This is the story of two boys – one named Tim and the other, “Charlotte.”
Tim, from the UK, got addicted to internet porn at a young age. He contacted me on our Facebook page three years ago and just said, “HELP! I am addicted to pornography; my life is ruined and I tried to commit suicide three times.”
I reported Tim’s comments to proper authorities and communicated with him several times offering hope and prayers. He told me that porn was “an everyday thing” with his friends but he never imagined it could hurt him. He found he couldn’t study in school; couldn’t date a girl; and stopped participating in sports. He was involved in many destructive behaviors as a result of his porn use and said that he hated his life, every minute of every day. He could find no help to get his life back on track – back to some sense of normalcy.
I lost track of Tim because he stopped responding to my communications but I won’t forget him.
“Charlotte” is the second boy. His real name was Charles but he was sold on the streets of New York City as a girl and few of his sex-buying clients knew his true identity. I met him several years ago while working on an investigation targeting child sex traffickers during my time with the U. S. Department of Justice. He came from a broken family, suffered physical and sexual abuse in his home as a child and got no help from anyone. He didn’t even know how to ask for help or where to turn. Then one day “help” arrived. A man befriended him, gave him a place to stay, and a couple meals a day.
Charles felt loved and secure for the first time in his life but it was all an illusion. Soon the man sexually abused him and forced him out onto the streets 12-15 hours a day selling his body. The man kept all of the money.
Not long after I met Charles, he died on the streets. I believe it was an overdose but I could not find out just what killed him. What a tragic life! He lived and died not knowing that anyone really cared for him.
For too long, male sexual exploitation victims have been overlooked. The media, politicians, and society at large have all failed to adequately address the experiences of boys and men involving sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse, sexual objectification, or early childhood exposure to pornography. As a result, countless boys and men suffer in silence without receiving any attention, any love, and without receiving the appropriate services for recovery. They don’t know where to turn because no one is even talking about them and their daily sufferings. They are without hope.
Thankfully, because of your continued support and belief in the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), we are doing something about this – something for Charles and Tim. We are doing something perhaps for your children or relatives, or boys and men in your community that you pass by every day without knowing their pain.
NCOSE started a task force within our Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation 18 months ago to address these issues more fully. We brought together survivors, academics, medical professionals, and other non-governmental organizations. We gathered messaging tips for our coalition and have ensured that the overall movement does not ignore this issue. It is time to elevate this issue though, even more. To do this, we have three-days of public events planned in September.
Our events, titled, Out of the Shadows: Addressing the Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Men include a press conference at the National Press Club on September 7th. We must get the media to address all of these issues in a more deliberate way! We are also hosting a ground-breaking National Symposium on September 8th, bringing together more than 200 DC-area leaders to educate and start them on a critical assessment of this overlooked problem. On September 9th, we will host workshops with college students at Washington College.
Nothing like any of these events have ever been held before and it promises to be transformative for the entire movement and for the millions of males who are struggling with these issues in the dark!
We are proud to have two co-hosts, the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking and Washington College Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture.
These events, especially the National Symposium, will serve to shed a light on the victimization of boys and men, in order to bring these problems out of the shadows. The complex web of sexual exploitation cannot be dismantled until every survivor has a voice.
Some would like to think that the government will take care of this problem. But the government hasn’t and it won’t. That’s why I am coming to you. YOU understand the devastation of sexual exploitation. I know because you have been a generous supporter of our work. You know that we spend every dollar of your generosity in an aggressive but frugal way. And we get results!
The government – federal, state, and local – has not sufficiently addressed the public health crisis of pornography. That is why NCOSE’s work that you support is so important. How many children or young teens have had their lives devastated because of easy access to pornography?
Nearly every day we are contacted by boys and young men who are addicted to pornography. They all have one thing in common – they think they are all alone.
So many parents too have contacted us to ask for help for their boys whose lives are overtaken by pornography. Many have suffered sexual abuse and, sadly, because of their abuse, some have also abused others – there is often a vicious cycle of abuse that continues to spiral unless something intercedes to bring these unspoken tragedies into the light of day so that healing can begin.
This is a problem that too few are talking about but now, with your help, we are going to shout out the problem – right here in our nation’s capital. In fact, we are inviting every Member of the U. S. Congress and all their staffs to this critical National Symposium. The event will take place right on Capitol Hill so all that we invite from Congress may easily attend.
We are also inviting a host of groups such as those working against sex trafficking. University officials and students as well as other social change leaders. And, most importantly, affected families will be invited. Hope will be on the agenda for them!
It is high time to stand up for ALL victims of sexual exploitation. Of course, this event will not take away from our spotlight on the harms many women and girls experience. Rather it will be an additional spotlight on exploited boys and men.
Do you see the wisdom of this event? May I count on you to ensure this conference has the maximum impact possible?
Nothing we ever do – not any of our many successes – happens without YOU. We really need your generous support right now for this visionary, daylong conference to change the trajectory of the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. This is a very expensive undertaking for us – all our national symposia are – but can we afford to ignore this problem?
Will you send in the most generous (tax-deductible) donation that you can afford today? I promise that you will not be disappointed.
You can mail a donation to us at 440 First Street, NW Suite 840, Washington, DC, 20001 or donate online here.