisible in plain sight. Estimates of the number of males trafficked to the labor force world wide is about 40%, but estimates are often understated and the actual number remains a mystery. Hundreds of thousands of men are believed to have fallen victim to this evil practice and in Eastern Europe the poorest states such as Belarus and Ukraine are experiencing some of the worst of what migration watchdogs say is a “growing problem” worldwide. (www.global issues.org/news/2009)

 


Are men victims of trafficking? Yes. While women and children are believed to be the main victims of human trafficking, given their increased vulnerability in many countries, men make up a significant percentage of victims as well. However, as men are mostly trafficked into labor positions, they are harder to discover and rescue, leading to underreporting. In addition, some countries do not even have laws in place against labor trafficking, making it virtually impossible to find, prosecute, or record these cases.

 

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