Latest modern slavery fight updates -

How Stigma Silences Male Trafficking Victims

  • Published on
    November 20, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Rehabilitation & Liberation
Hero Banner

“It is hard – every time I tell my story I feel people do not believe me because I am a man, and should not have fallen into this situation.” Juan is just one of many male victims of trafficking in the UK, where anti-trafficking charities are finding that men are reluctant to seek help due to societal stigma.

According to Hestia, one such charity based in London, men who have been trafficked are less likely than women to report their abuse or even recognize themselves as victims. Speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation, Patrick Ryan from Hestia explains:

Men who have been enslaved are less likely than women to recognise their ordeal as a crime or report it to authorities, leaving them isolated, vulnerable to drug abuse and at risk of being re-trafficked.

“It’s much more difficult to get men to engage after slavery – they are more likely to write it off as just a bad employment experience, even in cases of brutality,” Patrick Ryan, chief executive of Hestia, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Men tend to face more of a struggle than women to recover, and not dealing with this can create a risk of re-trafficking.”

Hestia says one-fifth of the trafficking victims it helped last year were men. It says many of them were reluctant to share their experiences or even accept money to rebuild their lives. Kathryn Taylor from Hestia believes this reflects the stigma these men feel: “Men don’t want to be seen as victims … it is a challenge to their self-esteem,” she said.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

From Ecuador's fields to global supply chains: Freedom United tackles modern slavery

As hundreds of Ecuadorian workers await a verdict in a milestone modern slavery case, Freedom United's Executive Director, Joanna Ewart-James, sat down with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle News to explain modern slavery in supply chains and everyday products. Chances are you've used a forced labor product The Deutsche Welle report follows landmark rulings on cases of exploitation in Ecuador at Furukawa Plantaciones C.A., a Japanese company that

| Thursday June 20, 2024

Read more