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Huffington Post: Holding Men Accountable for Sex Trafficking

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Too often when we think about human trafficking, and sex trafficking in particular, we think of it as a problem “out there.” But this year, for the first time, the U.S. State Department included the U.S. in its annual report on trafficking, admitting that it is a grave problem in the U.S. as well.

Jewel Woods, Executive Director of The Renaissance Male Project, is trying to combat that myth. Woods recently began promoting RMP’s efforts to address the role of the US in trafficking.

They recently produced a brochure: “Ten Things Men and Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking.” Woods co-chairs the Ohio attorney general’s “Ohio Trafficking In Persons Study Commission Demand Reduction Sub-Committee.” I asked Woods why the RMP, located in Columbus Ohio, has made this a major focus of its work these days:

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“Toledo, Ohio has the dubious distinction of being one of four cities to lead the nation in the number of domestic minors involved in human trafficking…we realizes we need to deal with the demand-side of human trafficking because no one was dealing with it. We started working with the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition about a year ago, and RMP just started our first John School in Toledo.”

The reality is, as Woods succinctly puts it, “there would be no human trafficking if there were was no demand for it!” That is why we need to target boys and men. Woods charges “we need to turn male spaces into circles of accountability where men learn about non-violence, social justice, and ending violence against women.” And that is just what the RMP is doing.

The following list has been adapted from the RMP brochure, and suggests specific actions that men and boys can take to end this atrocity that is occurring here in the United States and around the world. (Contact RMP for the brochure and other resources)

1. CHALLENGE THE GLAMORIZATION OF PIMPS IN OUR CULTURE
Mainstream culture and the music industry have popularized the image of a pimp to the point that some men and boys look up to pimps as if they represent legitimate male role models and view “pimping” as a normal expression of masculinity. In reality, pimps play a central role in human trafficking and cause tremendous harm by routinely raping, beating, and terrorizing women and girls to keep them locked in prostitution.

2. CONFRONT THE BELIEF THAT PROSTITUTION IS A “VICTIMLESS CRIME”
Many men view prostitution as a “victimless crime.” But it is not. For example, women who are involved in prostitution are at greater risk to be murdered, and suffer
tremendous physical and mental trauma. The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 13 years old.

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Muslim American born in Brooklyn, NY with Guyanese parents currently living in Virginia working full-time as a web developer.

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