American Conservative Magazine: Casting New Light on Sexual Exploitation of Men and Boys
By Emile Doak, September 12, 2017
The term ‘sexual exploitation’ tends to conjure notions of young girls being taken, a la the Liam Neeson movie franchise, into sexual slavery. This sort of sexual exploitation is indeed a massive problem worldwide, including here in the United States. And while there is still much work to do to end the exploitation of women, there is plenty of global awareness about it.
On September 8, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) held an inaugural symposium to shine light on a lesser-known aspect of sexual exploitation: that of boys and men. While this focus may seem unusual, if not obfuscating, the speakers compiled by NCOSE made a compelling case that this problem does not discriminate based on sex.
In a press conference preceding the national symposium Thursday morning, Tom Jones of the H.O.P.E. project gave an overview of his organization’s work. Jones, himself a survivor of sex trafficking, uses his story to highlight the epidemic of sexual exploitation of boys and men. “When you mention sex trafficking it’s not normally men and boys who you think of,” Jones said, “But my story is representative of so many men in America.” Jones created the H.O.P.E. project to “establish a fellowship of peer support for [other] men who survived.”
Echoing Jones’s sentiments was Kevin Malone of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking. Malone, who previously enjoyed a long career in baseball as both a player and executive, gave an impassioned explanation of his decision to get involved in combating issues of human trafficking. “I’m outraged,” declared Malone, “Why are we as Americans not outraged about sex slavery of our boys and girls?”
While the exploitation highlighted by Jones and Malone are blatant cases of abuse, two other speakers made the case against a more insidious type of sexual exploitation: the scourge of pornography. Joseph Prud’homme, director of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College, emphasized the link between porn consumption and “the new cultural norm of the sexual commodification of men.”