Gender: As it Relates to Human Trafficking


By: Madeline Rothrock

Black’s Law Dictionary has given gender the definition of being the defined difference between men and women based on culturally and socially constructed norms, politics, and affairs. The National Human Trafficking Hotline was a group our team utilized along with Unbound Seattle to deepen our understanding about the issue of human trafficking. The hotline is a great resource for the victims of trafficking as well as concerned community partners. Their hotline is open 24/7 for receiving tips, and for requesting services when needed. This hotline resource is especially helpful because at any one time they have translators available for over two hundred languages, allowing anyone in the world easy access to help.


Gender in human trafficking is often stereotyped between the two main categories. Sex trafficking is often only associated with females because that is what we are most exposed to. When this kind of trafficking is shown in the media, news articles, and other public places it is almost always shown with a male pimp and a female victim. Perpetuating this stereotype can be dangerous though, giving the public the idea that male victims are nonexistent and don’t need to be worried about. Another way boys often end up in trafficking is from runaway and homeless youth seeking shelter.



Our group resource was able to help us by giving us insight from her experiences with trafficking. One question I had that she was able to answer for me was why trafficking is so much more visible with females as opposed to males. While more females are found in specifically sex trafficking, men and boys are still being forced into trafficking but often don’t seek any help. Erin was able to explain that although males end up in sex trafficking they often don’t seek help for the fear of being perceived, or outed as gay. It can be very difficult for a sexually assaulted man to first admit to himself that he has been assaulted, and then seek assistance because of the gender roles society has placed upon him. There are also considerably less resources for boys compared to what is offered for female victims needing helppic4

When comparing gender equality, agency is used to describe an individual’s personhood and identity. In Postman the lack of agency is shown in the female news anchors being chosen solely based on their looks for their T.V. ratings, and not how good of a job they are able to do. Reducing a woman down to only her appearance robs her of her personhood and turns her into an object for use. While reading through Takaki gender was brought up multiple times being related to working and the gender roles women and men held at the time. Throughout WW1 and WW11 many job shortages occurred back in the U.S. while the men were away fighting. This left large amounts of labor and technology jobs wide open for women to fill, and for many it was their first time working in these fields because of gender norms at the time. Women were expected to stay home and raise the families, and the men went to work to become the bread winners.


Belinda, L. (2014). Inside the Scarily Lucrative Business Model of Human Trafficking. Time.
Greeve, A. (2014, September 18). Human trafficking: What about the men and boys? Retrieved August 22, 2017, from
National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)(), NHTRC Student Toolkit. 1-12.
Postman, N. (2007). Amusing ourselves to death: public discourse in the age of showbusiness. London: Methuen.
Takaki, R. T., & Tomita, T. (1995). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Tōkyō: Akashi Shoten.


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