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You’re listening to Episode 20 of the Trafficking Dispatch, a biweekly podcast that briefs you on human trafficking issues in a brief amount of time. I’m your host, Victoria Erdel. For our season finale, we’ll hear a survivor of sex trafficking talk about his anti-trafficking and anti-child abuse advocacy.
In season 1, episode 8 -- titled “The Forgotten 45% - Discussing Male Victims of Trafficking” -- I talked about how the anti-trafficking movement often overlooks male victims and survivors of human trafficking. That episode focused on male victims of labor trafficking, because I cited a statistic from the International Labor Organization (ILO) that states that women and girls make up the overwhelming majority of sex trafficking victims, about 98%. But getting a totally accurate understanding of the gender composition is difficult since we don’t have all of the information we need. After all, most cases of sex trafficking go unreported. It’s possible that men and boys make up 2% of sex trafficking victims like the ILO predicts, but it’s definitely possible that there are many more than we realize. But regardless of percentages, the point is, male victims of sex trafficking do exist and require attention and support just like any other trafficked person.
Jerome Elam, our interviewee for this season finale, is a survivor of sex trafficking himself. From just five to about 12 years old, Jerome endured a nightmarish upbringing that involved pedophilic sex rings, something that no child should ever endure. He permanently escaped the ring at 17, when he joined the United States Marine Corps. If you’re interested in learning more about his story, we’ll include links in the shownotes to an article that he’s written and to a five-part series that our partners, Youth Underground, published on their social media accounts.
But for now, let’s turn to Jerome himself to learn more about his current advocacy work. So Jerome, it’s been several years since you escaped your trafficking situation, and you’ve gone on to study and work in the field of molecular biology and gene therapy for a few years. But when did you make this transition from working in life sciences to your current anti-trafficking and anti-child abuse work?
For the rest of the shownotes, please visit thetraffickingdispatch.com.
Jerome's story: https://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/the-end-to-child-sex-trafficking-starts-with-us
Youth Underground Version, Part 1: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf5lUaABhzd/?taken-by=youth.underground
I Promise Pledge: https://www.traffickinginamericataskforce.org/take-the-pledge