Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Sex Industry's Shadow Victims

Close your eyes and picture an underage sex worker: a victim of abuse, a runaway, homeless, kidnapped, bought and sold. It’s a profile we know all too well, depicted in various on-screen portrayals, articles, and awareness campaigns. Is your imagined victim a girl?

If stereotypes about participants in the sex trade run the gamut, there’s one overarching one that is so ingrained it barely registers: gender.

Estimates by some advocates put the number of boys in the commercial sex industry at potentially equal to that of girls. And while the Department of Justice estimates that boys make up 10 percent of trafficking victims (at least, of cases they're involved in), with an estimated 300,000 children in the industry, that still translates to tens of thousands of young males. And not only are boys entering prostitution at a younger age on average than girls, they also are often victims of violence and abuse, and are consistently denied assistance by child protective services and the juvenile justice system.  (more...)

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