Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.
Marq was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation for 8 years in the United States. In this narrative he talks of the importance of believing victims and the particularities of being a man trafficked in to sex work.
We’re scared. We’re scared to run. We’re scared to tell anybody what’s going on.
If we’re recognizing signs, we’re able to do something about it. My trafficking was for almost 8 years. He was a close friend of the family. The words were used: "If you tell, I’ll cut you. I’ll bust you in your head. I’ll bust you in your nose." Being a male and being sex trafficked, when you go to a person and say, "Hey, so-and-so is doing this to me,"—"Oh, we don’t believe you. Stop lying." We’re the victims. We need people to believe who the victims really are.
Being a male survivor, that’s what’s needed: support. Being able to understand that it happens to everybody, you know, not just the male or the female, but to everybody. If others can see that there are male survivors, and that’s it’s okay to tell, then maybe we can get additional help out and get the word out that we’re here to help.
Courtesy of the Office for Victims of Crime