What About the Boys? The Sex Trafficking of Young Males

April 11, 2023

We have reported on the dangerous and troubling world of sex trafficking for nearly two decades, writing about the domestic sex trafficking of minors and the commercial sexual exploitation of foreign workers in this country’s nail salons and massage parlors — two angles that focused on female victims.

But neither of us before had focused deeply on the plight of boys and young men in the dark and dangerous world of sex trafficking. Until now.

The problem is that there’s little data to show what’s really happening. But a source who had followed our work reached out to ask, repeatedly: What about the boys?

We decided to look into it. We started with that source, Boston-area social worker Steven Procopio, who has strived for more than a decade to put more focus on the world of trafficked males. Procopio has long maintained that the reality of exploited boys is even more underground than that of girls because of toxic masculinity, shame, and a destructive skepticism that boys can be victims at all. During our first interview, Procopio brought with him Christopher Bates, a 26-year-old survivor who bravely told us his story of living on his own as a teen, selling his body to survive.

Read the full story on NiemanReports.