September 18th, 2013
01:09 PM ET

Exploited boys are too often failed

Editor’s Note: Steven Procopio is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. He helps male victims of childhood abuse including a focus on public health, HIV, and homelessness. He is also is a faculty adviser at the Boston University School of Social Work macro practice department.

I recently met with a 15-year-old named Brian - his name has been changed to protect his identity - who had a family history of domestic violence and drug abuse. He also had a desperate need for money - money that he planned to use to escape his abusive home.  He found his opportunity online. Brian learned that he could make money selling “Skype sex."

Desperate and in need, Brian started to sell his underage body on the Internet and fell victim to the seedy industry that is the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Buyers usually resort to manipulation of their vulnerable victims with grooming activities such as purchasing clothing, cell phones, gifts, and other products as a way of seducing them into a relationship.

Often, these manipulative activities give the impression to the victim that they are "loved" and "cared for” in ways their biological families may not have been able to demonstrate. This manipulation often keeps victims in the industry for many years.

Brian’s parents eventually found out about his online activity, and instead of disapproving and finding a way to protect him from this exploitation, they feared it was indicative of their son’s sexual orientation, which they did not accept, and kicked him out of his home.

Brian was eventually reported to the Department of Children and Families in the U.S. and became a victim of the detrimental societal assumptions regarding boys and commercial sexual exploitation - assumptions that are unfortunately rooted in the belief that CSEC only happens to girls and as a result, lead to treatment options primarily designed for female survivors, not boys.

Indicators of abuse among males are most often not even recognized due to the assumption that boys can “take care of themselves.”

The story here isn’t about how Brian’s parents kicked him out of the house. It isn’t about the “extra-curricular” activities Brian learned online. And the story is certainly not about the struggles of a - presumably - gay young boy. It’s about a boy who has been commercially sexually exploited right here in the United States - a topic that is far less reported than any other of these stories.

It has been estimated that as many as 50 percent of commercially sexually exploited children are boys. Many boys involved in commercial sexual exploitation have a history of complex trauma that often started with childhood sexual abuse and the reality is that approximately one in six boys in the U.S. has a history of sexual abuse.

It is many of these sexually abused boys who are falling victim to CSEC. Yet, while awareness of CSEC has gained momentum in recent years, legislation to protect trafficking victims, as well as recent and ongoing nationwide FBI busts targeting “pimps” and “johns,” continue to focus nearly 100 percent of society’s attention on sexually exploited girls.

As a social worker who sees and works with boys and young men who are victims of CSEC, I can’t help but ask: Why aren’t boys more central to the discussion? I recently consulted with an organization named ECPAT-USA, an affiliate of the group ECPAT International, which was just named the 2013 recipient of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize for its efforts in leading a global fight against CSEC. I worked together with ECPAT-USA on a report answering this very question.

The report titled, “And Boys Too” explores the sociological reasons that cause boys to be overlooked, reasons that, as evidenced by Brian’s story, are deeply rooted in assumptions, stereotypes and stigmas, keeping these boys from receiving the specialized services they need.

First, there is a sense of shame and stigma about being gay or being perceived as gay by family that keeps boys from self-identifying as sexually exploited. And while boys are not always forthcoming about their experiences of exploitation, they also are not being asked.

Law enforcement and service providers often fail to screen or assess boys at intake with the misguided belief that boys are not victims of CSE. There is an overlying false belief that boy victims can make their own decisions and can take care of themselves.

This leads to the belief that boys are not generally “pimped.” Instead of appearing as fragile victims of a third party pimp or trafficker, boys and young men who have been CSE are viewed as deviants with a desire for quick sex and money.

In order for this to change work must be done at the systemic level, which is where ECPAT is most heavily involved. For example, when federal legislation is being written, ECPAT-USA works with members of Congress to ensure that the provisions are written to include both boys and girls. It asks government agencies to include boys on the agenda when research projects are being funded and designed, and offers insights on how to do this. It makes sure that Congressional hearings and briefings include issues of commercial sexual exploitation of boys, and that we all begin to think and talk about it through webinars and public awareness events that call attention to the boys who have been below the radar for so long.

However, first and foremost we need to acknowledge the issue. The lack of knowledge and failure to see the facts by state and local governments, law enforcement, service providers, and society is holding us back from progress.

The reluctance to discuss the exploitation of boys by men is generated by a culture that is sometimes both hetero-centric and homophobic, causing these victims to be under-discussed and therefore underserved.

In order for programs to be developed and funded by government and non-profits, the stigmas, the assumptions and the stereotypes need to change.


soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Sam Baik

    This blog is a perfect example of displaying this issue to others. This is an issue that is not really talked about in the news even though it happens every day. Most people will not even read this blog, no matter how moving it is. We need to make this issue loud and clear, that we want to change and stop it. That boy did what he did because of the way he was raised, with terrible parents. Children want to be loved by their parents, but it can't happen sometimes, and that leads to things like this. This issue needs to be widely known, so that people will want to stop this terrible problem in the US.

    October 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  2. detectives privados torrejón de ardoz

    detectives privados dos hermanas

    https://www.argadetectives.com/detectives-motril-granada.html

    December 11, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  3. Mose Stacy

    yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a speculative decision great post! .

    http://6dollarmillion.xyz

    December 20, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  4. make money online today

    Earn 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 New Income System Never Before Seen. More details: https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    December 26, 2020 at 9:46 am | Reply
  5. Glen Raynolds

    hello there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this website, as I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 11, 2021 at 2:28 am | Reply
  6. Jesusita Toepel

    Thanks for the one of the nicest blogs i have read in a while.

    http://yourmatrixcashmachine.com

    January 11, 2021 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  7. Janae Loughney

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – 30 minutes to send to customers

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    January 26, 2021 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  8. Clemente Urbanek

    Social network traffic Facebook likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers and much more

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    January 27, 2021 at 12:33 am | Reply
  9. Alejandro Engelberg

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 28, 2021 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  10. Harrison Galicinao

    Earn $300/Day With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021

    https://rocketr.net/buy/912714b11b07

    February 5, 2021 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  11. froleprotrem

    hello!,I like your writing very much! proportion we be in contact extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert in this house to resolve my problem. Maybe that's you! Looking forward to peer you.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 6, 2021 at 5:37 am | Reply
  12. zortilo nrel

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Studying this information So i am glad to convey that I've an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I such a lot unquestionably will make certain to don¦t omit this site and provides it a glance regularly.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    February 7, 2021 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  13. vasúti szállítmányozás Europa-Road Kft.

    I believe this internet site contains very fantastic pent subject material blog posts.

    https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    February 9, 2021 at 3:32 am | Reply
  14. tadalafil daily use

    mg 18 tuf https://tadalisxs.com/ erectafil 10

    February 10, 2021 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  15. plaquenil antiviral

    erectile function cocaine abuse https://plaquenilx.com/ erectile issues in your 40s

    February 10, 2021 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  16. chloroquine coronavirus

    is chloroquine an antibiotic https://chloroquineorigin.com/ anti-malaria drug chloroquine

    February 10, 2021 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  17. zithromax order online

    zithromax classification https://zithromaxes.com/ over the counter zithromax

    February 10, 2021 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  18. comprar cuchillo cebollero

    Wonderful paintings! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the net. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

    https://topcuchillos.com/cuchillos-cebolleros

    February 11, 2021 at 3:39 am | Reply
  19. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    I will drive 20000 google organic visitors using targeted keywords: https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/833336/I-will-drive-20000-google-organic-visitors-using-targeted-keywords

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  20. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    February 19, 2021 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  21. order generic morphine without prescription online pharmacy cheap

    390133 673731Nicely worded post is going to be sharing this with my readers this evening 531969

    February 25, 2021 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  22. vreyrolinomit

    After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    February 26, 2021 at 5:31 am | Reply
  23. dumps shop online

    778918 254219Woh I like your content , saved to favorites ! . 311481

    March 4, 2021 at 5:28 am | Reply
  24. Arnulfo Wendy

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 9:56 am | Reply
  25. Izetta Tippetts

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  26. combigan

    brimonidine dosage combigan bottle sizecombigan

    March 15, 2021 at 4:05 am | Reply
  27. avana

    avanafil vs cialis avana tablet

    March 15, 2021 at 4:06 am | Reply
  28. casino chips

    zz top at winstar world casino thackerville on 18th november https://casinoxsbest.com/ andriod casino games for real cash

    March 21, 2021 at 10:32 am | Reply
  29. zortilonrel

    Very good written story. It will be helpful to anyone who usess it, including yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 21, 2021 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  30. which elevator at new york new york casino is closest to the parking garage

    aol games casino slots https://casinoxsonline.com/ slots of vegas casino usa

    March 22, 2021 at 10:38 am | Reply
  31. Kari Caddle

    I’d have to examine with you here. Which is not one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in reading a post that may make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to comment!

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    March 24, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  32. doubledown casino active promo codes

    monominee casino resort keshena wi black jack slot machines https://casinoxsplay.com/ new casino, yreka, ca photos

    March 24, 2021 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  33. casino game online is true or fack

    holdem casino quality poker chips https://casinoxsbonus.com/ usa casino online real money

    March 25, 2021 at 1:18 am | Reply
  34. play sugar house online casino

    parx casino poker https://casinoxsgames.com/ jack casino cincinnati chips

    March 29, 2021 at 4:38 am | Reply
  35. ตู้ล่าม

    491191 113057Hi there! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info youve correct here on this post. I shall be coming once again to your blog for extra soon. 899625

    April 3, 2021 at 4:27 am | Reply
  36. Buy Proxies

    Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me a applicable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vivid transparent idea

    https://dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/

    April 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  37. best price sildenafil uk

    where to buy sildenafil 100mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ 150 mg sildenafil

    April 12, 2021 at 2:45 am | Reply
  38. buying zithromax online

    zpack for strep dosage https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax 500mg tab

    April 12, 2021 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  39. Emerson Naquin

    I am curious to find out what blog system you happen to be using? I'm having some small security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

    https://extraproxies.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-mobile-application-development/

    April 15, 2021 at 6:30 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.