This presentation was given at the national symposium Out of the Shadows: Addressing the Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Men in Washington, D.C. on September 8, 2017. This event was hosted by The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking. Details on Out of the Shadows can be found at endsexualexploitation.org/boysandmen/
As told from the perspective of a male survivor of childhood sex trafficking, this presentation will offer an inside look at how men and boys are prostituted and trafficked, and will explore the deep complexities and obstacles that are ever present in the lives of male sex abuse survivors. The presentation will furthermore provide insight into the gender-specific needs of male survivor recovery, as well as to share some valuable tools which agencies and caregivers can utilize in the effort to assist male survivors towards attaining a viable pathway to healing.
My name is Tom Jones. I was molested at age six and then sex trafficked until age 15 and briefly prostituted in my mid-20s. After processing the trauma and impact of my own exploitation, I founded The H.O.P.E. Project (Healing, Outreach and Peer Empowerment) to create an open and safe space for men to talk about being sexually exploited and work through deep feelings of shame and secrecy to be able to begin healing.
In addition to this, I am actively engaged in the effort to reduce the demand for sex trafficking and prostitution activities as well as combating the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). I am honored to have joined forces with some amazing organizations both locally and nationally whose aim is to challenge the thinking of men and boys by means of innovative techniques that yield measurable and meaningful results. Some of my associations include:
“CEASE San Diego” member and program participant
San Diego County Human Trafficking and CSEC Advisory Council (Survivor Subcommittee)
Core member of the “Survivor Leader Network of San Diego”
Program participant at the Prostitution Impact Panel (P.I.P., a.k.a “John School”)
Treasurer of “Freedom from Exploitation”
Men’s program leader of “Survivors of the Streets (S.O.S.)”
Lead Organizer of the “Freedom NOW Fair” Human Trafficking Awareness Street Fair
Partnered with North County Lifeline (Project L.I.F.E.)
Member partner of “World Without Exploitation”
The topic of this work that I do requires largely uncomfortable and unpopular discussions, but the real-life occurrences of human trafficking happening to everyday human beings are alarmingly more common on a minute-by-minute basis than many are aware of . . . and that fact demands discussion and courageous action as well. I speak from the perspective of a male survivor, and voices such as mine are vital to the global awareness that boys and men are part of the human trafficking issue. It is a population that is not often heard from, and there is certainly a need for that to change. That is why I do what I do.