- Human Trafficking and Gender: Differences, Similarities and Trends
Important progress has been made in recent years in the identification of men as victims of trafficking.
Historically, most identified victims of human trafficking were women. More recently organizations that provide direct assistance have become better at identifying male victims of human trafficking.
Gender of victims identified over time
A large proportion of victims identified are women, as human trafficking has generally been seen as a crime which affects mostly women. Over time, a higher percentage of men have been identified and it is acknowledged that men are also are vulnerable to human trafficking. The proportion of children relative to adults for each age group is about the same.
Gender breakdown by age group
There is a higher percentage of women in lower age groups, while men tend to have a larger share in the age groups over 30. The highest percentage of female victims can be found in the 18-20 age group, while the highest percentage of male victims can be found particularly in the lowest age groups and above 39 years of age.
Education of male and female victims
More than a third of men identified have some form of technical training, compared to a fifth of women. A higher proportion of trafficked women than men have been educated at middle school and high school level.
Recruiter relationship for male and female victims
There are marked differences in the relationship male and female victims have to the person who recruited them into trafficking. Almost half of male victims were recruited by an acquaintance, whereas over a quarter of females were recruited by an intimate partner, and over a third by a family member or relative.
means of control used on female victims
Displayed here are the means of control used by traffickers on male and female victims. While there are similarities in the way males and females are controlled, female victims are subject more to forms of abuse such as psychological, physical and sexual.
Type of exploitation of transgender/non-conforming victims
Ideally, transgender/non-conforming victims identified would be included in the main gender analysis. However, due to the extremely small percentage of victims assisted by IOM and Polaris who identify as transgender/non-conforming, the same level of analysis was not possible. Furthermore, the category was labelled thus so that enough observations could be grouped to carry out some analysis. The data available on these victims for the purposes of analysis is still limited. This is not to say that there are not many victims of trafficking globally who do identify as transgender/non-conforming, as the numbers merely reflect the victims assisted by the two organizations to date.
Gender of identified children and adults
There is little difference in the gender split between adult and child victims, although just over a third of identified child victims are male. The proportion of female victims is higher than male victims for both groups.
Male and female victims of trafficking for labour exploitation over time
Over time a consistently high percentage of male victims have been victims of trafficking for labour exploitation; over 90% of male victims until 2012 when the share of labour exploitation among male victims has steadily decreased, due to an increase in cases of sexual exploitation among men.
Male and female victims of trafficking for labour exploitation who are children
The highest proportion of boy victims of trafficking have been victims of labour exploitation, and the highest proportion of girl victims have been victims of sexual exploitation.
Gender and work sector for victims of trafficking for labour exploitation
Domestic work and hospitality are the sectors of work most female victims of labour exploitation are trafficked into, whereas agriculture and particularly construction are sectors which male victims of labour exploitation are mostly trafficked into. There is a fairly equal proportion of male and female victims trafficking into manufacturing.
means of control used on male victims
Male victims of trafficking are frequently controlled through false promises, and labour related methods such as withholding of earnings and excessive working hours.
Age breakdown of transgender/non-conforming victims
The majority of transgender/non-conforming victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation (83%), with the remaining trafficked for labour or another type of exploitation. The majority are adults but 11% are children, which is not far below the average proportion of child victims overall in the global dataset. All trafficking victims are likely to be in a vulnerable position, but this may be particularly true for transgender/non-conforming victims, especially as trafficked children. Continuing to collect data on such victims, even if few in number, is essential for the development of thorough and effective counter-trafficking responses.
Marital status of men and women
There are no major differences in the marital status of identified male and female victims of human trafficking. It is important to note that almost half of men, and almost half of the women identified were single.
Male and female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation over time
The proportion of female victims who are sexually exploited has steadily decreased over time, largely due to a rise in the proportion of female victims of labour exploitation. This proportion has again risen in the past two years to 75% in 2016.
Male and female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation who are children
The proportion of boy and girl victims of sexual exploitation has changed over the years depending on the IOM and Polaris caseload. In 2015 almost all girls victims were victims of sexual exploitation, and almost 50% of boy victims. The proportion of boy victims who are victims of sexual exploitation has taken a gradual upward trend.
Gender and sector of work for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation
By far the most victims of sexual exploitation are trafficked into prostitution, especially females. However, of those who are trafficked for pornography and private sexual services there is a higher proportion of male victims. The data in this graph is Polaris only, as Polaris collects more detailed data on the type of sexually exploitative work victims are trafficked into.
IOM age and gender of victims
The average age of female victims identified by IOM is 26 and the average for male victims is 28. There is a slight spike in age at 0 and 1 years of age- this is because of the number of children born into trafficking.
Duration of trafficking for men and women
The average duration of trafficking for female victims identified by IOM is 1.8 years, while male victims are trafficked for an average of 2.3 years.
Note about the data: The category of "Unknown, Transgender, or Nonconforming" category has not been included in many of the charts; this is because the number of victims in this category is small, data is missing for many cases. Due to the small sample size CTDC also needs to protect the privacy of these individuals, and avoid risking revealing sensitive information about the cases that do exist.
Historically, IOM has not collected information on transgender or non-conforming victims of trafficking, therefore the cases presented here are solely from Polaris' database.