As a male anti-human trafficking assistant under the Carolina Women’s Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am constantly approached by fellow peers who ask why I chose to align myself with an organization that has no personal relation to myself or my subsequent identities. Why human trafficking? Why focus on gender equity? Why focus on topics that are “not your issue?” Why, why, why…
To preface, here’s some brief trafficking statistics:
- An estimated 2.5-27 million enslaved victims persist worldwide.
- Victims are recruited from 127 countries and exploited in 137.
- Human trafficking is the fastest growing lucrative industry in our global society, accruing billions of dollars annually.
- Approximately 15,000-17,000 victims are trafficked into the United States each year, which is not accounting for those individuals trafficked within domestic borders.
- For every 800 people trafficked, only 1 perpetrator was convicted.
- 52%-58% of trafficking perpetrators are men.
- Though women and children are the main targets for victimization, an exponential increase (often overlooked) in trafficking of men has been seen.
All of a sudden, those silly little “why” questions became far easier to answer.
With males being the dominate perpetrators of human trafficking travesties, as well as an increase in boy and male victims seen both domestically and across international cultures, the role of men in human trafficking mitigation efforts is clearly shown. However, our (men’s) veil of ignorance rendered from a lack of understanding and knowledge assures male complacency. Moreover, the lack of male involvement yields countless issues that further exacerbate this global epidemic, which is counterintuitive towards the end goal of complete eradication.
The Renaissance Male Project released a report on 10 Things Men & Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking, which divulges into our glamorization of pimp culture, the increasing popularity of strip clubs and pornography, misogyny, sexism, the “harmless” and “victimless” effects of prostitution, and more. The efforts to abolish modern day slavery, analogous to other social justice initiatives/movements, rely heavily upon a diverse group of identities, including those that may not directly relate to the cause. The promotion of freedom, prosperity, social equity, and basic human rights is not a gender issue, but rather a human issue.
CWC Anti-Human Trafficking Assistant
*Statistics found from the following sites/organizations: CAST-LA, The Polaris Project, and the UNODC Trafficking in Persons report.