Boys Cannot Be Baht

The title is from a sticker produced by Urban Light to draw attention to the fact that men and boys are exploited in the flesh trade. Those of you who read this regularly know that Relentless works for the freedom everyone in bondage: women and girls, men and boys. Recently, I attended a one-day workshop on the abuse and exploitation of men and boys with guest Alastair Hilton of First Step Cambodia. Organizations around Chiang Mai gathered to learn more about the situation and discussed our next steps in addressing the problem.

“baht” is the monetary unit in Thailand

A recent article stimulated me to post again about the need for us to become aware of the problem and be educated about solutions to the issue of male exploitation. Sure, many men are the exploiters and so we don’t tend to think of them as victims, but many women are also guilty of exploiting.  The Good Men Project Magazine published this article on the trafficking of boys and men. Please take the time to read this enlightening article. Here’s an excerpt:

On the taboo of man-on-boy rape, I’ve talked to several authors and filmmakers who address sex trafficking and they echoed similar sentiments in different words. It should be noted that though their goal is one of awareness it is also one of sales. The two are often intertwined. The more their book or film is talked about, the more buzz. And the more buzz, the more there is awareness and the money to help. That said, these are artists whose work is often shaped by their perception of the general public. Their art isn’t merely for art’s sake and as a result they often have their fingers as close to the public’s pulse as possible. One went so far as to say the following:

“Society can barely stomach the raping of young girls. I feared they couldn’t handle it if my story was about the sex trafficking of young boys. How comfortable would people be with telling others to check out the work? In one sense they could just say it involves rape and most people would assume it meant of a girl or woman. But if it were about a boy or a man could they just say rape and let it stand without adding any extra details? I’m not sure, but I felt that’s where discomfort would come in and I didn’t want to chance it. Great works involve some level of discomfort, but maybe that would be too much.”

Toy Soldiers, a blog about the abuse and exploitation of males  has more extensive information on the topic in this post from 2011.

Please continue to be fully informed of the problem so that you are better able to address it. Abuse and exploitation doesn’t necessarily have to be so dramatic – we think we don’t see it because the chains are not visible. Many survivors will tell you they were hidden in plain sight.

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