European Platform Against Trafficking in Human Beings

About trafficking

News | Trafficking of Adult men

USAID recently published a report on male trafficking, called: "Trafficking of adult men in the Europe and Eurasia region".
The report makes it clear that when talking about human trafficking, it is not only women and children whom are at risk. According to the report male trafficking is much more common than is usually assumed. According to the findings of the report, it is imperative not to distinguish between forced labour and human trafficking
in order to better identify and assist trafficked men. In distinguishing the two, a problem is created in the identification of trafficked men. Whether talking about trafficking or forced labour, the people involved are equally victim to having their human rights violated.
The report further concludes that many trafficked men are never identified. Instead they are treated as irregular migrants and deported without any investigation of their case. One of the reasons for this is a heavy gender bias - the profile of a trafficked person is most commonly seen to be that of a woman, transported for prostitution; hence when the authorities are investigating trafficking they will be looking for persons with a profile that matches this description. Furthermore this gender bias means that many men who are indeed trafficked will or can not see themselves as victims of a crime or as trafficked persons.
The report offers a description of the demographic profile of trafficked men as well as a description of the types of work trafficked men are subjected to. Men who are exposed to trafficking can be any age, be from anywhere and can be employed in jobs as diverse as construction, food processing, agriculture and oil extraction. Often trafficked men face long work hours, low or no pay, injuries, fees, fines and debts, psychological, physical and sexual abuse. In most cases the men work voluntarily, but are deceived and exploited along the way.
A massive problem, the report concludes, is that even if a man is identified as trafficked he will very often reject  services, or simply not be in need of the services offered. As most services are designed for women, a male victim of trafficking is at risk of not receiving assistance that has been tailored to his needs.
The report puts out the following recommendations:

  • Training and procedures for proactive identification
  • Specialised police units
  • Reform of legislation
  • Regulation of intermediaries and recruitment companies via inspections and monitoring
  • Regulation of subcontractors
  • Encouragement of the investigation and procecution of labour trafficking cases
  • Anti-corruption efforts against officials that may be involved in trafficking
  • Organising of migrant workers
  • Awareness-raising and hotlines
  • Tailoring assistance to the needs of men.


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