To date, trafficking in males has not been given enough consideration in research despite noteworthy signals that it is a violation faced by many males, adults and minors. Often severely exploited male migrants are overlooked as victims of trafficking. The noteworthy number of men exposed to trafficking necessitates assistance tailored to their specific needs and interests. Tailoring of services is required to the specific profile of male victim, not least according to their trafficking experience, whether they are a minor or adult and the family and social conditions to which they will return.
Through the lens of trafficking in males (primarily adult men) from Belarus and Ukraine, this study considers male victim’s pre-trafficking life (namely their personal, family and socioeconomic background), trafficking experience (from recruitment, through transportation and during exploitation) and post trafficking experience (including assistance and protection needs). We examine, on the one hand, what is known about this less considered profile of trafficked persons and, on the other hand, what can be done to meet their needs, both as a means of assistance and protection. The study draws on primary data collected about 685 trafficked males assisted by IOM and its partners, through IOM’s Counter-Trafficking Module Database in Geneva as well as qualitative information from case files and interviews of assisted men.
The specific experiences of trafficked males of Belarusian and Ukrainian nationality highlight some general patterns in terms of how trafficking takes place from these countries and, equally, some of the needs and interests of this specific target group. Attention to the gender dimensions of trafficking must be increasingly considered in research and anti-trafficking interventions.