Victims escaping or exiting sex trafficking often face a long and difficult process when trying to start their lives over. A common misconception is that there are clear and easy steps to exiting trafficking, especially if the victim is not being physically held captive.
It's important to note young men and boys may face an added layer of gender stereotypes that make it more challenging for them to leave. Gender stereotypes tell us "real men" are supposed to be strong, and being a victim implies that one is weak. Further, many male survivors believe trafficking can happen only to girls. For these reasons, males may experience denial and shame in identifying as a victim and reaching out for help.
The reality is victims are up against many barriers that impact their ability to exit sex trafficking. These barriers, based on learnings that emerged from our report on The Barriers to Exiting Sex Trafficking, are outlined below.