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Tim Bastedo was the Research Intern for this summer. He's a student at the Yale Divinity School and rides a bright green bike around town.

 

I didn't know much about sexual exploitation at the beginning of the summer. I certainly would have told you that I thought it was a bad thing, something worth fighting against, but the who, and the what, and the where and the why were all opaque to me. I couldn't have told you the difference between trafficking and exploitation, or what types of services are needed for the victims of either.

 

I certainly couldn't have told you it continues to be a major problem on U.S./American soil.

 

Over the course of my time at Love146, I had the opportunity to study the sexual exploitation of male minors in the United States. Male minors have been a largely invisible population in the wider discussion on the commercial sexual exploitation of children; typically, female minors are the poster-children for the movement - who wouldn't want to save these young damsels in distress?

 

Yet the culture that has spawned such a mentality inevitably has had a difficult time imagine that males, even male minors, can be victims, too. Men don't need to be saved; they're the ones that should be doing the saving, aren't they?

 

As I dug into the experiences of male minors (and the service providers who work with them) this summer, I began to understand that commercially sexually exploited male minors have a complex relationship to their sexual exploitation.

 

As the attention of service providers and other interested parties begins to shift towards male minors, we need to ask ourselves: in what ways do the experiences of male minors involve force, fraud or coercion?

 

Many of these young men are not coerced by pimps, yet they often feel pressured to engage in commercial sexual exploitation by an even more fundamental force: the need to survive. These conversations will, hopefully, begin to generate critical mass for a re-imagination of US/America's cultural definition of "victimization" in which male minors' experiences can find a place.

 

Working for Love146 has been an exceptional experience. Despite the somber nature of the subject matter with which I've spent my summer, it has been encouraging to find that there are people, all around the country, who are interested in abolishing the commercial sexual exploitation of all minors, male and female alike. I am grateful to have become a part of their work for a time, and to have been able to learn from them.

 

There is a movement here, and it will only continue to swell.

 

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After years of caring for survivors overseas, we're excited to unveil our U.S. Survivor Care program!

 

Check out the live updates that are three years in the making:

www.love146.org/us-survivor-care/

 

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Community Admin's picture

A Potential for Therapy

posted by Community Admin on Jul 24, 2014

Here's an update from Dr. Gundelina Velazco, our Director of Asia Aftercare.

 

Last week, Typhoon Glenda wrought havoc in many places. At our White Home for boys, sliding glass doors were blasted by the strong wind. At the Round Home, the farm and our treehouse was largely destroyed.

 

“I was sad because the beautiful things in the round home were destroyed and the animals were killed by the typhoon, and so was the beautiful tree house. All I want is to help restore the Round Home’s beauty.” - Julieta

 

In this business I try to see everything as a potential for therapy, for restoration, even the tragedies, or especially the tragedies. I “get hold” of the feelings, as expressed by the girls and boys, and watch to make sure that these feelings slowly evolve into something more reformative, more constructive, and more empowering feelings and resolutions that will change the child forever.

 

For instance, if the children are able to help in restoring the Round Home and see the Round Home recover and regain its beauty because of the children’s efforts and handiwork, then that would be a tremendous boost to their self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of ability to transform and reconstruct everything, including themselves, into a more positive, more beautiful being.

 

I am thrilled to see the coming days of rebuilding, reconstruction, and restoration… in more ways than one.

 

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Last thursday, a new bipartisan bill was introduced to the House of Representatives-- Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980).

 

This bipartisan legislation reflects agreements reached between the House and Senate negotiators, reconciling differences on three bills previously approved by the House (H.R. 1896, H.R. 3205, and H.R. 4058) and the Senate Finance Committee (S. 1876, S. 1877, and S. 1878).

 

The legislation includes numerous provisions that will encourage states to reduce the incidence of sex trafficking among youth in foster care, empower and promote normalcy for foster youth, quickly move more children from foster care into adoptive homes or the homes of relatives, and increase the amount of child support provided to families in which one parent is outside of the U.S.

 

This legislation is a huge step forward for protecting vulnerable youth from trafficking.

Stay tuned for what you can do to help this important bill pass!

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