We educate youth almost every day about the tactics of traffickers and the signs of trafficking and exploitation.
But once a child knows what trafficking and exploitation look like, they sometimes connect the dots to past experiences of abuse or exploitation. We intentionally create space in the classroom for youth to disclose — providing opportunity for our team to point them towards services and recovery.
Until recently, 100% of these disclosures were from, or about, girls. But we knew boys were also vulnerable.
We decided to make a change.
Instead of providing examples of exploitation that focused on girls with an endnote of, “and this can happen to boys too,” we started to provide real examples of male vulnerability and exploitation.
Equal attention was given to both and discussions opened up about the societal pressures men face — fear of being labeled as “gay,” not being strong enough, or that they should enjoy it because boys are supposed to like sex.
And as we started looking harder, more and more boys opened up, and shared stories with hopes of finding peace and recovery.
Since we’ve become more purposeful in our efforts to reach boys, we have had 10 disclosures of male abuse.
Our hope is to continue educating and to break down the misconception of what a victim could look like so that any child can self-identify and self-emancipate. These boys weren’t invisible. We just weren’t looking hard enough.
Become a Love146 Partner, and help grow our education in a way that helps create opportunities to recover — for both girls and boys.