Learning from those on the frontlines of ensuring our survivor brothers receive the care they need and deserve.
When we get placements for males, it is often our most difficult, or even people who were born male. It is often our most difficult clients to place. So we are excited to highlight some of the incredible work that our panelists are doing.
Sean Wheeler is an incredible man, founder and president of Starfish Ministries. He serves as a consultant to many different organizations that are looking specifically to serve males. And he speaks both from his professional experience and from his lived experience on the trafficking of men.
Ruth Thunderhawk is a survivor advocate at Bob's House of Hope. This was this first safe house and advocacy resource in the country to support male sex trafficking survivors. She works with clients all over the country providing case management and advocacy services to survivors as they're rebuilding their lives.
"Most programs established to assist trafficking victims do not focus on meeting male survivors’ needs. In many countries, even when authorities identify a male trafficking victim, there are few anti-trafficking programs able to provide men or boys specialized assistance, especially safe housing. Male survivors of trafficking need access to comprehensive and culturally appropriate assistance to meet their needs, such as housing, medical care, mental health services, legal support, and employment assistance, offered through centers that tailor services to individuals, for example:
• Housing: Access to housing that is safe and has resources to meet their unique needs. The use of homeless shelters is often inadequate for traumatized male survivors.
• Health: Access to a wide range of trauma-informed physical and mental health services, including alternatives to traditional care such as peer-to-peer counseling.
• Legal Support: Access to legal support to ensure male survivors are aware of their rights, have access to legal proceedings, and are assisted in contacting consular services from their home country and seeking compensation for lost wages and injuries and other forms of restitution.
• Employment Assistance: Access to employment assistance that includes education, skills training, and job placement.
While some governments have made progress to improve the anti-trafficking response for male victims, much work remains to ensure men and boys are not overlooked or under-served. Governments should ensure services are sensitive to the needs of all victims, regardless of gender, and adapt methodologies as needed. All trafficking victims should be offered high quality individualized assistance, supported in regaining control of their lives, and empowered to make informed decisions about the options available to them."