Men Against Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is destroying lives and eroding the strength of our communities. It is a basic infringement on our collective values of freedom, equality, and human dignity. Women and children are being bought and sold—almost exclusively for the profit and pleasure of men. Trafficking is a multibillion dollar industry, with estimates in the millions of women and children trafficked in our country. The average age of juveniles entering in to prostitution [trafficking] in the U.S. is 13. One in every three runaway youth will be trafficked within 48 hours of leaving home. Native Americans and women/children of color are trafficked at disproportionately high rates across the country. It is critical that communities address the important questions:
- What creates the conditions in our communities where the demand is high to buy young girls for their bodies?
- Why do girls have to grow up in a society where women’s value is so closely associated with their bodies?
- How do our communities continue to produce generation after generation of young boys who fuel a multibillion dollar demand for sexual exploitation through pornography, strip clubs, and prostituted women and children?
- How do our mainstream communities continue to perpetuate the conditions where Native Americans and people of color consistently face economic, educational, and health disparities which increase vulnerability to exploitation?
It’s time to face facts. Men fuel the demand for sex trafficking, and therefore have a unique responsibility to end that demand. The fact that men victimize women and children by purchasing and selling them makes this a men’s issue. It is never the victims fault. Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation (pornography, strip clubs, etc.) force us to address realities of gender inequality, exploitation, degradation, and violence against women and children that have been normal in our communities for a long time.
Men Against Sex Trafficking (MAST) is an effort in Duluth, MN to engage men, with women, in decreasing the demand for the commercial sexual exploitation of girls. MAP coordinates local policy work to reduce the demand for the trafficking of girls, facilitate male engagement in securing goods and services needed for victims of sex trafficking through the MENding project and engage systems professionals and partners in the strategic planning for the development and implementation of a intervention programs as part of an effective response to increase arrests, convictions and penalties for traffickers and buyers.
MAST was launched in 2013 as a volunteer effort and is now funded in part by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota. In 2013/14:
- 20 men were consistently engaged in meetings
- 500 community members were trained through awareness events
- 130+ community members participated in a forum to raise men's awareness on the issue
- $15,000 in goods and services we collected for victims/survivors of sex trafficking.
For more information contact Mallory Thorne, Anti Sex Trafficking Coordinator:
Men in the community are pledging time and money to help alleviate the suffering that remains after violence has been committed.
We have developed a method of coordinating broad, community-based pledges for pro bono goods and services from traditionally male-run or male oriented businesses that can help battered women and children and sexual assault survivors mend the harm that men have done.
The MENding Project acknowledges men’s unique opportunity to end men’s violence against women and our collective responsibility to do so.